The Maritime Report: Valentines Day Edition!

The Maritime Report: Valentines Day Edition!

Dave Bloch

Quite a few things going on around the Bay and Estuary lately!

ARTEMIS RACING ALAMEDA EVENT

The City of Alameda will present "An Evening With Artemis Racing" on Thursday, February 28 at the Historic Alameda Theatre. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the program runs 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Meet members and the CEO of Alameda's "home team," Artemis Racing! There will be special videos, a chance to Q&A with the team, and a free raffle of Artemis official gear. (Your reporter thinks that the Artemis' logo, showing the goddess of the hunt herself, blows away every other AC team.)

The event is FREE OF CHARGE, but a ticket is required! Tickets are available now at the Alameda Theatre box office, so just stop by there and pick one up. Seats are limited, and there is a four-ticket maximum per person.

Thanks to sponsors AlamedaWaterfront.com, Bay Ship & Yacht, the USS Hornet museum, Bladium Sports & Fitness Club, the Perforce Foundation, and the Alameda Theatre for making this event possible.

AMERICA'S CUP

The America's Cup Event Authority released the full summer racing schedule this week, and it's really packed. Events start on July 4 with Opening Day ceremonies, followed by fleet racing of the teams entering the Louis Vuitton Cup. (The winner of the LV earns the right to challenge Oracle Racing in the America's Cup Regatta; Oracle does NOT compete in the LV competition.)

From July 7 through August 4, there are one-hour afternoon blocks for "Round Robin" racing scheduled five days each week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday). The semifinals start up on August 3 and are scheduled through August 14. (Not all these days may be needed to choose the winners.) The finals run through August 30; but they will end as soon as one team has won seven races to become the America's Cup challenger.

Over Labor Day weekend, September 1-4, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup Regatta will take over the race course. A brand new event, the RBYAC is bringing in teams of younger sailors from around the world. Final team selection is in progress, but this regatta is sounding more exciting all the time! The young (generally under 30) sailors will race the AC45 catamarans we saw last year, and there should be some really good racing over that four days.

Finally, on September 7, the America's Cup itself begins. There are race days scheduled through September 21, but the Cup will be won by the first team to win nine races.

Interspersed with the AC finals will be something called the Superyacht Regatta, on September 9, 11, and 13. These incredible luxury yachts racing each other should be a fascinating sight! No details available yet, but you'll read about them here as soon as more information comes out.

There are, in fact, LOTS of details not out yet. We don't know how many of these up-to-53-days of events will be streamed to the Web or broadcast live on cable or NBC. We don't know where the needed volunteer boats are going to come from for all those days to mark the boundaries of the course. We don't know how the closure, and grand reopening celebration of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will impact the youth regatta. Greater minds than that of your reporter will, hopefully, figure all these things out. It should make for an exciting summer, with lots of surprises!

By the way, the AC45s and AC72s can be seen many days out on the Bay, practicing and testing designs and technologies. If you’re really lucky, you might see the Artemis boat headed out for a run! Look for something very red, and very fast.

BOAT EXPLOSION

You may have already heard the sad story of the sailboat explosion at Grand Marina. Early comments point to a propane leak, but the incident is under investigation.

There are two things on boats that most commonly cause explosions.

The first is propane. If a boat has a propane stove or heater, there are hoses that carry the gas from the tank to the appliance. Since propane is heavier than air, any leaking gas will sink to the bottom and accumulate in the bilge. If a substantial amount collects down there, any tiny spark can ignite it. Of course, propane has a very strong smell (added by the manufacturer) so we usually smell it before too much gathers.

The second cause is accumulated gasoline fumes. Many boats run on diesel fuel, but if the boat has a gasoline engine, then fumes can accumulate in the engine compartment or around the fuel tank. Boats are equipped with exhaust fans that must be run for a few minutes before starting the engine, but accumulated fumes can be ignited by any spark.

The victim of the explosion, Josh Sailer, is part of a family that is very active in the sailing community (especially the "Hobie fleet" - those fast little catamarans). Reports are that Sailer has burns on 20 percent of his body, but is expected to recover. Brother Joel Sailer is an active member of Alameda's Island Yacht Club.

We wish Josh the best wishes for fast full recovery!