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March 18, 2024

Local Sailor Tours the ‘Stad Amsterdam’ Ahead of 28-Day Ocean Passage

Bay Area sailor Pat Broderick took a tour of the ship that will be his home for around one month during its voyage from Honolulu to Tokyo. Pat and his wife Nancy visited the Stad Amsterdam at her current dock in San Francisco, ahead of its departure for Honolulu on March 24.

“Today gave me a chance to see the ship,” Pat wrote to his friends. “I was impressed. And I’m looking forward to this sail of a lifetime very much.”

Pat will join the ship for his passage from Honolulu on April 9.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

Pat says the ship’s traditional look belies its modern capabilities. Among its equipment are the autopilot, large diesel engine, bow thruster, modern navigation instruments such as radar, and HF radio, much of it hidden behind mahogany panels.

“But there are towering masts, miles of standing and running rigging, and acres of sail,” he adds.

Nancy and Pat look somewhat smaller among the Stad Amsterdam’s deck fittings.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

“We weren’t able to tour the cabins or ‘long room’ (which is a combination lounge and mess), but looking through the open hatches things looked comfortable.”

Is one month long enough to learn the ropes?
© 2024 Pat Broderick

“Now I have to finish all the lists and see if everything I plan to take will fit into the large rolling duffle and backpack I will be taking. I’m going prepared for some chilling sailing in the North Pacific.”

The Stad Amsterdam’s website sells Pat’s leg of the voyage with a descriptive passage: “What could be more beautiful than standing lookout with nothing but the sea around you? It’s a unique experience to feel small and insignificant in the overwhelming nature. Gaze into the waves, enjoy the vast ocean, and perhaps spot a few whales, which are frequently seen in the Pacific Ocean.” Along the way, guest crew are taught “as much as possible” about sailing aboard a square-rigged ship.

We all know the idea of sailing is often filled with more romance than reality. But we’re sure Pat has a good idea of what he’s signed up for. For example, he’s already dialed in his wardrobe, as noted. He’ll also be involved with daily tasks to “truly experience life on board a sailing ship.”

We expect Pat is pretty excited about his upcoming voyage, and we wish him and the rest of the guests and regular crew a safe and adventure-filled voyage across the ocean. We look forward to hearing more!

US Coast Guard Proposes Removing Mile Buoy off Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Port District informed Monterey Bay boaters that the USCG is proposing to remove Mile Buoy “SC” about 1.5 miles SSW off Santa Cruz. This could disrupt life along the coast in a number of ways. For example, the 2023 Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club “Around Monterey Bay Mile Buoy Long Distance Race” instructions about the course say, “5.1 The race area will be between the Mile Buoys outside the harbors of Monterey, Santa Cruz and Moss Landing.”

Santa Cruz Mile Buoy
The Santa Cruz Mile Buoy has saved numerous mariners over its 100+-year history.
© 2024 Santa Cruz Harbor

The alert from Holland MacLaurie, port director of Santa Cruz Harbor, says, “The United States Coast Guard is proposing to remove the Mile Buoy and replace it with a mark on the chart. There would no longer be any buoy or other permanent marker in the waters along the Santa Cruz coastline. The Coast Guard distributed a Local Notice to Mariners describing the proposed removal (see page 2 of the notice). They are requesting comments from all interested parties by Wednesday, April 3. Comments may be directed to Lt. J.G. Samantha Hu at (510) 437-2983 or via email at [email protected]. The Coast Guard is particularly interested in any rationale relating to why the buoy is necessary for safe navigation in spite of the current availability and affordability of electronic navigation equipment (e.g. GPS).”

Santa Cruz Mile Buoy
The sight or sound of Mile Buoy has relieved many mariners when the fog rolls in.
© 2024 Navionics

While maintaining a buoy for yacht racing is not the job of the Coast Guard, the visual and audible signal from the buoy has been a lifesaver for many small-craft boaters who do not have the latest electronics available. Even the latest electronics can fail, and an audible warning when the fog rolls in can be just the signal a sailor, kayaker, or fisherman needs to find their way safely home. It wasn’t that long ago that the Navy restarted celestial navigation training in case the GPS system got hacked or was otherwise caused to fail by malicious actors or celestial events. This could also have a severe impact on DoorDash’s ability to deliver a twelve-pack and a pizza to your boat.

Lighthouses are now museums, and with buoys next, the day will soon be here when we will wear our Apple Vision Pro VR goggles and “see” Mile Buoy even if it really isn’t there. With your AirPods in, you could hear the buoy’s whistle and the seals barking as you approach the mark, and they’d jump into the water on your Vision Pros as you round and set the kite. How cool would that be? (NOT.)

If you’d like to help preserve reality and Mile Buoy, we encourage you to contact the USCG: Lt. J.G. Samantha Hu at (510) 437-2983 or via email at [email protected].

March Magazine Racing Sheet Takes the Win!

Each month, in the pages of Latitude 38, we share a roundup of the speedy sailors who cast off their dock lines to have a good time on the water, and perhaps win a race. Christine (Chris) Weaver puts together the Racing Sheet section and “weaves” her magic around a host of events across the Bay and beyond. The March issue includes stories about the California Laser sailors who headed south for part of the winter and competed in the ILCA Masters Worlds held in Adelaide, Australia; the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season; and Island, Monterey Peninsula, South Beach, Berkeley, San Diego, Golden Gate, Corinthian and Coral Reef Yacht Clubs and RegattaPRO. Chris also shared a race committee request, and the return of Box Scores. We can’t fit everything into this one post, but we can give you a few snippets …

ILCA Masters Worlds

The 2024 ILCA Masters World Championships were held February 2–10 in Adelaide, Australia. More than 200 local and international competitors attended the event, which was raced with a big breeze, big waves and a strong contingent of California sailors making the trek from the USA’s West Coast.

Competitor Jon Andron wrote, “In my 50+ years of racing world-class events, this 10-day event was the most physically difficult I’ve ever completed. My mindset was simply to survive: Stay upright, avoid injury, and live to fight another day.” Andron finished fourth in the 19-boat ILCA 6 (Radial rig) Legends (ages 75+) fleet. SoCal’s Bill Symes won that division.

March Race Sheet
USA 224757 is Andrew Holdsworth, who won the Grand Masters Fleet at the ILCA Masters Worlds on February 2–10. The renowned British-American sailor is a member of St. Francis YC.
© 2024 Down Under Sail

Island Days on the Estuary

Predicted winds for Island YC’s Race #4 in the Island Days series on the Alameda-Oakland Estuary were so low that abandoning was a real consideration. But about an hour before the start on Sunday, February 11, Mother Nature heard our heartfelt concerns and produced some beautiful weather and constant breezes, with the bulk of the racing affected only by a mild but building ebb.

Hank Lindemann and Chris Carlson aboard Anemone during IYC’s Island Days race on February 11.
© 2024 John Motter

Perry Cup Concludes in Monterey

Mercury sailors have been competing on Monterey Bay the first Saturday of the month, November–February, courtesy of Monterey Peninsula YC. You can find race committee volunteer Jack McAleer’s report here.

Seaweed Soup at Golden Gate

Compared to January’s race day, the conditions on February 3 were mellow — a bit too mellow. A flood was giving way to ebb, and a SSE breeze blew through the city. All divisions were assigned an eastbound start off Golden Gate YC, with the Blossom Rock buoy between Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge as a first mark.

South Beach Midwinters

Most mariners know bluster boy Njörðr. From Norse mythology, he’s the guy who pulls the strings for wind, sea and all bounty of the ocean. He gets the text message whenever a sailor needs goodwill seafaring; he’s also the guy who bestows wealth and prosperity. Njörðr has been taking select days off — including South Beach YC’s first three midwinter race days. Has he been remote with some wind lass?

The J/88 Inconceivable crew had a great time during the South Beach midwinters.
© 2024 Martha Blanchfield

A Retirement Request to Racers

Following the Three Bridge Fiasco, we received this note from a race committee volunteer who wished to remain anonymous:

“If you check into a race, or start, it is vital to let the race committee know if you are dropping out of it. The first instinct is often to do that over VHF. But hailing a race committee on VHF is exactly like talking on the world’s most limited, primitive cell network. It is the equivalent of having just a single cell antenna, close to sea level. If you have good line of sight and are close, it works. If not, it doesn’t.

“Before you race, check the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, because some RCs want text messages instead of VHF hails.”

Above are fewer than half the stories and photos we shared in Latitude 38’s March issue. You can find the rest, and the Box Scores, starting on page 78.

Want to read this properly? Go to the March issue Racing Sheet.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

SailGP Coming This Weekend in New Zealand

SailGP returns this coming weekend, with the next event on their world tour happening in Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand, on March 23–24. This is one of four events remaining in Season Five before SailGP returns to San Francisco Bay on July 13–14 for the championship event. One of the big changes in the circuit this year is the departure of Jimmy Spithill as skipper of Team USA, with Taylor Canfield stepping in. Team USA is currently in seventh place behind Team GBR, where Giles Scott has taken over the helm from skipper and team owner/CEO Ben Ainslie.

SailGP will be returning to San Francisco in July.
© 2024 Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

In other changes, former Team Japan skipper Nathan Outteridge has returned to the circuit to improve the spirits and last-place position of Team Switzerland. He’ll be looking to compete against friend and series leader Tom Slingsby as he hopes to restore the rivalry that vanished when Nathan and Team Japan were dropped from the circuit. SailGP’s video series Racing on the Edge interviews Nathan Outteridge to tell his story as he returns to the circuit.

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix gets underway this weekend, March 23–24, in Ōtautahi Christchurch. To learn how to watch click here.