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July 31, 2023

Ronnie Simpson and David Linger Prep for Global Solo Challenge

While in Maine, we stopped by the Maine Yacht Center in Portland to see Ronnie Simpson, who is preparing his 1994 Open 50 Sparrow for his start in the Global Solo Challenge from A Coruña, Spain, on October 28. The Global Solo Challenge is a singlehanded, unassisted, around-the-world sailing event, with boats grouped in “by performance” characteristics, and setting off in successive departures starting on August 26.

While at the Maine Yacht Center we also ran into Dave Linger, a Seattle sailor who was preparing his 2006 Class 40 Koloa Maoli, and who will start on the same date as Ronnie. Both boats are closing in on final preparations before they cross the North Atlantic ahead of the fall starting dates. Ronnie has already done the 2,000-mile qualifying sail, while David will be using his transatlantic voyage to qualify.

Ronnie Simpson Sparrow
Ronnie Simpson by the freshly pained keel of Sparrow, just ahead of launching from the Maine Yacht Center.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The smaller boats will start on August 26, and the final fleet is scheduled to start on December 9. The pursuit format is set so the first boat to cross the finish line wins!

We had a great conversation with Ronnie, whose energy and enthusiasm were on full display. He’s in pursuit of a victory in the Global Sailing Challenge as a stepping stone for an opportunity to compete in the Vendée Globe. He’s been working hard to prep the boat while still searching for a title sponsor to help carry him to victory in the event. Many marine industry companies have stepped in to help, while individual contributions can be made on his website.

A video of Ronnie’s adventure is being put together, with the recently released first trailer created by filmmaker Aidan Gray.

Ronnie described how grateful he’s been to sailing for raising him out of his post-Iraq war injuries and recovery, to now — 130,000-plus miles of sailing, with a tremendous number of sailing community mentors and supporters helping him along the way.

Sparrow looked clean and fast as she rested in the shed at the Maine Yacht Center, waiting for an evening high-tide launch.

David Linger is a lifelong sailor from Seattle with over 20,000 sailing miles, whose heroes include Chichester, Colas and Tabarly. He’s done a number of offshore doublehanded races and some deliveries back from Hawaii in the ’80s and ’90s, but more recently has been involved in local and international Six-Meter racing. His sailing/marine trade experience includes building boats with Schooner Creek Boatworks in Oregon.

David Linger Koloa Maoli Global Solo Challenge
David Linger aboard Koloa Maoli as he prepares for the Global Solo Challenge.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

He’ll be racing his new-to-him 2006 Jazz Marine Class 40 Koloa Maoli (ex-Bolands Mill), designed by Owen Clark Design. He gives a lot of credit to his twin sister, younger brother and girlfriend (a rigger in the NW) for helping him prepare for the event. David is sailing his boat in Maine and looking to outfit it with some added equipment, including a heater to help in the deep southern latitudes. At present, he’s completing system upgrades while doing shakedown sails off the coast of Maine before he heads east for Spain and his 2,000-mile qualifier.

Both Ronnie and David are head-down, hard at work while singing the praises of Maine Yacht Center and its general nanager, singlehanded sailor Brian Harris, as an ideal place to fit out for such a demanding endeavor.

We wish both sailors the best of luck in their upcoming challenge.

Donald Lawson Update and Statement from Wife “Tori”

Donald Lawson was en route from Acapulco to Baltimore when is his ORMA 60 Defiant encountered difficulties. His wife Jacqueline, who also goes by Tori, reported her concerns for his safety on July 14. His capsized boat was spotted from the air on July 23. Due to the sea state, the boat could not be reached until Thursday, July 27. At that time the Mexican navy said there was no one aboard the vessel.

In a statement released by Tori’s spokesperson Ray Feldmann yesterday, it was reported that Defiant’s liferaft is not with the boat. This gives a glimmer of hope that Captain Lawson is alive, and drifting, hopefully where he can be spotted or reach safety. In the statement, Tori expresses her thanks to the community “… for all the phone calls, emails, text messages, and social media posts that my family and I have received.”

The written statement issued on Instagram.
© 2023 Jacqueline Lawson

The Baltimore Sun reports that Lawson’s drysuit was found on the boat on Friday. The search crews also found Defiant‘s small green dinghy, which was empty.

Classic ‘Latitude 38’ Magazine Covers Are Works of Art

Since the earliest days, Latitude 38 has been looking out for sailors’ best interests. Check out one of the earliest issues from December 1977 — we’ve turned our Classic Covers into T-shirts so you can carry the wisdom from the past into your sailing present!

Our first issues were works of art — check out these classic covers!
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

The editors were watching the wind and seas in December, noting, “One look from the Marin headlands confirmed suspicions that the seasons had changed. The South swell that is the result of storms of Mexico had been replaced by a North swell from the Aleutians. This north swell was a grumbler with awesome waves breaking for miles out to sea on both sides of the shipping channel.”

Right now we’re in the thick of the cold summertime winds gusting in the Bay — gotta stay sharp. But that issue of Latitude 38 had some good wisdom for us: “Winter is also the time sailors get lulled into a false sense of security around the dock. Lines are often secured casually on tranquil afternoons, only to break loose a few days later in a howling norther. Make sure your boat is secure for all weather conditions, not just those that prevail at the time you leave the dock. We don’t really like to write stuff like this, but we sure don’t want to write about mishaps a few months from now.”

Latitude 38 classic cover on a hike!
A Latitude 38 classic cover T-shirt spotted hiking in the Swiss Alps!
© 2023 Zack Dinh

All that fun summer sailing you’re doing is really the result of a lot of care and work behind the scenes in your off-season. Enjoy your summer sailing and stay safe out there. And while you’re at it, you can wear a piece of Latitude 38 history this summer. Visit our store, where we’ve got classic cover T-shirts, and be sure to send us a quick pic of yourself in your new Latitude 38 shirt!

‘Latitude 38’s August Issue Is Out Tomorrow!

The August issue of Latitude 38 is just around the corner. We’ve put together a “racy” one for this month, with reports on the 2023 Transpac and the Singlehanded Transpacific Race, and of course the monthly Racing Sheet. But you’ll have to hold fast just one more day — the magazine lands tomorrow! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find inside.

Transpac — Thursday’s Child

Participants revere the Transpac for its consistent, warm, sunny downwind ride to Hawaii. However, that reputation for a constant downwind pleasure ride masks the intricate subtleties that make or break competitors’ best-laid plans. As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race — A Record-Breaking Year

Max Crittenden made his return to Northern California and the SHTP with his Martin 32 Iniscaw.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

A moderate morning southwesterly built to a good breeze outside the Gate. So good, in fact, that even the slowest boats made it out past the Farallon Islands that afternoon. By 24 hours into the race, all had left the islands far behind and had dipped south on a fast reach. Unfortunately, one of them took a knockdown. With autopilots out of order and some bruising to his body, Tony Bourque turned his Freedom 40/40 Circe around while he was still close enough to hand-steer home to RYC.

Still Wylie After All These Years

Tom Wylie has pulled off an extraordinary achievement. We’re not just talking about his boats, which are marvelous in their own right and diverse in appearance, materials and rigging, but always connected by the common thread of sleek, refined elegance. Warwick “Commodore” Tompkins, who owns the Wylie 39 Flash Girl, said of the new Wylie-designed C3, “A lovely but wicked boat,” referring to the speed that seemingly permeates from the low freeboard and sheerline. But it is Tom Wylie’s longevity that has separated him from the pack.

August issue latitude 38
Tom Wylie has been called “John Muir of the sea” for his efforts to combat climate change by greening watercraft.
© 2023 Mitch Tobias

San Francisco Sea Scouts

When it comes to accessing the waterfront in San Francisco, your first thought might be to join a yacht club or sailing school. But with rising costs of living, the typical avenues for learning to sail can be costly and out of reach for families with kids hoping to learn to sail. That’s where the San Francisco Sea Scouts come in. For more than 50 years, the San Francisco Sailing Whaleboat Association (SFSWA) has supported the San Francisco Sea Scouts.

The Sea Scout Ship Viking has taken boatloads of kids “out to sea.”
© 2023 S.F Sea Scouts

Plus, we bring you all your favorite, regular columns:

  • Letters: Kind of a Lot of Traffic on the Pacific; A Dearth of Slips South of the Border; The Starlink Debate Continues; and many, many more.
  • Sightings: A Photographer’s View of Sailing the Bay; Raising a Golden Retriever Puppy on a Boat; How Can We Ever Describe Today?; and other stories.
  • Max Ebb Waxes Poetic.
  • Changes in Latitudes: Azimuth‘s arrival in Chesapeake Bay; a retrospective on cruising aboard Mar half a century ago; two unexpected solo ocean crossings aboard Sparklemuffin; and a forepeak full of cruise notes.
  • Racing Sheet: The YRA’s Westpoint Regatta and Half Moon Bay Race, a pair of regattas north and south for classic woodies, BAMA’s Doublehanded Farallones Race, Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week and the Moore 24 Nationals comprise this edition of Racing Sheet. Copious Box Scores fill in some of the blanks.
  • Loose Lips: Check out the July Caption Contest(!) winners.
  • The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.

If you’ve subscribed to Latitude 38, you should receive your issue shortly. If you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing out, but you can still pick up your copy from your favorite distributor.

Calendar Alert: Galilee Harbor Maritime Day and 5th Avenue Marina Neighborhood Sale

It’s great fun to be out on the water, sailing, but sometimes staying ashore can be just as much fun. We’re referring to events created by sailors that are fun for the whole community. There are two such fun, salty events coming up this month — Galilee Harbor’s Maritime Day, and 5th Avenue Marina’s Neighborhood Sale!

Galilee Harbor is holding its annual Maritime Day on Saturday, August 5. This is a free event for the entire family. Learn about wooden boat building from the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding, raise a cheer for the dinghy-dash race, tour open boats, and take a free boat ride aboard Galilee Harbor’s own SV Carodon. Shop the popular marine flea market and artist booths, and be sure to purchase a ticket for the Olde Tyme Jar Raffle to win prizes donated by local merchants. Or just relax by the Bay, listen to live music, and catch sight of the habor’s resident great blue heron and fellow egrets off the Mono Street marsh. Gates are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free! Location: 300 Napa St, Sausalito.

Galilee Habor flyer
It’s always a fun day.
© 2023

Next up on the salty “land-based” events is the 5th Avenue Marina’s Neighborhood Sale on Saturday, August 12. This annual “Summer Cleaning Sale” is full of nautical-themed gear — treasure, oddities and curiosities, along with vintage clothing, costumes, jewels, and much more. They usually throw a good party along with it, so if you’re looking for a good day out, this is sure to please. Gates open at 10 a.m. and close “whenever.” Location: 499 Embarcadero and 1 Fifth Avenue, Oakland.

Did you know? August 12 is National Garage Sale Day — perfect!!
© 2023 John Fredericks