Did you happen to visit Crown Beach this weekend? You might have seen a bustle of activity as 33 Hobie catamarans ran their annual Hobie Fleet 281 Round Treasure Island Regatta. These little boats (16 to 20 feet long) fly across the water with their one- and two-person crews hanging far out over the side to keep the sail from blowing the whole thing over sideways. (Sometimes they go over anyway.)
Your reporter spent Saturday out on the race committee boat, where our volunteers from the Hobie fleet and Island Yacht Club handled the starts and finishes for five different classes of Hobies. This got pretty crazy as the races overlapped; one class might be starting their third race of the day on our port side just as another class was finishing off to our starboard. We were also coordinating activities on the beach and with a chase boat, out on the course ready to give fast assistance to any Hobie in trouble.
The Saturday races were short ones, perhaps 20 minutes each and all off the south coast of our Island. On Sunday, the Hobies did the long race from which this regatta gets its name; they headed out from Crown Beach, under the Bay Bridge and all the way around Treasure Island and back. I was out sailing on our own boat that afternoon, and sailed across the path of several of the Hobies, giving them the right-of-way they deserved according to the sailing "rules of the road."
They look great out there in a large group with their colorful spinnakers flying out front! But this also made us think what it will be like when the America's Cup catamarans - traveling several times faster than the Hobies - begin to encounter casual boaters and sailors on the Bay. We're going to have to educate ourselves very quickly out there!
AND NOW, THOSE “OTHER EVENTS”
I wrote last week about sailing at the 2012 Olympics, and I wish I could report back this week on the coverage! I've heard some very positive comments about how NBC is handling sailing, but that is unfortunately about all I can tell you. NBC really does have a lock on the video of these races; going to another source (for example, the BBC online), you'll find the streams blocked.
Remember that if you subscribe to cable or satellite TV, you have lots of NBC-owned channels to choose from. Plus, your subscription should also enable you to log in to the http://nbcolympics.com website and view the live streams. If not, get over to a bar, restaurant or yacht club and get the channel changed over to sailing! The entire sailing event schedule is located HERE: http://www.london2012.com/sailing/schedule-and-results/
Meanwhile our Pacific Cup sailors have practically all arrived safely in Hawaii! Many of these boats prepped their boats and cruise here in our Alameda marinas.
These summer races create a fascinating in-and-out dynamic for those of us who live in these floating neighborhoods. The singlehanders were here first and were replaced almost immediately by the Pac Cup folks. Since they left, we've had some empty slips around and the neighborhood feels kind of quiet. Not to worry though, the Baja Ha-Ha sailors will start to show up in September! (Don't know what that is? Stay tuned.)