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July 3, 2023

Happy Fourth of July on the Bay and Beyond

We’re halfway through the 2023 Fourth of July long weekend (for those who have managed to sneak in an extra day or two), and so far the weather has given us some beautiful sailing opportunities — depending on where you are, of course. For example, yesterday Sausalito experienced full sunshine, not too warm, no chilling winds, while on the Bay, Alcatraz was shrouded in fog. How was it in your neck of the woods? Not that it matters too much; sailors will do what sailors do. It’s a little like the old Pony Express motto, “Neither rain, or snow, nor death of night, can keep us from our duty.” OK, we know that might be a little extreme, but you get the idea.

Regardless of how you’re spending the holiday, we wish you warmth and sunshine and as much sailing wind as you would like. If you’re out on the water, remember that the Coast Guard always ramps up its on-water presence. This year their crews are working under the name Operation Dry Water — we expect you know what that means, so we won’t go on about it, but if you do want to know more, here’s the link to the USCG press release.

We will, however, share a couple of Independence Day sailing photos.

This first one you’ve seen before, but this time we’re adding a little background, thanks to John ‘Woody’ Skoriak.

Herreshoff skiff 'Independence'
Th US flag flies above the 17-ft Herreshoff Coquina-design sailing skiff Independence.
© 2023 John Skoriak

The Coquina skiff Independence is the result of a boatbuilding project for a group of students in San Francisco, sponsored by San Francisco art patron and philanthropist Ann Hatch. Independence was designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1889 for sailing the Mediterranean coast and Europe’s rivers and canals. After her launch in 2010 (give or take) Independence was exhibited at a Lake Tahoe museum, and later donated to Call of the Sea, where she was frequently sailed until being put into storage due to the COVID shutdowns. Now that she’s out of storage and being tidied up, the aim is for her to serve as a sailing tender for guests and crew aboard the Matthew Turner’s longer voyages.

Our next photo is the J/100 Feather, owned by Bay Area sailor Zach Berkowitz.

The J/100 'Feather' flying US flag spinnaker.
Now, that’s an ideal sail for tomorrow’s celebrations!
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

If you’re celebrating the Fourth by sailing, remember to have fun, be safe, and take photos to share with your friends, and with us at [email protected].

Transpac Live Follows Slow-Speed Exit

With Saturday’s start, all the Transpac boats are now on course and headed for Hawaii. The big, fast, high-tech boats started on Saturday with slow, slatting sails as they attempted to get offshore and into the breeze being enjoyed by the Tuesday and Thursday starters.

At Latitude, we also went high-tech with another Transpac Live broadcast from aboard the Santa Cruz 52 Westerly (due to broadcast constraints aboard Westerly we launched early today). This included Westerly connecting via Starlink in mid-Pacific, Latitude‘s Nicki Bennett connecting via Stalink live from the shores of her weekend sailing adventures with Cruisers Academy on Lake Tahoe, and John Arndt live from his boat connecting from marina Wi-Fi. Apparently, the worst connection was the marina Wi-Fi! Andy Schwenk and Westerly owner David Moore did manage to give us some insights from the course, including some mysterious ships they’re curious about, traveling at just two knots!

Out on the course, the Tuesday starters are happily sailing along under spinnaker with good breezes, and the Thursday starters, including Westerly, have mostly switched from headsails to spinnakers, while the fast boats astern all appear to have escaped the light-air coast and are getting up to speed. Still, the MOD 70s and Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio 100 are making a somewhat pedestrian 13 knots. Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 Argo has dropped out and headed home with engine issues.

Sweet Okole
Richmond Yacht Club’s Dean Treadway and crew on his well-traveled Farr 36 Sweet Okole are among many boats currently with a crown on their head.
© 2023 Transpac / Yellowbrick

Tuesday’s lead boats will be converging on the Singlehanded Transpac boats, which left the Bay Area on Sunday the 25th, making the mid-Pacific as busy as the Bay as we head into July. Other boats currently wearing crowns on the tracker include the Dehler 46 Favonius, the Santa Cruz 52 Westerly, Rio 100, which like Sweet Okole is south of the rhumb line, the Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion sailing closely alongside Merlin, and Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Ho’okolohe from the Waikiki Yacht Club. Many of these boats have made this trip to Hawaii many times before. For the Farr 57 Ho’okolohe, she’s heading home.

Spinnaker trimming around winch handle.
One thing we learned during our live broadcast is how to lead a spinnaker sheet around a winch handle.
© 2023 Dave Moore

With the fast boats now in the breeze, the compression will start as fleets hit the halfway mark and start to converge on the islands. Not many boats have ventured far from the rhumb line, and it looks as if there will be some light spots as the navigators look for favorable angles and crews trim their way southwest. By this time life on board will have settled into a rhythm and most will start enjoying the champagne (sparkling wine/Prosecco) sailing they’ve all been looking forward to.

We’re enjoying following the Transpac on the tracker and working our way through the technical challenges of mid-ocean remote broadcasts. Our next Transpac Live, if all goes well, is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. PDT. We hope to keep improving the tech so we can learn more from the race course. You can stay in touch with the Transpac Race here.

Ayala Cove Is for Sheriffs, Seals and Sailors

Friday was delivery day for Latitude 38, and it didn’t take long for a copy of the July issue to find its way into the hands of Marin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Aguiniga, who is captain of the MCSO Rescue One 33-ft SAFE Boat. He was enjoying a lunch break in Ayala Cove and catching up on his latest issue of Latitude 38. You can find a copy just like Captain Aguiniga’s here.

Marine County Marine Patrol unit Daniel-Aguiniga
Deputy Sheriff Daniel Aguiniga catches up on local sailing in Ayala Cove.
© 2023 Andy Rounds

We also made a stop at Ayala Cove last week for an evening birthday barbecue, and were disappointed to again find the docks in disrepair and taken over by a large population of seals. The orange cones, we presume, are to keep people off, but apparently the seals ignore the cones and the rangers, or perhaps the island’s rangers ignore the seals. We’re not sure who’s in charge, or what seals did before taxpayers built docks for them.

Ayala Cove Seals and cones
It appears the cones don’t apply to seals.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Ayala Cove dock decorations.
Welcome to Ayala Cove, the premier boaters’ destination, but what’s that smell? The seals decorated the docks for visitors for the busy Fourth of July weekend.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Ayala Cove is a fantastic summer destination, but between shoaling at the moorings, dilapidated docks, and being overrun by seals, the warm welcome for Bay Area sailors is fading. It’s a shame, since this past full-moon weekend was an ideal time for staying at Angel Island. Even so, our Saturday afternoon sail past the cove revealed quite a few empty moorings. Is that because of the smell or the shallow water, or are people really too busy?

Ayala Cove seals
The seals think they own the docks and wonder what we’re doing there.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Ayala Cove is still a great place for an evening barbecue during the long days of summer.
© 2023 John

Despite the hurdles, our get-together was perfect. The air was warm, the sun was high, there was room for the two boats in our group and, since we were the only ones there, it was a very peaceful spot in the center of the seven million people who populate our busy, beautiful, urban Bay Area.

Latitude 38 Drinkware
Good for a tot or a cup of joe. Nobody will know what you’re drinking or thinking, but they’ll know what you’re reading. Now in our new store.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

US Sailing Graduates Celebrated at Shoreline Lake

Shoreline Lake’s sailing program is in full swing, and now the program has nine new instructors who can share their time and knowledge with students. “A big round of applause for the grads please!!!” wrote Shoreline’s press manager. The grads completed the Level 1 US Sailing Small Boat Instructor Certification course, which was hosted by Shoreline Lake on June 16-18.

Shoreline Lake's nine sailing grads
Shoreline staff and Small Boat Instructor graduates ready to celebrate their success.
© 2023 Shoreline Lake

The three-day course is open to people with varying levels of expertise, and “is strongly recommended for anyone involved in camp counseling, coaching, and teaching beginner level sailors. It covers intensive training requirements, including Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals and obtaining a NASBLA Approved Boating Certificate.”

Shoreline Lake offers this certification and a variety of US Sailing-recognized class certifications to anyone over the age of 14, from February through November. They also offer advanced and performance-sailing summer camps suitable for teen participants.

But the facility isn’t only for the big kids. While those sailors were gaining their certifications, the younger crew have been on the water having a whale of a time in Bugs. Check out these little sailboats. How cute are they!?

How cute are these tiny sailboats!?
© 2023 Shoreline Lake

Each Bug can hold two to three 7- to 9-year-olds as they work together to maneuver through the water and harness the wind. Oh, to be that age and have access to these little boats!

Shoreline has much to offer over the coming weeks, and we believe there are still a few spaces left for some of the classes and activities. To find out more you can contact the staff at the Boathouse — email [email protected] or phone (650) 965-7474 — or go to the website at Shoreline Lake Boathouse Kids’ Programs.

Why Should I Join the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous?

Pacific Puddle Jumper Andy Turpin was recently asked by a sailor why they should join the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous. His reasoning is solid; now we want to go, too!

The Polynesians ensure everyone feels welcome.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Andy

I don’t own the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous, but I have been one of its most vocal supporters since it was first staged 17 years ago. Here are a dozen reasons why:

• The annual four-day Rendez-vous, July 21-24 this year, is unique among sailing events worldwide because it not only celebrates the arrival of an international fleet of sailors, but it also focuses on introducing them to many elements of Polynesian culture that have been handed down through the generations, and are still highly revered today.

• Meet with the local Tahitian dignitaries during a special Rendez-vous reception at City Hall in downtown Papeete.

• Attend a special Rendez-vous skippers’ briefing, where experts will share their detailed, up-to-date local knowledge of cruising in Tahiti and her sister isles.

• Enjoy exotic, high-energy music and dance presentations on both Tahiti and Moorea.

• Join the “just-for-fun” sailing rally from Papeete to majestic Opunohu Bay. And if you’d like to “give something back” to your Tahitian hosts, consider inviting a few locals onboard for the crossing. (By arrangement with Rally Committee.)

• Sample locally made rum, wine and fruit juice, and learn about their production processes.

• Meet with local artisans and let them teach you how to hand-dye a pareo, or weave a palm-frond headband or a headdress of freshly cut tropical flowers.

• Enjoy an optional dinner feast and/or luncheon that features many classic Polynesian dishes.

• Test your paddling prowess during a series of six-person outrigger canoe races, staged on the Opunohu lagoon.

• Ashore, in the gardens of Domaine Kellum, sample other age-old Tahitian sports, with instruction from local experts.

• Meet one-on-one with cruising professionals from Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, and Vanuatu, who will fly in specifically to share their local knowledge.

• Get to know other 2023 passagemakers in attendance, and compare notes on your offshore experiences.

All recently arrived cruisers, as well as those who arrived in previous years, are welcome to attend this year‘s Rendez-vous. Please see the website for pricing and registration. (Sponsors cover most of the costs of this elaborate event.)

I hope to see you there!
— Andy Turpin, PPJ

Tahiti-Moorea sailboat race
The Polynesian culture is full of music and color.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives
Planetary Win
The somewhat fragile, foiling and fast IMOCA 60s have just finished The Ocean Race around the world, with 11th Hour Racing declared the winner.
Yes Please!
The weather gods are celebrating the arrival of the newest 'Latitude 38' — the July issue. Yes, folks, it is out today and on its way to your favorite distributor, or if you're a subscriber, to your mailbox, as we write.