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Master Mariners Gather Ahead of Annual Race on the Bay

On Friday, May 19, we had the privilege of attending the Master Mariners Benevolent Association’s (MMBA) Sponsor Luncheon. The gathering is held each year at the St. Francis Yacht Club, and is an ideal setting in which to share sailing stories and savor the anticipation of the coming annual regatta on the Bay. It is also an opportunity for the MMBA to present the race sponsors. We’re honored to say we are among those sponsors.

Ideally, each organization presents the boat it is sponsoring with a company flag to be hoisted aloft on the day of the race. Sadly, our Latitude 38 flag went missing after another event. But the MMBA organizers were on the ball and filled the gap with their own banner to symbolize the Latitude flag. Fortunately, our embarrassment was somewhat reduced by our not being the only sponsors lacking a flag at that time. (Note: We do have a new flag on order, though it probably won’t get here in time for this Saturday’s race.)

Among the guests were representatives of many of the Bay Area’s wooden boat fleet and the numerous businesses and individuals providing expertise, knowledge, boat parts, and support. So we were in very good company!

Master mariner's lunch
A quick, rough count had us estimating 80 to 100 wooden-sailboat enthusiasts getting together for this annual event.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
MMBA members
MMBA membership officers Diane Walton and Neil Gibbs (chair) display the MMBA burgee — a Herreshoff anchor with an “H” across its shank. The burgee was designed in the late 1800s to reflect the newly formed Master Mariners Benevolent Association’s ongoing objective to raise funds from local maritime businesses for distribution to widows and orphans of seamen lost at sea.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Neil Gibbs owns the 1977 Sparkman & Stephens yawl Kay of Göteborg — the boat that we’re sponsoring in this year’s regatta.

Kay of Göteborg will be in spectacular company as she races across the Bay on Saturday.
© 2023 Benson Lee

The Master Mariners Regatta comes with its own swag, and this writer picked up a hoodie with this year’s feature boat on the back: the 1889 Edward Burgess cutter Folly, owned by MMBA’s treasurer, Allen Gross.

Folly in her full glory.
© 2023 Master Mariners Benevolent Association

During the sponsor’s flag presentations, the luncheon’s MC and MMBA Commodore Hans List mentioned that he blames his wooden boat affinity to the Latitude 38 Classifieds. What can we say but, “You’re welcome!”

We look forward to the regatta this Saturday and hope you get the opportunity to see these classic wooden boats in action. If you do, and you happen to take some photos, send them our way for the next Sailagram: [email protected].

You can read about the history of the MMBA in our May issue, and we’ll be sharing the story in this week’s episode of Good Jibes!

1 Comment

  1. George Fedoroff 4 months ago

    Great to see Neil Gibbs and the Kay of Goteborg up and sailing the SF Bay. Write-up brought back memories of the Kay’s previous owner, Nikita Kushelevsky , my half-brother. In the 1950s and 1960s he crewed on some of the bay’s most well-known yachts like the Baruna and Celebes. He also crewed on a couple of SF to Acapulco and Trans-PAC races. He was written up in Sports Illustrated as instrumental in rescuing the crew of a participant in the Acapulco race that caught fire and burned to the waterline.

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