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March 25, 2024

‘Stad Amsterdam’ Is Out the Gate and Now Bound for Hawaii

The damp arrival of the Stad Amsterdam on March 6 was a sharp contrast to the brilliant sunshine of her breezy departure on Sunday morning. The San Francisco fireboat escorted her from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge as she motored upwind around Alcatraz toward Angel Island to follow the outbound shipping lane, and to get a better angle for those big, square sails in the northwesterly breeze coming over the headlands. It was a tight course requiring auxiliary power to keep her bow pointed toward the open ocean against the flood.

Stad Amsterdam
The Dutch tall ship Stad Amsterdam makes its way through San Francisco Bay followed by the fireboat St. Francis in this view from Sausalito on Sunday, March 24. The ship is sailing for Honolulu and then Tokyo, continuing on its world tour.
© 2024 Eric Risberg
Stad Amsterdam makes its way past the San Francisco skyline.
© 2024 Eric Risberg

We were hoping to see all 31 sails set, but brisk headwinds made that difficult to accomplish. Watching her exit had us imagining the challenges faced by 19th-century clipper ships that had to leave the Bay against headwinds, without auxiliary power. Maneuvering a ship that doesn’t go to weather well and is slow to turn, while at the whim of the wind and current, must have been a nerve-wracking experience. We’ve often found ourselves in tricky situations with a much simpler and more nimble boat.

Stad Amsterdam
The Matthew Turner and the Stad Amsterdam crossed tacks outside the Gate.
© 2024 John

The Bay Area’s tall ship, the Matthew Turner, was also up early with sails set for the Stad Amsterdam sendoff. The steel-hulled Stad Amsterdam was launched in 2000, while the wooden-hulled, Sausalito-built Matthew Turner was launched in spring 2017. They both were built by dreamers with a vision to preserve maritime heritage, while using the ships to give youth an opportunity to learn the lessons of the sea and explore opportunities for a more sustainable future.

Stad Amsterdam
The Stad Amsterdam leading the Matthew Turner out of the Bay.
© 2024 John
Stad Amsterdam
She was close-hauled as she left the Golden Gate behind.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Stad Amsterdam
Getting a clipper ship out the Gate in the days without auxiliary power and with a hungover, shanghaied crew must have required lots of skill, and a good dose of luck.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Stad Amsterdam
Stad Amsterdam heads out to sea.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Stad Amsterdam
Finally out and soon to be on her course for Hawaii.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Stad Amsterdam heads South.
The Stad Amsterdam’s tracker shows her diving south of the Pacific Cup rhumb line on her way to Hawaii. She’s traveling at just over 7 knots and is due in Hawaii on April 8.
© 2024 Stad Amsterdam

The ship has a long way to go before they get back home to Amsterdam, where they plan to join SAIL Amsterdam 2025. The event expects 800 ships and 2.3 million visitors to the 10th annual tall ship festival, which coincides with the 750th anniversary of Amsterdam as the capital of the Netherlands.

While you’re unlikely to find a tall ship in our Classy Classifieds, you can browse for a smaller, new-to-you boat, or sell your current boat by listing here.

The America’s Cup Gears Up for Barcelona

Yes, this is an America’s Cup year. Much has changed since the era of AC foiling started more than a decade ago with the 2013 Cup on San Francisco Bay. Ellison and Coutts have moved on to their SailGP league while the Kiwis are back in the role of Defender.

The last days of training for the AC75 champion Te Rehutai.
© 2024 Job Vermeulen/AC37

All eyes will be on the prize later this year in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, as the 37th America’s Cup promises to knock your socks off since, as we all know, the Spanish know how to put on a party!

It will be the AC75 foiling monohulls again, albeit a little lighter and a bit more machine than man as batteries have taken three more jobs away from sailors (grinders).

Cyclers are in play again for the first time since 2017, when New Zealand “cycled” the America’s Cup away from the Americans in Bermuda.

This time around the Kiwis will attempt to defend the Cup from five challengers: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (Italy), American Magic (USA), Orient Express (France), INEOS Britannia (Great Britain), and, making a return in grand style, Ernesto Bertarelli’s Red Bull Alinghi (Switzerland).

The best sailors in the world will be on the water, including Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Sir Ben Ainslie, Tom Slingsby, Jimmy Spithill and a multitude of other Cup veterans and Olympic champions.

2024 America's Cup teams
Six teams will be competing for the Auld Mug.
© 2024 America's Cup

Louis Vuitton returns as title sponsor, and this time there is a Women’s America’s Cup Event and a Youth America’s Cup. Those competitions will be “sailed” in AC40s, which have been used by the America’s Cup teams for the ACWS and for two-boat testing as well.

The AC40 for all practical purposes is a battery-powered remote-control boat that sails, but it bears little resemblance to an actual sailboat. It was voted as the 2023 Boat of the Year by World Sailing, but in my opinion they need to rip apart the cockpits and open up the race deck to make it more of a sailboat than a remote-control toy.

Like their bigger sister, the AC75, they are “powered” by a twin-skinned mainsail. If you’re looking for spinnakers, good luck: There aren’t any. Foil “blades” have become the “winged keels” of this generation and era. The design advances are significant and secret, despite new reconnaissance rules.

The selection series trials begin almost as soon as the Paris Olympics wrap up in August. Many of the male and female athletes will be flashing their newfound gold, silver or bronze hardware at the cameras and competitors, as Olympic medals confer weight and prestige, as the Auld Mug does.

Barcelona was chosen by Grant Dalton and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), the Defender/Trustees of the America’s Cup, having dominated the event since first winning it in 1995.

The first-generation AC75s can be used for training purposes by all teams in the run-up to the 37th America’s Cup, but there are strict rules on further development of many of the appendages.

INEOS Britannia’s “ugly duckling” of an AC75 at speed.
© 2024 Ugo Fonalla / AC37

An updated “Version 2” of the AC75 Class Rule will have larger foils, to promote quicker lift and faster flight. The boats will be lighter, and on board, the electronics, hydraulics and software systems will be vastly upgraded.

Several of the elements are strictly one-design, and the teams are allowed to build only one new AC75. These high-tech wonders are expected to fly at unprecedented ride heights at speeds over 50 knots on what have been characterized as intense, lumpy-gravy seas.

Continue reading in Latitude 38‘s March issue.

Reigniting Sailing Memories Through the Pages of the Latitude Magazine

We love receiving letters from our readers, particularly when they share good, happy news. This letter from Jeff Hoffman did just that …

The March 2024 edition of Latitude is my favorite one ever, and I’ve been reading for about 30 years. “No Name’s First Leg” was a really good story, especially the part about the reef and almost getting washed into the ocean. But “Morpheus to Bermuda” was fantastic! I could feel the boat lifting off the water and smashing back down as I read about it and it reminded me of several incidents I experienced on the way back here from Tahiti.

Sailing from Newport to Bermuda involved a number of challenges aboard Morpheus.
© 2024 Jim Gregory

The skipper and I were doublehanding from Tahiti to Hawaii with no autopilot on his Santa Cruz 50 after competing in the 1995 Tahiti Cup from San Francisco and spending some time there. Squalls in the tropics normally arise at night, but we hit a nasty one during the day. We had the No. 1 jib up and had to peel to the No. 4 right in the middle of the squall. After attempting to tie the wheel with bungee cords so that at least we didn’t tack unwillingly (didn’t work, the boat tacked anyway), I joined the skipper on the foredeck to douse the No. 1 and hoist the No. 4. After the peel was completed, we looked at each other like, I can’t believe we survived that!

The first three nights out of Oahu on the way back to San Francisco were a nightmare, despite having picked up more crew in Hawaii. The route from there to here is hard to starboard until you reach 38 degrees, then turn right. So, we were sailing hard to weather, and around 10:00 the wind started blowing 40 kts with gusts to 50 kts, right on the nose. Santa Cruz 50s are ultralight racing boats, and the boat was being thrown into the air and slamming back down. No one was thrown into the air [or] came down … submerged in water like Jim Gregory -— we had no need to be on the foredeck — but the constant pounding all night for three nights in a row was beyond unpleasant.

These are the kinds of seafaring tales I love to read. Thanks, Latitude, once again you show that you’re the best.

Jeff Hoffman, Oakland, CA.

Thanks, Jeff. We appreciate the feedback, and love that the stories you read remind you that you have your own stories to tell. Thank you for sharing! Read the full issue: March 2024.

If you have a sailing story you want to share, drop us a line at [email protected].

Club Cruceros de La Paz Bayfest Is On!

¡Hola, cruisers! Club Cruceros de La Paz is once again hosting Bayfest — a five-day event packed with fun and merriment for sailors and land-cruisers alike. After a four-year COVID hiatus, Bayfest will run from Wednesday, April 3, to Sunday, April 7, with informational seminars, hands-on workshops, a dinghy poker run, sailboat race, wine-tasting, open mic night, luau, chili cook-off, games, dinners, dancing and daily raffles.

Curious? “What is Club Cruceros de La Paz Bayfest?” Here’s some history:

For many years, the Club Cruceros Sea of Cortez Race Week was held at the islands off La Paz, marking the end of the winter cruising season. The last time a race week was held was in 2002. Not to be cheated out of a fiesta, Club Cruceros put together a new event, and Bayfest was born!

The Chili Cook Off is scheduled for Sunday.
© 2024 Bayfest
See anyone you know?
© 2024 Bayfest

Bayfest typically takes place in early April and spans four days at La Costa Restaurant. The seminars, workshops, wine tasting, parties, dinners, dances, games and music are land based, but there’s the dinghy poker run and the sailboat race for water lovers.

Baja Ha-ha assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven looks for a winning hand at the Bayfest 2019.
© 2024 Bayfest

Most seminars, workshops and games require you to sign up in advance. Some events and seminars have a limited number of attendees. Don’t procrastinate! The popular seminars and workshops will fill up quickly.

You can buy tickets for dinners and other events at the clubhouse during morning coffee. Inside the clubhouse are sign-up sheets, and you can grab a pocket-sized schedule to keep you on track.

What should a well-dressed attendee wear to Bayfest? Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses (you know the drill). And most importantly, this year’s unique, limited-edition upper-body adornment, a Bayfest T-shirt. Men’s and women’s shirts will be sold on the club patio during coffee hour, and if there are any left, at Bayfest.

When: Wednesday, April 3–Sunday, April 7.

Where: Bayfest, hosted by Club Cruceros de La Paz — La Costa Restaurant, La Paz, Mexico.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s what’s included in Friday’s schedule:
Bocce Ball, Cribbage, The Baja Bash Seminar, Hurricane Preparation Seminar, Conserving Sea Turtles, Ship it? Sell it? Delivery? Bash Alternatives, Knot Tying Workshop, Refrigeration 101 Seminar, Horseshoe Tournament, Happy Hour Drink Specials & Open Mic, Lasagna or Fish Dinner, Raffle Drawing.

Learn more and see the full five-day calendar here.

Full Green Ahead
The clipper ships of the late 1800s were the most technically advanced use of wind for power in their era. A new generation of technology leaders met aboard the 'Stad Amsterdam' as they create a blue wave, developing the sustainable systems of the future.
On the water Issues?
Despite the rain there's been plenty of great sailing going on this winter. Some of it south of the border and plenty up and down the California coast. The first three issues of 'Latitude' select some of the best.