Skip to content
June 14, 2023

San Francisco Bay Sailor Joins Ocean Race Sprint Cup Team Viva México

On Thursday, The Ocean Race VO65 team Viva México will start the third leg of The Ocean Race Sprint Cup. The team returns to competitive action after their 2021 participation in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe. Onboard now is an up-and-coming sailor with deep roots in the S.F. Bay sailing community, whom you should get to know.

San Francisco sailor Bérénice Charrez pictured above in the fluorescent green beanie.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

Presenting Bérénice Charrez, joining the Mexico team as a lettered scientist and sailor. During her PhD studies at UC Berkeley between 2018 and 2020, Charrez juggled the world of bioengineering, using microfluidic devices to develop organs-on-a-chip technology, with her passion for big, fast, elite sailing boats on San Francisco Bay. Training with the trimaran Paradox, a modified ORMA 60, she sailed along the coast from Baja to San Francisco, raced across the Pacific for the Transpac, and trained on the Bay in the winter. Charrez comments, “It was an unforgettable experience. The owner and the team were awesome, and crossing an ocean in 5 days at 28 knots average speed with a finish in the turquoise waters of Hawaii will stay forever ingrained in my memory.” Cruising by Alcatraz at 30 knots was terrific too, she says. “I would buy that boat if I could!”

Dropping the J2 as the VO65 sails off from Aarhus, Denmark, to The Hague, Netherlands, on June 8.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

In 2020, Charrez completed her PhD in biomedical engineering from UC Berkeley, developing tools to meet the urgent need to diminish the time and costs of the drug development pipeline. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, she saw the opportunity for her laboratory’s systems to rapidly predict cardiac risks associated with potential therapeutic drugs to help clinicians accelerate patients’ access to treatment.

While still a student, the Swiss born, resident American sailed the world over, but built her skills and dived deep into the sailing community all over the Bay. In Richmond, Charrez sailed with Smart Recruiter X40, a full carbon machine and one of the fastest boats on the water. They raced the 2019 Delta Ditch Run, which was fun — quite a highlight considering the 90 jibes performed along the course. Also in Richmond, she sailed on the J/125 Velvet Hammer for beer can races, offshore racing, and races to Vallejo and down the coast to Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

Not having time to drop the J1 in the bag with increasing winds, we had to flake the heavy and wet sail in calmer conditions on the deck
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

Elsewhere in California, Charrez has raced with legends like Loïck Peyron for the Newport Ensenada Race on an ORMA 60. During l’Hydroptere training with Jac Vincent and Alain Thébault, they reached top speeds of 42 knots!

Why this race, now? “It’s been a dream for at least 10 years now, ever since I got into big-boat sailing in Sydney, where all the stars were racing the Volvo Ocean Race. It seemed like the Sydney to Hobart race was a must in an Ocean Race sailor’s career, so I did three of them.” Being part of the Australian sailing community was essential to enter the elite Ocean Race network.

The following photos were taken by the Ocean Race On-Board Reporter, Jen Edney.

Despite the challenges of offshore racing, this woman is hooked. “Sleep is the biggest challenge to me. In the last leg, I slept probably eight hours in three days. I normally need my nine hours of good sleep, so the second day at sea with no sleep was quite hard,” she says. “But incredibly, the body gets used to it and keeps functioning. Interestingly, the less I sleep, the more I eat — probably around 3500 calories a day.”

I guess you could say Charrez has a need for speed, and a thing for multihulls. But you name it, she’s probably sailed it. Keep an eye out on The Ocean Race for Viva México’s progress — it’s incredible to see Bay Area sailors sailing big-time in the world. You can follow Bérénice on Instagram @berenicecharrez for regular updates.

Have you visited Latitude 38’s new online store?

Good Jibes #95: James Frederick on Finding Peace at Sea

This week’s host, Nicki Bennett, is joined by James Frederick to chat about getting hooked on sailing and never looking back. James is a solo sailor who is currently circumnavigating onboard his 1965 Alberg 30 sloop Triteia. His cruising is fully funded through weekly videos to his YouTube channel and the support of his patrons.

James Frederick on boat
At 1:02:40 find out how James dealt with heartbreak at sea.
© 2023 James Frederick

Hear how to make sailing your art, start a YouTube channel for your sailing memories, and fall in love with your boat; about the gnarliest days James has had on the water, and how to overcome heartbreak at sea.

This episode covers everything from creating a sailing YouTube channel to romance on the water. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • How did James get into sailing?
  • Where did he grow up?
  • How did he buy Triteia?
  • What has he been up to since he left Hawaii?
  • Where is he now?
  • How is sailing in New Zealand?
  • What kind of art did James do?
  • Short Tacks: Where is James’s dream passage?

Learn more about James on YouTube @SailorJames, Instagram @James.The.Sailor.Man, and 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!

This episode is brought to you by EWOL propellers. Learn more at

On the Bay With Photographer and Sailor Marcia Eldridge

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area appears to be an indicator of whether a person will become a sailor. We often talk with and hear about local sailors who “grew up sailing” on the Bay. One such sailor we met recently is Marcia Eldridge. Marcia was aboard Freda B during the recent Master Mariners Regatta (MMR), and despite having spent many years sailing, she considers this day a highlight of her sailing life.

Although Marcia deems herself a “customer” rather than a sailor, given that she’s been sailing as a guest with Freda B since 2018, we feel she qualifies as a sailor. She is also an avid photographer, and spent much of the MMR capturing images of the fleet as it sailed the race course, and of course, her fellow crew. In fact, it was her photos that first brought Marcia to our attention.

Freda, built in 1885 in Belvedere, is the oldest registered yacht on the West Coast,
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge
Eventide is a study in elegance against the enormous cruise liner in the background.
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge
Kay of Göteborg was among everyone’s favorites of the day.
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge

“One of my passions, along with being on the water, is documenting my experiences with photography and sharing my joy on social media,” Marcia told us. “This was my first opportunity to attend a Master Mariners Regatta and it was truly a thrilling and amazing race.”

Marcia’s life on the water began in her early years. “As children, my brothers and sisters and I learned to sail El Toros in Berkeley and Oakland. My dad was an avid sailor, single-handedly completing the Transpac Race twice. We had loads of fun sailing with him on the San Francisco Bay as youngsters.”

Marcia’s dad, Don Eldridge, at the helm of the Valiant 32 Skol, setting off from the St. Francis Yacht Club in the 1982 Singlehanded Transpac Race to Kauai.
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge

While sailing aboard Freda B, Marcia rubs sailing shoulders with some local legends, as shown in the photo below. To quote CaptaIn Paul Dines, she says, “There’s about a million sea miles in this photo.”

crew of Freda B in Master Mariners Regatta
Left to right: Billy Martinelli, builder of Gaslight, worked for David Crosby on his schooner Mayan for years. Captain Ben Colocchio, skipper of Gaslight and Freda B, served onboard Pride of Baltimore under Jan Miles. Paul Dines, lifelong sailor, captain of Gaslight for nine years, Freda B for 13. Peter Streitman, lifelong sailor, Burma Girl, restored many boats. Perhaps most well known is the 1914 gaff sloop Flirt. Captain Rick Whiting, surveyor, lifelong sailor in five oceans.
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge

“I thought the course was a great adventure around the Bay. Lots of fun!” she concludes.

Marcia enjoying a non-race voyage with what she calls Freda B’s “highly professional and welcoming crew, always fun, along with being super-genuine and full of smiles.”
© 2023 Marcia Eldridge

Saildrone Completes Months-Long Survey of Alaskan Islands and Offshore California

In January 2021 we wrote about Alameda company Saildrone as it launched a new vessel, the Saildrone Surveyor — a 72-ft uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) equipped for high-resolution mapping of the ocean seafloor. The Surveyor has since been making its way across oceans in its mission to explore and map oceans and seabeds, and has completed its first Pacific crossing. According to a recent press release, the vehicle has now completed a months-long survey around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and off the coast of California, covering 45,000 square kilometers of previously unknown ocean floor.

The United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), stretching from the coast to 200 nautical miles from shore, is one of the largest in the world, but it is largely still unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. In terms of area, Alaska is by far the least-mapped region of the US EEZ.

Severe weather is the norm in the Aleutian region, but the Surveyor continued to collect high-quality data even in 35-knot winds and wave swells over five meters (16 feet) — conditions that would have proved too challenging for most crewed survey vessels. The video below, released by Saildrone, shows the Surveyor at work.

“Every American, in one way or another, depends on the ocean — from protein from fish to feed animals or humans, to deep-sea cables that make the internet possible. The only way the US can maximize our ocean resources is to understand what’s there. This mission is the first step to mapping the seafloor of key regions in Aleutian waters in high resolution. The beauty of the Surveyor is getting that initial exploration step done faster, cheaper, and without as much staff,” said Dr. Aurora Elmore, Cooperative Institute Manager at NOAA Ocean Exploration.

During the second half of the mission off the coast of California, the Surveyor discovered a previously unknown seamount standing approximately 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) high. “Identifying such seamounts improves our understanding of the physical processes of the ocean and identifies areas needing further exploration as unique habitats.”

Read the full article here.

Good Question
There is nothing more fun to do in the world the first two weeks of November than a Ha-Ha. But if you want to be absolutely sure you are going to be able to do a Ha-Ha, this is the year to do it.
From the Magazine
Bay Area sailor Andy Schwenk gives us a great preview of this year's upcoming Transpac Race, along with some insights of life aboard, mid-race.