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New Hank Easom Buoy Launched at Yellow Bluff — Now a Final Farewell

Updated 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 15:

Not long after we published this story on the new Hank Easom buoy at Yellow Bluff, we received the following email from Ron Young. “It is with great sadness that we write with the news that Hank Easom passed away around 9:15 pm, Tuesday, February 14, 2023.

“Admired by many, our humble hero died of inoperable cancer at the age of 88, at home with his family.

“Thanks [to the support and generosity of many-ed], the Hank Easom Buoy has created an enduring remembrance of an exemplary person and sailor on his favorite playground, San Francisco Bay.

“Though he was too ill to accompany the voyage, Hank sent Serenade to be first to round San Francisco Bay’s newest weather mark — and christen it with a bottle of champagne. Hank delighted in seeing his buoy from the Sausalito shoreline on two special occasions during the last days of his life, putting a final, big and well-deserved smile on our hero’s face.

“In the perfect close to a legendary career, on Saturday, February 4, 2023, ten days before his passing, in Hank’s final race — the Golden Gate Yacht Club Midwinters — he was first to finish, first in division and first overall. In a competition usually decided by seconds, the next boat finished ½ an hour behind Hank Easom.”

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On a rainy Saturday, January 14, a crowd of well-wishers arrived at Easom Rigging for the unveiling of a new racing mark for San Francisco Bay. The new mark honors the lifetime contributions of renowned Bay Area racer Hank Easom. Easom has numerous racing victories to his name, though he may be best known as the unrivaled competitor who took his 8 Meter Yucca to the podium on innumerable occasions during his stewardship of the beautiful vessel from 1964 to 2017. Appropriately, the clouds parted and the skies dried as Hank arrived for the unveiling of the buoy. The buoy, the Hank Easom mark, was created to become the permanent YRA Yellow Bluff racing mark.

Scott Easom, Hank Easom, Ron Young
Scott Easom, Hank Easom and Ron Young at the mark unveiling in Point Richmond.
© 2023 Denis Marriott

Gathered at the unveiling were longtime crew members of both Yucca and Hank’s Sabre Spirit Serenade, plus a large crew of friends and supporters. The new buoy was inspired by Ron Young, and is the result of many months of planning and hard work by Hank’s nephew and head of the YRA Buoy committee Scott Easom, along with project partners Ron Young and San Francisco Yacht Club Staff Commodore Carl Lewis. The buoy is being funded by members of the San Francisco Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Club, Sausalito Yacht Club, and individual benefactors through the Belvedere Cove Foundation, with ongoing maintenance provided by Easom Racing and Rigging.

Hank Easom buoy
Well-wishers gathered in advance of the Hank Easom “reveal” party. It turns out it’s a buoy.
© 2023 Dennis Marriott

Getting a break from its busy schedule of clearing debris from the Bay after many winter storms, the Army Corps of Engineers vessel, the John A. B. Dillard, was enlisted to bring the buoy to its permanent mooring site off the Marin headlands on Tuesday, February 7. This will make race committees happy that they no longer have to set a Yellow Bluff buoy, and racers happy since the well-secured buoy will be in the same location every weekend.

Army Corps Vessel John A. B. Dillard Jr.
The Army Corps debris removal vessel John A. B. Dillard did the honors of setting the new mark.
© 2023 Denis Marriott

The buoy looks a little less imposing when launched than when it’s hanging from a hoist. Though it’s a robust steel buoy, it is protected by foam siding to make it a more forgiving surface should anyone get too close.

Hank Easom buoy anchor
The ground tackle for the Hank Easom buoy should keep it in place when facing the Bay’s strongest currents.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Yellow Bluff Hank Easom Buoy
Depending on which way the wind blows, Corinthian Midwinters racers may have the opportunity to race around the new Hank Easom buoy, located on the day it was dropped, at 37° 50.491′ N, 122° 28.078′ W.
© 2023 Denis Marriott

 

It is a much-deserved honor to have the new Hank Easom buoy now in position on San Francisco Bay. We’re sure many racers, including ourselves, will be thinking, as they round the buoy, how it’s the first time they’ve ever passed Hank Easom. We’ll have more on Hank and the Hank Easom buoy in the upcoming March issue.

7 Comments

  1. Memo Gidley 1 year ago

    This is great news to hear!! Hank is a fantastic individual and amazing sailor! It is always a pleasure to see him on the water and say hello! I will round this buoy with big respect for Hank every time!! Thanks for being you Hank!

  2. Jim Q 1 year ago

    Hank may he RIP. Feels like the Bay’s “greatest generation” is leaving (has left) us Jim DeWitt, Bobbi Tossi, and now Hank. We were all so so lucky to know them.

  3. Memo Gidley 1 year ago

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Hank shortly after posting my comment above. The water will never be the same with him not on it. I cherish any of the few moments I had to say hi or shake his hand and feel so lucky to have had these opportunities to be around a legend. Only a couple of months ago out sailing with my 85-year-old Mom who knew Hank from the old days and got to say hi, and my 2-year-old daughter that saw him for the first time and staired at him sailing Serenade so gracefully. RIP Hank.

  4. milly Biller 1 year ago

    The placing of the buoy at it’s location at Yellow Bluff was a wonderful and moving celebration. Huge thanks to Ron Young, Scott Easom, and all those who contributed to the fund that made this happen.

    • Warren Burch Jr 1 year ago

      Aloha Hank a Hui ho,
      Though I knew him briefly he was a wonderful Captain and person who showed me nothing but respect while on the water and on land. I am not a sailor, but I did launch my surf ski from the Easom’ dock in Sausalito for three years, which is where and how I got to know him just a little, compared to others who knew who he was, while I did not. Mahalo nui loa. a Hui Ho Hank. signed, Warren who stored his Huki S1X Special (green tip fade into blue) at OWRC 2015 – 2018 and then moved to Maui in 2018.

  5. Bob Braid 1 year ago

    Just learned this afternoon about Hank and I’m so sorry. He’ll be missed by so many. He was always the gentleman on and off the water. It’s a loss to our community as well as our sport. I’m fortunate to have been able to sail with him a few times and to compete many more times

  6. Tom Kowalski 12 months ago

    A wonderful man!

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