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About That One Boat in Aquatic Park

A boat that’s been at the center of controversy for months in Aquatic Park apparently lost its anchor early Thursday morning, ending up against Hyde Street Pier between two historic ships. The roughly 30-ft trimaran was taken to Hyde Street Harbor and docked near the fishing fleet. Owner Bryan Pennington was reportedly not on board, but was immediately on scene once the boat was being towed, according to TowBoatUS, which extracted the stranded boat from the pier. The boat was apparently tangled in the historic ship’s mooring lines, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage (though that’s not yet fully clear).

Pennington, a veteran, will be in court on April 26. He has been in and out of Aquatic Park since September, and has "pleaded not guilty to three counts of violating a permit requirement, each punishable by six months in jail and a $5,000 fine," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Boats are allowed to anchor at the cove with a nightly permit, and can only stay in five-consecutive-night blocks for up to 30 nights a year.

The tendentious trimaran ended up between the C.A.Thayer, right, and the paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall. You can just make out the "Move the Boat" graffiti scrawled on the ama.

© 2018 Bruce Balan

Bruce Balan, a contributor to Latitude, was anchored in Aquatic Park on his 1969 Cross 46 trimaran, and shared the following dispatch: "Early [Thursday] morning, we received a call from a National Park Service officer calling to let us know that the unpermitted trimaran had drifted into the pier next to the C.A. Thayer at about 5:00 a.m. He assumed that if we had been hit we would already know, but wanted to warn us and make sure we checked our boat for any damage. [TowBoatUS] was called and was able to tow the boat away before the tide turned and the tri floated back out into the cove."

What’s missing from this photo? This was the scene at Aquatic Park yesterday evening, as the rain started to roll in. Bryan Pennington’s trimaran, a fixture in this view for months (anchored in the traditional "swimming lanes"), is gone after it apparently dragged anchor. It’s not clear what the long-term fate of the boat will be. (Not pictured here is a big catamaran currently anchored in the cove that sailed all the way from Germany.)

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"We were really lucky as we were anchored right between the tri and the Thayer. The current must have kept the drifting boat close to the shore so it just missed us. Regardless of the outcome with the legal proceedings against the owner, we hope the boat is well cared for as we have a soft spot in our hearts for old tris."

Last month, many of you expressed strong and varied opinions about the controversial boat in Letters. Please let us know what you think about this latest development.

Readers — This story has been updated. We originally said that Pennington’s trimaran "dragged anchor," but a park official told us that "the anchor rode appears to have parted from the anchor (nothing to drag)." Also, we originally said that boaters can stay at Aquatic Park Cove for a $5 nightly fee. The park official said that "for the moment, we do not charge any fee for the nightly anchor permit. There is fee-based permit/reservation program for the anchorage that will cost $10 per night, with all other regulations in force. The implementation date for the $10 anchor fee has not been set."

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It’s not 4/20 yet, but it is 4/06.  The United States Coast Guard will not be celebrating the former, but they are celebrating the latter.
That is the question. For five of the last six years, Richard Spindler, founder of Latitude 38 and the Baja Ha-Ha, has hosted the SoCal Ta-Ta, ‘Reggae ‘Pon Da Ocean’, a Southern California mini version of the Ha-Ha.