The Maritime Report: In the Eye of the ACWS Hurricane

The Maritime Report: In the Eye of the ACWS Hurricane

Dave Bloch

Here we are in the calm between those two halves of the storm, the Americas Cup World Series. The event held August 21-26 has been judged a big success. Just about everything worked; even the oft-maligned San Francisco MUNI transit system showed itself off with flying colors. The biggest complaint I heard was about a long line at the Oracle Gear store on Marina Green. (Not a problem for me, as I went to the next tent over to get the "first on my block" Artemis Racing hoodie!)

I've heard so many positive things about the ACWS event from sailors and non-sailors alike. For thousands of people at Marina Green (and tens of thousands more watching on TV), this was the first time they had ever watched a sailing regatta; for many maybe the first time they'd taken more than a brief glance at a sailboat. The idea that these fast boats racing very close to shore might attract a whole new class of viewers seems to have worked, at least for now.

So next comes the huge question: For those first-timers, was this a one-off or will they come back? We're going to know that very soon as the AC World Series returns to the Bay during Fleet Week, with races October 2-7. Will some of these same folks come back out to see it again, or will they think they've "seen one, seen 'em all?" I really hope they'll be back out again, and this time they'll bring their friends. Stay tuned.

The Great Half Moon Bay Cruise

Dozens of boats left Alameda's many marinas last weekend for the annual cruise to the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club. The HMBYC throws a three-day event every year that attracts sailors from all around the Bay to their protected and beautiful (albeit foggy) harbor. Some folks have been going there for years; some use it as a jumping-off point for a longer trip down the coast.

For my wife and I this was an important milestone: the first trip out the Golden Gate on Buoyant, the 1998 Hunter sailboat we bought a year ago and have lived on since October. Even though it's only about 17 miles from the Gate to HMB, the trip can involve strong currents, gusty winds (or none at all), and heavy fog. We would use our engine, our sails, our electronic navigation equipment, the radio and the radar.

To be very brief, all went well. But an important part of any trip like this is the huge desire of sailors - and Alameda's sailors in particular - to be very friendly and helpful to each other. There is nothing on Earth anywhere near as big as the ocean, and going out into it definitely creates a unique and close tie between people.

The next "great migration" from our marinas comes up in October, a huge event called the "Baja Ha-Ha." Sponsored every year by Latitude 38 magazine (which you can pick up for free all over Alameda at marinas and marine supply stores), the Ha-Ha is a cruise (a few folks treat it as a race) from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Many sailors use the Ha-Ha as the beginning of a much longer trip, perhaps across the Pacific or even around the world. For some, the Ha-Ha is their farewell trip; they'll become nomadic cruisers and never return except just for a visit.

But the Ha-Ha is another article. Stay tuned here each week, and please remember my blog over on http://alamedawaterfront.com!