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December 22, 2023

‘Latitude’ Crew Are Out for the Holidays

It’s almost Christmas. We’re taking this opportunity to have a little rest before we launch into the new year and another 12 months of gathering, curating and publishing fun, interesting and informative sailing content for your reading enjoyment.

We’re not abandoning readers entirely next week; we’ll still be posting ‘Lectronic Latitude, including a verbatim episode of Good Jibes, and a report on the Rolex Sydney Hobart race that starts on December 26 (Down Under Time). But we will be back in full swing on Wednesday, January 3. In the meantime, we wish you a safe, warm and happy Christmas and New Year.

The Lahaina Fires Left 2700 Families Without Stable Housing

January 8 will mark five months of being shuffled among hotels, motels and Airbnbs for thousands of displaced Lahaina residents. Tiny-house communities are finally popping up, but there isn’t a tree for miles, and “Lahaina” translates into relentless sun in Hawaiian.

Lahaina Harbor
The fire is long over but Lahaina will be struggling to recover for a long time.
© 2023

One local nonprofit is using salvaged superyacht sails to create custom shade solutions ranging from rooftops and awnings to community spaces and parks.

Latitude has been following Sail to Shelter for a couple of years. The mission of the organization is to transform decommissioned elite sails into shade and shelter for humanitarian aid. The dead-sail problem is as old as sailing. We all know it. Bags are great, but some of these sails are 13,000 square feet of some of the most technically advanced material on the planet. Founder Angela Abshier is committed to reconstructing them into valuable shade and shelter and creating jobs for locals in the process.

Former Maui resident and sailmaker Barry Spanier commented, “In my long career as a sailmaker, I worked on fabric development and testing of all types. The materials in these huge sails (three-ply Spectra with carbon inserts, maybe 18oz sailmaker weight) will make long-lasting, super-tough shade and shelter. I have cut it, sewed it, and there has even been on-site testing of prototype samples that shows us it is worth investing the time and energy required to get it cooling the areas around the temporary housing being made available to displaced Lahaina residents.

“The Lahaina situation is extraordinary. An entire town has been wiped away; it is Christmas, and so many have no place that is home. My son, Cutter, is among them, and he is ready to put his sewing and sailmaking skills to work to help secure a safe haven for himself and many others. I fully support Sail to Shelter and Angela’s effort to help not only Lahaina, but anywhere these materials can be of benefit.”

Using sails as an alternative building material is a story in itself. At this time of year, the story is about support.

So much of the Sail to Shelter mission is achieved through partnerships. Material, designs, overwater freight and storage for tons of material have all been donated through generous private donors as well as corporate support from CO Architects, Ocean Voyages Institute and Matson. But once the material arrives at its destination, Sail to Shelter relies on donations to hire locally. Donations go directly to local labor on the island. The sails are en route to Maui. They are asking for donations now. If you want to make an immediate impact for families who lost everything, please consider making a donation here.

How Many Days a Year Do You Sail the Bay?

Emeryville sailor Craig Russell wrote us last week to ask about other people’s sailing habits. “How many days a year do you sail the Bay?” he asked of our readership. Craig is a longtime Latitude reader and has sailed in seven Baja Ha-Ha’s, often on other people’s boats, as he commented on our June story, “Could This Be the Last Year for the Ha-Ha?

“I have had some very unique experiences on the Ha-Ha over my seven voyages to Cabo,” Craig wrote. “I arrive in San Diego (boatless) on Friday before the start. I knock on hulls and network until I find a boat that needs help. Last year there were few slips available so they created an anchorage just for Ha-Ha boats. I rented a jet ski and knocked on hulls. By Sunday night, I always found a boat. Some with families, some couples, and Go For Broke in 2011. I always look forward to the great people I have met on the Ha-Ha and several are still friends 13 years later. Thank you to all the great folks and friends I have met on the water!”

In 2017 Craig bought the Jeanneau 40 Aquarius for a voyage to Z-town [Zihuantanejo, Mexico, aka Zihua] and back, adding that he’s been sailing on the Bay for the last 40 years. “Needless to say, I am addicted to sailing and it is my passion,” Craig wrote.

Jeanneau 40 sailing
Aquarius under sail.
© 2023 Craig Russell

And here’s where his question comes in: “Currently, I am sailing about 200 days a year in day sails and trips to the Delta and Monterey. A lot of days it seems I am the only boat out there.”

And so, with thanks to Craig for raising the question, we ask you, dear readers, “How many days a year do you sail the Bay?”

We’re also very interested in seeing your answers. Let us know in the comments below.

An Upgraded View of Sailing Into Ayala Cove

A couple of months ago, reader Jeff Berman aboard the Tartan 4000 Maverick shared his tips on entering Clipper Cove. Recently Jeff upgraded his sonar data to Navionics, and captured a video of his trek through Ayala Cove. We thought it was pretty cool to watch, so here it is:

Jeff’s data is now in the Navionics app.

Ayala Cove chart
Jeff’s been making helpful additions to the Navionics app.
© 2023 Jeffrey Berman

If you’re sailing Ayala Cove this holiday season, let us know if this was helpful!