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June 21, 2023

Summer Solstice is Today, Summer Sailstice This Weekend

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice and the official start of summer. For Northern Hemisphere sailors, it means the longest day of the year, with the sun rising in the Bay Area at 5:48 a.m. and setting at approximately 8:36 p.m., giving nearly 15 hours of daylight for sailing today! If you were sailing with Captain Bob in Glacier Bay, Alaska, the sun would rise 3:55 a.m. and set at 10:22 p.m., while in San Diego, the sun will rise at about 5:41 a.m. and set at 7:59 p.m. It also means the weekend ahead is the Summer Sailstice celebration of sailing.

Summer Sailstice is the weekend you #raiseyoursails just for the heck of it and join the world by adding your sailing plans to the Summer Sailstice map. You can add your sailing plans if you’re racing, cruising or just afternoon sailing. Some of the racing options in Northern California this year include racing BAMA’s Doublehanded Farallones Race, the Half Moon Bay Regatta, the Singlehanded Transpac (OK, entries are now closed for this one), the Corinthian Yacht Club Friday night race, or racing with the El Toro fleet at Clear Lake.

Summer Sailstice solstice solstice sailing.
On the solstice there’s plenty of time after work to grab the golden hour of sunset sailing.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

There are only so many summer days, and the longest one of the year is today. Somehow the “lazy days of summer” feel as if they’ve vanished from our lives, and we have to make an effort to restore them. Summer Sailstice is a date to remind everyone to take their summers back, hoist their sails, and reconnect with their boat, their friends, the Bay, the Delta, or wherever they sail.

Summer Sailstice map
Add your personal sailing plan, racing plans, cruising plans, or wherever and however you plan to sail to the 2023 map for this first weekend of summer sailing.
© 2023 Summer Sailstice

The 15th annual Delta Doo Dah is underway, with the first participants already having headed up the Delta with the Delta Ditch Run on June 3. If you’re planning to head up soon, you’ll enjoy a full moon on July 3, which is also the night of the Hilton fireworks on Mandeville Tip. Delta Doo Dah participant Phil Degaa wrote us to let us know he’ll be settling into Bedroom One on Potato Slough with a Richmond Yacht Club cruise and other Delta Doo Dah participants for the July 3 fireworks show. Saturday, July 1, looks like a pretty perfect day to head up the Delta, with a flood you can ride all the way up, starting early in the morning.

Summer solstice in the Delta
Neener³ demonstrates how to chill in the Delta during the heat of the summer.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude 38 Archives

Oakland Yacht Club has created a GOTW/GOTA (Get on the Water/Get on the Air) community event for Summer Sailstice. The public is welcome, and they’ve invited the San Francisco Sailing Science Center, Alameda Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Amateur Radio Club of Alameda, and United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to be on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. so everyone can have fun learning more about the science of sailing, amateur radio, search and rescue and more from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. If Alameda is your weekend sailing home or destination, the Oakland Yacht Club is ready to welcome you to their Summer Sailstice celebration of sailing, including an Open House following the GOTW/GOTA event.

GOTA/GOTW at Oakland Yacht Club Summer Sailstice
Oakland Yacht Club is inviting you to explore sailing and safety with an all-day Summer Sailstice event.
© 2023 Oakland Yacht Club

In addition to a day or weekend of sailing, a bonus for adding your sailing plans to the Sailstice map is the chance to win from over $8,000 in prizes including a WinchRite electric winch handle, solar panels from Sun Powered Yachts, a West Marine gift card and foul weather gear, and much more.

Freda B Summer Sailstice
If it’s not already sold out, you can join Captain Paul Dines for a Summer Sailstice sunset sail on the Freda B.
© 2023 Lyon Omohundro

You can sail your own boat, crew for someone else, join Freda B, Club Nautique, or Modern Sailing, or head to Clipper Cove, where Island Yacht Club and Treasure Island Yacht Club are getting together for a weekend Summer Sailstice barbecue.

Today is the day with the greatest amount of sun after work and an ideal time for you to join the Swedes in celebrating Midsommar or the pagans or Druids in worshipping the solar cycles, or just take some friends out for a sail. The nice thing about summer is it lasts all summer long. To enjoy it, all you have to do is cast off the dock lines and sail. When you go out this weekend, make sure you’re signed up at Summer Sailstice and send us your photos here.

We appreciate the support of our readers and advertisers. You can help with financial or editorial contributions here.

A Serendipitous Bluewater Rescue — Pacific Puddle Jump Ocean Rescue Updates

On June 7 we shared the news of two sailors, David Wysopal and his son Zachary, who had been reported missing in the Pacific. Although the pair have not yet been found, Latitude 38 editor-at-large Andy Turpin tells us how the search efforts have unexpectedly resulted in another mariner’s rescue.

Two completely unrelated search-and-rescue missions intersected last week, resulting in the nearly miraculous sighting and rescue of Aaron Carotta, who was adrift in his liferaft more than 500 miles east of the Marquesas after being forced to abandon his offshore rowboat, Smiles, and losing the ability to communicate with his support team ashore. Although sailors David and Zachary Wysopal, the original targets of the US Coast Guard’s exhaustive three-day aerial search, were not found, the community of people now looking for them has probably expanded exponentially.

A little background: Nearly 70 days ago, David and his 12-year-old son Zachary departed La Paz, Mexico, aboard their 45-ft Island Trader ketch Yasukole, bound for the Marquesas, and later, American Samoa. They had registered with the Pacific Puddle Jump rally, but didn’t announce their departure. Nor did they opt to participate in the PredictWind tracking program. However, they did have the ability to send out periodic position coordinates to friends and family via a Spot device. These updates came semi-regularly until May 13, a month into the trip. At that point the big ketch was located near 03*25N 130*46W, roughly 800nm NE of Nuku Hiva.

s/v Yasukole
David and Zachary aboard Yasukole.
© 2023 Jeff Boyd

After several weeks without updates, friends and family had become quite concerned, despite Dave’s reputation as being a highly experienced and self-reliant seaman.

Initially, it was unclear if Yasukole had a functional EPIRB on board. We now know they do, but it is registered to its previous owner. Although no mayday had been announced, we alerted the US Coast Guard, JRCC Tahiti, and the PPJ fleet to the situation in early June. (Note: It is our understanding that Spot devices are not widely used by sailors anymore, as other technologies have eclipsed their usefulness. We are told there are huge gaps in Spot’s satellite coverage in the Pacific and elsewhere.)

As for the offshore rower, Aaron Carotta, precise details of his ordeal are still a bit sketchy, but we understand that his rowing craft was swamped and badly damaged by rough weather, leaving him with a nearly useless electrical system and hull damage that eventually forced him to abandon ship into his tiny liferaft.

Rower rescued
Aaron Carotta wrote on social media that he was attempting to complete “the world’s first rowboat circumnavigation.”
© 2023

Carotta put out a mayday signal on May 31, but there was just enough power left in his PLB (personal locator beacon) to activate it for a few seconds, several days apart — and that wasn’t long enough for rescue personnel to get an accurate fix on his location. Five merchant ships and four private vessels participated in a widespread search for Carotta. But without a reasonably defined search area, the hunt had to be suspended on June 12, at least temporarily.

Yasukole, however, is a bigger target. So last week Coast Guard JRCC Honolulu dispatched a long-range, low-flying C-130 Hercules aircraft from Hawaii to French Polynesia. After flying 2,000 miles to reach the search venue, pilots flew low-altitude grid patterns for three days, with multiple observers scanning the sea surface below. By the third and final day of the search effort last Thursday, the flight crew had found no clues about Yasukole’s whereabouts, but they did get a completely unexpected surprise. Aaron Carotta had turned on his PLB again — this time long enough for the guardsmen to pick up a complete set of coordinates. They did a flyover to confirm they‘d seen him, and within hours he was picked up by an oil tanker that had been diverted to rescue him.

It’s probably fair to say that the chances of a search party’s accidentally finding a guy in a liferaft, without location info in advance, is about one in a million. Truly serendipitous!

Even though David and Zachary Wysopal remain unaccounted for, we have high hopes that they will soon show up in French Polynesia or some neighboring island downwind and down-current. Literally, thousands of people are now keeping a lookout for them.

Sign Up Now for This Weekend’s Half Moon Bay Regatta and After-Party!

This coming Saturday is the inaugural Half Moon Bay Regatta, a fun race from San Francisco Bay down the coast to Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay. For many years the YRA Offshore Series has included a race to Half Moon Bay, but usually most boats finish the race and “turn and burn” back to S.F. Bay. This year, the race not only counts toward the season’s Offshore Series, but is also a YRA Destination Regatta. As with other destination regattas — the Great Vallejo Race, the Westpoint Regatta, and the Encinal Regatta — participants are invited to join the after-race party with the hosts, Half Moon Bay Yacht Club (HMBYC).

There is still time to register for the race. To enter, go to Jibeset and register for the Offshore Series as a One-Time Entry, and select “Half Moon Bay” as the race you are signing up for.

Once the racing is over, HMBYC is hosting a great party with live music by the Stan Erhart Band, two types of delicious paella, and signature cocktails. Even if you’re not racing, come on down and mingle with the racers while enjoying drinks on our large deck overlooking the beach, dancing to the live music, or sitting around the fire pit while watching the sunset. It’s not to be missed!

Half Moon Bay YC
Why rush home when you can enjoy an evening of fun with good company at Half Moon Bay?
© 2023 Half Moon Bay Yacht Club

By the way, our well-regarded chef makes wonderful paella, using many locally sourced ingredients. We will also have mini-brunch boxes available on Sunday, and if you prepay, we can even run them out to your boat before you sail back to the Bay.

The deadline to register for meals is Thursday, June 22, at 0900. But if you can register earlier, it will help the club get an accurate count. Register here.

If you’re on still sitting on the dock about whether to join the regatta, check out this review from a racer who sailed down for last year’s race.

HMBYC Picnic Table
Aegea‘s crew stayed to play after the 2022 race.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / A friend on the beach.

Good Jibes #96: Third Encore, the Rescue of Niniwahuni, and the Stoke of Skateboarding and/or Sailing

This week in Good Jibes, we’re casting off with three articles from the June issue of Latitude 38 Sailing Magazine: “Third Encore” by Doug Saxe, “Dismasted but Not Defeated — The Rescue of Niniwahuni” by Monica Grant, and “The Stoke of Skateboarding and/or Sailing” by Noah Rose, read by sailor and host Monica Grant.

Good jibes Ep#96 Verbatim
Tune in for three great stories from this month’s magazine.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Good Jibes Archives

This episode covers everything from rescues to kickflips. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • How’s the sailing in Puerto Vallarta?
  • Where is Isla Socorro?
  • What’s the prettiest island?
  • Where are the Society Islands?
  • How does the Coast Guard help with rescues?
  • Why was Clarion Island the target destination?
  • What does skateboarding have to do with sailing?
  • How does a Sunfish compare to a skateboard?

Follow along and read the articles at “Third Encore”“The Rescue of Niniwahuni”, and “The Stoke of Skateboarding and/or Sailing”.

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