It was an upbeat moment with high hopes when, in March 2021, US Sailing announced that Bay Area National Sailing Hall of Fame sailor Paul Cayard was taking on the role of executive director of US Olympic Sailing. After barely two years, in the midst of a restructuring by US Sailing, he has just announced his resignation with the following statement:
“Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, the US Sailing Association and I had a complete breakdown on several levels. The process of resolution was not good and ultimately unsuccessful. Despite my passion for our mission and my perseverance, I can no longer work with US Sailing.
“In 2020, I was told that trying to build a successful Olympic Team, within US Sailing, would be very challenging. Changing the processes, culture and support for the Team is an extremely difficult task. We are just starting to make gains. Raising two or three times the amount of money ever raised in the USA, to support that goal, is also a difficult task. Starting and building an endowment, so that future leaders will have something to rely on financially, is another tall order.
“Ultimately, the relationship with US Sailing proved to be one that I could not cope with. It pains me to admit that as I did sail around the world twice and generally feel pretty capable of dealing with adversity. I want to emphasize my gratitude for your support, trust and confidence in me. Know that we made significant progress in the movement to get the USA back to the top of the podium. I remain interested in our mission and supporting athletes. Maybe this will take a different form in time.
“It has been my honor and privilege to work with my staff and for all the great athletes of the USA who have so much potential. I wish them all the best!”
Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press reported, “Cayard, one of America’s most successful sailors, said Saturday that he couldn’t work under a restructuring of the Olympic team’s management. He said he was told just minutes before a board of directors meeting that he would be asked to focus on fundraising while someone else ran the team.”
In an email to the AP, Bay Area sailor and current US Sailing board president Richard Jepsen said that Cayard “was offered the ability to continue to support the team by, among other things, providing valuable input into its direction and leading the important fundraising efforts. He declined, and we respect his decision.”
With just a year and a half before the Paris Olympics and five and a half years to the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, it is a difficult time to make another transition and a disappointment for many who saw the team progressing under Cayard’s leadership.
The early part of 2023 has seen a group of dedicated mariners plot a new course for their club and their community. Randy Norman and Stephen Dale reached out to Latitude to share their vision, and also to seek information that could help their cause. Together with the Benicia Yacht Club (BenYC) and a solid group of supporters, the pair are heading the Nautica Group, which aims to expand its outreach to the community, with a special focus on families and children.
“We already have an annual sailing school that currently runs for 3-5 weeks, and we hope to expand it,” Stephen wrote. “We are also working with the local schools and resurrecting a sailing club at one of the high schools. We have about a dozen 12-15-foot boats in pretty good shape, and about a dozen Optis.”
“BenYC apparently had a pretty robust program until a decade ago and all the equipment remains in pretty decent shape,” Stephen added.
Tim and Derith Rose had been keeping the program running for many years, and now the Nautica Group is looking to build on their efforts. “The force of this all is going to be small town expands sailing opportunities for its community.”
The first Benicia Yacht Club Nautica Group meeting on January 14 was a success, with 26 members and guests braving the rain and wind and a flooded E. 2nd Street to show their support and add their voice.
Stephen told us the “conceptual idea behind the Nautica Group was to provide a forum for discussion on how, in our current day environments, to fulfill the intents of the BenYC charter.” The meeting identified that purpose as fostering and encouraging yachting and boating activities; promoting and increasing the knowledge and efficiency of its members and others in the science of navigation and the art of handling, operating, and maintaining powerboats, sailboats, and other watercraft; and promoting the social interest and pleasures of its membership.
“We have been gratified by the interest we are getting. This is why we are looking for ideas from other programs,” Stephen wrote. “Hey, we all know it is going to be more work than just cleaning up a few boats.”
By the end of the second meeting on February 11, along with building its youth sailing program, the group had identified several ideas including the BenYC Cruise-Outs and the growing RV land cruisers group, which could be expanded to include kayakers and paddle boarders; keeping members updated about wind and tide conditions; safety while navigating the Carquinez Straits; and much more. Basically it amounts to, “How does the Nautica Group support local water activities and events, within the Benicia Yacht Club and outside the club, to enhance interest in BenYC, encourage family participation, and promote water-related interests in the Benicia community?”
The underlying question, Randy wrote, is “Can this group be a source of information and support for the individual interests of those in the group and the community?”
The Nautica Group hopes to build a platform that will engage Benicians of all ages to not just look at the water, but to get out and become part of the landscape.
The invitation to join the group is open to anyone interested in developing, enhancing, or otherwise supporting water-related activities at the Benicia shoreline. “We want to encourage family participation and introduce the younger generation to the available opportunities,” Randy concluded.
If you would like to join this fabulous community and add your support and ideas to the great work taking place in the Nautica Group, you can email Randy Norman at [email protected].
The next Nautica Group meeting will be on March 18th at 9:30 a.m. to coincide with the re-scheduled Benicia Yacht Club Frostbite race at 11:30 on the same day. Membership is not required.
The group is very interested in having parents joining the group, and is looking for more instructors and volunteers.
With today’s drenching, cold rains, we decided to share a little sunshine. Dive into the story of the Fennell family’s continuing voyage “off the beaten track” aboard their Bavaria 46E Taliesin Rose.
We said goodbye to friends who had become family and a place that felt like home in the sweet gulf with promises to return. We had been traveling with our buddies Pati and Eric (who were more like family) on Shearwater since El Salvador, and together we continued southeast.
The passage to Panama was pleasant as we buttonhooked around Punta Banco toward Puerto Armuelles. At the time that we were transiting, the regulations on the books were being enforced and it was mandatory to check in at the first available port of entry, which was unfortunate because Armuelles is an unprotected open roadstead with terrible anchoring, and the southern swell season had already started. We had to wait overnight for our paperwork to be processed and it was the most uncomfortable night on the hook we experienced the entire three years cruising.
As soon as we were official, we headed for the relative calm of the open sea to let our nerves and stomachs settle, and ventured toward the picturesque islands off the northern coast of Panama.
We had been to islands all along the Pacific Coast — the rocky, evergreen-covered islands of the Salish Sea; the craggy California islands; the arid, cactus-covered islands of Mexico; the palm-tree-littered isletas of El Salvador; the ancient volcanoes of the Golfo de Fonseca; the vine-laden islands of Costa Rica. All so beautiful in their own right. But none of them quite prepared me for the breathtaking beauty of the islands of Panama.
My personal belief system is based firmly in science and the astounding “magic” involved in the natural processes of the world. Gazing upon the Islas Partidas for the first time, the azure sea dotted with postcard-perfect, slate-colored rock piles, each with a clump of lush green jungle atop, each with a white sand beach lined with coco palms, it’s easy to imagine some omniscient being placing each one carefully for the sole purpose of creating something beautiful to behold. Even more astounding to realize that it all occurs by a series of happy accidents, without a thought to the human gaze, just existing in tropical splendor.
The waters around Partida are littered with submerged rocks and small islands, so navigation into the anchorage was a nail-biter. We were rewarded for the effort with a gorgeous view in each direction.
The nearby Islas Secas are equally beautiful and contain a national park. We explored the white sand beach surrounded by clear aquamarine water. We all delighted in the shell game a cluster of hermit crabs were participating in, where they each level up into a bigger shell in order of size, biggest to smallest. The girls practiced making a beach bonfire with Eric. And we aimlessly walked along the beach under the steaming trees, dripping with rain drops from the earlier squall and draped in vines and bromeliads.
As California’s rain-drenched winter greets March, we look forward to some late winter and early spring races.
The Busy Oakland-Alameda Estuary
Island Yacht Club announces the Linda Newland Women’s Skipper Regatta on March 4. The regatta is in keeping with IYC’s tradition of hosting the first women-skippered regatta of the sailing season. It’s part of Latitude 38’s Unofficial Women’s Circuit. The event honors IYC member Linda Newland, who has sailed thousands of miles over the ocean. In 2022 she received the prestigious annual Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award, co-sponsored by BoatUS and National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA), presented to her at IYC’s own Women’s Sailing Seminar in September 2022.
IYC will have special awards for entries with a higher percentage of women aboard. In addition to the usual prizes and celebrity for the winners, how can you resist a day of flat-water Estuary races? You cannot. Registration is open on jibeset.net: $45 for two races; $40 for IYC members. “The regatta is open to all skippers who identify as female. Anyone is welcome to crew, come cheer on the racers, or support the race deck,” says Eileen Zedd, commodore of IYC. Update March 3: This race will not happen on March 4 due to the incoming storm. It will be rescheduled on a date TBD.
Encinal YC invites the Mercury and Snipe fleets to the 2023 NorCal Series on March 4, April 1, May 6 and June 3. Chris Davis writes: “Join us for the calm waters of the Estuary. Join us at the club afterward. The expectation is that the Snipe fleet may be in attendance only for the final two days of sailing.”
San Francisco Bay
St. Francis YC will host the second Stop in the California Dreamin’ match racing series on March 4-5.
Richmond YC will host Sail a Small Boat Day, on Saturday, March 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Not a race but an opportunity to explore the choices of small boats that are often raced. You can test-sail a variety of small craft and enjoy a hot dog lunch — all for free. Update March 3: This event has been canceled due to the incoming storm.
RYC will follow that up the following weekend with the Big Daddy Regatta. We’ll be “On the Boat Again” on March 11-12. The event features three courses with three races each on Saturday, free beer back at the dock, dinner and dancing to the tunes of Shark Sandwich, and a pursuit race around Angel Island and Alcatraz on Sunday (skipper’s choice of directions).
On March 18-19, StFYC will run the Spring Dinghy Regatta for 5O5s, C420s, RS Fevas and Teras, ILCAs and Optis.
“We look forward to seeing you in Santa Cruz for the SCYC Doublehanded Buoy Fiasco: 14.5 scenic miles to challenge your stamina and seamanship around four iconic marks — Santa Cruz Wharf, Natural Bridges, Capitola Wharf and The Cement Ship, in any order and direction,” says Sydnie Moore. The race is a counter in the Moore 24 Roadmaster Series. Registration by March 22 for only $40 at www.scyc.org/regattas. The race will be on Sunday, March 26.
Cal Maritime Academy and Los Angeles YC will host the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Intercollegiate Invitational on March 10-12.
The Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race will depart California on March 10, with the start presided over by Newport Harbor YC.
The NOOD Regatta series will visit San Diego YC and Coronado YC on March 17-19.
Vallarta YC, based in Paradise Village, organizes the Banderas Bay Regatta, happening in Nuevo Vallarta on March 14-18. It offers racing and fiestas for cruisers. We look forward to covering it in person this year!
Midwinters Roll into March
Keep in mind that, although spring regattas are getting underway in March, they overlap with some final races of the midwinter season. Check out our list on the Calendar page in Latitude 38 or online here. With Daylight Saving Time starting on March 12, we’ll soon be making the transition to weeknight beer can race series.
On Wednesday, March 8, Kame Richards will present a Tides & Tactics talk at RYC, 7-9 p.m. The cost is $20. Register through the YRA at www.yra.org. On the same evening, the SSS will continue their series of Singlehanded Transpacific Race seminars, via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. This one is about provisioning: food, water, medicine. Find free registration for the seminars here. Also on March 8, the Newport to Ensenada Race series of seminars will continue at Seal Beach YC, starting at 7 p.m.
In February 17’s edition of ‘Lectronic, we told you about StFYC’s Spring Education Opportunities; if you missed that post, you can find it here. Nicole Breault sent us this quick reminder: “Registration is now open for these Race Skills Development programs at the St. Francis Yacht Club:
- 2023 J/22 Spring Women’s Race Instruction Team. Participants share an entry in the StFYC J/22 Spring Series and race with expert volunteer coaches. The program kicks off with a classroom lecture March 8, 6-7:30 p.m.
- Match Racing Clinic Series. Dive into the advanced discipline of match racing with expert Nicole Breault: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday classroom sessions and 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday practices March 21-April 6.”
We have added a second Safety at Sea course for 2023,” writes the Pacific Cup YC. “We hope you won’t find it too taxing to come to Kaneohe Yacht Club on April 15. Or we may see you March 25 at Cal Maritime Academy. Formally known as International Offshore Safety at Sea with Hands On, this course, when taken with the online or in-person Offshore course (aka Day 1) will result in the US and World Sailing certificate required for a portion of the crew. The prerequisite, in addition to proof of COVID vaccination, is taking the full 15-topic online course or (if you are renewing) a five-topic refresher. More information and signup here. Space is limited, but these courses are good insurance for any sailor voyaging offshore.”
Start off the spring racing season by brushing up on the Racing Rules of Sailing with the YRA’s online seminar on Tuesday, March 28, 7-9 p.m. John Christman, the Area G Appeals Committee Chair, will cover the current RRS. $10.
As always in these racing preview posts, the regatta calendar is filled with many more events worthy of your consideration. Find a more complete list in our 2023 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule, and in the monthly Calendar within the pages of the March Latitude 38, hitting the docks and the interwebs this Wednesday.
Yacht donations are vitally important to supporting our students and programs. More info: cmafyachtdonation.org.