Updated 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 15:
Not long after we published this story on the new Hank Easom buoy at Yellow Bluff, we received the following email from Ron Young. “It is with great sadness that we write with the news that Hank Easom passed away around 9:15 pm, Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
“Admired by many, our humble hero died of inoperable cancer at the age of 88, at home with his family.
“Thanks [to the support and generosity of many-ed], the Hank Easom Buoy has created an enduring remembrance of an exemplary person and sailor on his favorite playground, San Francisco Bay.
“Though he was too ill to accompany the voyage, Hank sent Serenade to be first to round San Francisco Bay’s newest weather mark — and christen it with a bottle of champagne. Hank delighted in seeing his buoy from the Sausalito shoreline on two special occasions during the last days of his life, putting a final, big and well-deserved smile on our hero’s face.
“In the perfect close to a legendary career, on Saturday, February 4, 2023, ten days before his passing, in Hank’s final race — the Golden Gate Yacht Club Midwinters — he was first to finish, first in division and first overall. In a competition usually decided by seconds, the next boat finished ½ an hour behind Hank Easom.”
On a rainy Saturday, January 14, a crowd of well-wishers arrived at Easom Rigging for the unveiling of a new racing mark for San Francisco Bay. The new mark honors the lifetime contributions of renowned Bay Area racer Hank Easom. Easom has numerous racing victories to his name, though he may be best known as the unrivaled competitor who took his 8 Meter Yucca to the podium on innumerable occasions during his stewardship of the beautiful vessel from 1964 to 2017. Appropriately, the clouds parted and the skies dried as Hank arrived for the unveiling of the buoy. The buoy, the Hank Easom mark, was created to become the permanent YRA Yellow Bluff racing mark.
Gathered at the unveiling were longtime crew members of both Yucca and Hank’s Sabre Spirit Serenade, plus a large crew of friends and supporters. The new buoy was inspired by Ron Young, and is the result of many months of planning and hard work by Hank’s nephew and head of the YRA Buoy committee Scott Easom, along with project partners Ron Young and San Francisco Yacht Club Staff Commodore Carl Lewis. The buoy is being funded by members of the San Francisco Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Club, Sausalito Yacht Club, and individual benefactors through the Belvedere Cove Foundation, with ongoing maintenance provided by Easom Racing and Rigging.
Getting a break from its busy schedule of clearing debris from the Bay after many winter storms, the Army Corps of Engineers vessel, the John A. B. Dillard, was enlisted to bring the buoy to its permanent mooring site off the Marin headlands on Tuesday, February 7. This will make race committees happy that they no longer have to set a Yellow Bluff buoy, and racers happy since the well-secured buoy will be in the same location every weekend.
The buoy looks a little less imposing when launched than when it’s hanging from a hoist. Though it’s a robust steel buoy, it is protected by foam siding to make it a more forgiving surface should anyone get too close.
It is a much-deserved honor to have the new Hank Easom buoy now in position on San Francisco Bay. We’re sure many racers, including ourselves, will be thinking, as they round the buoy, how it’s the first time they’ve ever passed Hank Easom. We’ll have more on Hank and the Hank Easom buoy in the upcoming March issue.
This week in Good Jibes, host Monica Grant reads two articles from the February 2023 issue of Latitude 38. Hear about Erin Quinn’s exploration of Catalina, “Trailer Sailors Cruise the Channel Islands,” and listen in to the story of Andrew Vik’s hop from Croatia to Italy in “Geja.”
“Sometimes a long day isn’t a bad thing. When our planet tilts toward the south, and the sun springs up by 5 a.m. and hangs around until well past 8 p.m., it can be pure pleasure to while away those hours cruising in a small, slow sailboat.”
“Farthest south in Croatia is Dubrovnik, a stunning seaside old town like no other. By this point, two groups of friends had joined me, but there I set aside a few days of solo time.”
This episode covers everything from Catalina Island to the Mediterranean islands.
Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:
- Where are the Channel Islands?
- What are the best books about them?
- Where should you stay on Catalina Island?
- How do you sail the Channel Islands?
- Where is the Dalmatian Coast?
- What is the coolest coastal town in Croatia?
- Is Italy or Croatia better for sailing?
- How was Sicily?
“We Go Where the Wind Blows,” and recently the wind blew us all the way across the continent to Ontario, Canada. Carried upon the wind was a 12-month subscription to Latitude 38, which was donated for a fundraising raffle in support of the youth sailing organization, Broad Reach Foundation. The raffle, held on January 21, was organized by Toronto’s Alexandra Yacht Club, and the subscription was won by party guest Shelby.
The raffle raised $510 (CAD) for the Broad Reach Foundation. Alison wrote, “The party was a great success and it was fun to introduce members of our club to a publication I have enjoyed so much over the years.”
The Broad Reach Foundation’s mission is “To engage equity-seeking youth in sailing and developing knowledge, skills and social belonging.” Meaning it focuses on helping “potentially vulnerable young people like newcomers, kids from disadvantaged families, and oppressed minorities” — kids who would ordinarily have little to no chance of experiencing the many immediate and long-term benefits of sailing. So of course we were happy to help!
As we say, again, “We Go Where the Wind Blows,” and we’re happy to have blown into some new and future sailors’ lives.
Learn more about the Broad Reach Foundation here.
On Friday last week, we shared the story of a boat that had sunk off Treasure Island’s northeast corner. After being alerted to the sunken boat by reader Craig Russell, we contacted the Coast Guard to ask if they had any information. It turned out they did, as you can read in Friday’s Lectronic Latitude. But the one thing we omitted from the story was the boat’s name. And yes, it was intentional. The email we received from the USCG included “s/v Rocky Seas,” but the way it was written left it unclear as to whether that was actually the name of the boat, or if someone was just making a wry comment. It also made us wonder if the name you choose for your boat can also determine its future.
It turns out the boat’s name is in fact Rocky Seas, as evidenced by the photos Dwayne Newton sent us. Dwayne had been out sailing on January 1 (that spectacular day marking the start of the year), and discovered the boat aground on the northeast corner of Treasure Island. He had a perfect view of its transom.
We’ve written many stories about boat names. Whether about their “punny-ness,” or whether and how to rename your boat — there’s a lot of sailorly tradition and superstition involved in the latter. But what do you think about the meaning of a boat’s name? Can the name you choose for your boat influence its future?