Heading to the South Pacific is always a big adventure. The pandemic closed most island nations to incoming cruisers, and the variety of national responses only made it more challenging and uncertain. All the signals from the South Pacific indicate normalization continues, and the chart below shows that the first few early starters in the 2023 Pacific Puddle Jump are underway.
Shawna and Kevin Walker aboard their Transpac 49 Meraki 2 from Victoria, BC, started heading west from the Galápagos, and on February 26 reported their latitude as 0 as they crossed the equator! They broke their self-imposed no-alcohol rule aboard to toast the moment with champagne. They’re now continuing on their way south and west toward the Marquesas.
Rob and Nancy Novak left their Oyster 485 Shindig buried in a hole at Vuda Point Marina in Fiji for 30 months before they could return in spring 2022. They’re finally sailing again in Fiji, and many more are again moving freely around the South Pacific. You can read their story on page 96 of the March issue being delivered to our magazine distributors today.
March and April are the peak months for Pacific crossings, so these first few starters will have many more cruisers following in their wake.
This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by four-time US Women’s Match Racing Champion Nicole Breault. Nicole started sailing with her family at age 2, won All-American honors sailing for Yale, and is the first woman to be named St. Francis Yacht Club’s Jerome B. White Yachtsman of the Year.
Hear about the keys to match racing, how it works, Nicole’s passion for the J/105, the work she’s doing to empower more women to compete in racing, and the famous sandwiches she makes for her crew.
This episode covers everything from match racing to crew morale. Here’s a small sample:
- Did Nicole’s family cruise as a family before they got into racing?
- What boat did Nicole start racing on?
- How was her experience sailing for Yale?
- What is match racing?
- How did Nicole meet her husband, Bruce Stone?
- What is she up to now?
- Is her family full of sailors?
- Short Tacks: What does she put on her famous sandwiches?
Learn more about Nicole at www.stfyc.com.
Embark on a luxury sail aboard our spacious 42′ Catamaran, as we celebrate a community of women on our first Passage Nautical International Women’s Month ‘Together We Sail’ experience. No sailing experience necessary. Enjoy our curated selection of complementary fine wines and appetizers, while getting acquainted with other inspiring women like you, and taking in the iconic sights, marine wildlife and breathtaking views that make San Francisco so unique. Contact Charter Director Mitch Perkins on 415-272-4130 for more info or reservations.
Last year, we heard a rumor that there were plans to close Clipper Cove Beach on Treasure Island to boaters in order to create a swimmers-only zone. As one of the most protected — we’ll even say iconic — anchorages in the Bay, dinghy access in Clipper Cove is essential for visiting cruisers and an important part of Treasure Island Sailing Center’s summer sailing programs. The beach is also a resource for everyone who lives on Treasure Island, from the multimillion-dollar condo owners to the roughly 20% of the population who are considered low-income.
We are happy to report that rumors of restricted access for boats at Clipper Cove Beach appear to be just that, though sailors should expect to see designated boating and swimming zones in the next few years. That’s just one of several compromises that have been made in an attempt to balance development with public access.
There’s a lot happening on Treasure Island, from bolstering the land against earthquakes, to infrastructure improvements and new public spaces, to an 8,000-home neighborhood growing in the middle of the Bay. Looming over the future of TI is a proposed toll to enter and exit the island, which could cost as much as $5 each way. San Francisco city officials have told us that the toll is slowly moving forward.
“We understand Clipper Cove’s place in the recreational boating community,” a Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) spokesperson told us in November 2022. “[Clipper Cove Beach] will remain a public-access beach — there certainly is no idea that it would be closed to island residents. If anything, there are significant access improvements. We’re always going to have room for everyone — it’s a big enough Cove.
“Nothing is set in stone, but we are looking to carve out something on the beach that’s free from outboard motors.”
The spokesperson said that plans for different zones at Clipper Cove Beach were in the “very early stages,” and that Aquatic Park, where swimmers and boaters have lived in relative harmony for years, is being used as a model.
So what about those improvements around Clipper Cove Beach? “TIDA hopes this improved transition point, adjacent to the area where motorized dinghies will still be able to land, will encourage more beachgoers and anchor-outs to access the Island with ease by connecting to an improved sidewalk along the causeway, limiting the need to use the wooden stairs.”
The spokesperson said that the stairway will be replaced in the near future; we haven’t been to Treasure Island in some time, and we’re not sure if that work has begun yet.
The TIDA spokesperson also told us that there are plans to dredge a new channel into the cove, and to possibly excavate a channel through the sand bar near Yerba Buena Island, which will certainly benefit all boaters. There have long been plans and fierce debate over the development and ultimate footprint of Treasure Island Marina; we’ll have more on that in the coming months, but one source told us that there’s been some discussion about having a transient dinghy dock at the marina for visiting cruisers.
What’s it like to be a cruiser anchored in Clipper Cove? In late September 2022, we talked to Marissa and Chris Neely, who were anchored out in Clipper Cove on their Cheoy Lee 41 Avocet.
“We have been accessing the shore via dinghy, locking it up on the beach to a tree out of the way from other beachgoers,” they told us. “After three days of nonstop sailing up the coast, it was so nice to anchor in Clipper Cove — which is basically like a lake! The new ferry is $10 round trip per person and is so new it is basically a VIP service to the city. Biking the Bay Bridge pedestrian path on the weekend is also a blast!”
What are the amenities like on Treasure Island?
“We actually rode our bikes to the island market, which had a decent selection of produce and a lot of dry goods. There is also a great bar called Mersea that we unfortunately didn’t get to visit because it’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays.”
According to TIDA, there are plans to put “some sort of concession” in Quarters 10, a former Navy building, which sits above the cove and has been vacant for some time.
Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) Does the Shuffle
“We’ve had to condense our current site into a very narrow strip along the waterfront and minimize the amount of equipment we have. It’s temporary — for anywhere from one to five years — because there’s going to be a 35-foot-high dirt pile where we are currently,” Doug Paine, the executive director at TISC, told us yesterday.
A giant dirt pile? What’s going on at TISC?
In a nutshell, the City of San Francisco is currently working to remove the moisture from the soil to stabilize it for future construction. This is done by first pounding the ground to force water into a moisture wick, and then forcing more water out by compressing it with a large pile of dirt. All of this is an attempt to reduce the risk of liquefaction, where soil becomes fluid in an earthquake, which can cause catastrophic damage to any structure built on top. The waterfront around TI is also being raised a few feet in preparation for sea-level rise. (The man-made Treasure Island was built in 1936-37.)
To accommodate the maintenance, TISC has had to shuffle its operation around substantially. “It’s an interesting time to maintain programs, but we’re pulling it off,” Paine told us. (TISC just hosted a high school regatta last weekend amid rain, no wind, too much wind and maybe even a little snow.) “We’ve got a signed 66-year lease on our final property location that we’ll move to, from ‘the strip’ — between the riprap and demarcation line — once the work is finished,” Paine said.
Comments from city officials about the proposed Treasure Island toll trickled in late last night. We’ll pick up this story, and discuss the latest developments with the toll, in Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude.
You may have heard the phrase “Every dog has its day.” The idea is that everyone will at some point have a significant success or good luck in their lives. That day has finally arrived for seagrass. And we’re not being flippant; seagrass plays a vital role in the environmental balance of our planet, which we all know is under threat. In May 2022, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to and proclaimed March 1 as World Seagrass Day. The resolution was adopted to highlight the urgent need for not only awareness, but also action to conserve seagrasses the world over.
Seventy-two species of seagrass grow in meadows in 159 countries and cover more than 116,000 square miles. Yet that’s only around 70% of what existed prior to the late 19th century. Its ability to store carbon — up to 18% of the world’s oceanic carbons — makes it a vital part of the marine ecosystem, and thereby the entire planet’s ecosystem.
In addition, seagrass provides food for a host of marine life including plankton, turtles, fish and manatees. It also provides protection for small and newly hatched marine life, and helps preserve and improve water quality.
We found this video that gives a quick overview of seagrass’s role in earth’s ecosystems.
So just when you thought the only thing exciting about today was the new issue of Latitude 38 magazine, you now have another reason to celebrate! Seriously though, we support this proclamation and hope it adds to the world’s growing awareness and actions regarding our own human-footprint.
Learn more here.
Welcome to the March issue! As we march into spring, and spring into daylight saving this month, we’re sharing a variety of sailing stories from close to home and across oceans and time. From revisiting the decades of music and sailing that personified David Crosby, to our wonderful youth who gain so much from sailing, to birthday cruises in the BVI and so much more, we’ll fill your sails with stories of sailors and sailing. Here’s a preview of what’s inside the latest Latitude 38 magazine.
When rock legend David Crosby passed away on January 19, he left behind an enormous musical legacy, including his stirring harmonies with bandmates Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Besides his renowned musical harmonies, he also found harmony at sea. This led to many miles of sailing and endless sailing friendships formed aboard his famed 59-ft LOD wooden schooner Mayan.
Lots of kids will be sailing this summer! Making sailing accessible to all kids means finding ways to make it affordable, fun, and educational. More than the fun and adventure that sailing can bring, kids benefit in lots of ways from their youth sailing programs.
When my daughter, Claire, asked for a Caribbean cruise as a birthday present, I, of course, said yes. She wanted to bring as many of her 30-something friends as possible, so we looked for a big cat I could skipper, and settled on chartering from Moorings in BVI.
Also in the March issue:
- Letters: Doing Their Best To Go Green; Regardless, I Applaud the Young Man; Better Safe(ty) Squad Than Sorry; and many, many more.
- Sightings: Hank Easom Leaves His Mark; The Freedom of Cruising Without Starlink; Bay Area Sailor Bill Erkelens; and other stories.
- Max Ebb: Heady Advice — “There’s one thing I can count on when I sail on a boat that’s venturing offshore for the first time: The head will break. Or become hopelessly clogged.”
- Changes in Latitudes: Robb and Nancy Novak “Return to Paradise;” Fennell Family’s “The Route Less Traveled” Part 7; and catching up with itinerant cruisers in “Where Are They Now?”
- Racing Sheet: Molto Midwinters this month, from Corinthian YC to Golden Gate, Encinal, Oakland, Island, Sequoia, Monterey and Berkeley YCs and RegattaPRO. We also report on the California Dreamin’ Match Race Series and US Sailing’s annual awards, and we preview the America’s Schooner Cup.
- Loose Lips: Check out the February Caption Contest(!) winner and top 10 comments.
- The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.