What I Saw – by Jackie Philpott
Annual Wooden Boat Show
On June 17 I sailed over to the Corinthian Yacht Club as an invited guest of Shelly Willard. Shelly was one of the many organizers of the 2023 Wooden Boat Show, held on June 18. There is a terrific site where you can find the online version of Shellback magazine, with its overview of the Master Mariners Benevolent Association. Thank you to Martha Blanchfield (https://renegadesailing.com/) for sending it to my attention: https://heyzine.com/flip-book/c40510b82eddhtml#page/1
When I arrived in Tiburon, Randall and Oskar caught the lines of Dura Mater and secured her to the end of O Dock.
All Saturday afternoon I admired the beauty of the wooden boats, their interior cabinetry, the beautifully maintained bronze winches and inlaid cabin soles of teak and holly. They are impressive vessels, there is no doubt about it. I especially appreciate the dedication and effort put into the ones that aren’t professionally maintained. All that said, I am seriously grateful that my boat is made of plastic. I just hose her down, inside and out, swipe at the spider webs when we return from the Delta and change her oil regularly.
What are the criteria for the awards at the Wooden Boat show? I asked Richard O’Keefe, one of the judges as he passed me by and he handed me a page from his clipboard. There are three different broad categories in which a boat can qualify for awards. The Stone Cup goes to the “best of show/restore” (professional). The Corinthian Trophy is for “owner maintained” (sweat equity) and the Alma/Al Lutz Trophy goes to the boat with the “biggest change in one year.” Boats are evaluated based upon dock appeal on a scale of 1-5 and whether or not the following are made available: flags, information placard, ropes, lines and sails, and whether there is documentation regarding restoration. I could tell from their faces and concentration that the judges took their jobs seriously.
Remember Liz Diaz? I wrote about Liz and North Beach Canvas in the June column of this magazine. Liz was a seminal fundraiser for the Master Mariners this year and her own wooden boat, Kaze, was tied up just below the deck of the Corinthian. Kaze was beautifully restored by Jeff Rutherford at his boatyard in Richmond. If you would like to buy a boatyard, it is for sale. By the way, Liz finally got a lease renewal for her commercial space on Pier 70 in the City.
After a lot of chit chat on Saturday afternoon I walked into town for dinner. I had roast chicken and really fresh broccoli at Caffé Acri, which was serving full dinners while Servino’s restaurant next door is being renovated. My waitress was terrific and I listened to a man in a hipster hat who played requests on the piano.
Interview With Terry Klaus
Sunday morning, I made myself a small pot of coffee aboard Dura Mater. Then I put my camera around my neck and went looking for someone to tell me something. I have learned that, if I put a camera around my neck, people are more willing to talk with me. Go figure.
I followed a fella named Bob into town. He said he was going to have breakfast with the board members of the Master Mariners at the Salt and Pepper Restaurant. When we arrived, Terry Klaus was proudly handing around photos of his daughter, Lindsey at the helm of their classic Schooner the S/V Brigadoon.
Here are a few things Mr. Klaus told me over breakfast.
Terry Klaus: Now we have a third generation aboard Brigadoon. Lucas Roper is the grandson of one of my best friends, Bob Hanelt. Bob’s son-in-law, Josh Roper, sailed on Brigadoon, and now Josh’s son Lucas Roper is on the crew. When Bob and I were growing up there were a hundred Sea Scout boats on the Bay Area waters. Think about it: War got over in ‘45, we’re talking about the late ‘50s, you’ve got all these guys who’ve come back from the war.
There were piles of military surplus coming back to our shores, 40- to 101-foot boats. They were giving them to the Sea Scouts and leaders were needed. I knew of one leader who had been an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. Another boat was led by a former navy commander. They were teaching all the boys, and there were girls, too. San Francisco had eight or nine ships; Berkeley had seven.
Jackie: The boats were kept at the Berkeley Marina?
T: Yeah, there were three 63-footers that belonged to the Sea Scouts and a couple 40-footers. I started Sea Scouts when I was 13 along with Bob Raymer and Bob Hanelt. We all went to college, then Bob Hanelt and I went to the maritime academy.
I had to go into the military so I became a Coast Guard officer. There was a 104-footer in Alameda and its skipper was moving to the East Coast. I had a Coast Guard license. You had to have a license to run these boats because, although the boat doesn’t have to be certified, if you have kids involved it’s like a six-pack license.
So, because I had a license, I was the skipper of the 104-footer for seven years, between 1968 and 1977. Then my wife Patty said, “Enough is enough!”
We had two 1500-gallon tanks and we used to get diesel free. We would go to Point Molate. We would leave Alameda about 10:30 and get to Point Molate at midnight. The guy at the fuel dock would fill us up and he said, “3000 gallons? We spill more than that! I’m not gonna charge you anything!” [Mr. Klaus laughs and laughs. He wasn’t worried about that guy losing his job.]
We would take off from there and go nonstop to Ensenada. Nine-point-five knots down and nine-point-five knots back with the California current. We used to take our Sea Scouts down the coast nonstop from Alameda to Ensenada. We’d anchor in Ensenada and the kids would go ashore with an adult. We were there about 36 hours then we’d come back to San Diego, Newport Beach, Catalina and Santa Barbara.
In a phone conversation with Mr. Klaus just before sending in this column for production, he asked me to mention that S/V Brigadoon won the Annual Belvedere Classic Regatta. She won against a fleet of three other classic schooners. Here are the results:
1st Place: Terry and Lindsey Klaus, S/V Brigadoon
2nd Place Jeff Hawkins, S/V Jakatan
3rd Place Jim Mason, S/V Gloriana
4th Place Jim Cullen and Mike Pearson, S/V Gold Star
Terry Klaus: Always a gentleman, also the fiercest of competitors.
Also at the Wooden Boat Show was the Frisco Flyer S/V Olive. Built in 1957, she retains her original teak body and interior. I interviewed the owners, Kathryn Kreyling, Emma Chevalier and Leslie Bregan. Also aboard was crew member Jacqueline Zalstein.
Drinking mimosas from real glass, not plastic, Katie informed me that the motto aboard Olive is: No Bras. No Motors. No Masters.
Jackie: How did you obtain this boat? Tell me the story.
Emma: Well, it was pretty simple actually. We were the first ones to respond to a Craigslist ad. We had been looking at boats and this one was the first wooden one that popped into our Craigslist feed. Katie sent it to me and I said, “That would look really good with my white converse tennis shoes.” And it does.
J: That’s not a very sophisticated criteria for the purchase of a boat.
E: Well, it’s not necessarily quantifiable but it’s qualifiable. And we’re simpatico.
J: There are lots and lots of boats out there. How did you happen to pick… a very old and time-consuming wooden boat?
E. We feel that wood is inspiring. It is a constant relationship that you have to invest a lot in, but it’s an inspiring material and a piece of art. And she gives back. She’s living.
J: Okay. So, you found her on Craigslist, the three of you purchased her? Is it registered in all your names?
E: It’s registered under Katie.
J: Well, that was brave of Katie.
Katie: She’s an all teak 1957 Cheoy Lee Frisco Flyer or Pacific Clipper, depending on the year. I’m not exactly sure which one she is. I think she’s technically a Frisco Flyer. She has a big, full cast iron keel.
J: Where do you sail her?
K: We just normally sail her outside of the Berkeley Marina there. We did sail her in Master Mariners this last year. She won the Lyle Perpetual trophy for fastest elapsed time in her division. We’re very proud. She stayed overnight here at Corinthian. This is her second big outing on the Bay under our stewardship. We bought her from Victor Early. He was the commodore of Master Mariners a long time ago. She sailed in Master Mariners ten years ago also, but this is her debut year with us.
J: Master Mariners are looking for younger people to buy their boats, and you all are a prime example of that. The idea is to save these classic wooden boats from the Sawzall, ensure they don’t get cut up. What was your experience sailing before you bought Olive?
K: Emma and I took classes at Afterguard in the Estuary two years ago and then we found Cal Sailing and started sailing the dinghies and really fell in love with the water and the Bay. I think interfacing with the Bay in that way really helped me fall in love with sailing. We’re members of the Berkeley Yacht Club, so I think we want to race in the Friday night races there.
J: Are you planning on getting any new sails? Do people want to give you, their sails?
K: If they do, we’re always open to that. The sails came with the boat. The mainsail is a pineapple. The best feature about the sails is that she has a giant, bright red olive on the mainsail. And she has a little spinnaker. The sails are in pretty decent condition. We know there’s at least one other sister ship somewhere on the Bay and potentially more.
J: And once you have five boats of the same design you have yourself a fleet and can race against each other in Bay races, like the fleet of Alerion 28s.
K: So, the call is out for the other Frisco Flyers!
E: Ahoy, Frisco Flyers! Far and wide! Come join the flotilla!
I promised to pass on the word to the world at large. So, if you have a Frisco Flyer, write to me here and I will let the new owners of Olive know that you want to race against them.
2023 Singlehanded Transpacific Race
Since 2016 I have been a member of the race committee for the biennial Singlehanded Transpacific Race from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay. Since 1978 singlehanded racers have sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and then, ten days or so later, they sail into Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of the island of Kauai.
For this year’s version of the SHTP sailors came from up and down the West Coast. The Express 37 Perplexity saw 50-knot winds on his trip down from Bainbridge Island, Washington. The 42-foot yacht Elmach from British Columbia saw similar wind and lost the mast track on his way down. The damage needed to be repaired before the race had even started. Iniscaw, a 32-foot Martin, came up from Southern California on a trailer, and the 41-foot Tartan S/V Reverie sailed up from Wilmington. Westsails Hula and Elizabeth Ann sailed down from Oregon, and the ID35 Such Fast sailed down from Seattle.
Again, this year the race was staged at the Richmond Yacht Club and then started off the deck of the Golden Gate Yacht Club on the San Francisco City Front. It is important to schedule the start of the race on a day and time when the ebb helps the racers exit the Bay.
By the end of the race participants have sailed at least 2120 nautical miles. They arrive alone, sleep deprived and wild eyed. Those of you who have served on ocean race committees know what a time commitment it represents. Our experience in Kauai is a bit more intense because there are no “facilities” in Hanalei Bay. There is no yacht club, no marina, no boat slips. The Race Committee has to find and rent a power boat locally to deploy 24/7, whenever the boats arrive from the mainland. Adding to the difficulty is the embarking and disembarking process from the power boat to shore. The only landing location is up the Hanalei River, and the shallow draft at its entrance precludes coming and going when the tide is low. In other words, timing is everything.
A member of the race committee, Dennis Maggard sailed to Hanalei Bay ahead of the fleet aboard his Crealock S/V Pamela. Anchored in the Bay prior to our arrival, Dennis Maggard sent us updates regarding what we could expect this year. For example, in 2021 the single road between Hanalei Bay and the rest of the island was closed. Following torrential rainfall, a massive mud slide that year completely closed off the access. This year the road was open to Hanalei from the rest of the island.
The second day of our arrival we met with Larry Conklin from whom we rented the Sea Squirrel. We first rented a small boat from Larry in 2018. We called it the Sea Squirrel. The first iteration of the Sea Squirrel was a messy little boat with plastic cleats that promptly snapped off and no running lights. It had a small, ineffective bimini that we festooned with Halloween Luci lights. The outboard would stop running unexpectedly and sometimes when the tide was ebbing, meaning that the boat and her occupants would begin to drift out to sea, which meant that the sailboats would have to pull anchor and recover her, instead of vice versa.
In 2021 the first Sea Squirrel was replaced by a more robust Sea Squirrel with a newer 90-hp Yamaha. Ah. That was much better. The Halloween Luci lights were used again, and this boat had running lights. Much more legal. Since it was the year of COVID, few other boats were on the water, anyway, and besides, all the officials were home hunkering down because of the pandemic.
Once we had collected our support boat, we were able to sleep aboard Pamela in between the arrival of boats and to raft up with the Sea Squirrel when the Hanalei River was too shallow for entry. We had new Luci lights for the Sea Squirrel, a big green one tied with string onto the port aft side and red on the starboard side. Six of the sixteen boats in the race arrived in the early hours of the morning, while the winner overall, Jim Quanci of S/V Green Buffalo arrived at 11 p.m. before everybody else.
All seven arrived safely in the utter and splendid darkness of Hanalei Bay, with a gazillion stars above us.
This year six boats finished the race on the same day just after midnight, then early in the morning. A couple of times we had to ask the skipper to circle around the harbor while we shepherded the next boat into the Bay from the finish line offshore. In several instances the skipper was asked to spend the rest of the evening aboard his boat because there wasn’t enough water to enter the Hanalei River in order to drop them off ashore. So, many things to consider, so many things to go wrong. Yet nothing did. Sailors who do this race are so self-sufficient.
This year I counted 38 sailboats anchored in Hanalei Bay. That doesn’t include the small fishing boats and power boats already floating there. There are mooring balls but those require permits. Our 16 racers needed to anchor and that is part of the reason for the presence of the race committee. If there was no race committee on hand the sailors would have to record their own finish times and then anchor themselves.
That is what happened at the end of the 1978 race. So far, every other year since then, the Singlehanded Sailing Society (SSS) has managed to cobble together enough people to send over ahead of time. Lucky me, I have been one of them. The SSS has raced to Hanalei Bay every other year since 1978. In 1978 there was a Club Med in Princeville on the hill overlooking the Bay. By 2021 the area above Hanalei Bay had become a massive construction zone, and by 2023 it had become transformed into a luxury hotel. Everything is new and then it isn’t.
This year, the Bay was full, all boats anchored in a narrow circumference of permitted space.
While it is a splendid sight to see so many sailboats in one place, it was a challenge to find a place for everyone. And then there was that sailboat that had anchored bow and stern. What is up with that? My understanding is that, when arriving in an anchorage, one follows precedent: If no other boat is anchored bow and stern, you don’t do it, either. That way everyone swings and as long as their anchor rode doesn’t cross someone else’s all is good. But if just one boat is anchored differently? Everything goes to hell in a handbasket. Think of the havoc that would be caused by one boat swinging back and forth in Mandeville Cut during the Fourth of July fireworks. Hoooweee!
Once all the racers arrived there was an awards ceremony held at the Kauai Sailing Association in Lihue, attended by almost 100 people including Nawiliwili Yacht club members, the youth sailors of the sailing center and friends and family members of the SHTP participants.
How does the SSS organize a dinner for 100 people? We ordered Brazilian entrees from a food truck in Hanalei Bay, picked up the many tinfoil pans full of food an hour beforehand and drove it to Lihue ourselves. It smelled wonderful and we were really hungry, but we showed great discipline and delivered it almost intact. Except for those pão de queijo. They didn’t make it past Kapa’a.
When we arrived at Nawiliwili the kids from the youth sailing program immediately came out to the car to take in all the food we brought. They took it upstairs to the outside/covered deck and laid it out. They were ready to serve and did a wonderful job. Carl’s daughter Astrid (far left in the photo) did a particularly fine job of herding the children (“Out of my bar! All of you! You’re too young to be behind this counter.”). They scurried when she told them to move! She’s already a formidable person at age 22.
Here is David Herrigel, race chair and Carl Anderssen, who has the very important job of imbuing respect for the water into the young sailors at the Kauai Sailing Association.
The building that is used by the Kauai Sailing Association overlooks the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor in Lihue, on the south side of the island. It is a very expansive youth sailing program. David presented an SSS burgee to the director of the club, making it the very first burgee to be displayed at the Kauai Sailing Association!
Toward the end of the ceremony one of the littlest kids – Silvio Fonari – maybe eight years old, came over to me and put a Ti leaf lei around my neck. What is a Ti leaf lei? It’s the most beautiful thing in the world and it’s mine. I don’t have to give it back. I am so grateful. Mahalo, that’s what I have to say.
What did I learn from Carl as we sat next to each other during the ceremony? Carl told me that, in an effort to pass down the traditions of Hawaii, the children are taken to a remote village. He told me the name of the village but it is a secret, so I can’t share it here. It is somewhere in the Napali Coast area. Elders teach the children about sustaining the true spirit of Aloha, and the ways of Hawaii. They are taught the larger meaning of Malama ‘Aina, which is to take care of the land. Not just Ti leaf leis and Hawaiian songs, although they shared those with us during the ceremony.
As each sailor in turn was named by the race chair, David Herrigel, a child came up and put a Ti leaf lei around his neck. Then David gave the sailor his belt buckle, the coveted prize for winning this race. Each sailor was handed the microphone in turn, in order to tell a brief story from his trip. The results of the 2023 Singlehanded Transpacific Race to Kauai can be found here: https://www.jibeset.net/show.php?RR=JACKY_T004055182&DOC=r1&TYP=html
The morning after the awards ceremony Larry Conklin arrived to collect the Sea Squirrel. We’ve rented support boats from Larry since the 2018 race. We sat around on beach chairs chatting about the ceremony. Larry provides so much more than just a boat. For example, one of our competitors sprained his knee during the race over. Larry brought a knee brace for him to use upon arrival. Everybody on the island knows him, and over the years he has served as an ambassador of sorts. Once, when we were driving his truck, a member of a road work crew called him to say, “Hey, Larry. There’s a haole driving your truck. Is that okay with you?”
This is what Larry said about Carl Anderssen’s youth sailing program: “They’re doing much more than teaching those kids to sail. Sailing is just the tool. They’re raising those kids.”
Jonathan Gutoff and Christine Weaver live in Ox Bow Marina which is in the Delta. They have travelled to Hanalei Bay since 2008 in order to provide coverage of the SHTP. If you are interested in more photos and video coverage of the 2023 SHTP, find them here at Jonathan and Christine’s website: Norcalsailing.com
Upon his approach to the finish line one of our sailors, Piyush Arora, on his 30-foot Beneteau S/V Horizon called the race committee to inform us that his boat was on a collision course with a rower. A Danish rowing team’s AIS showed up on his screen and he had to tack unexpectedly. The rowing competition had set up a scene similar to the one used by the survivor television show: There were Klieg lights and tents all along the famous Hanalei Pier. There were flares and fireworks and loud cheering by the supporters.
Piyush was pretty sure it wasn’t the SSS race committee welcoming him with all those fireworks and he found it confusing after all those nights in the darkness of the ocean. But he called on his satellite phone to be sure that he wasn’t hallucinating. We assured him that he wasn’t.
On July 16 I walked down Weke Road to see what was going on with all the noise at the Hanalei River end of the Bay. It was a rowing program called the World’s Toughest Row. It is a competition between rowing teams from Monterey to Hanalei Bay. I found a crew of four called The Pacific Discovery Crew, which had just arrived after finishing third in the competition. This appears to be is a very well financed program where the support teams seem to get almost as much press as do the actual participants. Certainly, the food served looked delicious and most members of the paparazzi were held at Bay. Except yours truly.
If you are interested in this rowing event, find information here: https://www.worldstoughestrow.com/the-pacific/
Here is a photo of Stuart Thompson, a member of the Pacific Discovery Crew, with his wife, Jordan and daughter Rachel. They all look very happy.
On the morning of my return to the mainland I waited at the bus stop for the bus that would take me to the airport in Lihue. It is a two-hour ride that costs $4.00. A local lady waited too, and she noticed my sailing sweatshirt. She told me that people are increasingly being diagnosed with sepsis after swimming in the Bay, something that is a recent occurrence. That’s all she said. She looked directly into my eyes but didn’t need to say more. I pass on her words here.
I understand Kauai locals’ reticence toward us. We who go back to Kauai year after year on vacation delude ourselves. We may persuade ourselves that we have a place in their hearts. But, really? We are essentially intruders. Nothing we do, no amount of tourist dollars spent, changes that, and we would do well to remember the meaning of Malama ‘Aina. We are merely guests, and must show proper respect for the islands themselves and toward the people who live there.
Thank you for reading. Email me, jackie@yachtsman magazine.com if you have anything you would like to share. Enjoy your time on the water and let’s all be careful out there.