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January 30, 2023

Many Moods Across the Three Bridge Fiasco Course

The Three Bridge Fiasco threw its usual complicated mix of conditions, providing moments of glory and moments of dismay and frustration. The preliminary results show an eclectic mix of results, with some classes showing just a few finishers while other classes, such as the Doublehanded Spinnaker PHRF 108 and under, showing 100% of boats finishing, and Ethan Doyle and Ryan Treaison aboard the Aerodyne 38 Syzygy taking the day! Other classes, such as Singlehanded Non-Spinnaker PHRF, show just one finisher, with Byron Reeves on his Sabre 36 Spirit Katester coming out on top.

While we’re busy collecting stories from the day for our March issue, we’re sharing some photos from across the Bay.

Three Bridge Fiasco
This Wylie Wabbit added some color to a gray time of day.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Three Bridge Fiasco
An interesting view appeared under the Bay Bridge. This is Bill Dana’s Express 27 Simply Irresistible.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Sunken boat Three Bridge Fiasco
This misfortune was not part of the Three Bridge Fiasco but was a distressing sight on the east side of Treasure Island.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Three Bridge Fiasco
Strategy and tactics in the Three Bridge Fiasco are rarely clear. The morning fog didn’t help.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Three Bridge Fiasco
It was the best of times… There were moments of sailing bliss for almost all participants.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Three Bridge Fiasco
It was the worst of times… The strong ebb caused problems for the Express 27 Fired Up and those hiding from the current close to shore.
© 2023 Cinde Lou Delmas

We had a glorious day aboard our Sabre 38 Finistere, only to end in dismay with our knotmeter reading zero at 6:20 p.m. and 2.3 miles from the finish. While we were praying for wind near Raccoon Strait, others had too much, beating up the Cityfront to the finish. We’d do some things differently next time, but we wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity even to have the same day repeated. It was fun out there.

We’ll share some more photos soon and get the full story in our March issue. If you’ve got some of your own photos, send them here.

See the full Three Bridge Fiasco results here.

Crossings, Rescues and Adventures Recognized in OCC Awards

The Ocean Cruising Club’s (OCC) 2022 awards have been announced to include a family who have been cruising since 2018, a solo sailor who performed a rescue at sea — during an ocean race — and a young sailor who completed his first solo Atlantic crossing. These awards are among those presented by the OCC each year in recognition of sailors who live by the club’s ethos of “people who have said ‘yes’ to adventure.”

Palo Alto teenager Cal Currier received the OCC’s Jester Award for the completion of his 3,400-nautical-mile solo voyage from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, to Lagos, Portugal. Cal did’t set out to break any records, or to win any awards, but his 28-day voyage has landed him in the OCC’s record books alongside well-known sailors such as Jack van Ommen, Webb Chiles, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and dozens more. The OCC wrote, “The spirit in which he completed the entire endeavor, more than his young age, make his accomplishment notable and worthy of the OCC’s recognition.”

Atlantic Crossing sailor
When Cal set out to sail across the Atlantic, his intention was simply to challenge himself and have what Bilbo Baggins would have called a “grand adventure.”
© 2023 James Currier

Golden Globe Race entrant Kirsten Neuschäfer, and Captain Naveen Kumar Mehrotra of the bulk carrier Darya Gayatri, were awarded the OCC Seamanship Award for their involvement in the rescue of fellow GGR participant Tapio Lehtinen on November 19, 2022. Lehtinen was drifting in his life raft after his Gaia 36 Asteria sank the previous day, nearly 500 miles off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Neuschäfer sailed around 100 miles to reach the Finnish GGR veteran and brought him aboard her 36-ft Cape George Cutter Minnehaha. Neuschäfer then coordinated with Captain Mehrotra, who diverted his ship to pick up the stranded Lehtinen in three-meter seas and 25-knot winds. Upon announcing the award, the OCC described the mission as “a textbook rescue that resulted in swift resolution in the Southern Ocean.”

Kirsten aboard Minnehaha.
© 2023 Nora Havel / GGR 2022

The last award we’d like to mention is the OCC Barton Cup. It goes to an American family, Jon and Megan Schwartz and their young sons Ronan and Daxton, who left France in 2018, bound for the Caribbean aboard their new Boreal 47 Zephyros. After exploring the Galápagos, Ecuador, and Easter Island, the family arrived in Chile just before COVID shut down the world. They spent a year exploring Patagonia while the boys, by now capable and competent sailors and crew, raced dinghies with the local Chilean kids. At the end of 2020 they sailed to Antarctica, then returned for another year in Chile before heading to Antarctica for a second time, back up to Cape Horn and Chile, and on to the South Atlantic, with long passages to the Falklands, St. Helena, and Ascension islands, before heading back to the Caribbean to complete their multi-year circumnavigation of South America. OCC Commodore Simon Currin remarked, “We thoroughly admire the Schwartz family for their seamanship, as well as for their low-key approach to their adventures, much done in today’s difficult times. They’re great ambassadors of the OCC and the cruising community in general and very deserving of this, our most coveted, award.” Oh, did we mention they also brought along their two cats, Poseiden and Athena?

The OCC describes its members as people who “represent the distilled essence of the cruising community, a potent combination of accomplishment, experience, idealism, eccentricity, generosity and humility.

“The sole qualification for full membership entails stepping aboard a boat and making a continuous ocean passage of at least 1000 nautical miles, measured by the shortest practical Great Circle route between two ports, in a vessel not more than 70 feet overall length. Associate Members join aspiring to do the same and being inspired by those who already have.”

You can read more about the OCC and about the 2022 awards and recipients here.

Discover Elemental Luxury on the Cape Less Traveled

Forty-five minutes from the Los Cabos airport, Costa Palmas is a 1500-acre master-planned resort community on Baja’s East Cape. Here, on two miles of swimmable beachfront on the Sea of Cortez, owners connect to clubhouses, a Robert Trent Jones II course, Baja’s first luxury marina and village.

Racing Into February

San Francisco Bay Area

The Singlehanded Sailing Society will follow up last Saturday’s massive Three Bridge Fiasco with their second race of the 2023 season, the Corinthian Race for singlehanders and doublehanders. The Bay tour course on Saturday, February 25, will start and finish at Golden Gate Yacht Club on the Cityfront, not at the Corinthian in Belvedere Cove. Up until COVID, the SSS ran this popular race off the CYC race deck. They moved it to the Cityfront during the pandemic lockdowns because volunteers didn’t have to actually go inside the clubhouse at GGYC  — they could set up in the parking area out front. We expect registration to open soon on Jibeset.

SSS Race Committee SUV
Last year’s SSS Corinthian race committee volunteers (Joe Balderrama, Sam McFadden and Matt Beall, with some assistance from Noah and Peet). They rigged a VHF antenna on the roof of the SUV. Last year, only one boat finished the light-air race. David Schumann and Trevor Baylis completed the 18-mile tour in a bit less than five hours on the SeaCart 30 trimaran Bottle Rocket.

The SSS has integrated boats with powered winches back into the divisions with all manual winches. Boats with powered winches had been sailing in their own separate but too-tiny divisions during the past couple of years.

Blackaller buoy rounding
In Saturday’s Three Bridge Fiasco, the competitors battle one another to round Blackaller Buoy to starboard. But a few chose to sail around the mob and rounded the mark to port. In the Corinthian Race, the SSS determines the course — it’s not skippers’ choice. Another major difference: We’d expect around 100+ entries for the Corinthian. The Three Bridge got 309. We have a post elsewhere in this ‘Lectronic edition about the Fiasco. We’ll include much more in the March issue of Latitude 38.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Southern California

In Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Windjammers YC will host the Super Bowl Charity Regatta on February 4 (the “Super Bowl,” which is apparently some sort of American football match, will be held on Sunday, February 12, so there’s no conflict).

Newport Harbor YC and San Diego YC will launch the 2023 offshore season with the Islands Race on February 24-25. The race will depart from Long Beach Harbor. The course passes Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands to port before finishing at Point Loma. The total course measures approximately 142 miles. Says SDYC, “What better way to spend a weekend in February than with a view of the Pacific for miles, a chilled ocean breeze, and well-earned bragging rights at the finish line?” Last year’s race brought out a record 42 boats. Among the entries this year is 2021’s overall winner, Buzz Blackett’s Richmond-based Antrim 27C ‘io.

Islands Race start
A scene from the start of last year’s Islands Race.
© 2023 Islands Race

Midwinters North and South

Midwinter racing continues throughout the Bay Area. Some clubs hope to make up races missed due to storms in December and January. See our Calendar and click the Midwinter Series tab for a long list and the latest updates, or go to the Calendar starting on page 10 of Latitude 38.

In Southern California, the SCYA Midwinter Regatta sprawls across three weekends, February 4-5, 18-19 and 25-26 at 25 Central/Southern California venues from Morro Bay to San Diego. (SCYA stands for the Southern California Yachting Association.) As we post this story, there’s something wacky going on with the SCYA’s website. It was fine last week. Hopefully they’ll fix it shortly.

Behind the PHRF Curtain

Seadon Wijsen of North Sails will pull back the curtain on PHRF ratings in a first-event-of-the-year presentation in Corinthian Yacht Club’s Speaker Series. The sailmaker and yacht racing tactician grew up sailing in the Bay Area and has numerous championships to his credit. The Speaker Series is free, in-person, and open to the public in CYC’s ballroom in Tiburon. Reservations are strongly suggested (email [email protected]). The bar will open at 6:15 and the talk will begin at 7 p.m.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the 2023 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule, if you haven’t already gotten one. You can also view it online or download it at

Can Algae and Seaweed Stem the World’s Plastic Tide, and Feed Us?

Although the Bay Area is still officially in winter, the mention of algal blooms and seaweed caught our attention; particularly as last September in ‘Lectronic Latitude we wrote about the red tide that was clogging parts of the Bay and killing sealife. Now, it seems the possibility of collecting such algae and rampant seaweeds and turning them into profit, while helping improve humans’ environmental footprint, is a step closer to reality.

As an avid diver, Finnish biochemist Mari Granström became aware of the toxic microalgae blooms that occur in the Baltic Sea and impact marine life by causing oxygen deficiency, reducing water quality, and blocking out light.

“I saw with my own eyes — or perhaps couldn’t see — how it was affecting the marine ecosystem, and decided to do something,” Granström told the BBC. “There was too much finger pointing and not enough action.”

Six years ago, Granström began harvesting the microalgae and developing processes for use in cosmetics, human and animal food, detergents, and even as a replacement for plastic. And what began as a hobby has evolved into a company called Origin by Ocean (ObO). The company has attracted both commercial investment and European Union funds and is now operating a pilot production scheme with the plan to be fully operational by 2025–26.

ObO sources the microalgae off the coast of Finland, and imports sargassum seaweed from the Dominican Republic and excess seaweed from Portuguese and Spanish waters.

The venture helps clean up the waterways while providing a business stream for various partners along the way.

“We wanted to do something to help at both ends of the process, upstream and downstream, as it were — cleaning the seas, but also monetising a change in consumer behaviour,” Granström said.

Last September’s algal bloom was clearly visible around the Bay Area.
© 2023 San Francisco Baykeeper

In another part of Europe, Swedish business Nordic Seafarm is using seaweed to make “algae-based gin and beer.”

Imagine if the above systems evolved to such a degree that anyone could make food and alcohol from algae and seaweed; sailors would never need to come ashore! Now that might be worth an investment…

Learn more about ObO at