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June 19, 2023

Sailing Heritage on Display at Annual Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show

The 2023 Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show enjoyed a spectacular day on which to display the Bay Area’s wooden-boat sailing heritage. Wooden masts visible from outside the breakwater at Corinthian Yacht Club revealed only a snippet of the eye candy to be found on the other side, where a host of classic boats were lined up to show off their gleaming beauty.

This year’s Stone Cup trophy was awarded to the Ocean Queen V. The 54-ft yawl was designed by Phil Rhodes, and built by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1951. The Stone Cup trophy is awarded to “the best restoration (often with professional maintenance).” The trophy was originally donated by Bill and Grace Bodle, who at that time owned the Stone Boat Yard, Alameda.

Wooden boat show
Ocean Queen V is based at West Point Marina, Redwood City.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak

Ocean Queen V has more to offer than just beautiful lines: She also has a racing heritage, and is currently operating as a charter boat providing youth sailing programs throughout the Peninsula and the Bay for the nonprofit Pacific Seafaring Foundation. For yesterday’s show, the Queen sailed to and from the show from Redwood City under the watchful eye of her crew Robin Driscoll, Joe Driscoll, Barbara Demere (the original owner’s daughter) and Keith Hubbard. Her homeport dock neighbor, Hurrica, owned by Mark Sanders, was also her dock neighbor for the Wooden Boat Show. Hurrica won the Stone Cup in 2022.

Last year’s Stone Cup trophy winner, Hurrica.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak
Wooden boat show dock
The lineup was a who’s who of Bay Area wooden boats.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak

But it wasn’t only large boats that came to the show. Below is Jan Van Sickle’s 1913 Lawley 16-ft tender, which he found back East and brought to California. The boat had been stored in a barn for 80 years and still had some of the original finish on it. Jan lives in Sonoma and sails and rows out of Tomales May.

Jan lives in Sonoma and sails and rows his wooden tender out of Tomales Bay.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak
Bob Darr, of the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding in Sausalito, showed inquisitive kids how to make boats.
© 2023 John 'Woody' Skoriak


There is no doubt it was beautiful weather for the show and a good crowd on hand to see the boats. A big thank you to John ‘Woody’ Skoriak for the photos and the local snippets.

Celebrating Juneteenth With Sailors of Every Color

Last year we celebrated the first Juneteenth federal holiday. It was designated in recognition of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery and the Civil War to enslaved African Americans. We wrote about Juneteenth for the first time in 2022. We recognized many sailing organizations that work hard to “change both the perception and reality of diversity within sailing.” Local organizations Call of the Sea, Spaulding Marine Center, Blue Water Foundation, Pegasus Sailing, Treasure Island Sailing Center, Afterguard Sailing, and others have been using their platforms to expand sailing’s reach to make both the sport and the industry more accessible to people of all colors.

Call of the Sea’s mission is to ensure all kids have an opportunity to learn from the experience of sailing.
© 2023 Call of the Sea

But things are often not what they seem. Although we wrote about sailing as having a “historically white heritage,” and about our need to ensure opportunities are available to everyone, reader Barry Spanier commented on our story, “Many civilizations with people ‘of color’ navigated by sail with considerable success thousands of years ago. Sailing has always been the most inclusive simply because it was necessary for trade and travel until just a hundred years ago. The Arabs, Chinese, and the Wandering Polynesian peoples had sailing quite well under their control …”

We agree with Barry, to an extent. These cultures all did indeed sail as part of their custom, their heritage, and often their way of life. The record books are also full of sailors of color who “served on American vessels during the American Revolution.” Most of our internet search on this topic referred to anyone who worked on a ship, regardless of its propulsion method — though usually it was powered — as a sailor. And in this interpretation, yes, historically “sailing” is diverse. But the reality is, that as a sport involving sailing, with sails, it has been historically a “white heritage,” and we applaud everyone who is working to change not only that perception, but also that reality.

On a national scale, US Sailing, for example, has been actively improving outreach and growing and supporting diversity within sailing.

Donald Lawson
Captain Donald Lawson has made it his mission to engender diversity in sailing.
© 2023 Donald Lawson

So say what you will, regardless of your views on sailing’s heritage, we believe it really is for everyone, and we are grateful to the organizations and people making inclusion a reality.

SailGP Chicago Raced in a Windless Windy City

When SailGP arrived in the “Windy City” of Chicago there was plenty of breeze to spare, enough to keep the fleet off the water for a critical practice day, but when it came to the podium final two days later it was sailed at a snail’s pace with little or no wind at all!

SailGP splashdown
Sometimes the best action on the course is when the F-50s splash down at the finish. Team Australia is taking a shower this time!
© 2023 Mark Reid

That said, it was a successful weekend for the New Zealand team. The Kiwis found just enough wind to hold off their archrivals from the “land down under” to capture the first event of Season 4 and celebrate with the traditional showers of champagne over an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at Navy Pier.

The defending champions, Team Australia, will leave Chicago with plenty of second-place points to jump-start their year, and Team Canada right behind with a third-place podium finish.

After an action-packed first day of racing, winds barely nudged above 6 knots at best, and hovered around 2.5 to 3 knots for the podium final, making it challenging for teams to get up and foiling over the fresh waters of Lake Michigan.

Crews had a full setup change overnight, to race with just four crew and 29-meter wings slapped onboard to make the most of the light breeze.

Just as “Mother Nature” can either giveth or taketh away, Chicago can provide the best of action or, unfortunately, the least of it. The winds can be flighty and fickle, or they can deliver the “powered by nature” action SailGP series fans expect.

SailGP Navy Pier
The highlight of the weekend was when the three “podium” teams did a floating “fly by” Navy Pier at the end of the race.
© 2023 Mark Reid

“This puts us in a great position at the start of the season and we’re really happy to walk away with the first win,” said Peter Burling, Team New Zealand skipper. “When it’s light, you look around and you’ve got all the time in the world, but it’s amazing how such a short racecourse can have so much going on. You make one little mistake and it’s so easy to get passed.”

But that didn’t mean the day was without drama, with a game of strategy playing out on Chicago’s skyline stadium.

“Obviously we wish we were out there foiling and ripping around for everyone here and the spectators at home, but that is our sport, unfortunately; if there is no wind it’s not very exciting,” Aussie skipper and CEO Tom Slingsby said. “We came back after some really bad positions today and comfortably made the final, and then the final was what it was. Look, we’re very happy and we sailed really well.”

“Our team did a great job making the most of what little breeze we had. We love coming here; we would have preferred to sail in that northerly we had on Friday,” Burling said. “In the light air, it’s an absolute battle being in the pack, but if you can be in those top couple of boats, you can just sail away.”

SailGP Chicago
New Zealand wins the podium race against Australia, Canada and the helicopter by floating over the finish line first.
© 2023 Photo Mark Reid

“I think everyone would prefer to be sailing in a bit more breeze, to be honest, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Burling continued. “We gained speed by putting the daggerboard up and down, using the hydraulic pump to push the boat forward. It was looking like a pretty easy race; we were just going to lay down and tack around the final mark and be gone, but then the Aussies and Canadians got a massive helicopter puff and it was a little stressful on all of us, but we decided to stick to our original plan and it ended up working out.”

SailGP Team USA
Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Team New Zealand celebrate their victory with a bit of champagne.
© 2023 Mark Reid

“It’s a real challenge here; it’s a great track! It’s shifty, it’s patchy, you get flat water, it’s bumpy, you really get everything. I love the Chicago racetrack,” Slingsby said. “It’s our sport, you have to play the conditions.”

It was another challenging weekend for Team USA, who now start the season in ninth place, and if not for the German team’s maiden event in the league, would have landed in the basement.

SailGP Team USA
It wasn’t the best weekend for Team USA as they struggled to regain the mojo they had in Season 2.
© 2023 Mark Reid

“Look, obviously there was no wind, it’s the same for everyone, you just have to do the best you can. You have to try to keep the boat moving and ultimately just try to get through it,” said Team USA Skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We were in some good positions and then we just made some critical mistakes and we can’t let that happen.”

SailGP now heads to the Port of Los Angeles next month for recently announced dates off San Pedro on July 22 and 23.

Check out the Latitude 38 t-shirts, hats and mugs in our new online store

We Found the ‘Freedom Kirkland’ at the Bat Cave

Did you guess correctly where the Freedom Kirkland is, or was? When we posted the photos below last Monday, we thought such a specific-looking spot would be easy for anyone who’s been in that part of Mexico.

Dave: Sorry, your response of “Tres Marietas off of Punta Mita” was not correct. The prize for closest to the pin goes to Randy Repass who wrote, “Island off Chamela.”

To be really specific, Kirk Wagner of the Freedom Kirkland tells us the photo was taken in what he calls “the Bat Cave on Isla San Agustin in the Bahia Chamela bay, south of Banderas Bay.”

Freedom Kirkland dinghy
Kirk’s photo.
© 2023 Kirk Wagner

Thanks for playing. And if you have photos of some little-known, out-of-the-way places that you like to explore while cruising, let us know at [email protected].


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