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Note to the Blue Angels: Real Angels Don’t Drop Bombs

Hokahey
This year’s fog limited the air show but not the peace parade.
© 2022 Hokahey Crew

Each year in October, as part of Fleet Week, the so-called Blue Angels perform an aerobatic show over San Francisco Bay. Thousands of people line up along the waterfront and dozens of boats cruise around the Bay to watch the spectacle.

While revelers are impressed with pilot skill and aircraft precision, a growing number of people, including the writers of this editorial, believe it behooves us to think about the primary purpose of these planes. They are designed to intimidate, destroy, and kill. Let us not forget that.

Hokahey Peace Navy
Hokahey has been out with the Blue Angels on blue days in the past.
© 2022 Rebekah Bowman

Even when not dropping bombs or decimating thousands of lives and destroying infrastructure, they frighten people and animals with their noise. Also, the purpose of Fleet Week is to glamorize war and entice our youth to join the military, a decision many later regret.

Revelers may be unaware that the US military is one of the largest global contributors to carbon emissions. Fighter-plane stunt training and maneuvers pollute our environment and cost billions of dollars — money that could be spent supporting this planet and all its inhabitants.

Many sailors and others who love the open sea are naturally inclined to protect our waters and shorelines from pollution. Recognizing that the military is responsible for much environmental devastation, sailor Jan Passion, captain of the catamaran Hokahey, teamed up with members of the women-led peace organization CODEPINK on October 9, 2022, to promote an alternative vision during the bombers’ scheduled air show.

Peace Navy
This Cal 29 joined Hokahey on the Bay.
© 2022 Hokahey Crew

These intrepid lovers of peace decorated the sides of their boat with huge banners, including one with the message “REAL ANGELS DON’T DROP BOMBS.” They tied environmental and peace flags high up on their topping lift and hoisted a jib painted with a large peace symbol and the declaration “WAGE PEACE.” Then, for the love of water, Earth, sky and all living beings, they sailed out to greet the warplanes.

While the journey from Richmond to San Francisco was a bit choppy, with winds up to 30 knots, calmer water and golden sunshine graced their return. Whenever Hokahey passed other boats, smiles and peace signs were exchanged.

Alternative Views on Fleet Week
The crew of Hokahey hoist sails and flags of peace to share their views with a low carbon footprint.
© 2022 Hokahey Crew

In the end, Mother Nature and her thick marine layer delighted Hokahey passengers and crew by thwarting much of the air show. Instead of deafening warplanes, it was Hokahey and a noble call for peace that greeted spectators crowded along the shoreline. Many waved back.

This is the third time Hokahey has made such a voyage. In 2019, they were joined by Golden Rule (the boat that inspired Greenpeace [and our story in ‘Lectronic Latitude on May 28, 2021]), and in 2018, Hokahey was accompanied by another sloop, also fully adorned with regalia promoting peace and a healthy environment. Next year, they are planning to assemble a peace flotilla. Any boat that wishes to celebrate peace and a green, healthy, sustainable planet is welcome to participate.

Let us go out on the water in great numbers. Imagine boats of all kinds — sloops, windsurfers, kite-boarders, schooners, dinghies, yawls, and even kayaks — festooned with signs promoting peace, cruising alongside the SF Bay shorelines. And maybe the year after that, we’ll retire the bombers altogether.

Let us stop glorifying instruments of war. Let us shift our thinking away from violence and toward peaceful coexistence with all who dwell on this Earth.

You may say we are dreamers… but we’re not the only ones!

For information on how to join the Hokahey’s Peace Flotilla in October 2023, please contact: [email protected] or Jan Passion at [email protected].

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28 Comments

  1. Jose Kanusee 2 years ago

    Wow… So precisely what is your point here? Pollution issue with the obvious carbon discharge from the planes? The terrible noise pollution? Or an over arching (and entirely out of your purvey) anti war message? I’m no supporter of air shows such as the Blue Angels, but prefer that my leisure reading of a recreational pastime (sailing) magazine gives me a respite from political points of view!

    I don’t need Latitude to use its forum to prozletize on

    • Tim Henry 2 years ago

      Jose — You reiterated several points made in the editorial, so I don’t understand why you’re asking what the point was. This issue comes up almost once a year during Fleet Week, and Latitude addressed it in a recent editorial about rescuing sailors at sea.

      Latitude 38 is a magazine of the people, with many different voices and contributors. As such, you’re going to hear a lot of different views. (Don’t get the racers talking about the cruisers, or vice versa. That can get ugly.)

      Good news: If you don’t want to read an editorial, profile, satire, or piece of journalism . . . you don’t have to! And you certainly don’t have to comment anonymously, either.

  2. Mike Herz 2 years ago

    Reminds me of the Viet Nam War era demonstrations on the Bay organized by Bob Heifetz’ Peace Navy where we picketed the aircraft carrier Enterprise with my Cal 20 & other small boats. Same vision – different wars!

  3. Jere Visalli 2 years ago

    Kudos to LAT38 for being brave enough to publish this view. Let’s see how many haters respond

  4. Ed Hughes 2 years ago

    Wow. It’s no wonder the MAGA Cult (which I abhor) keeps getting stronger, when it gets so extreme on the other side. I could care less about seeing the Blue Angels, but I don’t come to Latitude to see this stuff.

  5. Peter Ogilvie 2 years ago

    If you are going to go woke, I’m out of here. You’ve screwed what was once the most beautiful city in the US. Don’t bring it into a sport I’ve loved my whole life.

  6. Bill Gage 2 years ago

    Political commentary is not welcome for me at Latitude. Of course I can stop reading your stuff.

  7. Cbot 2 years ago

    Unless your going to show the other side of the story keep your politics out. A strong military is what’s been keeping us free to speak and demonstrate.

  8. Don Scott 2 years ago

    Lattitude38
    You are a sailing magazine. NOT I repeat NOT a political forum!

  9. Phillip Perkins Jr 2 years ago

    Of all the years of reading Lectronic Latitude and enjoying Latitude 38, this was the most insane article I have ever read! I wanted to puke. You have soured my interest in Latitude 38. I had a feeling after reading a few articles after the new owners took over that this would be a WOKE magazine instead of a fun sailing rag. I WAS CORRECT!! Good luck..you just might qualify to be a subsidiary of the Washington Post or N.Y.Times.

  10. John Pepper 2 years ago

    Great gratitude for your actions and continuing hopes for the future we may all share as results build.
    Sincere thanks to all !

  11. Lawrence Snow SV Ladyhawke, Morro Bay 2 years ago

    Latitude 38 is for sailing, not politics! Why polarize a sport/pastime with politics, there is enough of that every where else!!!

  12. Todd Broussard 2 years ago

    Note Latitude 38: Real Sailors want to Read about Sailing.

  13. Jim Willis 2 years ago

    Hadas Rivera-Weiss, the Hokahey Peace Collective and the Hokahey Crew: Really? This stuff was de rigueur in the sixties. I think most of us have grown up since then. There are people in the World that hate us, who want to destroy us, who want to kill us. Our military protects us from those people. I am for peace but not for peace at any and all cost.

    I am proud of our country, proud and grateful for those who serve our country.

    To Latitude 38: Really? Politics has no place in your magazine. I sincerely hope you get the message from 90% of these comments. We sailors understand Mother Earth perhaps more than any other group. We do our part to support the environment that we all love. This is NOT the way to get that message across.

  14. Daniel Haynes 2 years ago

    Keep your personal opinions out of Latitude 38. The article is totally political with no relevance to sailing. You need to consider “what is the mission of Latitude 38?” before publishing this junk.

  15. WFvB 2 years ago

    Hadas Rivera-Weiss and Jan Passion with crew of the Hokahey catamaran, hasn’t 9/11 taught you anything? You must be holdover flower girls of the hippie days! No brain but lots and lots of free love. Keep Hokahey decked out with peace symbols and at the ready to confront the Chinese Naval Armada when it is sailing in under the Golden Gate bridge to take over the United States. The Chinese need Lebensraum for their billions of people and here is where they will get it. And for you, they will definitely comply with your requests.

  16. Simon 2 years ago

    Without those planes, you would be speaking German , Russian or Chinese by now .

  17. David Black 2 years ago

    Latitude 38 please don’t tell me you are going woke. Stay out of politics and stick to sailing. That’s why we love you.

  18. Jeff Hoffman 2 years ago

    Thanks much for this editorial, well needed in this type of publication. Well said!

  19. Captain Curt Taras 2 years ago

    I saw the Peace catamaran sailing dangerously through the crowd of fleet week vessels this year. It was not safe to be sailing thru the viewing areas like they were. I also watched and overheard on Channel 16 a sailor get too close to the Navy Destroyer and yell on the radio the Marines guarding it were too serious. As a sailor and veteran of the USAF I welcome fleet week to return to San Francisco every year. Please warn the Peace flotilla to stay away from us and the US Navy.

    • Jan Passion 2 years ago

      Captain Curt Taras,
      You may be reassured to know that I had my motors running so we we’re actually ‘dangerously sailing’ during the event. We we motoring (for safety). And yes, I see the irony of using fossil fuels to protest. While I did have my small jib out, the motors running and ready and we kept our speed quite slow. I’m sorry you felt we were dangerous… Safe and respectful sailing is important to me, and I’ll double down on that. We all need to know and follow the rules of the road for everyone’s safety.
      And that doesn’t mean their isn’t room for peaceful protest.
      Indeed, that is one of the foundational aspects that the country is founded upon!

  20. Ian Sprenger 2 years ago

    Growing up on a sailboat in Sausalito gave me a front row seat to this show and inspired me to become a Naval Aviator and fly the Super Hornet. I respect the intent of this article, but let us not forget about a metric that is rarely considered and hard to capture; the lives, property and infrastructure saved by having a superior military force. The primary mission of the U.S. Navy (including these jets) is deterrence and maintaining freedom of the seas. Employment of weaponry is the final act of the failed diplomacy of your elected officials. Let us not forget that. Your article also fails to address the highly-trained human in the box tasked with making split-second, life-altering decisions and paints them as gun-toting cowboys. Please know that the number one priority of the men and women piloting these aircraft is deliberate, precision strike in order to avoid any and all collateral damage. We can all agree that war isn’t glamorous and in my 18 years of service I’ve never met anyone who regretted serving their country.

    Respectfully,

  21. Harvey Hoefer 2 years ago

    To call this “insane” and “junk” shows the poor ignorance of the dangers of today’s world. When people are not willing to open their eyes and see what stares at them dangerously bright and threatening, the disastrous future takes its course to quick destruction of environment and it’s inhabitants. I am sorry to have to point this out, but it’s not my opinion, it’s science that has long been established. Congratulations to Latitude38 for having dared (!?) to publish this article.

    • Jeff Hoffman 2 years ago

      Fully agree Harvey, good comment. The U.S. military is the biggest single polluter in the world, and one of the most environmentally and ecologically destructive ones, though they have a lot of company in both unfortunately.

  22. Hadas Rivera-Weiss 2 years ago

    To those who have said that politics has no place in a sailing journal:

    The privilege to avert one’s gaze from unpleasant realities and the suppression of alternate views is quintessentially political insofar as they reinforces the status quo. Also, refusing to look at pollution will impact us all regardless of our level of denial.

    • Jeff Hoffman 2 years ago

      Good comment, I fully agree with this also. People who say they’re apolitical simply support the status quo, which is certainly political.

    • Ed Hughes 2 years ago

      Just because some of us have stated we don’t want L38 to go down this path, in no way means we’re “apolitical”. That is a lot of our problem today-people thinking they know everything about everything.

    • Jeff Hoffman 2 years ago

      Advocating prohibition of discussion of political issues is being apolitical regarding that form. I’m not saying that I think that Latitude 38 should devote a substantial portion of its publication to politics, nor do I think that anyone else is either. But this issue relates to sailing on the Bay, and is perfectly relevant and legitimate here.

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