The Maritime Report: Sailing off into the sunset

The Maritime Report: Sailing off into the sunset

Dave Bloch

It's been a long time since our last report on the waters around Alameda. Lots of folks are sailing, kayaking, cruising in power boats and generally having a great time. With the end of the summer approaching, let's take a look at a couple of upcoming events.

WOMEN'S SAILING SEMINAR

Island Yacht Club's 22nd Annual Women's Sailing Seminar will be held on the weekend of September 20-21 at the club, which is at 1853 Clement Avenue. This really is an outstanding opportunity for any woman even remotely interested to learn firsthand about sailing! (The opening class in the "Beginner" track starts with "This is a sailboat," and moves on from there.) The seminar weekend also provides workshop tracks aimed at intermediate and veteran sailors looking to sharpen their skills.

The unique aspect of the Women's Sailing Seminar is that all of the students and all of the instructors are women. The fact is, there is just a different vibe that happens on a sailboat when women teach women, and it's pretty beautiful. Some students, and many of the instructors, come back year after year for the experience.

The tuition of $250 includes two breakfasts, two lunches, and a great party on Saturday evening. The raffle is almost legendary, with local sailing schools and other businesses donating prizes, some of which are valued at several hundred dollars.

Your reporter is an unabashed fan of the seminar. My wife, Speranza, attended many years ago when we bought our first boat and we have been back nearly every year as volunteers or with her attending as a student. If you (or a friend) are female and looking for the single best way there is to quickly experience the joy of sailing, this really is it.

For information and online registration, visit the website at www.womenssailingseminar.com.

AMERICA'S CUP 35

Nobody really knows what's happening with the next big AC regatta, except that it should happen in 2017. The last two venues in the running are San Diego and Bermuda, but there is wide speculation that challengers' unhappiness with those choices could still bring it back to San Francisco Bay. (The official challenger of record, an Australian yacht club, revoked their challenge a few months ago.) The City of Alameda has made a very clear offer to Oracle Racing for our facilities at Alameda Point, including the use of the Seaplane Lagoon as a staging area.

The problem appears to be that Oracle Racing is far more concerned with the America's Cup's status as a commercial event than as a yachting race. The most recent press release from the Cup organization was to announce the appointment of a commercial coordinator, who "will be responsible for supervising, managing and protecting the commercial interests of the America’s Cup."

So we'll see how this plays out. The good news for Alameda is that our "home team," Artemis Racing, is definitely on the list of competitors and is building the team to be a serious contender for the America's Cup and many other international races as well. The other teams that have signed up (and paid the fee) to enter the competition are Ben Ainslie Racing (England), Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) and Team France.

Meanwhile, the Cup organization plans to hold many regattas around the world, including in San Francisco Bay, using the smaller catamarans that provided a lot of excitement in the run-up to the main event. Those events will include the Youth America's Cup, which really was great to watch. Keep an eye out for information on these starting next year.

CLOSURE

I started writing these articles for The Alamedan back in June 2012, as we were cranking up for and getting all excited about the America's Cup. The goal of these reports, as I wrote in that very first post, has been to "bring you news and comment of happenings on the waters that surround our Island city." In those 70(!) posts we explored all sorts of water-y topics from tides to boat names to kids' sailing to (my favorite) "Dating at the Chandlery." We looked at the America's Cup races from shore, on TV, at the Alameda Theatre, and from several different boats on the Bay. We honored the memory of Artemis Racing's Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who lost his life participating in the sport he loved. It has been a fascinating two years.

As written above, San Francisco is not on the "short list" for the 2017 America's Cup regatta. After that announcement from Oracle Racing, the City of Alameda's America's Cup Citizens Advisory Committee, on which I served, held its last meeting, our work completed.

So it seems like a good time for the last edition of the Maritime Report. My wife and I have now moved off of our boat and have listed her for sale (the boat, that is). We'll be in Alameda through September, and then make a very big move - to southeastern Mexico.

As I write this, I'm looking across San Leandro Bay toward the Oakland Coliseum. I'm reminded that this series has existed to remind all Alamedans that our "islandness" is a remarkable asset, providing unlimited opportunities for enjoyment and appreciation of the water surrounding us. I hope I've encouraged some of you to get out and try it! Sailing, power boating, rowing, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, swimming - even just walking along the estuary through Marina Village or on Crown Beach links you to the water.

Watch the birds fly in and out with the tides on the Bay Trail behind the duplexes on Bayview Drive. Or just watch the sun go down over the bay.

Comments

Submitted by Karen Bey (not verified) on Thu, Sep 4, 2014

I'm so sorry to see you leaving the Island and this wonderful blog. I've always looked forward to your articles. It's the only blog in town that writes about what's happening in the sailing world.

Thank you for doing such a great job and the best of luck to you on all your travels!