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August 28, 2023

Randall Reeves, Harmon Shragge and ‘Moli’ Departing for Alaska

This past Saturday we joined a crowd of well-wishers at the Sausalito Yacht Club who came by to wish Randall Reeves and his new crew member, Harmon Shragge, as they prepare to head out the Gate. If you know Randall and Harmon’s sailing history, you know they’re probably not headed south in the fall for some warm tropical paradise. The plan is to leave, weather permitting, on Tuesday and take the Great Circle route north to Homer, Alaska, with the goal of arriving in early October.

Randall Reeves and Harmon Shragge
Randall Reeves and Harmon Shragge show off the chart for their planned voyage. As a backup, they have GPS and Starlink.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

As you may recall, Randall Reeves is a veteran of two singlehanded circumnavigations, one continuing into the epic 40,000-mile Figure 8 Voyage around the Earth and the Americas. Harmon has appeared in the pages of Latitude 38 as a veteran of the Clipper Race and the Singlehanded Transpacific Race. The pair met as volunteers for the Farallon Patrol, bringing people and supplies to the scientists on the Farallon Islands. This led to a plan for another voyage around the Americas over the course of three or four years. The map above shows the intended route, which includes the “wrong-way” rounding of Cape Horn in a couple of years.

Randall, Moli, Hawiaan Chieftan
Randall and Moli were both looking fit and ready for their next voyaging challenge.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The first leg of the voyage will take them to Homer, AK, where the boat will be put on the hard and stored until May, when they plan to resume the trek north with the intention of reaching Point Barrow, the northernmost point of the US at 71 degrees north, by early July. Then, if the ice breaks up in the Northwest Passage, they will head east with the goal of reaching Nova Scotia by the end of summer or early next fall. The boat will again be put on the hard for the winter. In spring 2025 the voyage will resume as the sailors head south to eventually round Cape Horn, with the dive to 57 degrees south delivering the uphill battle against the prevailing Southern Hemisphere trade winds.

Randall and Moli
Marianne Armand caught Randall, Harmon and Moli out on the Bay as they prepare for departure.
© 2023 Marianne Armand

As part of the evolving world of voyaging, Moli is now departing with Starlink aboard, so we hope they use their bandwidth and occasional calm seas to help us follow along a bit more closely. You can follow Randall, Harmon and Moli on their tracker here.

We all wish you fair winds and following seas.

It’s Not Too Late To Ha-Ha; Sign-Up Deadline Extended

As the Latitude 38 Baja Ha-Ha Fall Crew List Party approaches, the Ha-Ha Poobah has realized that closing registrations for this year’s cruisers’ rally to Mexico on September 1 may be a little premature. Because how many people will be attending the Crew List Party on September 7 and realizing that they’re about to miss out on one of the best sailing adventures around? Fortunately, the Poobah is a wizened, crusty old sailor and caught his error in time. Now, anyone who wants to join the the “This Might Be the Last Time” Baja Ha-Ha has until September 10 to sign up!

“By extending the deadline,” he says, “it gives folks on the fence about signing up a chance to learn more about the Ha-Ha, grill Assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven, and meet folks who are doing the Ha-Ha, and other folks who are looking for crew positions on the Ha-Ha.”

Right now the Ha-Ha entrants stand at 105 boats and crew. That’s a ton of fun right there! The latest entry is Steve Green of Golden, CO, signing up with his Corsair 31R Mamacita, proving that you don’t have to be from California to join the sail south.

Baja Ha-Ha
Which would you rather have — fun in the sun, or rainy winter days at home?
© 2023

Now, here’s a reminder about the upcoming Fall Crew List Party and Baja Ha-Ha Seminar/Reunion. The afternoon kicks off with a Mexico Cruising Seminar at 4:30 p.m. This will be an excellent opportunity to get the latest news about the ins and outs of sailing into Mexico from the region’s cruising experts, and to catch up with other Ha-Ha skippers and crew, old and new! Then, at 6 p.m., the Crew List Party kicks off with a no-host wine and beer bar, door prizes, and free snacks.

The Seminar and Crew Party are free for skippers and first mates whose boats have signed up for the Ha-Ha. NOTE: Although it is free for Ha-Ha skippers and first mates, we still ask that you “purchase” a ticket so we can make sure you get a seat for the seminar.

The entry fee is $10 cash for all others, except $5 for those lucky enough to be 25 and under. The location is the Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito. For full details and tickets got to L38 Crew & Ha-Ha Party Time.

Crew Party
Call of the Sea will offer tours of the Matthew Turner for Latitude 38 Fall Crew List Party guests from 3 5 p.m.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

In other Ha-Ha news, the Poobah heard from his friends down south that Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hilary did have an effect on parts of Baja. Here’s what he learned:

“Fun and funky Turtle Bay, the first stop in every Baja Ha-Ha, probably took the hardest hit from Hilary, of any populated area on Baja. They were the bulls-eye.

“As the eye was going to pass right over them, they first got hit with winds to 80 knots from the east, and a short time later, as Hilary passed, they got hit with winds in the same speed range from the south.

“Many of the structures at Turtle Bay are flimsy, to say the least, and we have no idea how many have been damaged and how badly. But we know that they lost the internet and electricity, and no doubt the unpaved road to the Transpeninsular Highway is a shambles.

“The good news is that our dear old friend Rojelio, who ran the humble beer depository on the beach for decades, tells us that nobody was killed. I’m not sure how he knows, as he was in La Paz when Hilary hit, but that’s the report he gives us.”

With all of the above in mind, remember, if you snooze you lose; those who hesitate are lost — or in this case, left behind. One of these days is often none of these days. You can see what we’re getting at. Don’t wait, or it might be too late. Sign up for the 29th Baja Ha-Ha now.

Oakland Police Out to Lunch?

We don’t like to assume anything, so when a Latitude 38 reader sent us a photo of Oakland’s two police boats pulling into Sam’s in Tiburon on Friday, we didn’t want to assume they were there for lunch. It could be that they were on important police business. On the other hand, the reader sent us the photo knowing we’ve been covering the rising level of crime on the Estuary and the increasing number of crimes reported that go unanswered by the Oakland police.

Oakland Police at Sam's in Tiburon.
The Oakland Police arrived around lunchtime at Sam’s in Tiburon.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Reader

Despite video, photographs and physical evidence of stolen property next to illegally anchored-out boats, the Oakland police have been unable to respond to the satisfaction of those currently being affected. At their own personal risk, yacht club junior program managers and individuals have had to rescue their stolen boats, some already vandalized and stripped, from the perpetrators. Others report feeling unsafe trying to sleep aboard their boats at night. Boats, businesses and dock boxes have been broken into and vandalized.

Oakland Estuary advocate Brock de Lappe attended last Wednesday’s BCDC hearing on anchor-outs and commented, “There could not have been a greater, or more disheartening, dichotomy than what occurred at yesterday’s (August 23) BCDC Enforcement Committee meeting. The City of Sausalito and the RBRA (Richardson Bay Regional Authority) provided detailed presentations on their efforts to remove anchor-out vessels from Richardson Bay, with buyback programs and onshore housing subsidies. By contrast, no Oakland representative even bothered to attend the meeting, a complete slap in the face to a very concerned public.

“At a February 2022 BCDC meeting on this matter, a specified direction was presented that required the ‘removal of anchor outs and shoreline encampments within one year or by the end of February 2023.’ Oakland has ignored this very specific direction with apparent impunity.

“The boating community and liveaboard residents on the Oakland Estuary made it clear that the current state of lawlessness is absolutely intolerable.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the rising crime and the BCDC hearing, including comments from Outboard Motor Shop owner Craig Jacobsen, who described the thieves stealing life rafts and tools to take to their flotilla anchored out on the Estuary.

“It’s almost like the Wild West,” Steve Meckfessel, managing investor at Marina Village Yacht Harbor in Alameda, told the Chronicle.

As the RBRA on Richardson Bay has shown, solutions will always be controversial, but it is more than a policing issue. While reducing crime and threat to individuals is the first course of action, the agencies need to both hold individuals accountable and help find appropriate housing solutions for the illegal anchor-outs. Beyond the risk to individuals’ life and property is the environmental contamination on the Bay from the anchor-out community. People row, swim, paddle and play in these waters while, below the surface, sealife struggles to survive.

Often lost in the discussions of lawlessness, crime, homeless populations, anchor-outs and other ailments of the Estuary, is the vision of what a peaceful, restored and clean waterway would look like. The failure is attributable to a multitude of ineffective agencies responsible for the Estuary. It is depriving the citizens of Oakland and Alameda of safety, but it’s also a loss of what should be a source of pride and enjoyment. Wouldn’t it be cool to be an Oakland Marine Patrol police officer who gets off work, puts on their bathing suit and dives in for a swim? Or to go for a lunchtime row, paddle or sail? The Estuary photos below capture a small piece of how the community has, and should be able to have, fun in a safe, clean waterway.

Call of the Sea Seaward
A scene from a past visit to Jack London Square by Seaward from Call of the Sea, an organization that works hard to bring sailing opportunities to kids of all backgrounds.
© 2023 John
Cardboard boats at Encinal Yacht Club Summer Sailstice.
The cardboard boats built by competitors during a Summer Sailstice celebration often sink, to the laughter of the paddlers and contestants. They swim in the Estuary back to the dock. Tons of fun.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
ILCA sailing
The Estuary is one of the Bay’s best small-boat sailing areas. It’s a great place to race, sail, splash and swim in the calm East Bay sunshine.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Encinal Yacht Club
The Encinal Yacht Club Youth Program and Alameda Community Sailing are staffed by teenage instructors teaching youths and adults to sail. Both their programs, managed by many dedicated volunteers, have had their chase boats stolen and vandalized.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Latitude 38 readers continue to send photos, comments and feedback (“AMEN!! Thanks for writing this and keeping the issue on the front burner!”) regarding the state of the Estuary and inaction by the City and Port of Oakland and the Oakland Police. Being a peace officer is undoubtedly a tough job, but like any festering wound, things get worse if left unattended. We’re sure many Estuary residents would support the time and budget needed for a lunch run to Sam’s if it were in celebration of a job well done. For now, it’s terrible optics.

Racing into September

On This Week’s To Do List

Entries for the Rolex Big Boat Series will close at 9 p.m. this Thursday, August 31. The hosts promise “epic conditions over four days of racing, dynamic racecourses managed by a world-class race committee and memorable post-racing parties hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club. Competitors and spectators converge on San Francisco Bay September 13-17, 2023, to enjoy this second-to-none racing destination.” RBBS deadlines and contacts:

  • August 31: Entries Close. Register on Yachtscoring.
  • September 1: Rating Certificates due to [email protected].
  • September 7: Crew List due here.
  • Thursday the 14th Rolex Owners Dinner RSVP: Call (415) 563-6363
  • Saturday the 16th Crew Dinner RSVP: Call (415) 563-6363
J/105s tacking up the beach
Rolex Big Boat Series can be spectator-friendly, as boats sail up and down the Cityfront. We snapped this shot from the beach at Crissy Field.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Labor Day Weekend Regattas

The swan song of summer, the Jazz Cup is one last downwind run to a party at a warm destination. South Beach YC and Benicia YC host the event this Saturday, with SBYC sending racers off from north of Treasure Island and Benicia receiving the sailors and feting them with music, dinner, dancing and awards. A possible fly in the ointment this year: the complete closure of westbound I-80 from I-780 in Vallejo to Hwy. 4 in Hercules from Thursday, August 31, at 9 p.m. through Tuesday, September 5, at 5 a.m. — shore support logistics will need to get creative and be patient.

The trailer-sailer crowd may be interested in hitting the highway and heading to the Big Lagoon for the camp-out Redwood Regatta, hosted by Humboldt YC on September 2-3. The Big Lagoon is 35 miles north of Eureka on Hwy. 101.

Redwood Regatta on Big Lagoon
Redwood Regatta race on the Big Lagoon, with beach, ocean and fog in the background.
© 2023 Humboldt Yacht Club

More in September in Northern California

Berkeley YC will host a new race, the Big Windward-Leeward, on September 9. The course will feature a long beat out from Berkeley to Point Bonita and return (an alternate shorter course uses the Hank Easom/Yellow Bluff buoy as the windward mark). Learn more and register on Jibeset. Sailing Instructions are already available.

On the same Saturday, Singlehanders and Doublehanders will sail from Bay to Bay in the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Half Moon Bay Race.

Zaff and Twist start
The J/92 Zaff and J/120 Twist start the 2022 SSS Half Moon Bay Race in front of Golden Gate YC.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

On September 9-10, San Francisco YC will host the Knarr SF Bay Championship. Also on that weekend, Santa Cruz YC will run the Melges CA Cup.

“The much anticipated Tahoe Laser Fleet Championships (part of the Grand Prix Series) is coming up on September 9-10,” says Rick Raduziner. “We have an awesome group campsite for up to 50 people; $15 per night for individuals and $25 per night per family. Bring your regatta lawn chair for the giant bonfire. Friday night is a fun sail. Racing will be on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. You can sleep in. The regatta cocktail of the year is to be unveiled soon. The giant gas BBQ will be there for everyone’s convenience beginning Friday night.”

SFYC will host the Optimist PCCs on September 16-17.

South Beach YC’s all-women Red Bra Regatta will race on Saturday, September 23. The regatta promotes women in sailing and provides an opportunity for those who haven’t raced to learn the basics. More than 125 women participated in last year’s race. There were 20 boats in two spinnaker and one non-spinnaker divisions. The organizers are hoping that this year’s race will bring in 25 boats to add a second non-spinnaker division. Register on SBYC’s website. It’s a fun day on the water with a great party afterward in the San Francisco clubhouse.

Red Bra Regatta ladies
The crowd of women sailors at South Beach YC following the 2019 Red Bra Regatta.
© 2023 Katie Tenhner

On September 23-October 1, 5O5 sailors will compete for their World Championship at StFYC.

Corinthian YC in Tiburon will host the San Francisco Folkboat International Regatta on September 24-29. 

Richmond YC will go Totally Dinghy on September 30. Also on that Saturday, Sequoia YC will sail their Moonlight Marathon from Redwood City to Treasure Island and back.

On September 30-October 1, Moore 24 road warriors will take their Roadmaster Series to SFYC.

And in Southern California

Southwestern YC in San Diego will host the J/24 Corinthian Nationals West on September 6-10.

San Diego YC will run the Finn PCCs on September 9-10.

Los Angeles YC will welcome the Mercury PCCs on September 29-October 1.

Under 30? Take a Survey.

US Sailing’s One Design Committee has launched a survey to assess the sailing habits and demographic information for sailors between 18 and 30 years old. “The survey hopes to identify trends within sailing and the wider industry including use patterns, activity levels and attitudinal responses.” US Sailing hopes to better understand the trends of gender and racial diversity within sailing’s U30 demographic. They encourage everyone under 30 years old to participate. The results will be presented to US Sailing’s stakeholders — Class Associations, Member Organizations, US Sailing committee members and other interested maritime organizations. US Sailing asks that one-design classes, yacht clubs, sailing programs and teams share the survey with their 18- to 30-year-old participants. It takes about seven minutes to complete. Participation is anonymous. The survey will close on September 1, 2023. Take it here: