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May 10, 2023

Great Vallejo Race to the Party

Saturday’s Race and Party at Vallejo Yacht Club

While many of our readers were spectating at SailGP in San Francisco or browsing boats and gear at the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in Redwood City, others were racing to Vallejo and back, preferring athletic action to passive participation. The crews this year didn’t have to go to athletic extremes. They arrived in Vallejo on Saturday and Richmond on Sunday largely unscathed. What they did experience was a very quick ride to host Vallejo Yacht Club in a flood current, following seas, and breeze into the mid-teens.

The J/24 Flight heads out to the start line in morning squalls.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Raft-up at VYC
By the time the boats had reached up the Mare Island Strait and snuggled into the raft-up at VYC, the rain was a distant memory and the crews had shed layers.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Steel drum band
A steel drum band serenaded the arriving sailors.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Siren crew at VYC
On VYC’s deck, we ran into Brendan Huffman (left), Margie Woods (right) and the crew of Brendan’s Santa Cruz 33 Siren, including Caitlin, Ryan and Taylor. They handed around the red Mount Gay Rum hats that came in their skipper’s bag. Brendan and Margie are both vets of the Singlehanded Transpacific Race, and Brendan signed up to do it again this year.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
swag bag swag
The swag bag contents were surprisingly plentiful.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Olson 911 Squad
Walking the dock, we ran into Grant Kiba (left) and his 911 Squad from the Olson 911 Take Five More.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Suzanne, Lind and Mike
Suzanne Lee (left) crewed on the Laser 28 Stink Eye and Linda and Mike Mannix sailed the Catalina 38 Harp. Mike and Linda had a full crew on Saturday but doublehanded on Sunday.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Party crowd at Sea Star
Crews (friends) from various random boats greeted one another at the Cal 39 Sea Star.
© 2023 Suzanne Lee

Sunday’s Race to Richmond

Sunday’s race to the finish at Richmond YC was a longer day. Lighter wind made for slow going against that same current. The breeze did pick up for the second half of the race, but again not reaching gear-busting or body-bruising punishment levels.

Aerial view of Mare Island Strait
As viewed from Mare Island, spinnakers parade downstream to start the Sunday race to Richmond YC.
© 2023 Brian O'Neill
Fleet with Richmond Bridge
Most of Sunday’s race was a beat.
© 2023 Jennifer McKenna

Although this was a remarkably successful regatta, it was also remarkable (not in a good way) for the numbers. Signups fell below 100 entries for the first time in living memory with the exception of the COVID years 2020 and 2021. (For example, the earliest stats from Jibeset show 241 registrations in 2013. Old-timers tell us the regatta used to get 500+ entries.) If you’ve sailed the Great Vallejo Race in the past but didn’t this year, we wonder why not. Was it the conflict with SailGP and/or the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show? Was it the weather forecast? The entry fee? Crew, transportation or boat-gear hassles? Please comment below. Include your name, town and your boat’s name and type if any — and please keep it friendly!

Dance Band
Stats be damned, VYC hosted a lively crowd on Saturday night.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more in the June issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, you can check the preliminary results on Jibeset. You can also go to Jibeset to replay race tracks recorded by some of the entries.

Delta Doo Dah — Magic 15: Doing Summer Right

The Delta Doo Dah is one of the best ways to cruise through summer, and since throwing open the hatches, a host of sailors have signed up to while away the coming months’ long, sunny days in the California Delta. Are you among them?

The Delta Doo Dah is Latitude 38‘s Do-It-Yourself summertime Cruising Rally to the California Delta — a sailing vacation right in your own backyard. You can sign up and join the pre-planned events dotted around the Delta, or go it alone, in company with other like-minded Doo Dah sailors. Latitude offers tips and tricks, swag, prizes and the opportunity to meet, sail, and socialize with other fleet members.

Delta Doo Dah sailor on deck
Today’s forecast — sunny and warm. Oh, wait, that’s pretty much every day’s forecast.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

Here’s a snippet of who’s raring to cast off:

Rik Williams and Brooke Weinstein of the Westsail 28 Irish Rose. This pair from Brisbane are planning to spend a week cruising between Benicia, Owl Harbor, Bradford Island, and Korth’s Pirates Lair … and they’re looking for more suggestions!

Siobhan and Dennis Deisinger of Bethel Harbor are looking forward to cruising their 1982 American Skier Lil’ Sumptin on the waters around Tinsley, Tower Park, Windmill Cove and other great Delta locations.

And there’s the Express 34 Marrakesh, sailed by Craig and Ann Perez of the Richmond Yacht Club. These sailors are casting off for the long haul from June through September. They’ll be cruising by the Stockton Sailing Club, Potato Slough, and Korth’s Pirates Lair.

The summer ahead is the perfect opportunity to explore the Delta, particularly if you’ve never sailed there before. The really great part about the Delta Doo Dah cruising rally is that it’s completely DIY — come and go as you please, join events or don’t, drop the hook or sail up to a dock (bookings are recommended), and along the way wave to and check in with other sailors who are taking advantage of one of the Bay Area’s best playgrounds. Keep up to date with the Delta with our Delta Cruising page

Delta Doo Day 15 banner
Will we see you on the Delta?
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

Oh, and you can register and join the fleet any time, right up to August 31. Sign up and get all the details here: I want to sail the Delta!

Good Jibes Episode #90: Merf Owen on Famous Naval Architecture

This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by world-renowned naval architect Merf Owen of Owen Clarke Design. Merf is a “hands-on sailor-designer,” with 250,000 miles of offshore sailing experience — including a climbing/sailing expedition above the Arctic Circle — and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects.

Merf Owen_Good Jibes
How was Merf’s first time on a boat?
© 2023 Merf Owen

Hear what opened Merf’s eyes to wanderlust, how he got interested in yacht design, his favorite boats that he designed, what makes a strong boat and a strong design team, and how the people you meet can propel you forward in your career and in life.

This episode covers everything from yacht design to racing. Here’s a small sample:

  • Where did Merf grow up?
  • What’s the difference between the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy?
  • Where is Fiery Cross now?
  • How does Merf decide which boats to design?
  • What special design elements did Kingfisher have?
  • How did Merf design Kingfisher?
  • What was he doing during the Falklands War?
  • Short Tacks: monohull or multihull?

Learn more about Merf at

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!