The devastation from Hurricane Ian is still underway as it passes over Charleston, South Carolina, and as southwest Florida starts to dig out and address the historic damage. As we’ve seen in the Miami Herald photos below and everywhere, it’s hard to imagine how boats along a shallow coastline behind low-lying barrier islands could survive a direct hit from the 155-mph winds and 12-foot surge they were subjected to as the hurricane hit the coastline, regardless of whatever careful preparations had been made. We hope to hear stories of miraculous luck and survival, but so far it looks as if boats and boating facilities took an enormous hit.
Of course, the prime concern at this point is human life, as so many were certainly overwhelmed by the storm and subsequent power outages, flooding and other storm impacts. We’re sure all resources available are being deployed for the cleanup, but we include a link to the Red Cross for those who are able to contribute to aiding the people of southwest Florida.
While we were watching the track of the storm on Windy, we also had a look at Marine Traffic and saw the impact of improved forecasting and ship routing in real time. The two screenshots below were taken minutes apart as the hurricane hit the Florida coast. You can see the marine traffic was still busy, but all is circling the hurricane. Even so, some of it must have been experiencing some pretty dramatic conditions.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Ian has picked up strength as it hits the South Carolina coast. We wish the best for all who are or were in its path.
One to Watch
A new storm is brewing off the Pacific coast of Mexico. They often spin off harmlessly out into the Pacific, but this looks as if it’s going to take a turn toward the Sea of Cortez. It’s predicted to remain a tropical storm and not become a hurricane, but could still cause plenty of damage for communities in its path.
Improved forecasting allows vessels to move out of the way of hurricanes, but it doesn’t allow shoreline communities or insurance companies to do much but prepare, evacuate, and pray.
What happens to a yacht club when their landlord evicts them from their rented clubhouse and their members watch their former home get demolished? Do they hang their heads and whimper, shuffling away with a tear in their eye and a deep sigh of defeat? Or do they carry on with almost all of their activities — while also adapting to COVID vicissitudes — showing enthusiasm, esprit de corps and a flair for fun? If the club in question is Island Yacht Club, previously tenants at Alameda Marina, well, read on for the answer.
Northern California Women’s Sailing Seminar
This year’s sold-out weekend-long Women’s Sailing Seminar was based out of Afterguard Sailing Academy on September 10-11. What a huge endeavor and feat of organization! “We had 58 students participating — and roughly 40 instructors, boat owners and volunteers,” reports IYC’s commodore, Ros de Vries.
Afterguard, located along Oakland’s Embarcadero, occupies a large warehouse-like building. Spaces within serve different purposes: a rack of El Toros here, a quiver of surfboards there, a cozy reading nook in the corner, a galley over there, small classrooms upstairs — and here’s a fuzzy cat ready to pet.
On Saturday morning, the students and volunteers assembled for a continental breakfast buffet. Ros de Vries, the ringmaster of the whole event, welcomed the crowd. Carliane Johnson, the only woman to race in the 2018 Singlehanded Transpacific Race from San Francisco Bay to Hanalei Bay, gave the keynote address. Carliane had just completed the 2022 Pacific Cup with an all-woman crew. Next up, WSS co-founder Linda Newland received the Leadership in Women’s Sailing award from the National Women’s Sailing Association. Afterguard’s owner, Mary Swift-Swan, wrapped up the welcomes, and it was off to a morning of classroom instruction.
This year’s seminar included Crew Essentials for beginners and Taking the Helm in Intermediate Cruising or Racing. The shoreside classes ranged from terminology to knots to diesel engine maintenance to Bay Area destinations to racing rules.
Afterward, students gathered up lunches and met their skippers and instructors on the docks. Although all of the instructors were women, some of the volunteers were men, including boat owners who took the sailors out on the water.
On Saturday afternoon, students practiced boat handling skills on the water. After they put the boats away, participants reconvened for a learning station (How to Buy a Boat) and the seminar’s 30th anniversary party with dinner and live music by the fabulous Ukemamas, an all-female band. An auction and a flare demo were included too.
Sunday began with an early-morning yoga session, breakfast and a knots demo. Then Captain Anne McIntyre spoke about her career as a bar pilot.
By mid-morning, all gathered on the boats for a longer day on the water. The cruisers headed out to the main Bay, while the Racing students competed in an actual regatta on the Estuary, organized by Nathalie Criou.
Back on land, the live auction resumed, and all said their goodbyes — until next year!
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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Thanks for the inspiration, Andy Williams. As we’re sitting here at our desks, with October less than 24 hours away, we can hear the sound of Christmas music wafting in from a nearby room. Around the world, countries celebrate Christmas in myriad ways, and some not at all. But in this case, we’re hearing the sounds of early celebration due to some Filipino friends’ love of the festive season. In case you didn’t know, in the Philippines people start celebrating Christmas at the onset of September, the first of the “‘ber” months. That gives them four full months to sing and decorate, and enjoy the festivities.
So what does all this have to do with Latitude 38, and sailing? Absolutely nothing! However, we can tie in a little celebration of our own. This month we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of our Good Jibes podcast by giving away five Spracht BoneHead Sport headsets. Just sign up for our weekly Good Jibes newsletter to enter. Five winners will be drawn at random from people who sign up from October 1 to October 31. The BoneHead bone-conduction headsets go around your ears, not in them, so if needed, you can hear what’s going on around you while you listen to your Good Jibes podcast or your favorite sailing songs. Sign up here.
In this month’s issue…
What’s the difference between a race and a rally? In a rally there are no losers, and you can only “win” a rally when everybody wins. That doesn’t mean all Baja Ha-Ha rally participants are only into cruising. Joining this year’s rally are the extended ORMA 60 trimaran Tritium and the Cal 40 Azure, which won its class in this year’s Pacific Cup to Hawaii and took second in class in this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series. For the Baja Ha-Ha, the racing rulebook is put away and the BBQ goes onto the stern rail.
“Everybody on three… One, two three — Folkboats forever!” Sean Svendsen led the chant: “Folkboats forever! Folkboats forever!” On Labor Day weekend, the most stalwart San Francisco Bay Folkboat Association members assembled on the Richmond Yacht Club patio to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Folkboat design. In addition to Sean, the son of sailing legend Svend Svendsen, the list of attendees read like a Who’s Who of the Bay Area Folkboat hall of fame. Sean was far from the only second-generation Folkboat champion in attendance. As the SF Bay Folkboat Association’s website notes, “The Nordic Folkboat has been sailed and raced on San Francisco Bay for 65 years, making it one of the oldest continuously active one-design fleets on the Bay.”
After enjoying an extra year in Mexico to wait out COVID restrictions, Sierra Wind set sail across the great Pacific Ocean, departing from Puerto Vallarta in early March 2022, along with four buddy boats: Kismet, Sky Pond, Hold Fast and Bula. A few weeks later, other Sea of Cortez amigos on Sauce-Sea, Indy, and Wastrel also joined us in the Pacific. For the long passage, Eitan and I were accompanied by Martin and Simone, a young couple from Denmark whom we had met through Facebook. Of the group, Sierra Wind was the first to leave, on March 4. Everyone else was too superstitious to begin a voyage on a Friday…
Also in the October issue:
- Letters: A Love Letter to My Coronado 25; The Difference Between Offshore Racing and Cruising; And Don’t Even Talk About Wood; and many more.
- Sightings: Nonstop Sailing — The Pacific Cup Detour; Phasing Out Paper Nav. Charts; Aborted Delivery — Red Flag Return; and other stories.
- Max Ebb: The Climate Regression.
- World of Chartering: Exploring the Caribbean Islands.
- Racing Sheet: Jazz Cup; Drake’s Bay Races, the Ultimate 20 North Americans; Santa Cruz 27 Nationals; and a host of other West Coast races.
- Loose Lips: Check out the September Caption Contest(!) winner and top 10 comments.
- The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.
If you’ve subscribed to Latitude 38, you should receive your October issue in the mail any minute now. If you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing out. But you can pick up your copy from your favorite distributor.
A cruiser’s number-one sleep aid is good ground tackle — or being far offshore in good weather. A good anchor helps you sleep well at night, but it’s not just the anchor. It’s the shackle, the swivel, the chain, the weather, the exposure, the bottom conditions and so much more. We were sleeping comfortably aboard a boat in a slip in Sausalito during Sunday the 18th’s unusual September southerly storm. On our side of the Sausalito Yacht Harbor breakwater, it was a bit windy and rolly — outside the breakwater, it was a completely different experience. Being confident in your anchoring gear and your hold on the bottom can make all the difference.
We walked the docks on a calmer morning to see who had what hanging off their bow. It was interesting to compare the many ways boats are designed and the variety of approaches different people take to finding a good night’s sleep while at anchor.
There are a lot of approaches with the single goal of keeping the boat and crew safe. The Bruce, Danforth, plow/CQR and fixed Delta-style anchors were all on display in the harbor. There’s no perfect answer for all boats in all situations, and as these photos attest, people continue to make many different choices. The debates on proper ground tackle happen in Sausalito and harbors around the world. What’s your anchor of choice for a good night’s sleep?
ED – This was written early in the week, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ian. Clearly Sunday on Richardson Bay was problematic, but an event like Hurricane Ian is on a completely different scale.