Skip to content
September 19, 2022

Storming Through Rolex Big Boat Series

The big question marks going into Sunday, the fourth and final day at Rolex Big Boat Series, had to do with the weather. How wet will we get? Will the gale hold off? What courses will the race committee choose in the southerly? Will the club still hold the awards ceremony outdoors as planned?

Cal 40 Azure
This is what the last leg of the day normally looks like at Rolex Big Boat Series. The shot from Friday shows the Cal 40 Azure in the foreground, with the J/105 fleet sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, and kiters and wingers taking advantage of the high winds and boat wakes. Note the whitecaps.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
J/105s in the rain
By contrast, here are the J/105 leaders in Sunday’s last leg. Note the mellow sea state and the absence of boardsailors.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

High winds came and went with the squalls, but the direction was mostly from the south with a soupçon of east. In the southerly, the water on the Cityfront was remarkably flat — in stark contrast to that on Richardson Bay to the north, as we see elsewhere in this edition of ‘Lectronic Latitude. The schooners at least didn’t mind their reaching start off the St. Francis Yacht Club race deck. The Classics got the same 11.7-mile course as they did on Thursday. 

Video shot by Christopher Lewis aboard the schooner Mayan.

The rain did indeed soak the sailors. But, what the hey, the rain washed off some of the salt. (Even the streets were foaming with the stuff.) Thankfully, the awards moved indoors. The exuberant celebrants packed the clubhouse more tightly than folks are accustomed to in COVID times — but the StFYC opened the doors for fresh air, and at least we weren’t out in the rain and wind and mud.

Crew with Rolex
The crew of the J/105 Niuhi, with skipper Randy Hecht holding his new watch, at the thankfully indoor awards ceremony. “Niuhi!” is the call among Hawaiian surfers when one of them spots a large, dangerous shark.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more from the Rolex Big Boat Series in the October issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Friday, September 30. In the meantime, check out the results here.

What a Difference a Day Makes to the Bay

Finally, it rains. With it comes some relief from heat, drought and fire, though on the Bay, it can make life challenging. Our normally sunny September weekend was disrupted by a rainstorm, giving us a sunny Saturday, stormy Sunday, and a brilliant Monday morning. We’ve been staying on the Sausalito waterfront the last few days and caught some of the action.

Saturday AM Sausalito
The Bird class is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Bird Skylark  welcomed a sunny Saturday morning in Sausalito.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Saturday on the Bay
Saturday morning was a perfect time to head out for a sail.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Busy Sausalito waterfront
The Sausalito waterfront was busy with all sorts of boats coming and going.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Freda B
The Freda B returned with another boatload of smiling passengers. A Good Jibes podcast with owner/captain Paul Dines will be released tomorrow.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

After a sunny Saturday enjoyed by racers in the Rolex Big Boat Series and sailors all over the Bay, an unusually strong, wet storm for September started rolling in on Saturday night. By Sunday morning the rain was falling, and classic strong southerlies started terrorizing Richardson Bay, while challenging the RBBS race committee to find courses suitable for sailors on a Bay that lives around westerlies. The storm dropped about an inch and half of rain in Marin, and racers reported seeing 35-knot gusts and 20+ knots on knotmeters.

Sunday in Sausalito
On Sunday morning Richardson Bay was a different place. Anchors had to be tenacious to keep everyone in place.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Trimaran in Sausalito
This trimaran decided to hoist a reefed main, up-anchor, and search for calmer waters.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Sausalito Yacht Club
Sausalito Yacht Club members wrestled with an escaping FJ as the docks bore the brunt of the long fetch from Sunday’s southerlies.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
St Francis YC Rainbow
After a blustery race day, the rainbow after the Rolex Big Boat Series awards ceremony returned us all to the beauty of the Bay.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Monday in Sausalito
Could this be the same Bay? Monday morning in Sausalito was as calm as Saturday.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Life on the water’s edge or on the Bay is about as close to nature as you can get in a densely populated urban area. Apps give you an approximation of what’s coming, but it’s not until you pop your head out of the hatch, don the foulies, or hoist an anchor and reefed sail that you feel the reality of what digital screens attempt to convey. Not everyone would have enjoyed being on the Bay all weekend, but the grins on Rolex Big Boat Series racers’ faces on Sunday afternoon affirmed that many loved it. Others find the right sailing condition for them at other times.

We’ve been praying for rain; we got it. We hope everyone fared well as the storm passed.

This might have been the early-warning storm to remind us all that winter is coming and we should all remember to check dock lines, chafing gear and fenders before the winter season sets in. Before that happens there are many more sunny sailing days ahead.

New USCG Vallejo Search and Rescue Facility Officially Open

In January 2021, we wrote about a new search and rescue facility to be built at the Vallejo Municipal Marina. Coast Guard Station Vallejo’s new $14 million facility was officially opened on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 13,200-sq-ft facility is located approximately 3.5 miles northwest of its former temporary location at the California Maritime Academy and includes a new boat bay for small-boat maintenance, berthing for 14 watchstanders, a galley, command center, training room and fitness room.

ribbon-cutting ceremony
The new station is officially open.
© 2022 Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon

Chief Petty Officer Joshua Hollyfield, Station Vallejo’s officer-in-charge, said at the groundbreaking ceremony in 2021, “The new station, which has been years in the making, will allow the crew to be co-located with our small boats, greatly improving our response time to continue to protect the lives of mariners in Vallejo and the greater Bay Area.”

Vallejo Station members have been housed in temporary facilities since 1996 and have had to relocate twice due to funding constraints and obstacles.

The station was first commissioned in 1977 as Station Carquinez, located at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. After the Navy yard shut down, Station Vallejo relocated to the California Maritime Academy in 1996. In September 2001, the station moved to the Vallejo Municipal Marina after the end of the lease at California Maritime Academy. In 2018, it returned to California Maritime Academy, awaiting completion of the new station.

On January 22, 2021, USCG’s Captain Ursino, a representative from Herman Construction Group, Station Vallejo’s Officer in Charge BMC Hollyfield, and FN Alvarez-Alburquerque make the first dig into the new station’s foundation.
© 2022 US Coast Guard Station Vallejo

The Vallejo unit consists of 27 personnel and three 29-ft Response Boats-Small, and is responsible for search and rescue and law enforcement missions. The unit’s area of responsibility extends from San Pablo Bay to Suisun Bay and as far east as Simmons Point, south of Honker Bay.

September Issue Finds New Golden Ticket Winner

Tiburon sailor Stephen Spoja is the newest Latitude 38 Golden Ticket winner. Stephen picked up his September issue at Modern Sailing in Sausalito and was surprised to find the ticket inside.

Stephen has sailed and raced on San Fransisco Bay for 50 years, and for the past seven years he’s been a sailing instructor at Modern Sailing.

Masked and ready to board
Senior instructor Capt. Stephen Spoja (far right) taught Carli and Mark ahead of their Caribbean cruise.
© 2022 Modern Sailing School & Club

Though now, Stephen can be found leading a sailing flotilla along Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Golden Ticket winner Stephen Spoja
The weather looks pretty good in Nerano, southwest of Positano.
© 2022 Stephen Spoja

Stephen has asked for a blue Latitude 38 hat. The next question is, will it reach him in Italy or will it be waiting for him when he returns to Tiburon?

Do you have your September issue yet? You can get yours at any of our Bay Area distributors. Or better, have one sent in the mail each month. Subscribe here.

Skippers Wanted: US Coast Guard-Licensed Captains for Charters and Private Lessons

Wanted: US Coast Guard-licensed captains for charters and private lessons. For power & sail. Hourly rate from $50 up. Weekend and weekday work available.

1160 Brickyard Cove Road, Suite 21, Richmond, California 94801 • (510) 236-2633 • [email protected]

From the Magazine
Standing naked and wet in the boater’s restroom, with all of his clothes and his dock keys locked in the shower room, Tim had to find his way through the gate and back to his boat.