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January 15, 2024

Just In: Boat Washed Ashore on Baker Beach

Moments before hitting the publish button on today’s ‘Lectronic, we received this photo of a sailboat washed up on Baker Beach from Bay Area sailor Kimball Livingston. 

As we understand, the boat, Lorelei, belongs to Chris Escalante who told Kimball, “This was the second time in 72 hours my boat has been cut loose. The boat is still sailable, but BoatUS won’t tow me off unless they can take me to a slip. That’s all I lack. I have insurance. I just need a slip.”

Chris is currently salvaging what he can from aboard his boat Lorelei.
© 2024 China Beach Swim Pod

We’ll be reaching out to Chris to learn more. 

You can support Latitude 38’s local sailing news when you click here

Sausalito’s Working Waterfront Takes Center Stage in Innovation

As the Bay Area faces a slow but continual assault on its waterfront property from developers looking for real estate dollars, the Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition (SWWC) is continuing its mission to retain the Marinship waterfront as a home for maritime businesses, industrial activities, and the artist community. The organization describes itself as “a coalition of Sausalito’s maritime craftspeople, technology innovators, industrial fabricators, makers, artisans and artists.” Their work encompasses long-term advocacy for the preservation of Sausalito’s maritime heritage, and its modern-day work environment.

As sailors, we’re concerned about losing access to the Bay and to the industries that support our sport, and we want to see the SWWC succeed. To our eyes, they’re doing a great job, but there can’t be too many supporters for a cause such as this, and we want to update you on the progress among the marine and other businesses that are operating in Sausalito. We also invite you to share their stories and offer your support.

First up, in a development that holds great promise for sailors, the Sausalito nonprofit organization Spaulding Marine Center has partnered with Minnesota-based Electric Yacht to complete its first diesel-to-electric engine conversion aboard a Catalina 30. Spaulding’s team of experienced technicians and Boatworks 101 apprentices removed the Catalina’s diesel engine, and replaced it with a 10kW electric propulsion system. This is an example of the Marinship’s “new blue-economy initiative.” And as Spaulding’s staff and apprentices gain experience and fine-tune their training, the nonprofit endeavors to become “the go-to boatyard for these conversions.”

Spaulding’s first electric engine conversion is complete.
© 2024 Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition

In addition to Spaulding, there are a number of active boatyards in Sausalito’s Marinship, such as Bayside Boatworks, KKMI, and Richardson Bay Boatworks. Michael Zolezzi‘s racing sloop Yucca, once owned by the late Hank Easom, was recently spotted undergoing some maintenance at Bayside Boatworks. By the way, you can watch a short film about Hank Easom here.

Other happenings in Marinship include Canvas Works’ “largest ever project” — a massive temporary roof cover.

Clearly our boat canopy needs are in good hands with these operators.
© 2024 Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition

On the non-boating side, inventors and innovators are creating products such as a new HVAC system for an electric car, global medical devices, renewable energy systems, portable thermoelectric cooling units and more. But manufacturing facilities and boatyards are only one side of the Marinship coin. There’s a whole host of artisans and creators who work with everything from varnish to paint to sewing machines to timber to sign painting  to … We can’t list them all here, so we encourage you to check it all out for yourself.

Sausalito Waterfront works
This photo gallery represents just a small segment of what’s going on in Marinship.
© 2024 Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition

Go to Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition and learn more about what’s happening in this active waterfront community.

You can support Latitude 38’s local sailing news when you click here

Eight Bells: Pam Rorke Levy — Sailor, Filmmaker, Caretaker of ‘Dorade’

Pam Rorke Levy, a member of St. Francis Yacht Club, passed away on January 4. Together with her husband Matt Brooks, Pam owned and raced the 1929 Sparkman & Stephens classic yawl, Dorade. Pam had sailed little before she and Matt bought the 52-ft wooden boat that ultimately took her on many exciting ocean races. Below we share details from Pam’s obituary, forwarded to us by John Burnham.

After purchasing and refitting the boat, the couple raced Dorade on San Francisco Bay through 2012-13. Then came “Matt’s Crazy Idea” — preparing the boat, organizing the crew, and racing in the Newport Bermuda Race, the Transatlantic Race, the Fastnet Race (England to Ireland and back), and the Transpacific Race to Hawaii. Together, Pam and Matt successfully competed in all the ocean races the famous boat had first won in the 1930s.

Pam steers Dorade in Marblehead in 2021
© 2024 Courtesy John Burnham

Pam’s studies had led to a successful career as an independent producer and journalist, working for networks from Discover and National Geographic to HGTV and A&E, covering subjects ranging from ethical and societal issues to sports (she covered the America’s Cup for NBC in Perth in 1987), home redecorating, histories, and biographical films. Over three decades she collected many Emmys and other awards and accolades. Yet she had sailed little before she and Matt bought Dorade. Though as the couple eased into their new boat and learned her story, they realized that Dorade demanded a much higher level of sailing commitment from them. And they loved it.

When it came time to execute “Matt’s Crazy Idea” Pam was initially hesitant to sail the distance races herself, but at the last minute decided to sail in the often-stormy 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race in 2015 to document their race against the 1935 S&S yawl, Stormy Weather.

“Given how rough the race often is, we explained that this was a horrible idea for her first offshore race,” said Kevin Miller, Dorade’s sailing master, “but she came anyway. Pam wanted to tap into that Dorade energy and feel the boat so she could write about it. She got beat up a little in ‘Fastnet’ conditions near the finish, but she’s tough as nails. That was a look deeper into who she was.”

After that, Pam signed on for the 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race, and when Matt couldn’t make the trip, she took over as skipper. Dorade earned silverware once again.

In 2019 Pam was diagnosed with cancer, and her racing was limited to East Coast inshore races. It was the promise of getting back aboard that kept her going during her treatments. Buying Dorade had begun as Pam and Matt’s story of saving a boat and sharing a passion for it, but it later became much more. Between the pandemic lockdown and Pam’s cancer, Dorade taught them to trust each other as partners and truly be happy together. The boat also taught Pam to overcome her fears and begin to take risks.

Pam Rorke Levy 1956-2024.
© 2024 Courtesy John Burnham

Events celebrating Pam’s life will be held at St. Francis Yacht Club, Jan. 27, 5 p.m. and New York Yacht Club, Harbour Court, May 16, 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Sailing Museum in Newport, R.I. or the St. Francis Sailing Foundation in San Francisco.

Opening the 2024 Sailing Calendar: Take a Peek at What’s Inside

Why do we call it a sailing calendar instead of a racing calendar? There are two reasons. One, because it includes more than just racing, and two, many sailors find the idea of racing intimidating so they might not pick it up. We wish that weren’t so. Racing is a great way to get on the water more often, improve your sailing skills, bond with your sailing friends, and make new ones. As regular Friday Night beer can racers we’re often struck by the magnificent beauty of a Friday evening sail and the fact that the racers are often the only boats on the Bay.

There’s plenty of racing in January, but there’s more in the months ahead.
© 2024 Latitude 38

The calendar page for the month of January shows a wide variety of events all over the Bay. Many think there’s not much sailing or racing this time of year, but the Bay’s largest event of the year, the Three Bridge Fiasco, is always held the last weekend of January. The single- or doublehanded event is one of the most fun, interesting and challenging events you can do each year.

This past weekend featured a wet Saturday and a gorgeous Sunday. Many of the boats out were the boats that had signed up for midwinter racing.

Friday night racing
Summer evenings on the Bay are always worth it.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Sausalito Yacht Club Thursday night races
Attention: Sausalito Yacht Club’s Tuesday Sunset races are now on Thursday evening. They’ll still be beautiful.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives

There are also lots of events in the calendar that are not racing, like Opening Day, Svendsen’s Spring Fling, Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show, Summer Sailstice, the MMBA Boat Show, and much more.

The month of April, for example, shows many race events, but it also highlights Earth Day on April 22, Opening Day on the Bay, which always includes sail parades, and a Blessing of the Fleet in Raccoon Strait. And, just for kicks, we have Take a Fool Sailing Day on April 1. As you can see, there really is something for everyone!

Planning for sailing with the 2024 Sailing Calendar
What’s in this sailing calendar anyway?
© 2024 Latitude 38

We can tell you what’s in it — sunrise and sunset times, NOAA’s current predictions at the Golden Gate, racing rules and race signal flags, mark locations, information and dates about women’s regattas, youth sailing, and a lot of other useful information.

Don’t have your copy yet? Pick one up at your nearest Latitude 38 distributor. If they’re all out, you can also view the calendar online at  2024 Northern California Sailing Calendar.

See you on the water!

You can support Latitude 38’s local sailing news when you click here

Flashback to the Last Century of Sailing the Bay

We ended last Friday’s flashback of San Francisco Bay sailing history in 1897, but sailing did not end there. Including a lot of local flashbacks from the ’60s and ’70s, the history of sailing the Bay continues to be made every day. As in Friday’s story, we picked out a few photos, without captions, so historians can take a guess at the photos before finding the answers at the end of this story.

Early city view
When did the Cityfront look like this?
© 2024 Artist Rendering

In the July 2015 issue, editor John Riise continued the ongoing history of the Bay: “We hope you enjoyed last month’s Part 1 of our Brief Sailing History of San Francisco Bay, which took us from Juan Cabrillo and Francis Drake sailing by (but not entering) the Bay in the 1500s, to the antics of Jack London and the launching of Alma at the end of the 19th century. This month, we board the Wayback Machine in 1900 and ride it back to the present.”

A Boatbuilder
A boatbuilder
© 2024 Archives

Sailing was incredibly popular in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, though the culture along San Francisco’s shoreline was very different. A far different cast of characters was walking and working along the waterfront and the transition from wood to fiberglass well underway. The people, the shoreline, and the Bay Area culture were changing rapidly.

Movie Star
A movie star.
© 2024 Archives

Today people are pioneering carbon foils for surfing, kiteboarding, winging and all sorts of new, high-speed craft that are being added to the Bay Area sailing scene. Who knows what someone writing about the history of sailing the Bay 100 years from now will be saying about the era in which we sail?

The dawn of foiling.
The dawn of foiling.
© 2024 ACEA/Abner Kingman

From the early 1900s, sailing shifted from wood to fiberglass to carbon to foiling. It all continues to change and stay the same as people look to relax on the weekends on classic wooden boats, plastic classics or high-speed foiling boards and boats. You can read more about the era from 1901 to 2013 here.

Image 1: The 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition
Image 2: Myron Spaulding
Image 3: Sterling Hayden
Image 4: The 2013 America’s Cup — yes, a decade ago!

You can support Latitude 38’s California sailing news when you click here.

The World Famous L38
We're starting off the year right, with our January Caption Contest(!). We'll fill you in on the details of this photo later …
Sponsored Post
Hydrovane is your best crew member: an independent self-steering windvane and emergency rudder/steering system … ready to go!
ringing in the new year
Happy post-holiday rush to you all, and cheers to a new year ahead with many days out on the water. Here are the last days of sailing in 2023 for your enjoyment.