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November 29, 2023

SailGP Team USA Announces New Ownership With New Skipper Taylor Canfield

Seismic changes have radically altered the SailGP landscape just days before the next event in Dubai, UAE. Team USA has announced a change in ownership, just as CEO and driver Jimmy Spithill broke the news that he will be forming a new team based in Italy, where he currently is returning co-helmsman on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s America’s Cup team.

Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield have brought in technology investor and founding Uber engineer Ryan McKillen and his wife Margaret McKillen, who bring significant sailing experience in their own right with their J/70 Magatron. They are joined by a diverse group of investors representing the sport, technology, entertainment and media industries led by Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry, who is the lead investor in what will be the largest team acquisition in SailGP history, and will include University of Michigan basketball legend Katelynn Flaherty Yates and several prominent NFL players, among others.

Team USA SailGP new owners
L to R: Taylor Canfield, Ryan McKillen, Mike Buckley
© 2023 Laura Muma/SailGP

Canfield has participated intermittently in SailGP over the last few years, most recently taking over flight controller duties for the injured Hans Henken, which resulted in a victory for Team USA in Cadiz, Spain.

A five-time Congressional Cup winner with multiple other match-racing world championships under his belt, Canfield added, “I have always dreamed of racing in SailGP with an all-American team. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I have been preparing for this moment since I was a child. The notion that there is not enough talent in the US gives us all a little more fuel to our fire as we prepare for a long fight.”

Taylor Canfield, flight controller of USA SailGP Team, lifts a USA flag as the team celebrate winning the Spain Sail Grand Prix.
© 2023 Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

Under the new SailGP Team USA structure, Ryan McKillen will serve as chairman, and Mike Buckley as chief executive officer.

“By bringing together this remarkable group to acquire the United States SailGP Team, we have reached an important milestone in the growth of our sport,” US SailGP Team co-owner and chairman McKillen said. “As sailors, we love this sport and want to introduce it to millions; as entrepreneurs, we recognize the potential and growth trajectory of SailGP and how our US SailGP Team can introduce the future of on-water racing at the highest level. Our incredible ownership group is a testament to the growth and expansion of SailGP into the mainstream.”

US SailGP Team co-owner and CEO Mike Buckley commented, “We believe that diversity is a competitive advantage and it needs to start at the top. We have assembled the most diverse ownership group in the history of our sport. Collectively, we have an enormous amount of work to do on and off the water, but I think that I have shown I am not going to back down from this important challenge.”

Pegasus Voyages
A crew aboard Pegasus Voyages, whose motto is “No child left ashore.” Pegasus Voyages, Treasure Island Sailing Center, Bluewater Sailing and Call of the Sea are among many local organizations that are already working hard to bring diversity to sailing and would applaud SailGP’s efforts at inclusion.
© 2023 Pegasus Voyages

“It’s a monumental day here in the US SailGP Team family, and we are thrilled to share the news that we have new ownership and an exciting group of investors!” Team USA press officer Laura Muma exclaimed. “The balance of the crew will be announced next week, and SailGP has granted the team extra practice days in preparation for the event in Dubai.”

According to SailGP media director Sacha Kemp, “Boat 11 is in build and will be finished at our new SailGP Technologies facility in the UK, so the plan at present is for Jimmy and the Italian team to have that boat in Season 5.”

With all that, Spithill has announced his departure, indicating the sale of the team, and will no longer race with the American team.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved on and off the water with the US team,” Spithill said to AP’s Bernie Wilson. “When I took over for Season 2, the team had just finished last overall in Season 1 and had no sponsors. I immediately took the team to the Grand Final, added multiple sponsors, and as a team we experienced multiple wins, including the last event in Spain.”

Spithill also announced his intention to launch an Italian team for SailGP’s Season 5, immediately following the completion of the Olympics and America’s Cup.

“I’ve competed in and for Italy multiple times in my career, and the fans are the most passionate and loyal I’ve ever experienced,” Spithill said. “There is no doubt in my mind we will see a lot of interest in the team, a lot of amazing athletes, and I look forward to releasing more details early next year.”

SailGP skipper Jimmy Spithill will be leaving Team USA to form a new team in Italy.
© 2023 Mark Reid

“More than just racing, SailGP is also a leader in purpose and inclusivity, and it is inspiring to see women competing with men and breaking barriers in sport,” said Katelynn Flaherty Yates, former University of Michigan women’s basketball player.

Dubai is the sixth stop on SailGP’s Season 4 global calendar. The league returns to North America in spring 2024, with events every month beginning with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix (May 4-5) and the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix in Halifax (June 1-2).

The first chance for the US SailGP Team to race in front of its American fans will be on Summer Sailstice weekend in New York, June 22-23, at the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix, followed by the SailGP Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco on July 13-14.

Good Jibes #118: Bill Kreysler on Business Lessons From Sailing

This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by sailor-turned-entrepreneur Bill Kreysler to chat about sailing and business. Bill spent 10 years building performance racing sailboats, and has spent the last 40 years owning and operating Kreysler & Associates, a custom fabrication firm building composite products for architectural, artistic, and industrial applications.

Find out how Bill got started in building Lasers.
© 2023 Bill Kreysler

Hear how Bill got into sailing, about his transition from sailboats to anything but boats, how lessons from sailing still apply to his business today, about his many years serving on the board of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, and of his work to inspire more youth sailing.

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

  • What was Bill’s first boat?
  • How did he sail so much in college?
  • What does Kreysler & Associates do?
  • How do you volunteer at the Treasure Island Sailing Center?
  • Where did Bill grow up?
  • How did he start sailing on different boats?
  • What did his parents do?
  • Short Tacks: Who would Bill love to have coffee with?

Learn more about Bill at and

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

Drake’s Bay: A World Away and Close to Home

The four-day Thanksgiving forecast was gorgeous, and with both our daughters home for the weekend, we were determined to get a night out on the boat. Sadly, a severe head cold almost foiled plans, but holding off until Saturday night and armed with DayQuil, NyQuil and all the healthy herbs known to humankind, we took off for a night at Drake’s Bay. About 26 miles from Point Bonita until you can drop the hook makes it a good distance for a long daysail. If there’s wind.

Northbound to Drake's Bay
It was sunny, fresh sailing northbound to Drake’s Bay, with crew Spencer Dillon, Leslie, Hannah and Sarah.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Beneath clear skies and a nice morning northeasterly breeze in the Bay, a very helpful ebb current flushed us out to Point Bonita in no time, though we did note that the current would probably be less helpful on our return. The Bonita Channel was reasonable, but the surf hitting under the lighthouse reminded us to keep clear of Potato Patch, which had some stunning rollers with a few cresting waves. Thankfully, they all settled down as we headed north through the deeper water of the channel. It wasn’t long before the wind faded to motorsailing conditions, and then more motoring than sailing.

There was lots of sealife, with porpoises heading out the Gate, a couple of whale spouts, and lots of bird life and sea lions. It never ceases to amaze us how little you have to sail before being completely detached from our busy metro area. Muir Beach, Stinson Beach and Bolinas all look small from not far offshore. The coastal range, Mount Tam and the Point Reyes National Seashore dominate the coastal scenery that wouldn’t have looked that different before Sir Francis Drake arrived almost 500 years ago.

Drakes Bay
A colorful, remote scene on a placid Drake’s Bay evening.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We set a plow anchor with plenty of scope in about 15 feet of water at near low tide, in a very calm and surprisingly uncrowded harbor. (Besides during the Drake’s Bay Race, has anyone ever seen it crowded?) In fact, we were the only ones there. We’re not sure how often people take a single overnight up to Drake’s Bay, but with the right forecast, it’s a stunning, remote destination that is amazingly protected from almost every direction but the east. You’d be correct in guessing that the very calm evening gave way to rising breezes from the east for the night as we attempted to sleep. It wasn’t too many hours after we’d had cheese, crackers, cocktails and NyQuil on deck that the scene changed.

Full Moon Rising over Drake's Bay
An Apple iPhone does an amazing job catching the full moon rising over Drake’s Bay.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Fortunately, the “kids” prepared an excellent meal while we nursed our cold, and dinner and the evening went as smoothly as could be. We said good night to a nearly full moon before, at around 11 p.m., a bit of breeze began to riffle through the rigging and some slight ripples started to tap under the hull. It was never too much breeze, but the long fetch meant the chop built, the boat rocked, and a quiet night’s sleep would have to wait until we got home. Periodic checks topside showed the anchor holding firm and the chafing gear doing its job, while tending a few rattles limited some of the noise. But sunrise couldn’t really come soon enough. No one was sleeping much, and eying the visible shoreline confirmed we weren’t dragging toward danger.

Sunrise on Drake's Bay
We were awake much of the night, allowing us to catch a nice sunrise and our first visual of the waves that didn’t rock us to sleep.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We managed some delicious pancakes in the bouncy conditions before strong backs lifted the well-set anchor more easily than we might have imagined. Was it really well set? We then motored east to cheat ourselves a little way to weather before bearing off on a close reach for the offshore breeze home. We couldn’t quite fetch the entrance to Bonita Channel, and knowing the power of the ebb awaiting us around the corner, we decided to furl the jib, fire up the diesel, and motorsail with main only, through the channel. The waves on Potato Patch were again impressive, but with a couple of center-console fishing boats riding them up and down, we felt far from the danger.

Southbound from Drakes Bay
Though we didn’t get much sleep, the brisk breeze made for a lively southbound return to the Bay.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We did have to power past Bonita Lighthouse, where our speed over ground dropped from six to three knots, but curling into Bonita Cove got us back up over six knots, and hugging the Marin shore had us repeating the three knots at the points, and six knots plus tucked into the coves. The joyride out the day before was now a fight back into the Bay.

Our overnight was about 34 hours round trip, but we felt as though we’d sailed a world away from the hustle and bustle we crossed under as we entered the Gate. We couldn’t feel luckier to find these moments when the family is together, and somehow even the cold seemed to diminish for the duration. With good forecasts you can find great escapes for fall cruising in the Bay Area, even if it doesn’t always result in a good night’s sleep.

DeWitt El Toro Mural Progress Report

A few weeks after posting Sally DeWitt’s story on the Jim DeWitt El Toro mural being created on the south wall of the new building along West Cutting Boulevard in Richmond, we received an update from yacht broker Jeff Jorgensen, who works down the street at Naos Yachts in the Maritime Centre.

The pictures below show the progress of the huge piece of public art that brings sailing ashore for all to see. As Jeff noted, “[T]he building is really just a ‘big box’ they are decorating the Cutting Boulevard side with a nice sailing image. I was happy to see tribute to the El Toro boats that I learned to sail when I was 8, on Lake Merritt in Oakland. Maybe not surprising to see the sail numbers so high for this iconic model though; mine was hull #514!”

The scale and color of this Jim DeWitt original along West Cutting will bring a smile to any sailor who drives by.
© 2023 Jeff Jorgensen

There are thousands of sailors who started sailing in El Toros, including Jim DeWitt, Paul Cayard and John Kostecki, Jeff Jorgensen and many, many more. Have we left any names off the list of who started in El Toros? Of course we have. We suspect a few million people have sailed El Toros since they were introduced in Richmond in 1940.

The famed colors of Jim DeWitt are brightening up West Cutting Boulevard.
© 2023 Jeff Jorgensen
You’ll see it next time you’re driving down West Cutting on the way to race at Richmond Yacht Club in Point Richmond.
© 2023 Jeff Jorgensen

Jeff (and Sally too), thanks for keeping us up to date with the kind of “waterfront development” we like to see.

A Preview of December Midwinter Racing (and More)

Midwinter Racing for Small Boats

A few more Midwinter Series join the fun in December. To present this much-shorter-than-usual monthly preview, we’ll ‘borrow’ (steal?) from the Nash Flash, a feature of the Bull Session, which is the email newsletter of the El Toro International Yacht Racing Association.

“Registration is now open for the 2023-2024 Richmond Yacht Club Small Boat Midwinters,” writes El Toro sailor Gordie Nash. “Race dates are first Sundays of the month: December 3, January 7, February 4 and March 3.” RYC will run the racing on three course areas for monohull centerboard dinghies, plus Wylie Wabbits, Thistles, Ultimate 20s and Mercurys. “Now is the time to get ready for this weekend’s start of the winter series racing. Can you believe it is December already? This is a great opportunity to get out on the water with lots of old friends and a few younger sailors as well.” Learn more and register here:

El Toros and Sunfish racing
Sunfish and El Toros race in Richmond Harbor during RYC’s Small Boat Midwinters (see above). Both classes also participate in LMSC’s Edna and Howard Robinson Memorial Midwinters (see below).
© 2023 Ira Potekhina / White Raven Media

“Then it’s time for the Lake Merritt Winter Series,” continues the Nash Flash. “Flat water, light, shifty winds, a nice quiet lake to sail on.” The full schedule is: Saturday, December 9; Sunday, January 14; Saturday, February 10; and Sunday, March 10. “All races to be sailed on beautiful Lake Merritt in the heart of downtown Oakland. Enter Lakeside Park on Bellevue at Grand Avenue. Proceed to Sailboat House launch area.” Lake Merritt Sailing Club doesn’t have a website; for more info, call Commodore Denis Hazlewood at (707) 338-6955. In-person registration will begin at 9:30 each morning.

More Midwinters

Additional Midwinter Series will begin in January. We’ll preview those in a late-December post. Many more kicked off in November, but you can still join the fun. See the Calendar section of Latitude 38, or view the corresponding web page at

Planning for Next Summer’s Pacific Cup

Did you mark your 2024 calendar for July 15? If so, you may be one of the hundreds of sailors planning to participate in next summer’s Pacific Cup. And if you’re planning to race, you’ll want to mark your 2023 calendar for Sunday, December 3. That’s the date of Pacific Offshore Academy #1. Berkeley YC will host the seminar from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. The fee will be $25 (that includes one drink ticket good at the BYC bar). Topics and presenters will include:

  • Offshore Rigging, Scott Easom
  • Electrical, Eric Steinberg
  • Communications Gear, Eric Steinberg and Michael Moradzadeh
  • Inspections and the PCER [equipment requirements], Jim Quanci
  • Boat Weighing and Ratings, Buzz Blackett
  • Container Logistics, Katie Cornetta
  • Offshore Sail Selection, Seadon Wijsen

See more details and register at

Celebrating 2023

In addition to this being the holiday season, we’re also in the thick of awards season. So we’d like to remind the hundreds of people who sailed in a Singlehanded Sailing Society race this year that the SSS will hold their annual awards presentation at Richmond YC on Sunday, December 10, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

DIY Solutions
After an exciting sail into port under westerlies and a wind-against-current chop, The Resourceful Sailor finds the leech line of the jib partially extracted and wrapped around the starboard sheet. Whoops …