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October 24, 2022

Hurricane Roslyn Hammers Mexico’s West Coast

Hurricane Roslyn made landfall on Mexico’s west coast on Sunday morning, leaving a wake of devastation. While initially being expected to reach its maximum as a tropical storm, Roslyn had escalated to a Category 4 hurricane before crossing the coast as a Category 3 with 120-mph winds, at around 4:30 (PT) on Sunday morning. Coastal communities including Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita reported severe flooding and damage from the storm, with the BBC reporting three deaths: an elderly man who was killed by a falling roof beam, and two women who were killed when buildings collapsed.

The Chicago Tribune reported the hurricane struck “between the resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán Sunday morning, then declined to tropical storm force and quickly moved inland.” By Sunday night the hurricane had lost most of its force, with winds dropping to around 30 mph, as it made its way inland in a northwesterly direction.

The resulting devastation was widespread and severe, with streets turned into fast-flowing rivers with tons of mud and debris left in their wake.

Hurricane Roslyn aftermath
This was not the only vehicle to land on the beach, or in the ocean.
© 2022 Facebook/Justin J. Serna

Around 100,000 people across the region were left without power, the New York Times wrote, and quoted Jorge Benito Rodríguez Martínez, secretary of security in Nayarit, who said that 90 percent of residents from the municipalities of San Blas and Santiago Ixcuintla had been displaced and were in shelters or staying with relatives in higher areas.

Several towns were cut off due to mudslides and flooding. This video was taken in Bucerías, Nayarit.

We hope our friends in the south can recover quickly and that this is the last of the 2022 hurricane season.

J/105 North Americans — From Wheels to Waves

It’s roughly 9 p.m. on Friday, September 30, Day 2 of the four-day J/105 North Americans hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere (southern Marin County). Having completed six races so far with five more to go Saturday and Sunday, defending champ Tim Russell of Ne*Ne unexpectedly finds himself minus a foredeck crewmember. The skipper is up against 27 other crews peppered with prior Olympians, nationally ranked sailors and even former America’s Cup racers. This is competition on San Francisco Bay in fall.

Ne*Ne in the lead
Ne*Ne leads a pack of J/105s headed for a windward mark in the North Americans on September 29-October 2.
© 2022 Martha Blanchfield

Russell acts fast and starts scanning the crew board. He locates then dials Cal Maritime Academy student Benjamin Louttit (class of 2025, Marine Transportation). “Can you sail tomorrow?” asks Russell. Without hesitation, Louttit accepts. “Had he dialed me just 20 minutes later I might not have answered.”

Moments after the call, this CMA Keelhauler realizes that SFYC is roughly 38 miles away from his university in Vallejo. Since he moved to California just six weeks prior, his truck is still home in Annapolis, MD. “I checked Uber — that would have cost $200. So I looked at Google Maps and saw it was a bit more than three hours by bike.”

At 5 a.m. Saturday, Louttit tosses his spray gear into a bag. Courtesy access to an uncle’s 1980s commuter bike, he zips over the Carquinez Bridge, alongside the eight-lane freeway, cuts down Richmond Parkway past the industrial flats, then pedals over the 5.5-mile Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

“Just as I was exiting the bridge, Tim dials to say he received my message about not having optimal transportation to the race, and that he is happy to spring for an Uber ride. I told him that my transportation challenge was solved, that I had just reached Marin.” The time is 7:30 a.m. “Tim said, ‘Great, you found a motor bike? Or you found a scooter? Then we will see you at the club.’ I didn’t tell him I was on a bike.”

Benjamin Louttit
Benjamin Louttit back at Cal Maritime Academy in Vallejo, where the Mare Island Strait meets the Carquinez Strait.
© 2022 Courtesy Benjamin Louttit

Louttit picks up the pace for the remaining nine miles, arriving in time to weigh in, then meet up with crew in the parking lot. It isn’t until the troupe walks past where the bike is chained up that he reveals the morning’s adventure.

Thanks to Louttit’s dedication to crewing and the sport of sailing, Ne*Ne has an outstanding day when stacked on the line alongside 26 other J/105 competitors. “We achieved nine good sets and drops, earning a fifth and two bullets on Saturday.” Russell has appointed him the boat’s new foredeck. Ne*Ne finishes third overall at the J/105 North Americans. Louttit also competes for CMA; a recent event was the PCCSC Match Race Championships at Stanford University.

Ne*Ne crew at SFYC awards
The Ne*Ne crew accepts their prize at San Francisco YC on October 2. Left to right: John Claude, Ben Louttit, Kyle Hunt, Ted Wilson and Tim Russell.
© 2022 Helen Galli

Look for a report and more photos from the J/105 NAs in the November issue of Latitude 38.

West Meets East in Annapolis With Ronnie Simpson and Rocking the Boat Bronx

While on the East Coast at the Annapolis Sailboat Show last week, I was invited to join Ronnie Simpson and US Patriot Sailing to take 15 teens from Rocking the Boat Bronx (RTBB) for a sail on the Chesapeake. Eager not just to meet the kids (and go sailing) but also to learn more about the program, I said, “Yes!”

Ronnie Simpson and the crew from Rocking the Boat aboard Sparrow at the docks of the Annapolis Sailboat Show.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Nicki

RTBB is an organization that engages over 200 teens per year in a series of STEM-based programs that last throughout their high school careers and into college. The students study sailing, boatbuilding, and environmental sciences, working their way from students to paid interns, and, with comprehensive social support, are able to map out a path for long-term goals.

“Generally, students who enter the program have never been in a boat and often don’t know how to swim. Over the course of four years they learn not just to swim and to sail, but to teach sailing to others while working toward receiving an internationally recognized US Sailing instructor certification.” — RTBB.

The group was visiting the Annapolis Boat Show and the Naval Academy along with other sites in the area. Many of the teens are on track to sail in college or pursue an education in maritime trades. While walking the docks and checking out the boats on display, they came upon Ronnie and the Open 50 Sparrow. The kids were pretty excited to tour the boat and meet a skipper who is preparing to race around the world.

From “I want to sail around the world” to “… there are so many opportunities.”
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Nicki

With life jackets and crew support from US Patriot Sailing and permission from the Annapolis Boat Show, plans were made to take the group out sailing before they traveled back to New York.

Just before 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 16, the group collected at the end of D Dock to fit life jackets before climbing aboard. Once Sparrow was out of the harbor and the sails were raised, the students were given an opportunity to helm the Open 50 in a mild breeze out on the Chesapeake. Athena Arnold, a local sailor who works for Chesapeake Sailmakers, provided guidance and navigational support to the young sailors.

Athena Arnold leads the way.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Nicki

I spent the sail hanging out on deck getting to know some of the sailors, many of whom had been sailing for years. Some of the kids had a clear path chosen, and some were still figuring it out. None of them had met someone aspiring to do an around-the-world race, nor had they been on a boat like Sparrow. During our conversations, while cruising across the bay, I saw inspiration opening their minds up to something more. “I want to be an adventurer like Ronnie.” “I want to sail around the world.” And “I am going to continue my path in Maritime — there are so many opportunities.” These were just a few of the answers I received when I asked, “What do you want to do with your life?”

The teenagers from RTBB had a great time aboard Sparrow.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Nicki

I think in order to dream a dream, you need to know it is a possibility first. Rocking the Boat Bronx shows their students a world of possibilities they likely did not know about while growing up, and on that beautiful Sunday morning in Annapolis, a whole new world of possibilities opened up before their eyes.

On this week’s episode of Good Jibes, I chat further with Ronnie about his Global Solo Challenge campaign, and about his intention to change lives and make a positive impact with his sailing goals, which clearly he already is doing.

Who Else Was in Annapolis for the Boat Show?

Yes, we saw lots of boats and gear at the Annapolis show a week ago, but also lots of people. Last week we posted images of some of the many West Coast connections we met at the show. We thought we’d pass on a few more of the friends you might recognize from our West Coast sailing world.

Kevin Reeds
Former Bay Area resident and St. Francis Yacht Club member Kevin Reeds now lives on the Chesapeake and is working with David Walters Yachts.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Allison Stark Salt Sailing at Annapolis Boat Show
Allison Stark did the 2017 Baja Ha-Ha with her husband Nick Edwards aboard their Sausalito-based Beneteau 393 Salt. They’re back in Sausalito with the boat and were in Annapolis with their new crew.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Jim Haussener and Jennifer Thornton
Bay Area sailor Jim Haussener was in DC for meetings on Bay Area dredging and met up with Jennifer Thornton at the boat show. Jennifer, who has her 100-ton license and is a member of the Vallejo YC, used to own the Schock 35 Schock Full O’Nuts. Jennifer is also a former Modern Sailing and J-World Instructor.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
West Coast Multihulls
Don Margraf, Kim Dumas and Kurt Jerman with Denison Yachting and West Coast Multihulls on the Excess Catamarans stand.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Allison Lehman
Allison Lehman with Swiftsure Yachts was aboard the all-aluminum Garcia 45.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Dan Krier Marine Service Center
We met Dan Krier of Marine Service Center, who’s holding the 2023 Summer Sailstice bookmark and planning his 23rd annual Pacific Northwest Jeanneau Rendezvous for that June 24th weekend.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Nicki Bennett
Latitude 38‘s sales/marketing star Nicki Bennett, and Laura Parent, who works with 59 North, Modern Sailing and Passage Nautical, were working the late shift at the J/Boats/Quantum/Spinlock/Seldén party on the waterfront.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Catptain Donald Lawson
The crew at the Eastport Yacht Club boat show party with Ronnie Simpson, Laura Parent, Captain Donald Lawson, Tory Lawson, and Nicki Bennett. Both Ronnie and Captain Lawson are planning circumnavigations in 2023.
© 2022 Friend at EYC

Once again Annapolis was a great place to meet and reconnect with all things sailing.