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May 1, 2024

Angel Island Will Get New Docks, But Not Until Next Year

The best-case scenario to repair or replace the broken docks in Ayala Cove and bring new docks to Angel Island, according to the park manager, would have construction beginning in June 2025 for a six-month project.

“Currently, half of the docks in Ayala Cove are closed,” Gerald O’Reilly, the manager for Angel Island and superintendent for California State Parks, told us in a video interview last week. The docks were last replaced in 2002, but many of the pilings date back to the 1980s.

“Two more pilings broke during a storm back in January. But the mooring fields are open,” O’Reilly said, adding that weekends at Angel Island remain busy even as the docks have deteriorated and been shuttered. We also discussed dredging and the unique challenges of running Angel Island State Park (AISP), and spoke with Angel Island Conservancy, a nonprofit that supports the park through fundraising, among other things, about their efforts to raise funds for projects.

“We ask that people be patient,” O’Reilly told us. “My staff doesn’t control the purse strings. We’re doing the best we can. We want to open the docks — we enjoy boaters coming into the docks. At other parks, you bring your RV. Angel Island is for boaters, and it’s a great way for people to enjoy the weekend and the park.”

Half of the docks at Ayala Cove on Angel Island may be closed until at least early 2026, but half are still open. Above: Cruisers enjoying the truncated fruits of Angel Island State Park in early April.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

That “best-case” scenario that O’Reilly mentioned involves getting though a lengthy permitting process to approve construction on new docks. (The worst-case scenario is that the project will begin much later than June 2025 — but it does appear that the repairs will happen at some point.) Numerous state and federal agencies must give their OK, including the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Regional Water Quality Control Board. “These are all the hoops we have to jump through,” said O’Reilly.

As part of the requirements for building new docks, AISP had a bathymetric survey done in 2022 for the entire cove, core drilling the cove’s floor in fall 2023, and a recent biological survey.

“It all comes down to money,” said O’Reilly. “It’s an expensive park to run.” As a state entity, AISP is legally required to pay a premium when hiring contractors, as well as prevailing wages for all workers involved in projects. AISP has also requested a $1.5 million Tier II grant from the Division of Boating and Waterways, O’Reilly told us. “We’re really hoping for the grant — that’s going to be huge.”

There is no “schedule” nor a budget for planned obsolescence of AISP’s marina infrastructure, according to O’Reilly. “The park receives about $100,000 for maintenance each year, which is for the entire park,” he said. “The dock replacement funding is coming from a statewide deferred-maintenance funding budget. Large projects like the dock replacement compete for funding statewide with other projects at other parks.”

The outer half of the docks at Ayala Cove, however, will remain closed, with construction possibly commencing next year.
© 2024 Paul Hollenbach

Ayala Cove was last dredged in 1972. There are no plans to dredge it at this time, but O’Reilly admitted that, “Yes, the cove is silting in — mainly in the very center of the cove.”

For years, we’ve heard from our readers that depths in parts of Ayala Cove can be an issue. O’Reilly says that those who know the mooring field know what areas to avoid on what tides. We spoke with Captain Kirk’s San Francisco Sailing yesterday, and they told us that their Santa Cruz 50 Bay Wolf, which has an eight-ft draft, can motor up to the docks “most of the time,” meaning on most tides; their Gulfstar 50 Osprey, which has a six-ft draft, can access the docks on any tide.

There seems to be a consensus that, given the tidal action in the Bay, there’s a natural whirlpool outside Ayala Cove that deposits sediment into the center of the cove. “It’s the dynamic of the ebb current that runs through the cove that deposits silt toward the center,” a reader commented a few months ago. “During a large ebb current moving through Raccoon Strait, Point Ione [off Tiburon] catches a large stream of that current, directs it into the cove, and sets up a swift counterclockwise flow along the outside shore of Ayala Cove. This swift current keeps the edges of the mooring field deeper, but the slower-moving water toward the center allows the silt to settle out there.”

We’ll let this picture describe the silting situation at Ayala Cove.
© 2024 Taras Bobrovytsky/Wikipedia

O’Reilly said there was potentially a bureaucratic bright spot if dredging is green-lighted: “All the surveys done for the docks could be applied to dredging. It could help streamline the process.”

Max Haning, the president of Angel Island Conservancy, sat in on the video call with Latitude and Gerald O’Reilly last week. “There’s definitely been some talk in the yachting community to help cover the cost of that dredge,” Haning said. “With the surveys and environmental impact studies already done for the docks, our hope is to move quickly with a fundraiser that could support dredging — the idea was an Angel Island Regatta fundraiser that could help push the needle,” Haning told us.

“However, dredging is very expensive, and we do not expect the state to have any additional budget to add to our efforts at this time.”

Good Jibes #140: Rodney Daniel on Grand Prix Yacht Racing

This week’s host, John Arndt, is joined by Rodney Daniel, who shares his endless stories from the biggest and most competitive races on the water. Rodney is a professional sailor and pitman who has forgotten more than most will know about grand prix yacht racing, America’s Cup, Volvo, Maxi 72s, TP52s, and more.

What was Rodney’s scariest moment on the water?
© 2024 Rodney Daniel

Hear how to train for a big race as a team, the most dangerous boats he’s raced on, what a pitman does during the race, how to break into the grand prix circuit, and why sailing brings out the joy in people.

This episode covers everything from racing around the world to cruising in the Bay Area. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • How did Rodney get into racing?
  • What kinds of boats did he start sailing on?
  • Why did he move to Oakland?
  • What’s his normal role on a racing boat?
  • How have racing boats changed over the years?
  • What does Rodney do when he’s not sailing?
  • How do you become a grand prix yacht racer?
  • Short Tacks: What’s Rodney’s favorite race?

Learn more at

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

Latitude 38 Magazine — “May” the New Issue Be With You!

It’s a little early for “May the 4th …,” but we felt the force this morning when we started our preview for this month’s magazine. Yoda says, “Pass on what you have learned.” Here’s a preview of what we’ve learned from a bunch of sailors doing sailory things around the Bay and beyond.

The 2024 EYC 2v2 Team Race Invitational
by Ros de Vries

“Five inches between blocks for building speed, three inches for fast.” These were my simple marching orders for a full-throttle day of team racing. I’d read the Sailing Instructions, I had a shaky understanding of the rules … but for everything else, well, I’d just have to learn on the job.

It was Saturday, April 13 — an overcast but otherwise ideal day for racing at Encinal Yacht Club. Given the solid breeze and the preference for more tactical sailing, the Race Committee had declared that no spinnakers would be flown — and so my foredeck role was converted to jib trim. Within the first five minutes, my hands were burning from getting the boat dialed in.

Coming in first is not good enough. Your teammate needs to come in second or third.
© 2024 Encinal Yacht Club

The River of Grass Garage Build

A few years ago, Stephen Buckingham started thinking about getting a new boat. That started him down the road of boatbuilding and boatbuilding logistics. “I had long wanted to do the Singlehanded Transpacific race to Kauai, and I bought the Black Soo Starbuck for that purpose,” said Stephen. “After racing in the SSS Longpac twice, I decided that was not for me.” So he sold Starbuck and started looking for a smaller boat that would be easier to take on inland and Bay adventures.

Enter the River of Grass or RoG, a kit-built 15-ft micro cruiser designed in Florida at Bedard Marine. Stephen didn’t have a shop big enough to build a 15-ft boat, as he lives in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, but he ordered the kit and had it delivered while he went looking for a space to build a boat.

Stephen wanted a beach-able and trailerable boat that could have a NorCal PHRF so he could also race.
© 2024 Tom Patterson

A Harrowing Passage to the South Pacific
by Evan Gregory

We had sailed Chinook 1,500 miles since the injector refit in Trinidad and arrived at the great gateway to the Pacific, the Panama Canal. We had seen many cool places, but everything in the Caribbean felt fairly approachable from an American perspective. We expected the next stage of the journey through the South Pacific to feel very exotic. Little did we know the adventure was about to begin a little earlier than expected.

What could possibly go wrong during a regular Canal transit?
© 2024 S/v Chinook

Plus, there’s more. We also have our regular monthly columns:

  • Letters: Turmoil at US Sailing; Setting Our Own Youth Sailing Priorities; A Max Ebb Correction; Sailing on the Coast Guard Brigantine Eagle; Work Smarter Not Darker; and pages more of readers’ letters.
  • Sightings: Stad Amsterdam’s New Learning Horizons; After ‘SC’ Buoy Saved, USCG May Remove Others; A Local Sailor’s Clipper Race Dreams; As Fate, and Sharks, Would Have It …; and more great stories.
  • Max Ebb: “Race Crew Care”
  • Racing Sheet: The Doublehanded Farallones Race, SSS Round the Rocks, El Toro Bullship Race, all-female Anne McCormack Cup, California ILCA Masters, BYC Rollo Wheeler Memorial Regatta, and RYC Big Dinghy are all featured in these pages. We end with Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay Buoy News, and Box Scores includes the last of the Midwinter Series results we’ve collected.
  • Changes in Latitudes: With reports this month on Sweethaven’s first trip to Mexico; a fun interview with Patsy Verhoeven: La Reina del Mar of the Baja Ha-Ha; Andiamo‘s adventures in Southern and Northern California; and some interesting catching up with folks in Cruise Notes.
  •  Loose Lips: We share the April Caption Contest(!) winners.
  • All the latest in sailboats for sale, Classy Classifieds.

We appreciate all readers and all our supporters. Without you there would be no Latitude 38. This month we extend a big thanks and appreciation to those supporters who advertise in the pages of Latitude 38, and we invite you to share that appreciation by supporting them.

And thank you to our distributors. Go grab your new issue of Latitude 38 from any of these folks listed. Or subscribe, and have it delivered each month.

Mother, May I Go Yacht Racing in May?

The Great Vallejo Race Gets Its Own Subheader

The Yacht Racing Association and Vallejo Yacht Club invite racers and cruisers to sail in the Great Vallejo Race this weekend. “Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of this historic race,” writes the YRA. “Divisions for ORC boats, one-design fleets, spinnaker fleets, non-spinnaker boats, sportboats, shorthanded crews, multihulls, and a cruising division are available. Saturday’s Race starts off the north end of the Berkeley Circle at 10:30 and finishes in the Mare Island Strait next to Vallejo Yacht Club. Sunday’s Race starts off the Vallejo Yacht Club at 11:30 and finishes at the Richmond YC race platform. Be sure to head to Saturday night’s party at the Vallejo Yacht Club after the race!”

Vallejo racers with spinnakers
Last year’s Great Vallejo Race started in chilly overcast, and this year’s is shaping up to look similar, with strong breeze and a chance of rain.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We recommend joining the raft-up on Saturday afternoon in VYC’s harbor. Arrivals will be assisted by club volunteers and be entertained by live music, bars, a beer wagon, lots of food choices, and an evening dance party.

If you haven’t signed up yet, better hurry. Registrations close at midnight tonight (Wednesday, May 1). Find all the details and sign up here:

Out on the Ocean

The SSS Singlehanded Farallones Race will be on May 11. Registration is open at The price for signing up increases $10 after today.

The following Saturday, May 18, will be the YRA Duxship Race, with the turning marks Duxbury Reef buoy (south of Bolinas) and the Lightship buoy. Sign up for the one race or the rest of the YRA Offshore Series at

Offshore marks
The YRA provided this chartlet showing marks/destinations used in local offshore races.
© 2024 Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay

On the same Saturday, May 18, the YRA will start the Bluewater Bash, a long-distance ocean race to a longitude 75 miles to the west — and back, of course — for a total course of 150 miles. Participants can use this race as a qualifier for the Pacific Cup; they’ll have a chance to practice watchkeeping, cooking and living aboard, navigation and comms. The racers will record their own finish times. Enter by May 13 to save $10 off the entry fee. The deadline to enter is May 15; see The YRA will host a mandatory skippers’ meeting via Zoom on May 16.

California Offshore Race Week will kick off Memorial Day Weekend on May 25 with the Spinnaker Cup. The start will be off the St. Francis YC and the finish in Monterey, with hospitality at Monterey Peninsula YC. The series will continue with the Coastal Cup, starting from Monterey on May 27 and ending in Santa Barbara. The SoCal 300 will start on May 30 and finish the series in San Diego. Got a really fast boat, like, say, a MOD70? Go the whole distance all at once in the CA 500, starting from San Francisco on May 25. Learn more about all of CORW at

Doin’ It Dinghy Style

Keelboat racing not your thang? There are plenty of options for dinghies and other trailerable boats. Lake Washington Sailing Club’s One Design Series will kick off on May 11 and run monthly on the second Saturday until October. (Lake Washington is located in the Port of Sacramento, in West Sacramento.)

On May 17-19, Richmond YC will host the International 14 Nationals.

St. Francis YC’s Elvstrom Zellerbach regatta will also serve as the ILCA Pacific Coast Championship, and doubles as Spring Dinghy, on May 18-19. Invited classes are 5O5, C420, I420, ILCA 4, 6 and 7, RS Feva and Tera and 29er. Enter no later than May 13, but sooner is better in order to form classes.

On the same weekend, Lake Yosemite Sailing Association will put on their Spring Regatta. “Crazy, crazy courses, fabulous dinner, great lunch. Registration covers your camping for the weekend,” writes a member of the Laser fleet. “If you like great weather, fun people and competitive racing, you’re going to want to be there.”

Trailer-sailors, we’re not done with you just yet. Scroll down to the next section for more.

Memorial Day Weekend

On May 24-26, the El Toro fleet will take to the waters of Whiskeytown Reservoir for the Hank Jotz Memorial North Americans. More trailerable boats will join the fun on May 25-26 for the Memorial Weekend Regatta, hosted by Whiskeytown Sailing Club. Dinghies, centerboarders, multihulls and keelboats are welcome.

The big to-do on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend is the Master Mariners Regatta on May 25. The race will start in front of Golden Gate and St. Francis YCs, finish east of Treasure Island, and party at Encinal YC. Crissy Field on the San Francisco shoreline is a great place from which to spectate.

Hoisting sails on Freda B
Sailing out of Sausalito, the crew on Freda B hoists the sails en route to the start of the 2022 Master Mariners Regatta.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

In San Diego

In San Diego on May 3-5, an expected 60 boats will take to three venues: the cityfront course for smaller boats, the Bay to Coronado Roads course for Navigators and Classics, and the Pacific Ocean course for the bigger-boat fleets. Using three separate courses during the event facilitates the Yachting Cup’s “come one, come all” credo.

The weekend starts off on Friday, May 3, with the Ton Cup. This casual race doesn’t count toward overall Yachting Cup results, but could be a good way to get out and practice with your crew. Traditionally, the Ton Cup was a random-leg race sailed in racers’ own boats. This year, the event will be sailed right off San Diego YC’s dock in La Playa in the club’s own J/22s. The change in venue promises great spectating. Scored racing will begin on Saturday, May 4. Sign up at

All That and More…

The above events constitute a mere smattering of those available in the month of May. Find more in the Calendar pages (10-18) of the May Latitude 38, and plan your whole year with the 2024 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Schedule. Feel free to promote your favorite May regatta in the Comments section below.

Our yacht racing calendar for the month of May is mysteriously blank for Sunday, May 12. It must be a conspiracy — oh, wait! It’s Mother’s Day! (You’re welcome for the reminder.)