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January 11, 2023

Damage and Close Calls on the Waterfront During California Storms

The weather is tough all over California, with near misses and hard hits up and down the coast. The Santa Barbara Yacht Club has, so far, been spared the worst fate, while Chuck Hawley wasn’t so lucky, losing a family beachfront retreat on the Santa Cruz shoreline.

We spoke with Santa Barbara Yacht Club Commodore Dave Sadecki, who filled us in on the storm damage. A high tide and severe waves washed away the beach in front of the recently remodeled club and were rolling right up under the building, which sits on pilings overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel. The waves took out the electricity, plumbing and gas. It also took out half the parking lot and the beach where the beach cats used to sit. The club has evacuated the boatyard and is looking to add revetment (erosion protection) along the beach to prevent further damage.

Santa Barbara Yacht Club
The Santa Barbara Yacht Club was just far enough above the tide and wave surge.
© 2023 Dave Sadecki

It’s a stunning location for a yacht club that hosts many races right off the deck out front. However, proximity to the sea has its risks. Fortunately, the club was just high enough, and the tide and storm abated soon enough to prevent possibly worse damage.

SBYC Parking Lot damaged in California storms
The Santa Barbara parking lot was heavily damaged, though boats in the background escaped.
© 2023 Dave Sadecki
Santa Barbara Yacht Club
This is where the picnic chairs and tables usually sit. It looks calm, but it was a close call for the club.
© 2023 Dave Sadecki

Many Southern California sailors, and those cruising north and south, have enjoyed the hospitality of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. In normal times, the beach chairs, volleyball court, race committees and outdoor bar are all active from SBYC’s idyllic location. Commodore Sadecki says they protected the first-floor windows with plywood to prevent more significant damage. The club is currently closed, but they’re planning repairs and, if all goes well, hope to reopen in a few weeks. They’re doing all they can to care for employees while the club awaits reopening.

SAnta Barbara Yacht Club
This is the beach before the waves arrived, washing right up under the clubhouse on the right in the photo above.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
The beach cats lined West of SBYC
The beach in 2020. The beach cats and the beach itself, to the west of SBYC, have all been removed.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We also connected with Dennis Longaberger of Sunset Kidd Yachts, who said the boats in the harbor fared well in the last couple of storms, but the harbor entrance is almost closed due to sand drifting into it. Currently the harbor has only five feet of depth at high tide, with a very narrow channel. He joked, “Soon we’ll be calling it ‘Lake Santa Barbara.'”

Meanwhile, it was well-known Santa Cruz sailor Chuck Hawley who, unfortunately, made national news when his family’s Santa Cruz beach cabin was pushed up onto the beach road in front of the house. The New York Times captured the story as one of the many personal tragedies caused by the onslaught of winter storms. The cabin was lost forever when it had to be dismantled in order to clear the road for traffic. The home had been in the family since his parents built it by hand in 1957. It survived the storms of 1982, which washed away many other coastal homes, but the storms of 2023 appear to have been the last.

Hawley Cottage 1982
The Hawley cottage on Beach Road was fortunate to survive the major storm of 1982, in which many other homes were lost.
© 2023 Chuck Hawley
Hawley Cottage
It’s bad now and it’s been bad before. However, after this damage in 1982, the cabin was able to be repaired.
© 2023 Chuck Hawley

As everyone knows, the storms have been devastating, with still more to come. Hopefully the worst is over, but we need to keep an eye on the chafing gear, and keep the hatches battened down.

Caption Contest(!) — The First for 2023!

Welcome to 2023’s first Caption Contest(!). We hope this brings some sunshine to our region’s wet, cloudy days.

This felt like an appropriate photo for the current weather state. The frog face is to protect the innocent.

caption contest Jan 2023
Your caption here.
© 2023 The Internet

You can find December’s Caption Contest(!) winners and next top ten in January’s Latitude 38.

Need Fast, Reliable Internet On Your Boat?

Slip Owners and Liveaboards — Looking for Reliable, Robust, High-Speed Internet? Invite Etheric Networks aboard! Our high-speed fixed wireless base stations and private Bay Area fiber ring offer the reliability, redundancy, and resiliency needed to keep you online, no matter where you call home

Good Jibes #73: Milly Biller on Lifelong 110 Sailing

Welcome back to Good Jibes! This week’s host, Ross Tibbits, is joined by Milly Biller to chat about sailing on International 110s since childhood.

good Jibes Milly Biller
A young Milly at the helm, with her dad riding as crew. Hear Milly talk about what shaped her as a sailor.
© 2023 Milly Biller

Milly is the port captain of the Inverness Yacht Club and has been sailing for 65 years. Hear her stories from growing up with sailing parents, and about her passion behind the 110, crafting her woodworking and boat-making skills, sailing with butterflies, and how to always be there for fellow sailors.

This episode covers everything from 110s to woodworking. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • What brought Milly to sail on Tomales Bay?
  • How often did her parents sail?
  • When did she buy her dad’s 110?
  • What is the 110?
  • How big is the fleet?
  • What mentors were prominent in Milly’s life?
  • How did she end up living in some of the world’s most exotic cities?
  • Short Tacks: What is the R2AK race?

Learn more about the Inverness Yacht Club at

Check out the episode and show notes below for much more detail.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Member Paul Cayard

Holiday travels took us through SFO’s Delta Airlines terminal, where we passed the brass plaques of members of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. It was terrific to be reminded of Paul Cayard’s well-deserved membership. To date, he’s the only sailor recognized by the organization.

Paul Cayard Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame
If you have time before your flight, check out the brass plaque of Paul Cayard in Terminal One at SFO.
© 2023 John

Cayard is now the executive director of US Olympic Sailing and leading the country’s efforts to put our sailors back onto the podium in France in the 2024 Summer Olympics and, more importantly, when the Summer Olympics return to Long Beach in 2028.

Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame
Paul Cayard is in elite company in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Cayard was inducted in 2021, joining Bay Area sports heroes Joe DiMaggio, Bruce Bochy, Dave Dravecky, Joe Montana, Jonny Moseley, and many others.

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