The Maritime Report: Sister City Visit!

The Maritime Report: Sister City Visit!

Dave Bloch

Mona Ryberg Nordgren at the Artemis Racing boat launch area. Photo by Dave Bloch.

Six months ago, I wrote an article in this space about a project that Alameda's yacht clubs took on; a letter signed by all seven Commodores was sent to the Lidingö Segelsällskäp (Lidingö Sailing Club) in Lidingö, Sweden (Alameda's sister city). The letter let them know how pleased we are to be the base of Artemis Racing, the Swedish entry in the America's Cup. (You can read that article here:

On Wednesday, we welcomed our first visitor! Mona Ryberg Nordgren, editor of the Lidingö club newsletter "Fyren" (Lighthouse), came to Alameda for the afternoon. She is in Northern California visiting long-time friend Linda Krenicky of Santa Clara, in whose home she lived when Mona was here as a high school exchange student.

I met up with Mona and Linda at Island Yacht Club, where we performed a time-honored tradition of exchanging club burgees. (The burgee is the flag of the yacht club; in the U.S. these are usually a triangular pennant.) Mona also brought several copies of the Fyren from fall 2012, containing an article about Island Yacht Club and the sailing life here in the Bay Area. The photos and most of the information in that article came from e-mails between Mona, myself, and 2012 IYC Staff Commodore Kristen Soetebier; that electronic conversation was a nice bridge from the original letter we sent to the in-person visit this week.

After IYC came the most exciting part of the afternoon: a short trip out to Alameda Point to visit the airplane hangar that is the Alameda home of Artemis Racing! This trip was arranged in just the previous 24 hours by Eric Fonstein from the city, working with Jennifer McHugh at Artemis, and it fell into place perfectly. We were welcomed by Jennifer and a staff member, Natasha, who took us up to a second-floor walkway that offered a panoramic view of the entire hangar.

I wish I could show you a picture! But the engineering secrets visible from that balcony require that all guests sign a non-disclosure agreement that includes a strict "No Photography" rule. So I can only tell you that Natasha and Jennifer gave a good explanation of what we were seeing, including both the AC45 (used in the AC World Series and the upcoming Red Bull Youth America's Cup) and the huge AC72 (built for the Louis Vuitton series and the AC itself).

We left Artemis and I drove us on an Island tour - down Main Street and across Central Avenue to Grand Street, then south to the beach (pausing to explain how that whole section of the Island was "added on"). East of the beach, we stopped at the shore access off Bayview Drive to point out Bay Farm Island, watch the birds and talk about the tides. Then over to Fernside, taking a quick peek at Aeolian Yacht Club.

I couldn't resist a stop at the "Spite House," the 10-foot-wide home on Broadway. It's a nice bit of living Alameda history, and you may have driven by it hundreds of times and never even noticed it; the house looks like it's just part of the one next door. "It's a pretty house," said Linda, and she's right; it is well-maintained and nicely painted. If you've never seen it, take a walk up Broadway and find it. (It is occupied and NOT open for tours; please do respect the privacy of the owners!) By the way, there is a nice Wikipedia article about spite houses, including this one.

We took a drive up Park Street, and then headed back across the island to the Oakland Yacht Club for another burgee exchange and clubhouse tour. OYC has a great balcony with a nice view of the Estuary and downtown Oakland.

Finally, we took a very short trip home - to our own boat in Marina Village Yacht Harbor. We took a break there before I dropped them off at a barbecue party going on at Grand Marina, where Kristen would take over as host for the evening. I had to pass; it was time to get back home to write this article!

So, our little project has generated its first visit from Alameda's sister city! Mona will be writing this up for her newsletter and sharing it with us here, so I can share it all with you.