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70-ft Trimarans Fly South

They’re off. And they’re almost there (or already finished, by the time you read this). The three 70-ft trimarans pictured below made a brief appearance on San Francisco Bay as they tuned up and got ready to blast down the coast in the inaugural California 500 race from San Francisco to San Diego. They started at 1 p.m. yesterday and are now just a few light-air miles from the finish.

MOD 70s head South
This talent-packed trio of tris, Argo, Powerplay and Maserati, have been putting all their skills to work in their 24-hour blitz of the California coast.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

While these are serious offshore racing machines usually compete at the highest level of the sport, the skippers and crew also remember how they started. When possible, they share the exhilaration of their upper-echelon sailing with aspiring youth. On Memorial Day, Peter Cunningham’s Powerplay crew pulled up to the Cityfront to offer junior sailors participating in St. Francis Yacht Club’s C420 Heavy Weather Clinic a ride on his MOD70. What a ride! The sailors wasted no time unclipping from the 420 trapeze wires to jump at the opportunity to take a few burns across the Bay.

Damian Foxall and Juniors
Damian Foxall, who has competed in 10 around-the-world races, shares a slice of the pro sailing world with Bay Area youth sailors Kris Zarembinski and Zoe Shane.
© 2019 Brent Davidson
MOD 70 Powerplay on the Bay
The sky’s the limit. Most kids start sailing in small boats, but you never know where you’ll end up. Pictured here are (left to right) Alexandria Stauffer and Sophia Devling ofBalboa YC, and AJ McKeon and Jack Phibbs of Sausalito YC, with photographer Brent Davidson.
© 2019 Brent Davidson

Oh, the places you’ll go. As sailors know, a sailboat can take you across the pond or around the world. Youth sailing does a great job teaching sailing skills but often has a limited ability to include all of the expansive world of sailing. St. Francis youth sailing and many other programs are looking to expand the offering to give juniors a bigger sense of the options available. These kids spent most of the weekend training on 420s. But, on Monday, they found themselves sailing with some of the world’s best sailors aboard the extreme offshore sailing multihull Powerplay.

MOD 70 Powerplay Crew
The Powerplay crew: Ned Collier Wakefield, skipper Peter Cunningham, Matt Noble, Damian Foxall, Charlie Ogletree, Skip McCormac and Paul Allen are all smiles after a day on the Bay and likely well over a million ocean miles among them.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Among the crew is Matt Noble, a Bay Area sailor who landed in the big leagues and is now on the Powerplay crew. He learned to sail at Richmond YC and has gone on to create an impressive sailing résumé that, he told us, includes, at age 14, helping Commodore Tompkins do a delivery of Latitude 38 founder Richard Spindler’s Surfin’ 63 Profligate. He also raced with Johnny Heineken on 29ers, competed in the Extreme Sailing Series, and sailed in the Oakcliff All American Offshore Team. The list goes on. You’d have to spend the whole weekend reading if we were to include the full résumés of Matt and the rest of the crew. Regardless of their hard-won miles, the collegial Powerplay crew also knows how to share the thrill of high-performance sailing.

Powerplay heads for the Gate
Powerplay led out the Gate and has been in a tight match race with Argo the whole way down the coast.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

As we relayed on Wednesday, Powerplay, along with Argo and Maserati, trained by dodging Bay Area sailors over Memorial Day weekend. They’re now headed to the finish, though these final few miles look painfully slow. You can watch their final approach to San Diego on their trackers here. Once finished, they’ll continue refining their game in preparation for July’s 50th running of the Transpac from L.A. to Hawaii.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Zint 5 years ago

    Letting the youth sailors on the Mod 70’s is the most exciting story of the day. I know it’s something they’ll never forget . Thank you to those crews and boat owners for fueling the fire in tomorrows competitors.

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