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May 31, 2023

SailGP Announces Germany as Newest Team in the League

During the 2023 Season Championship in San Francisco, SailGP hinted there would be a 10th team joining the league for the fourth season. Today they announced that two of Germany’s leading sports stars — four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and two-time Olympic bronze medalist Erik Heil — have come together with team owner Thomas Riedel to announce the Germany SailGP Team. Germany is the latest nation to contest the global racing league that will be kicking off its fourth season on June 16–17, with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix at Navy Pier, Chicago.

SailGP Germany
SailGP Germany will be flying its new team colors in Chicago in June and the Port of Los Angeles in July.
© 2023 SailGP

Skipper Heil won bronze medals at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the 49er class, and will be joined by female German-Brazilian double Olympic champion Kahena Kunze, who won gold medals in the 49er FX class in both Rio and Tokyo. Kahena has joined as the team’s strategist. The full lineup will be announced next month.

Following the first race of the season in Chicago in June, SailGP will hold its second event July 22–23 in the Port of Los Angeles.

Good Jibes #93: John Burnham on Telling Sailing Stories

This week’s host, John Arndt, is joined by John Burnham to share stories of where sailing meets writing. John Burnham is a leadership coach, content creator, and champion sailor. He’s served as editor of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines and several top sailing websites, and manages content for several marine and coaching organizations.

John Burnham_Good Jibes
Hear about John’s early sailing days and what he raced aboard in high school.
© 2023 John Burnham

Hear how to become a sailing writer, the differences between West Coast and East Coast sailing, John’s favorite races, stories from working with Rob Moore, and how to push yourself to be uncomfortable.

This episode covers everything from magazine editing to sailing with dolphins. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Why did John start writing about sailing?
  • What got him interested in West Coast sailing?
  • How do the East Coast and West Coast sailing communities compare?
  • What boats does John find most interesting?
  • How is sailing in Narragansett Bay?
  • What are John’s best memories of Rob Moore?
  • How is working with the CCA?
  • Short Tacks: Why should people sail?

Learn more about John Burnham at and on LinkedIn.

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!

Dismasted in the Pacific: The Story of ‘Niniwahuni’

Early last month we were alerted to a situation in which a family had been dismasted at sea. We learned about it through a GoFundMe campaign set up by a family friend. Upon investigation we heard the harrowing yet inspirational story of the five sailors from California.

On March 13, 2023, Shawna and Travis Nicolet and their three children set sail from La Cruz, Mexico, toward French Polynesia, on their “dream voyage.” Two weeks later the dream became a nightmare, as a series of events led to their vessel’s being dismasted and adrift in the Pacific.

Before leaving the dock, the couple had completed reams of paperwork and provisioned their Westsail 43 Niniwahuni with several months’ supply of food and water. The vessel itself was the result of an extensive refit, and a years-long goal of sailing the world. When the world shut down in 2020, completing the boat became the couple’s major occupation. Shawna could recount each individual item she had worked on to turn their boat into a home: “Every cushion was cut and sewn by us, every inch of the sole sanded and stained, every locker sanded and painted.” The memories surfaced while Shawna was at the helm of their disabled vessel, trying to come to grips with the thought that they were about to lose their home.

Despite having had regular weather routing updates, Niniwahuni was encompassed by a storm. Winds of 30+ knots and 15-ft seas had caused irreparable damage. The first casualty was the traveler, which had broken apart and thrown the boom into the shrouds. It was likely this incident that led to the boat’s dismasting just a few hours later. The mast fell across the solar panels mounted above the cockpit, missing Travis by inches. While Shawna took the helm, Travis raced to free the mast, which had now rolled off the port side and was grinding against the hull.

Shawna sent out an SOS and alerted family, who held the boat’s float plan. The US Coast Guard was notified and diverted a tanker to come to Niniwahuni’s aid. Assuming they would now have to abandon their vessel, the couple considered everything they would have to leave behind. “[An] intense moment of emotions flooded my body, realizing the dream is now lying in the water, grinding against our hull,” Travis recalled. Yet, hours later, Shawna and Travis would find themselves parting ways, not with their boat, but with each other. After Shawna and the three children had safely boarded the tanker, an almost last-minute decision saw Travis push away from the enormous hull and embark on a days-long singlehanded journey to a small island that lies approximately 700 miles from mainland Mexico.

Niniwahuni adrift
Niniwahuni drifts in the Pacific as help approaches.
© 2023 Sv Ayrun

Along the way half a dozen or so vessels found their way to Niniwahuni, bringing Travis much-needed fuel, engine parts, and the comfort of knowing he wasn’t alone.

Ultimatley, Niniwahuni was saved, and Shawna and Travis and their children are again together, rebuilding their home and their dream. The happy outcome could have been otherwise, and the family is grateful for the network of cruisers, both at sea and ashore, who worked together to help bring their family and their boat home.

This is just an inkling of the ordeal these five sailors faced, and we’ll be sharing the full story in Latitude 38‘s June issue which hits the docks tomorrow.

June Races and Regattas Coming Our Way

June Races in Northern California

Entry closes at midnight tonight, Wednesday, May 31, for June 3’s Delta Ditch Run race from Richmond to Stockton Sailing Club. The DDR is also an official Delta Doo Dah event, so if you’re sailing in the DDR, especially in the Cruising Division, be sure to sign up for DDD 15 too.

Moore 24 roundup
Last year’s Delta Ditch Run was well mannered until the fleet turned the corner at Pittsburg and entered New York Slough. Afternoon winds have been blustery this week in the Delta, and temperatures have been unseasonably cool. But, as usual, be prepared for a long day in the sun.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

California Offshore Race Week will wrap up on June 1-3 with the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

On June 3, San Francisco Yacht Club‘s Midnight Moonlight Maritime Marathon will take advantage of the full moon, rising at 8:41 p.m., as will later finishers in the above-mentioned Delta Ditch Run. Also on that day, Gold Country YC will host the Go for the Gold Regatta on Scotts Flat Lake near Nevada City.

The Yacht Racing Association’s Full Crew Farallones will be on June 10 (there’s a division for shorthanded racers too).

June 15-18 is Opti Heavy Weather time at St. Francis YC, starting with a Slalom on the 15th.

On June 16-18, the San Francisco Lipton Cup will sail in StFYC’s J/22s, with distance races and windward/leewards. SFYC will host the PICYA regatta.

Santa Cruz YC plans Friday night Laser races on June 16, July 21 and August 11. The NOR and registration link for June 16 is now up on the SCYC page at “It’s a great way to kick off the weekend — come on out for some fun short-course racing,” says Laird Henkel. “We’re working on getting a post-race BBQ.”

On June 23-25, StFYC will host the Woodies Invitational for Knarrs, Folkboats, Bird Boats and IODs.

Ocean racers can celebrate Summer Sailstice this year by doing BAMA’s Doublehanded Farallones or the YRA’s Half Moon Bay Race on June 24. A skipper’s meeting for the HMB Race will be held via Zoom on June 13 at 7 p.m. Register for the meeting here. HMBYC will host a post-race beachside party with live music.

“By popular demand, like last year, the race is going to be in late June on one of the longest days of the year,” says BAMA. “With max daylight, you have more time to get back before dark. This year’s race features the same start at Baker Beach and finish at Golden Gate YC, and the option to round the island in either direction. We have the same flexible solutions for equipment requirements to allow more boats to race (e.g. Moore 24 fleet, trailerable boats). We’ve pushed back the first start time slightly to give everyone a little bit more time to get out to the start line in the morning. Registration includes two 2023 Doublehanded Farallones watch caps. Early bird registration pricing applies until June 4.”

On the following day, 19 solo sailors will head out the Gate bound for Hanalei Bay in the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race. They’ll start off the Cityfront at Golden Gate YC.

J/105s and J/88s will head to South Beach YC on June 24-25 for a J-Stop Invitational.

On the 24th, Lake Washington Sailing Club will host the One Design Championship Series #2 and on June 25 an El Toro Regatta. For the El Toro fleet, this regatta in West Sacramento will take the place of the traditional Clear Lake regatta.

Pacific Northwest

The Van Isle 360° will race around Vancouver Island, with stops, from June 3 to 17.

In Port Townsend, WA, the Race to Alaska events will kick off with a Ruckus at the Northwest Maritime Center and Pope Marine Park, with activities from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. “See the boats. Meet the racers. Get the tattoo. Party.”

  • The Stage 1 Race from Port Townsend to Victoria, BC, will start at 5 a.m. on June 5.
  • The Stage 2 Race from Victoria to Ketchikan, AK, will start at noon on the 8th. Follow along via the trackers here.
  • Between the two stages will be a Victoria Racer Party at Swans Pub in Victoria on June 6 at 6:45 p.m.
Victoria dock party
Hanging out at the docks in Victoria between stages.
© 2023 Race to Alaska

Anacortes Race Week, the descendent of Whidbey Island Race Week, will take place on June 26-30.

Southern California

Del Rey YC’s Berger/Stein Series will wrap up with a race from Marina del Rey to Catalina Harbor on June 10, and a race back the next day.

The US Open Sailing Series will go to San Diego on June 16-18. The ILCA PCCs will join the fun. (The PCCs had been scheduled for June 24-25 at Del Rey YC, but the venue and dates have changed.) Early entry before June 2 is $150, a big savings over the standard fee of $200. Entries close on Wednesday, June 14. Sign up here.

On June 23-25, San Diego YC will host Kettenburg & Classic Yacht Regatta.

Entries in the Los Angeles to Honolulu Transpac Race will head out on June 27 and 29 and July 1. Sixty boats signed up. Look for previews of both transpacific races in the June issue of Latitude 38, coming out tomorrow.

The Roadmasters who race Moore 24s will head to the high country on June 30-July 2 for their Nationals on Huntington Lake, hosted by Fresno YC.

Most of these events, plus many more, are listed in the Calendar section of Latitude 38’s June issue. We’ll update our online Calendar tomorrow morning.

As we close our office this Monday, May 29, we honor and thank those who served and sacrificed for their country.
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