On April 1, 15 schooners competed in the America’s Schooner Cup in San Diego. Silver Gate Yacht Club hosts the event as a fundraiser for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Such a glorious display of nautical tradition attracts some of the area’s best marine photographers, and we received several batches of luscious photos. Although we gave the regatta a respectable amount of ink in the May issue, out today, we just couldn’t leave so much more gorgeousness on the figurative cutting-room floor. So we’re sharing a batch of images here for your enjoyment, and to remind you to see the May issue of Latitude 38 to see much more and read the details of the competition.
And the winner is …
To learn more about the participating tall ships and yachts, go to www.americasschoonercup.com. The site was temporarily down this week, so if you get a “404” error warning, try again in a few days. Wayne Ettel posted a great video of the America’s Schooner Cup in a recent newsletter of the Maritime Preservation Trust. You can view it here: https://us18.campaign-archive.com/?u=506392c9f58fe88541dbc038e&id=3a75d6f60f.
The Boathouse at Shoreline Lake is taking applications for its 2023 Counselor-In-Training Program (CIT). The CIT program is a comprehensive sailing-instructor training course designed to teach sailing and sailing instruction from the ground up. Over the course of one year trainees will learn how to sail and how to teach through a series of classes and shadowing opportunities, with the end goal of becoming a certified US Sailing instructor.
The program is open to ages 15 or older with some previous sailing experience recommended (although not required). Candidates should be self-motivated and ready to learn — and have plenty of free weekends and time available in the summer.
Candidates must take part in a mandatory first meeting, and must submit their application, and complete an assessment by Boathouse sailing staff, by the deadline — May 5.
The program was launched in 2022, and was well received. However, Shoreline Lake decided to limit enrollment, in order to stay in line with the low student-teacher ratios typical of their Kid and Teen camps and Watersports classes.
“As formal teaching experience is hard to acquire, and cohesive sailing instructor resources are difficult to find locally, this one-of-a-kind comprehensive training course is for anyone (ages 15+) frustrated by the lack of sailing instructor ‘teacher-training’ curricula and support available,” the press release explains.
“Given the increasing need for qualified sailing instructors throughout the Bay Area, Shoreline Lake’s hybrid learning model suits a diverse group of applicants (An apprenticeship-based curriculum, the year-long CIT program takes the headache and uncertainty out of gaining the teaching experience that forms part of US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification.).”
More details can be found on the CIT Program page: https://shorelinelake.com/cit-sailing.html
Wedged between a cloudy, cool Saturday morning and a cloudy, cool Monday morning was a warm, sunny, brilliant blue Sunday morning. It was was a blessing for Opening Day. This was the 106th annual Opening Day on the Bay, when boaters traditionally head out on the water to start their summer season by having their boats blessed as an added safeguard for their upcoming adventures on the Bay or ocean.
The event is organized by the Pacific Inter-Club Yachting Assocation (PICYA), which organizes a Cityfront boat parade with an annual theme, this year, Broadway on the Bay. Along the Marin shore the Corinthian Yacht Club organizes a blessing of the fleet in Raccoon Strait, with all boats invited to sail by for a blessing from a priest, minister and rabbi. They’ve got you covered.
It is days like Sunday that remind you why it’s great to own a boat on San Francisco Bay, and it’s events like Opening Day that remind you to use them! On Raccoon Strait, San Francisco Yacht Club rallied members and came out in force to join many other boats coming from the Corinthian Yacht Club, Sausalito and Richmond for a relaxing cruise down a surprisingly warm and calm Raccoon Strait.
We’re always inspired to see families with kids on small boats like the Pearson Commander above. There’s nothing like starting young to learn to sail, and sailing as a family builds a good future together. It is aboard small boats like this (or smaller) that most of today’s sailors started. In 2020 we wrote about Martin Machado’s cruise up the Delta aboard his Pearson Commander Larus. There are plenty of great adventures to be had on small boats.
If you didn’t get this on your calendar this year you can put April 28, 2024, on your calendar for next year. In the meantime there are 51 weekends between now and then, plus a summer ahead calling for you to hoist your sails and come out on the Bay, Delta or long California coastline.
After being battered, flooded and ultimately sunk during a severe storm this winter, an iconic Sausalito houseboat has been refloated. The Taj Mahal is once again sitting on her waterline at the Sausalito Yacht Harbor after salvagers raised the floating mini-replica of the 17th-century Indian mausoleum — one of the Seven Wonders of the World — of the same name.
Everything we’ve heard about the refloating of the Taj is from secondhand accounts. We know that Parker Diving Service was involved, but the owners of Taj Mahal are apparently keeping all details close to the vest. Here’s some of the scuttlebutt:
A few liveaboards at Sausalito Yacht Harbor said they’d heard that it was less expensive to refloat and salvage Taj Mahal than it was to demo and remove the vessel. One liveaboard pointed out the extremely tight quarters of where the Taj sits: at the end of a dock immediately adjacent to a breakwater.
The Taj Mahal’s Achilles heels were apparently the long, rectangular windows sitting just above her waterline.
We asked a Sausalito liveaboard of 13 years what made this year’s storms so destructive. Severe winter weather is obviously not uncommon in the Bay, but the direction of this year’s storms caused some serious problems.
“The worst storms came from the south, from Berkeley and Oakland,” the Sausalito liveaboard told us. “That was a bad direction, and very unusual. It wreaked havoc. Most of us turn the boat around to face the Nor’easters in a typical winter. [This year], the wind had a longer fetch, with swell and cresting waves. That kind of pounds things.
“That’s the kind of swell that punched out [Taj Mahal’s] windows.”
“We thought it was completely lost,” said the liveaboard of the Taj, adding they’d heard that pumps alone could not keep up with the water pouring into Taj Mahal’s innards. An apparent second attempt to save the vessel involved sealing the lower portion once enough water was removed by “blocking out” all the windows. (“Those would just be portholes in a boat,” the liveaboard said.)
Finally, salvagers were able to get ahead of the water coming in.
The Sausalito liveaboard community “all agree the Taj Mahal is an icon, and we’re pulling for it,” the liveaboard told us. They said that information about the salvage, and the extent of the damage, are unknown because the family that owns the vessel aren’t well-connected with the boating community.
“But everyone was pulling for it. We’re happy to see it floating again.”
There’s no word on the extent of damage inside Taj Mahal or if it will be restored (“Is there really an elevator inside?” a liveaboard wondered), but from the outside, the highly visible icon is back to some level of normalcy.
Kudos to all involved in raising a Sausalito icon from the shallow depths of Richardson Bay.
Welcome to May! Did you know? May 1 is the 121st day of the Gregorian calendar. How time flies when we’re having fun! And fun is what we have for you in this month’s issue of Latitude 38. Here’s a preview …
People often ask, “When did sailboat racing start on San Francisco Bay?” The answer is, about the time the second sailboat arrived. With the annual Memorial Day weekend Master Mariners Race on the calendar for May 27, we thought it a good time to revisit the roots of San Francisco sailing, and the Master Mariners Benevolent Association (MMBA).
It is a sailor’s dream to sail the South Pacific, and more specifically, French Polynesia. Referred to in general as Tahiti by those who are not familiar with the French territory, Tahiti is one of the more than 120 islands and atolls that make up French Polynesia. Sure, you have heard of Bora Bora, but what about Maupiti or Tubuai? Many sailors know of these islands, but for the general public, these are new words. Tahiti is merely the doorstep to endless tropical destinations. The more remote you go, however, the more removed you are from supplies. Access becomes limited for spare boat parts, hardware stores and even large grocery stores.
Last year, I made an extremely difficult decision: I left a four-year relationship with a man and a seven-year relationship with a lifestyle. Boat life had come to define me. I was introduced as “Emma, my friend (daughter, granddaughter, niece) who is sailing around the world.” I was terrified to walk away from seven years of incomparable freedom; of living at the whim of the elements, and of a comfortable home with a new backyard each day. It is essentially all my adult self has known, the scaffolding of my existence. But I was clinging too tightly to that limiting identity of “boat Emma,” and needed space to extricate my self-worth from those searoving years. It was 2015. I was 21, fresh out of college, and in search of adventure. Thankfully, I was also naïve. And brave, but maybe the bravery fell beneath the umbrella of naïveté.
Plus all your favorite, regular columns:
- Letters: Moore Memories from Ron Moore; A Sailor’s Search for the 10-Meter Yacht Sirius; A Kind of Eulogy for San Leandro Marina; Cut the Red Tape Clinging to the Estuary; and many, many more.
- Sightings: Happening on the Bay in May and Beyond; Sadness, Rescues, and Drama on the Pacific; Why Cruise the Delta? and other stories.
- Max Ebb: “Cabin Tales for Two.”
- Changes in Latitudes: Ashley Gremel and Scott Racette “Going With the Flow;” Osieck Family “Pacific Passage;” Katherine and Andrés Gonzalez “From the PPJ Logbook;” Joe Heinzmann “No Racing Plans;” and a forepeak full of Cruise Notes.
- Racing Sheet: This month we visit SBYC’s Island Fever, StFYC’s Bunny Bash, EYC’s J/105 & Express 37 Invitational, the SSS Round the Rocks, the South Bay Bridge Series, the Bullship for El Toros, SCYC’s Champion of Champions and Doublehanded Buoy Fiasco, the Carmiggelt Trophy for Mercurys, the Laser Masters Worlds, and the Ultimate 20 PCCs. It’s been a busy spring! Box Scores, Race Notes and photos fill in the gaps.
- Loose Lips: Check out the results of the April Caption Contest(!).
- The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.