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How Will You Celebrate Summer Sailstice?

How will you spend the Summer Sailstice weekend? Don’t even try to top Loick Peyron’s two-day plan.

© 2011 B. Stichelbaut / BPCE

As many grade-school scholars know, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs when our old friend Mr. Sun reaches his highest point in the sky, and consequently that’s the longest day of the year. Officially, the solstice occurs next Tuesday, June 21, but in much of the international sailing community, that date is being upstaged by this weekend, when Summer Sailstice celebrations will take place in prime sailing venues all over the northern hemisphere.

The brainchild of Latitude 38‘s John Arndt, the Sailstice’s basic idea is to give all types of sailors a good excuse to get out on the water and have some fun. And by registering online, participants are eligible to win a wide variety of prizes — including a weeklong bareboat vacation from Footloose Sailing Charters.

Over the years all sorts of special events have sprung up around the Sailstice theme. Check the website for links to many of them. Here in the Bay Area, the annual Sailstice shindig will take place at the Encinal YC tomorrow (June 18), with all sorts of fun and informative activities, including live music, exhibits and seminars — even a Latitude 38 seminar on the Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump at 2 p.m.

Last year, sailors in all 50 states and 47 countries participated. That statistic prompted us to ask French sailing phenom Loïck Peyron for his throughts on the Sailstice concept: "This is a perfect year for me to participate in Summer Sailstice," says Loïck, "because it will be a full sailing weekend! On Saturday it’s the Bol d’Or in Suisse (on Lake Geneva), where I will sail on Okalys CORUM, a light-weight cat, with my Swiss mates. I hope it will a bit windier than the last two years, when we spent 24 hours on the lake fighting in no wind, because I need to be back in Brittany on Sunday for the start of the first race I will do on the maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire for the SNSM record — it starts from St. Nazaire at 6 p.m."

That effort would be hard to top, but you don’t have to be sailing on the largest tri in the world to enjoy a dose of Sailstice fun. So if you’re in town, check out the Encinal party. But most importantly, wherever you are, get out on the water and show your Sailstice spirit.

By the way, another salty affair you should be aware of this weekend is Vallejo’s annual Northern California Pirate Festival (on the waterfront), a wacky fun-for-the-whole-family event that includes nautical music, swordfighting, sailing, cannon-battles, theater, maritime crafts, food and drink, and all sorts of pirate gear for sale. Fear not, the pirates you’ll encounter there will be the ‘friendly, fun-loving’ sort of pirates, not the RPG-toting Somali variety.

Pirate party DJ Bilge Munkey and Black Bart of the Seadogs are just two of the scurvy dogs awaiting you at the Northern California Pirate Festival this weekend on the Vallejo waterfront.

© NorCal Pirate Festival

However you spend the Sailstice weekend, have fun, be safe, and feel free to send us a few snapshots showing how you celebrated.

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