While traveling through New Zealand, where everybody sails and sailing is part of the school curriculum, Del Rey Yacht Club race officials observed several races. The one that stood out for originality, participation and boldness was their mixed-fleet inverted start.
Occupying a unique spot in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand has the resources for a proper inverted start as shown here:
The club is planning new trophies. A benchmark and new standard in awards will be established.
As an added bonus we’ll add the ultimate accessorizing to the pickle dishes:
Here are the trophies for the overall winners:
The club plans to offer Predicted Log events for the powerboaters:
There’s also a new and improved anchor management seminar:
Save the date! April 1, 2023. Or is it 2024? No worries; we’ll correct it.
Where does the time go?! In many respects it feels as if 2023 has just begun. Yet here we are at the end of the third month, with the April issue making its way around the Bay as we write. This issue contains many great stories, including the story of S/V Raindancer, which sank in the Pacific after colliding with a whale. Here’s a preview…
On March 14, the Kelly Peterson 44 Raindancer was cruising along with good winds and sunny skies at a comfortable six knots across the Pacific, bound for the Marquesas, French Polynesia, from the Galápagos Islands on a 3,100 nm passage. Captain and owner Rick Rodriguez, his girlfriend Alana Litz, and friends Bianca Brateanu and Simon Fischer were about 1,700 nm into the voyage, or 13 days into an estimated three-week crossing. The crew was enjoying some homemade pizza when a sudden impact threw everything into chaos.
Throughout my six-month journey through the South Pacific, there was only one thing that remained constant: With each new person aboard the boat came some unpredictable and unique qualities that made the sailing experience that much more special. Often, the most interesting of plans came from the minds of the younger crew: the kids who had never sailed, lived on a boat, or in some cases had not spent much time on the ocean at all.
On a Lee Shore of a Volcanic Crater — A Cautionary Tale
As soon as we started to make the turn, I realized we had just casually sailed into a very sketchy situation. The winds were now blowing 17 knots on the nose; the wind-chop waves that had been working their way across the bay were now a front-line assault against our exit. I pushed the throttle lever down to the cockpit floor and my 2GM20F Yanmar engine gave it all she had. I looked astern; we were about 500 feet from the cliffs of the crater’s interior wall (a distance confirmed on our track after all was said and done).
Plus all your favorite, regular columns:
- Letters: Putting the Fleet In Order From Chaos; Why? Why Am I Dead F@#%ing Last?; My Experience With US Sailing and the Olympic Committee; and many, many more.
- Sightings: Heather Richard’s Tall (Ship) Ambitions; Olympic Sailing Stumbles with Paul Cayard’s Exit; The =librium, a Therapeutic Drug; Good and Bad News About Cruising Mexico; and more.
- Max Ebb: “It’s the Hormones, Stupid.”
- Changes in Latitudes: Silver Lining‘s clever methodology for identifying and fixing problems; Azimuth‘s passage through Panama and baptism into Caribbean cruising; OutRun‘s ideas for how to integrate working remotely into the cruising lifestyle; Magnum‘s return to cruising after a long hiatus; a few more updates from 2022 contributors in our annual “Where Are They Now?” feature — and a forepeak full of Cruise Notes
- Racing Sheet: Midwinter reports sprinkled throughout this section include Corinthian, YRA Doublehanded Series, Seaweed Soup, Jack Frost, Island Days, Optis, and Berkeley YC (tune back in for South Beach next month). We also cover the Mercury NorCal Series, Big Daddy in Richmond, and the Santa Monica Bay Race. Box Scores and Race Notes make a spring comeback.
- World of Chartering: This month we hear from Art Hartinger, of Pied-a-Mer in Jack London Square, on chartering a 41-ft Beneteau Oceanis from Barefoot Yacht Charters, and exploring St. Vincent, Mustique, Tobago Cays and Bequia.
- Loose Lips: Check out the results of the March Caption Contest(!).
- The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.
Given the swelling confluence of issues facing the Oakland Estuary, a group of East Bay city governments has suggested “filling” or effectively paving over the bustling waterway water bisecting Alameda and Oakland.
“There are just so many controversies facing the Oakland Estuary right now,” said one municipal official, who described themselves as part of a coalition of city governments including Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro, and who spoke to Latitude on condition of anonymity. “Between the proposed ballpark development at the Port of Oakland — and the related debate over the inner-harbor turning basin — the ongoing legacy of anchor-outs, and now, discussions about a pedestrian bridge, our coalition thought this would all be a lot easier if there was no water involved!”
When being accused of using the very real but completely solvable problems facing the Estuary as a Trojan horse for development, the official admitted, “There is no denying the economic windfall that would come from developing what is now a waterway.” When Latitude pointed out that there were numerous economies, including the Port of Oakland itself, dependent on the Estuary, the official replied, “We just… don’t understand the so-called ‘boating economy.’ Land-based businesses just seem like they should be more profitable than any water- and/or boating-based ones.
“And it’s easier to build housing onshore,” the official added, saying that people living on boats are of particular concern. Last year — and this is true — the City of Alameda passed a kind of rent-control ordinance for an Estuary-based floating-home marina, which also included that marina’s liveaboard sailboats. Alameda has been studying whether sailboat liveaboards in Alameda marinas, officially called “other maritime residential tenancies,” should receive the same rent-control protections as the floating-home marinas.
Numerous federal laws govern waterways, and muddy the responsibilities of cities bordering those shores. (This murky jurisdiction has also led to decades of finger-pointing and blame games between local, state and federal governments.) Because of the federal laws governing boats — many of which are at odds with extending renters’ rights to liveaboards — the official said it was in a city’s best interest to “reduce the medium and barrier of water.”
Non-contiguous ponds, or saved areas of the Estuary, such as marinas, are rumored to have been proposed as a means to preserve housing stock while eliminating federal waterways, and therefore laws.
An executive for the Oakland Athletics, who also spoke to us on condition of anonymity, confirmed the idea of so-called non-contiguous ponds. Paving over the Estuary would surely pave the way for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark, but much of the stadium’s appeal was centered around its proximity to a shimmering band of water, according to the A’s executive.
“Look at Oracle Park. Look at Chase Center. We have proven, exhaustive data showing that people who will spend thousands of dollars on tickets, concessions and merchandise just love to look at and be near the water. They love the ‘mythology’ [the executive made air quotes] of the water. They love the ‘idea’ of boats [air quotes again] and the history of sailing in San Francisco,” the executive said.
Investment in sports franchises and surrounding high-end, high-density housing, the exec added, “is the most sensible use of public money both to provide housing, and to effectively pay an advance on future tax revenue.”
The executive said that a “non-contiguous pond, or maybe even some sliver of the Estuary wide enough for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, which are super-popular right now, will be preserved to fulfill the need for the physical appearance of water around high-end development.”
The proposal to pave the Estuary is, at the moment, just that. Will the BCDC approve the mass filling of an entire section of the Bay? Will enough sailors be able to organize themselves to lobby against the gargantuan forces of money and gentrification? Will the appeal of water ironically be its own destructor, drawing housing and stadiums to its sparking edges while at the same time eliminating boating infrastructure that actually gets people ‘on’ [air quotes] the water?
Will people read this far in the story to learn that April Fools’ Day came one day early this year?
The St. Francis Yacht Club continues to move forward in the world of racing. They recently opened registration for the 2023 Rolex Big Boat Series with a continued commitment to the ORC rating rule. To help sailors get on board with the rule the StFYC is inviting interested racers to join them on Friday, April 7, for a presentation with Dobbs Davis from Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and StFYC’s new race director, Felix Weidling. The evening will open at 4:00 p.m. with a social hour and no-host bar, followed by the presentations at 5:00 p.m. and Q&A until 6:30 p.m. This event will be in the Starting Line Room and also be available via Zoom. For more information and links to Zoom click here.
Continuing to move forward includes bringing Felix Weidling aboard to lead StFYC’s Race Department and serve as race director. Weidling comes to San Francisco from Kiel Yacht Club in Germany’s north, where he served for a decade as race secretary and organized various world and continental championships, in addition to Kiel Week. Kiel Week is an annual nine-day sailing event that draws 4,500 sailors, 1,800 boats and 300,000 spectators, plus millions of visitors to the city for the festivities. An event of this scale hasn’t ever been seen on the West Coast, and would bring impressive new event opportunities to the StFYC and the Bay.
The StFYC has one of the busiest regatta programs in the world, with over 140 days of on-the-water activity each year. On top of all the regularly scheduled StFYC events, in 2023 Fiedling will be hosting the inaugural Wingfoil Pacific Coast Championships, the Women’s World Match Racing Tour, the 5O5 World Championships, and Rolex Big Boat Series — the West Coast’s pinnacle regatta.
In addition to bringing top-notch regatta planning and logistics skills to StFYC, Weidling will also be exporting his expertise in working with a team to develop and launch app-based technologies for registration and race monitoring, and management used at Kiel Week. Hundreds of European yacht clubs now use an app for race information tracking systems that improved and expedited race operations during Kiel Week.
A native of Kiel, Germany, Weidling grew up competing in dinghies, eventually graduating to larger ORC boats and crewing on an IMX 38, Farr 40, and 12-Meter. During his racing career, he competed in the 2007 America‘s Cup in Valencia for United Internet Team Germany, crossed the Atlantic from Newport, RI, to Hamburg, Germany, in the HSH Nordbank Blue Race, was Vice European Champion in the 12mR class in Barcelona, and was world champion in the X-99 one-design class. He enjoys cruising and sailing recreationally, often with his family, who will be relocating with him to San Francisco. “I’ve participated in and managed regattas all my life, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of doing what I do well in a new city, a new country, and at a club with such an exciting history and future,” he said. “I am very thankful for the Executive Race Committee at Kiel Yacht Club. Without their support, I would not have had the opportunity to be here.”
Weidling started his new role in March, so he is already busy running the active StFYC race schedule.
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