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Holy Guacamole! That’s a Big Turning Mark

If you’ve sailed San Francisco Bay this past week or perhaps driven Hwy. 101 northbound over the Golden Gate Bridge, you couldn’t help but notice a very large motor yacht anchored off Sausalito. If you’re sailing, it also becomes a fun windward mark to round as you tour the Bay.

Motoryacht Aviva on the Bay
We chose Aviva as our gawker weather mark.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Aviva belongs to Joe Lewis, a British self-made billionaire who, according to Wikipedia, calls New Providence, Bahama, home. When you get up close you realize just how big she is. She’s over 300 feet long, and when Abeking & Rasmussen launched her in 2017, she was the 46th-longest yacht in the world.

While boats like this are relatively common in the Med and the Caribbean, we rarely see them on the West Coast. Sometimes they come this way after they’ve done a few tours of the Atlantic and their owners decide to check out the Northwest and the Alaskan glaciers. Seattle, San Diego and Mexico have marinas capable of handling many of the world’s megayachts, though Aviva is probably still too big and forced to anchor out. Despite our impressive Silicon Valley neighborhood, the San Francisco waterfront and the Bay Area are short on facilities to accommodate these vessels. With six satellite domes, she probably has better connection at anchor than most of us have at home with AT&T or Comcast.

Megayacht Aviva in San Francisco
There’s plenty of room for the whole family and lots of toys in the garage.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Lewis started out taking over his father’s small catering company called Tavistock Catering. He grew it and sold it, and is now the main investor in Tavistock Group, which owns more than 200 companies. This brings us back to the guacamole. He’s still in the food business. One of the companies he owns is Freebirds World Burrito. (There are ones in Walnut Creek and Dublin.) If you want a taste of the Aviva life, have a burrito at Freebirds and add the extra guacamole. If she’s still here this weekend, she’s a nice, temporary, new island on the Bay that makes for a good weather destination.



  1. Chris Peterson 5 years ago

    This yacht looks to have moved on. It was fun having here in Sausalito for a few days. BUT there is now a 170-foot Perini Navi docked at Schoonmaker.

    • Tim Dick 5 years ago

      The Perini-Navi is a regular seasonal visitor! Also @Latitude38 beware of advising people to use superyachts as turning marks: one that decided to do this but, lost breeze in the lee of (the late) Tom Perkins’ Maltese Falcon and went into the side. A few paint repairs for Maltese Falcon, but substantial damage for the 40′ yacht. Bay Area born Mr. Perkins (co-founder of Kleiner-Perkins, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm) was cool about it – but other owners may not be.

    • Tim Henry 5 years ago

      Tim — At the beginning of every month, we tell people to drop whatever they’re doing and pick up an issue of Latitude 38, and while we’re pleased to get the magazine in people’s hands, something tells that — despite our persistent urging — our readership isn’t leaving work in droves on the first of the month to find their nearest newsstand.

      If we thought that something bad might happen based on something we said, we would write a magazine devoted entirely to the topic of sitting on the couch and waiting slowly for death to arrive. We don’t think that people read our story about ‘Aviva’ anchored off Sausalito, then ran out the door to find the nearest megayacht to round. And even if our readership did follow our orders thusly, we trust them to practice good seamanship and sail without significant calamity.

      When these discussions do pop up, we like to tap our libertarian roots: We don’t think that anyone should protect anyone else from their worst selves. We hope that everyone reading our magazine does so with the grain of salt with which it was intended to go down with: We’re just having fun.

  2. Kimberly Paternoster 5 years ago

    Freebirds is very popular in Austin and down in Texas. That’s more than likely where all the cash was made. On burritos. And queso. Who knew?

  3. goose gossman 5 years ago

    I hope he had good insurance, but the owner/skipper of a 40’er neither knew how to judge wind shadows, nor when to start his motor. Duh. Not Latitude’s bad. If the yacht were still there, she would have made a great mark for the Jazz Cup! In early August there was another 200+’er anchored off of Monterey which we sailed by during the Potter’s Cruiser Challenge. I didn’t get too close, fearing one of the crewmen (all dressed in black) would brandish some sort of firepower. Their “dinghy” trailing astern looked like a military security vessel.

  4. Michael La Guardia 5 years ago

    FWIW, last night (Aug 28) the Aviva was moored at Pier 17 in San Francisco.

    • Chris Peterson 5 years ago

      That would make it a little tough to use as a mark.

  5. Shelli 5 years ago

    Theres a freebirds in vacaville too

  6. Ross Angel 5 years ago

    she probly has better communications ability in the middle of the Southern Ocean than all of us have with our landlocked homes in suburbia folks!

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