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February 5, 2024

Wild Wind and Rain Lash West Coast in Sunday Storm

February has opened with a stormy weekend across the West Coast, causing boat owners to check lines, covers, and bilge pumps and clear the decks. Richardson Bay appears to have received the brunt of the damage, with reports of the usual suspects ending up on the rocks at Strawberry. Overall, so far we haven’t found a great many reports of damage, thankfully, but they may still be coming as sailors head to the docks for their after-storm checks. Or perhaps we all learned to be prepared after last year’s winter storms.

Wild-weather-damaged boats
Torn sails, broken masts and sunken boats in Richardson Bay — sadly not an uncommon sight after intense storms on the Bay.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Julia Smith took this photo of a boat against the breakwater in Alameda.

We can only hope this boat survived.
© 2024 Julia Smith
Severe Coastal Winds
Windy showed severe winds along most of the California coastline.
© 2024 Windy
Rio Vista Police Department posted this photo of damage at Delta Marina on their Facebook page.
© 2024

We also learned of an incident at Long Beach, where a 40-ft sailboat lost its mast and became stranded on the breakwater. All 19 people aboard are safe, with only one report of minor injury.

According to Sailing Anarchy, the Santa Cruz 50 Flying Fiche was racing out of Long Beach Yacht Club. Winds had reportedly reached 32 knots when the boat got into trouble. As Sailing Anarchy reports, the boat was broken up; “… there is no boat left full stop.”

Video credit: Sailing Anarchy 

How did your boat weather the storm?

Who’s Racing in This Summer’s Pacific Cup?

The upcoming Pacific Cup currently has 83 entries, on boats ranging from 24-ft to 80-ft. We’ve reached out to a few of the sailors to learn more about their planned San Francisco to Hawaii race, starting on July 15. We recently wrote about Heather Richard, who will be racing doublehanded with her son Julian, and now we catch up with Elliott James, who will be racing aboard his well-known Mancebo 31 Bloom County. At 31-ft, Bloom County will be fitting in with the smaller boats, which are mostly racing doublehanded. Elliott will be among the doublehanded fleet with his crew, Kyle Vanderspek.

The duo was out for the recent Three Bridge Fiasco, after which Elliott reported, “It definitely lived up to its namesake. We felt like we were doing really well, until we weren’t.”

Bloom County
Elliott James and Kyle Vanderspek aboard Bloom County, practicing for the Pacific Cup during the recent Three Bridge Fiasco.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Though Elliott has never done a Pacific Cup, he has done a lot of offshore racing. “I used to live on the SV Concordia when I was in high school as part of a class afloat program, and sailed all over the world. I’ve done many offshore races and did the Baja Ha-Ha in 2021 with Bloom County. I sailed the Transpac in 2019 on the Hobie 33 Aloha, but the rudder broke and we had to limp in from 250 miles off L.A.”

Elliott continues, “I’ve wanted to do [a] Pacific Cup for many years. I’ve never been to Hawaii and am looking forward to my first time visiting via boat. Kyle has done [the] Transpac and the Pacific Cup several times. He won the Singlehanded Transpacific race in 2021 aboard his Hobie 33 Aloha.”

We asked what they were planning to do for meals during the race, to which Elliott replied, “I’m not sure what our meal situation will be. Likely freeze-dried and maybe some burritos on the first day.” They report they are planning to bring Starlink along for the ride since Kyle had a great experience with it aboard Merlin on the last Transpac.

Every so often we find ourselves on the lookout for someone to deliver Latitude 38 magazines to our distributors around the Bay Area. Right now, we’re looking for a sailor who’d like to take on this one-day-a-month commitment for our East Bay route. We keep saying it’s a pretty cruisy job. Well, here’s the word from Latitude editor Tim Henry, who has done the occasional delivery run, and most recently the East Bay route.

“It’s always a pleasure to pry myself away from the computer, hit the road, and deliver fresh copies of Latitude 38 to the Bay Area’s waterfront. I’m not a regular delivery guy, but when I’ve filled in on the East Bay route, dropping stacks of Latitude affords me the opportunity to explore the many nooks and crannies of the Bay’s shore that I’ve driven past a gazillion times, but rarely get out of my car and visit.

“I enjoy walking along the Richmond Riviera and admiring the boats, houses with docks, and businesses nestled in the buildings. Have you ever been to the Point San Pablo Yacht Club? How about Berkeley or Richmond YCs? Their cozy interiors are at once new and exciting, but familiar to anyone, like me, who’s grown up visiting burgee-clad clubhouses around the world.

“Hitting the road and the docks gives you a sense that you’re actually writing for people and sailors as opposed to just pounding the keyboard, hitting ‘Publish,’ and having your work dispersed into the nether regions of print and the internet. I had the same experience delivering newspapers during my college journalism days at San Francisco State, and my intern days at the (Pulitzer Prize-winning) Point Reyes Light. It’s a humble and proud tradition of local journalism.

“Readers — I can recommend doing a ‘distribution-point crawl’ through the East Bay, or anywhere in the Bay Area/West Coast where you can find an always-free copy of Latitude 38.”

Three people and a cat Latitude 38
Stop in and catch up with Alex Jordan (left) and Matt Ford and the family at Blue Pelican Marine in Alameda.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives
Or, perhaps you’ll chat with Ruben at Berkeley Marine Center.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives

What say you? Do you have one day a month to spare? Would you enjoy “hitting the road and the docks,” chatting with people along the way about sailing and boats — and getting paid for the pleasure? We would prefer sailors, or someone with at least an interest in sailing.

You can learn more here. Or, if you’re confident, skip that part and send your email to [email protected] with “Latitude Driver” in the subject line.

Please, no phone calls!

West Coast Sailing Youth Programs Win US Sailing Awards

The recent US Sailing National Sailing Programs Symposium in Savannah, GA, also presented awards for community sailing programs across the country. Two California programs were among the winners: Alameda Community Sailing Center (ACSC) and Mission Bay Aquatic Center in San Diego.

Kudos to ACSC founder Kame Richards and Executive Director Emily Zugnoni, and the entire board of directors, for establishing a new community sailing program on the west shore of Alameda, behind Encinal High School. ACSC was founded in 2013 and now, a decade later, it has become the recipient of US Sailing’s national Outstanding Community Sailing Program Award.

Alameda Community Sailing
Alameda Community Sailing has provided a decade of new possibilities for Bay Area kids on the west shore of Alameda.
© 2024 ACSC

The award is given annually to a program that has made notable contributions to promote public access to sailing.

Alameda Community Sailing offers a robust assortment of learn-to-sail programs, day camps, after-school sailing, adult and family classes, US Sailing Instructor Certification courses, Open Sail Saturdays, the occasional regatta, and Community Sailing Days open to all with free life-vest giveaways. ACSC also provides needs-based scholarships, and granted over $50,000 in sailing camp scholarships in 2023. They have formed partnerships with local community groups in Alameda and the San Francisco Bay Area to recruit and retain sailors from non-traditional sailing backgrounds.

As Emily described, the program began with a summer camp serving 75 children sailing in hand-me-down boats, using donated dock space at Ballena Isle with just one 1974 Boston Whaler safety boat. Ten years later, it serves ~600 children AND adults sailing in over 50 boats, out of their own site near the Encinal boat ramp, with a fleet of eight safety boats (including that 1974 Boston Whaler). The scholarship program has been so successful that nine out of the nearly 30 current staff members were previous sailing scholarship recipients! More information on ACSC can be found at

In Southern California, US Sailing’s national award for Outstanding Organizational Leader was given to Paul Lang of San Diego, CA.

The Outstanding Organizational Leader Award honors an exceptional individual who has made notable contributions to an organization that have resulted in membership growth or positive financial development, or increased community awareness or integration.

Mission Bay Aquatic Center
Mission Bay Aquatic Center has a great location and facility, but it takes great people like Paul Lang to make it all work.
© 2024 Mission Bay Aquatic Center

Instructional Manager Paul Lang has led a staff of almost 50 sailing instructors and over 90 more wakeboarding, surfing, and paddling instructors to teach water sports activities to over 40,000 participants at Mission Bay Aquatic Center (MBAC). Paul has ensured accurate grading for more than 1,500 students in MBAC’s college credit courses, and somehow finds additional time to volunteer for several committees within US Sailing. Paul has demonstrated extraordinary performance for MBAC, the San Diego area, and the Southern California region this year.

Congratulations to the staff and crew at Alameda Community Sailing Center, and Mission Bay Aquatic Center’s Paul Lang.

racing through life
2024 is off to a racey start! Lots of winter regatta action. Catch it here as Sailagram brings the heat to an otherwise chilly month on the S.F. Bay!