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April 24, 2023

S.F. Sea Scout Ship ‘Viking’ Named BoatUS National Flagship

The Sea Scout Ship Viking (Ship 100) of San Francisco, CA, Golden Gate Area Council, has been named the 2023–2024 BoatUS National Flagship based on its outstanding Scouting program. Sea Scouting is a youth boating organization with a focus on leadership training. The Sea Scout Ship Viking is chartered by the San Francisco Sailing Whaleboat Association, and has 28 Sea Scouts, 11 of whom joined in the past year.

SF Sea Scouts ship 'Viking'
SSS Viking (above) sails with an all-female crew alongside its sistership SSS Corsair, which sails with an all- male crew.
© 2023 SF Sea Scouts

Sea Scouting is an inclusive program operated through the Boy Scouts of America for youth aged 14–21. Its program is designed to get Sea Scouts on the water, which is exactly what the Viking did over the past year.

Ten Sea Scouts earned the Apprentice Rank; nine earned the Ordinary Rank; two earned the Able Rank; and one earned the Quartermaster Award. Additionally, another seven Sea Scouts completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships (ILSS). Two of the Viking Sea Scouts are First Aid-/CPR- certified, three are certified lifeguards, and nine have completed the NASBLA Boater Safety Course.

The Viking gets on the water nearly every week, with a total of 62 on-the-water days. They did a two-week Long Cruise to the California Delta with nine different destinations. They got underway between ports in their 30-foot Monomoy pulling boat for shorter daysails and drills, in dinghies for sailing and rowing, on stand-up paddleboards, and waterskiing and many other adventures, including swimming. As part of their application for the National Flagship honors, the crew of SSS Viking were required to create a video submission about their activities.

In 2002, BoatUS and Sea Scouts, BSA created the National Flagship award to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Sea Scout program in the United States. The award is presented to a Sea Scout ship that demonstrates excellence in youth servant leadership and strong adult mentorship to create a quality character development program and outstanding youth membership achievement during a calendar year.

Congratulations to the SSS Viking crew and the S.F. Sea Scouts for their dedication to, and success of, their mission.

You can learn more about the S.F. Sea Scouts here.

Multi-Agency Rescue Simulation Planned Near Bodega Bay

Here’s something interesting that popped up on our radar this morning. The USCG is holding a rescue simulation near Bodega Bay.

“Bay Area Federal, State and local agencies alongside industry partner Holland America Group will be holding a multi-agency mass rescue operational exercise off the Sonoma County Coast in the vicinity of Bodega Bay with a trauma/triage area at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, Tuesday, April 25.

“Approximately 200 personnel from multiple agencies will be participating in the exercise, which will consist of evacuating passengers off the Army Corps of Engineers vessel playing the part of a Holland America cruise ship and triaging the passengers in real time.”

The Army Corps debris removal vessel John A. B. Dillard after setting the new Hank Easom buoy in January.
© 2023

Call of the Sea’s Tall Ships Festival Is On Again

Looking for something nautical to do next weekend? Head to Sausalito for a great family day with Call of the Sea. The organization’s annual Tall Ships Festival is an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the Bay Area’s newest brigantine, the Matthew Turner.

The festival is open to the public, and will feature tours aboard the 132-ft Matthew Turner and the 82-ft schooner Seaward. At 3:00 p.m. Matthew Turner will depart for a three-hour sail — tickets are available online or at the event.

Call of the Sea's Matthew Turner
A sailing experience unlike any other.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak

Other activities include static displays, knot-tying for kids, and music by Sausalito’s bluegrass and country music band the Waterfront Pickers, and the Marin Young Pirates Chorus.

Join the crew and sing like a pirate aboard the wooden tall ship Matthew Turner.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak

Of course, there will also be food and drinks available, including Davey Jones’s famous paella.

Call of the Sea’s Tall Ships Festival is a a fundraiser for scholarships that provide life-changing on-the-water experiences to underserved youth. Join the fun and support a good cause.

Here’s the schedule of activities:

  • 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Interactive Sailing Science Center activities
  • 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Tall ship logo wear available for purchase
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Tours of Tall Ship Matthew Turner
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Music by the “Waterfront Pickers”
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Food and beverages available for purchase
  • 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.:   Matthew Turner sail. Buy tickets here.

Covid Protocol: Masks are required for all interior spaces on the ships.

Date and time: Saturday, April 29, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Location: Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito.

Young Salts Across the Pacific — 29 Friends Across 20 Islands

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.

sailboat for young salts
S/V Nogal in Bora Bora.
© 2023 SV Nogal

In mid-June, we were heading over to the south pass of Fakarava to an anchorage adored by many sailors looking to dive with sharks and head southwest to the Society Islands. It was a beautifully clear sunset evening, and our crew of nine at the time sat around for “sundowners,” cocktails at sunset at the stern of S/V Nogal. The sky was bright, blood-orange and pink, and the water rested calmly around us despite the busy depths below brimming with life.

The author, Kira Kessel, and her friends Gigi, Sierra and Joey heading to a random beach in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
© 2023 SV Nogal

It had been a few weeks now into my life aboard the boat, and I began to adopt boat mentality — always alert to sounds, surroundings, and most importantly, squalls. That night, I noticed there was this Finnish monohull off our starboard side that seemed just a tad closer to us than I remembered. The wind started to shift directions, and we began to rotate, entering the realm of anything possible. A classic conundrum and one that would surface time and time again.

I had checked the anchor earlier that day, after setting up the three-buoy rigging system where we attached three buoys to the chain about four to five meters from each other to keep the chain from snagging on coral. The buoys became a routine procedure, given the field of coral landmines that we encountered at many anchorages.

Even with the buoys, I knew something was up, so I decided to grab a snorkel and dive down the length of the chain. I found that our chain had wrapped around two separate rocks, creating a chain triangle; a straight line of chain extended from the boat to the first coral head, a right angle was made from the chain that stretched to the second coral head, and the hypotenuse was created by the chain that went from the second rock back to the boat.

Continue reading in the April issue or at

What’s Happening With the America’s Cup?

In a busy world, it’s hard to keep track of all the events demanding our attention. Are you ready to watch the SailGP Grand Final coming up in two weeks on San Francisco Bay? Or keeping up with the just-finished Congressional Cup in Long Beach, The Ocean Race leaving Itajai, Brazil, for Newport, RI, the Golden Globe Race finishing in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, and this past weekend’s Camellia Cup on Folsom Lake? In the midst of keeping up with all these, and your own precious sailing time, are you following developments in the America’s Cup?

The video below of the 40-ft one-design monohull American Magic reminds us just how far into the future the America’s Cup has traveled and how close to the present the next America’s Cup challenge is. We thought we’d give a quick rundown on the basics of the upcoming Cup.

Where is the next America’s Cup to be held? In a controversial move, 2021 Cup Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand followed Larry Ellison’s lead of hosting the Cup match outside the defending country in Bermuda. Emirates Team New Zealand put the site of the Cup out to bid, and Barcelona, Spain, came out above other sites under consideration, including Ireland and Saudi Arabia, as well as at home in New Zealand. Of course, the Cup has been hosted in Spain before when Ernesto Bertarelli chose Valencia, Spain, as the site for landlocked Switzerland to mount a defense in 2007. Barcelona was the sailing venue for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Spain.

Te Rhutail Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand’s winning Te Rehutai is back on the water and will be in Barcelona this summer.
© 2023 Adam Mustill / America's Cup

At this point, the challenger list is finalized, so we know the five teams challenging Emirates Team New Zealand. The challengers are the English with INEOS Britannia; Ernesto Bertareilli from Switzerland, back in the game with Alinghi Red Bull Racing; the Italians with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli; the French, coming on board with the K-Challenge; and the Americans, back with the New York Yacht Club American Magic team. INEOS Britannia is the challenger of record and is in charge of the Selection Series to decide who will race against New Zealand for the Cup.

Alinghi Red Bull Boat Zero
Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi Red Bull team from Switzerland are already sailing their AC75 BoatZero.
© 2023 Alex Carabi / America's Cup

The 37th America’s Cup Official Opening Ceremony will be held in Barcelona on August 22, 2024. The Final Preliminary Event and the Challenger Selection Series will follow, leading up to the America’s Cup Match that will start on October 12, 2024. During 2023/early 2024, there is potential for up to three preliminary events. The America’s Cup village has been under construction for a while and is nearing completion. By June 2023, all the teams will have their bases set up and be training in Barcelona. With challenging teams from England, Switzerland, Italy and France, and the host city in Spain, it’s very much a European affair.

The 2024 Cup will again be contested in the next generation of foiling AC75s. These boats were introduced for the 2021 Cup in New Zealand when they showed their blistering speed and potential for drama with the amazing crash of American Magic, which nearly sank the boat. The next generation is going to be faster still, with a crew of eight aboard. When up to speed, they are capable of reaching four times the speed of the wind. Each team is allowed to build one boat.

Emirates Team New Zeland AC40
Emirates Team New Zealand sailing with four crew aboard their AC40.
© 2023 Adam Mustill / America's Cup

Each will also have one of the one-design 40-ft versions of the AC75s. The AC40s are the boats used for the Women’s and Youth America’s Cup events and as training vessels for the main teams competing in the 37th America’s Cup. Each is raced with a four-person crew, and as shown in the video above, they are also very, very fast. First America’s Cup pre-regatta will be held in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain, on September 14–17, 2023. Other pre-regattas are being planned, which will lead up to the challenger selection series to be held in 2024. The winner of that series will challenge Emirates Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup in October 2024.

Alinghi Red Bull
The Alinghi Red Bull AC40 shows its foiling form.
© 2023 Alex Carabi _ America's Cup

The 170+ year-old event continues to evolve and continues to create controversy among sailors who all hold opinions on where, how, and aboard what kind of craft the event should be held. Regardless of the opinions, the defender and the five challenging teams are deep into technical development, building and practice for the Cup in 2024. Boats are being launched, team rosters refined, and foils polished. With five challengers getting ready to meet in Barcelona in 2024, it should be an amazing spectacle.

We’re curious if you’ve been following Cup developments since 2021 and what you’re looking forward to as this new Cup cycle gets up to speed. Let us know in the comments section below.