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July 7, 2023

Transpac 2023 Live Onboard ‘Westerly’ as the First Boats Finish

The first boats, the MOD 70 Orion and MOD 70 Maserati, have finished the Transpac, while the rest of the fleet slides across the pearlescent blue Pacific as they close in on Hawaii. Orion finished at almost 3 a.m. on Thursday in a time of 4 days 17 hours 48 minutes. This means they took the win over Maserati, who finished at 0855, meaning Maserati gets the Sharon Green photos! Their classmate Argo did retire with engine problems, went home and fixed them, and has rejoined the fleet on the tracker with 1,000 miles still to go.

Maserati heads down the Molokai Channel
Maserati rocks down the Molokai Channel for her morning-light finish.
© 2023 Transpac / Sharon Green

The wind gods favored the Tuesday starters with steady breezes to break away from the California coastline, and they appear to have been gifted with stronger breezes all the way across. After a slow exit from the coast, the Saturday starters are still far behind and trying to escape a plague of lighter airs that are following them to Hawaii. Dean Treadway’s Farr 36 Sweet Okole has 563 miles to go and is traveling at 7.5 knots, while Roy Disney’s Andrews 68 Pyewacket has 1,000 miles to go and is traveling at a modest 11 knots. Manouch Moshayedi’s mighty Rio 100 has been able to move out of the slow blue blobs on the tracker and into the steady green breeze, to leave most of the Saturday starters behind.

Our friends aboard the Santa Cruz 52 Westerly were having such a great day yesterday, just 500 miles from the finish, that they dialed in to see if we could jump on for a spontaneous Transpac Live broadcast. We did, and managed our best Starlink connection of the trip as we got a taste of the champagne sailing every Transpac racer raves about. The gray, cool, bouncy gloom of the coast is gone and replaced by bright-blue skies and water, and warm breezes. While they’re racing to the finish, this is the part you wish would never end.

Thursday July 6 Transpac Live from aboard Dave Moore’s Santa Cruz 52 Westerly.

As we’re in the Plastic-Free month of July, Steve Sellinger’s Santa Cruz 52 Triumph reported, “We have avoided an insane amount of debris in the ocean, which [neither] I nor anyone onboard has ever seen. Mostly plastic, along with rope and fishing nets. We have snagged at least two more and had to stop and back down the boat in 20 knots. Another boat reported today a “couch-sized submerged object” and suggested everyone be on the lookout. It’s nearly impossible to avoid this as we move at 10-14 knots, but we can try. As I write this, Michael reported we are dragging net on the rudder. Well, *&^#. This ocean has become a trash can for someone. Sad. We will be backing down again or sending someone over.”

Many other boats have reported plastics and debris and, like Triumph, have had to stop racing to back their boats down to dislodge debris from keels and rudders.

The MOD 70 Orion crew of Cam Lewis, Matt Noble, Hogan Beatie, Justin Shaffer, Paul Allen and Morgan Larson are looking fresh after an under-five-day blitz from California to Hawaii.
© 2023 Mark Brouch

With the MOD 70s finished, the next big question is who the first monohull will be. They all have to run the Molokai Channel before they get to the Mai Tais from their hosts in the Ala Wai, so they’re all converging on the finishing “rum line” toward Diamond Head. Right now, it’s looking as if the betting money is on Bill McKinley’s Ker 46+ Denali 3, as she surfs along at 12.5 knots with less than 250 miles to go. She started in the Ocean Navigator Division 4 group last Thursday and is staying well ahead of the Saturday starters, who remain in lighter air behind. Normally, many of those Saturday starters would be rapidly surfing up and passing the earlier fleets, but this doesn’t appear to be the year.

Yellow Brick Transpac
It’s better to be in the bright green on the left than the pale blue on the right.
© 2023 Transpac/YellowBrick

We just “hung up” from another Transpac Live broadcast with Westerly, and the scenery looked just about the same as yesterday’s. A couple of hundred miles closer to Hawaii the sunny, blue-sky sailing looks the same, but the focus of the crew feels different as the intensity increases on approach. Andy Schwenk’s heavily “redacted” commentary avoided sharing speed, course, direction and sail plan so as not to give any hints to competitors behind. But the sailing looks awesome! They join later in the broadcast below.

Friday, July 7, Transpac Live from aboard Westerly. 

The next few days will be busy for the Transpac Race committee and the many volunteers and families waiting for the fleet’s arrival. Mai Tais, hot showers, and razor blades will come out to clean up the crew and reward them all at the end of the renowned 2,225-mile course to Hawaii, first raced in 1906. We’re hoping to do one more Transpac Live with the Westerly crew once they finish and are safely ashore. You can follow all the racers on the Transpac tracker here.

Summertime on San Francisco Bay — Get Amongst It!

Do you think the Metaverse will ever capture the experience and adventure of summertime sailing on the Bay? It’s hard to imagine. As the weekend approaches, we’re looking back at some of the in-person experiences happening on the Bay.

Summer winds create some of the most exciting sailing of the year. Monika and Rob Parrish of the Catalina 34 Quicksilver, sailing out of Brisbane, caught this scene off Point Richmond on a blustery day on the Bay. Sometimes you take sails down on your own and sometimes Mother Nature does it for you. Reef early and douse early are good ideas during the summer winds.

Torn spinnaker
Just when you thought it was safe to fly the kite the summer breeze arrives.
© 2023 Monika Williams
Torn spinnaker.
Step two. Safely getting things back under control.
© 2023 Monika Williams
The wind was blowing on the Fourth of July when we first saw these sailors with a hull in the air. All looked fine by the time we got this the photo.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Half Moon Bay
John Williams sent in this photo of a boat that hit hard times on a ramp in Half Moon Bay.
© 2023 John Williams
It’s sad knowing this boat probably had many happy people aboard for years, but it’s time to make room for an updated boat with new sailors aboard.
© 2023 John Williams
San Francisco Yacht Club
One of the San Francisco Yacht Club’s boats was lit up for the evening
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Back to smiling photos — Kevin and Elizabeth Moore joined us for a beautiful Friday night race. Elizabeth called tactics for a successful evening.
© 2023 John

The summer season is upon us, with all the thrills and spills it provides, and it looks like another fine weekend for sailing. The Westpoint Regatta is on this weekend, taking racers to the South Bay, while other sailors will be starting a cruise to the Delta — though an early ebb on Saturday will make that slow going. We’re expecting temperatures of over 100 degrees in some places, so go sailing, be safe, have fun, and enjoy the fresh local air.

Do you have photos from your summer sailing? Send to [email protected].

Do You Like Pineapple on Your Pizza? The Baja Ha-Ha Poobah Wants To Know

For those who are thinking of signing up for the Ha-Ha, and those who have already signed up for the Ha-Ha, the Poobah has a special request. When filling out information for the Meet the Fleet Guide, please be as complete as possible. The Poobah knows it’s a bit of work, and it’s more work for him. But he wants the booklet to be as informative and entertaining as possible. Because what’s more fun than sailing side by side with another boat halfway down Baja in the middle of the night, and being able to turn to the booklet and realize, “Hey, they like pineapple on their pizza, too!”?

As an editor for more than 45 years, the Poobah has no problem taking bits of often unrelated information and turning them into something readable. So don’t fret about sending raw material; he’ll do the polishing. But the more detailed the information, the better. For example, a lot of skippers list their occupation as “engineer.” That’s better than nothing, but it would be more interesting and informative if you mentioned what kind of engineer you are. Civil? Train? Software? Because “engineer” is by far the leading occupation of Ha-Ha skippers. It’s the same thing with nurses. “Emergency room nurse” tells us a lot more about you than just “nurse.” Similarly, if you are in sales, it helps to know if you sell specialized aviation propellers, or Fentanyl in San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

Age counts, too. People want to know if you’re 29, 39, or, like the Poobah, 75. Many women are sensitive about age, of course, so unless a woman is 35 or under, her age isn’t mentioned.

Baja Ha-Ha
Bahia Santa Maria is just one of the spectacular locations Ha-Ha sailors enjoy.
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

If you report your crew is “Joe Blow,” that’s not informative beyond that he probably identifies as male. It’d be so much better if it were “Joe ‘Jo-Jo’ Blow, 28, an options trader and influencer who loves Creedence but hates the Eagles, the Celtics, and anchovies on breakfast cereal.”

Yes, it sounds a little silly to have you list a couple of favorites, be they movies, vegetables, rock ‘n’ roll bands, desserts, quotes, sailing heroes — whatever you want. But it humanizes you and begins to flesh you out. Maybe better still, list a couple of movies, vegetables, rock ‘n’ roll bands, desserts, and quotes that you hate. That might be even more revealing. The Poobah doesn’t need all your favorites and dislikes, just four or five.

Naturally, you don’t have to disclose any information if you don’t want to. But it’s more fun for everybody if you do. And remember, the Ha-Ha is about fun, so funny responses are encouraged. Self-deprecation is always good, and if you can’t laugh at yourself — or at the Poobah — who can you laugh at?

If you’re like a lot of skippers and don’t know who your crew will be, don’t worry about it. You can provide that info later or not at all.

Here’s an example of a fun bio — although it could benefit from more preferences about movies, vegetables, rock groups, and that kind of stuff:

Fio — Jeanneau SO 54 (W), Jay Dozier and Barbara Benson, San Diego / Kerrville, TX.
Jay, 54, is a small-business owner, while his “life partner” Barbara is a kitty cat owner. Their crew will be Melanie Benson, Barbara’s sister, a — bless her heart — nurse/midwife; and Jay’s son Abe Dozier, 17, a student of life.

Jay crewed on a ketch in the Caribbean in the ’80s and has day-chartered boats, but Fio is the first he’s owned, and he’s owned her for two years. “Fio had been in a rental booze-cruise fleet in the San Diego Bay area since the day she was born in 2005,” Jay reports. “But she believes she was destined for a greater legacy. Her previous two owners did not listen to her requests for adventure, but with new sails and rigging, we’re going to help her see the open ocean, some whales, and whatever else is out there.

“More about our crew,” says Jay. “I’m a three-time poison ivy survivor, and make biscuits and sauces. Barbara, who prefers cats and naps to managing a restaurant, does not like musty, half-dried towels but does love my biscuits. Neither of us really knows how to sail, but Barbara has watched some YouTube videos.

“Barbara’s sister Melanie has sailed some, but it’s unlikely Jay will hear her suggestions over the JBL speaker playing Swans or Gorillaz — music Barbara considers ‘so weird’. However, if anyone gives birth during the Ha-Ha, Melanie knows what to do. As for Abe, he’ll add to the sailing of Fio as much as you would imagine any 17-year-old screenager would. He will, however, be able to silently hold his gaze on an unspecified point on the horizon longer than the rest of us.

“Our dream destinations would be Panama and the Galápagos, but we’ll return to San Diego after the Ha-Ha, then do the Ha-Ha again in 2024.”

The Poobah hopes these bios give you an idea of the kind of stuff he’s looking for. It’s also important for the quality of the result to get the information to the Poobah ASAP. After all, he can’t do a good job if he has to do 100 of them in two weeks.

If you had intended to send the information later, or if you left something out or have something to add, please send your information now to: [email protected].

This year’s Ha-Ha dates — and it’s possible this could be the last Ha-Ha — are October 30 to November 11. Complete details can be found at Sign up today!

The Ocean Race Grand Finale Includes San Francisco Bay Sailor Bérénice Charrez

July 1 concluded The Ocean Race, with the Grand Finale of the 2022-23 edition. It was the last day of racing for the 14th edition of The Ocean Race, which took place in Genoa, Italy, on a Saturday afternoon. According to official Ocean Race news on June 30, The Ocean Race 2022-23 featured more female sailors than any of the previous events in the race’s 50-year history. This means more women also featured in other traditionally male-dominated roles, including onboard reporters and race jurors.

We’ve been following the story of one female sailor in the competition, Bérénice Charrez, friend and student of the rigorous sailing training grounds of San Francisco Bay. She shared her love of the S.F. Bay sailing community with Latitude 38 readers just before embarking from The Hague in the Netherlands for Stage 3, the final leg of the VO65 Ocean Race Sprint competition, and before re-emerging with her team for their impressive third-place arrival in Genoa. “Erik Brockmann’s team gybed the Mexican boat nicely on the inside of Gerwin Jansen, and the Austrians and México sneaked into third place as they set out on the third leg of the course,” The Ocean Race reported.

Berenice Charrez in the Ocean Race 2022-23
S.F. Bay sailor Bérénice Charrez at the helm for a sunset drive across the Bay of Biscay.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

Of course, one of the highlights is their finish after battling for their place underway. Team Viva México came in third, “but we were close to second,” Charrez said. “Viva México was known to be the smiley team. We were just happy all the time, lucky to have this opportunity, always in strong spirits. Not only were we always laughing and joking, but everyone on the boat are incredible competitive sailors, some of them with strong Olympic or match-racing backgrounds and others with extensive offshore experience, including winning a previous edition of the Ocean Race,” she added. “It was the perfect mix of focus and fun. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this race with anyone else.”

Dusk menu: “Hot chocolate and cheese jokes” in between sail trimming and strategic discussions.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

The best part of Leg 3, for Charrez, was by far the Gibraltar crossing. Leg 3 took the team down the Portuguese coast through the Strait of Gibraltar between North Africa and Spain’s south coast. “As we were racing down the Portuguese coast we kept on getting closer to Jajo and Mirpuri fighting for the second place. When the three boats were about one mile apart, some orcas visited Jajo; it was panic onboard to drop their sails and assess if any damages occurred after the encounter,” Charrez recounts. You can check out some of the incredible footage on YouTube, but here’s Charrez’s version of the adventure:

“At this point Mirpuri and my team freaked out. We jibed away to the coast, hoping the orcas would not follow us. A few minutes later, Mirpuri called on the radio, saying the orcas were with them. But the orcas never came to Viva México so we kept sailing and eventually passed Mirpuri and Jajo. Emotions were high. We entered Gibraltar, which I had never been through. The coast was gorgeous, the sun was setting with beautiful red colors, and dolphins were jumping around our bow. And we were match racing with Mirpuri, tacking along the coast with Jajo not far behind. It was just incredible, so much going on at the same time …”

“Although we had no orca visits, dolphins were quite playful with us all along the way.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

Despite the risks, the beauty, and amazing team spirit, it’s a physically grueling project to take on. For Charrez, the hardest part is still the sleep schedule. “I felt less tired this leg than the previous one, because conditions were calmer and therefore the little sleep you get is more efficient,” she explains. On this leg, Charrez didn’t sleep more than one hour at a time, and no more than four hours of sleep per day total. Sounds pretty tough to adjust to! “Your deep sleep was always interrupted, sometimes by a spinnaker dropping on your face,” Charrez laughs.

Teh Ocean Race_Charrez on grinder
Typical example of off-watch interruption — how about jumping onto the grinder when you’re about to brush your teeth?
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter
Camping-style off-watch in the bow — all weight needs to be forward in light winds.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

Sleeping crew in the bow get awakened by the kite dropping, a tack or jibe, or reshuffling to stack all weight to the windward side, or called up for maneuvers that require all hands on deck. It’s all in a day’s work for Charrez, who lives for the challenge and adventure.

“Sunset spinnaker trimming with my watch buddies, Dome and Brad, ‘the A-team,'” according to Charrez.
© 2023 Jen Edney, Ocean Race On-Board Reporter

“It’s a huge achievement. I’m very proud of how far we’ve gone with this team, getting better every hour of racing, and very proud of myself with what I’ve learned and how I performed and fit in well within the team,” Charrez explains. She’s certainly come a long way since her days sailing on the Bay as a UC Berkeley student. As with all good things, this project too must come to an end, she says with just a touch of sadness. “… I wish this project kept going. It was a perfect adventure, all along. Thank you, Erik Brockmann, for this unforgettable opportunity.” Who knows what’s coming next for Charrez? We’ll see where her next race will be, especially pending decisions after participating in this week’s qualifiers for the America’s Cup Swiss team, Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

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