From the Boathouse: From Frisco to Honolulu, the races are on


This is the summer of exciting sailing races with the now-underway America’s Cup challenge in San Francisco Bay and the Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac), which began off Point Fermin in San Pedro and is currently finishing off Honolulu’s Diamond Head.

Let’s begin with the America’s Cup update and the Round Robins 4 match races that began this week. The first race in Match 4 was on Tuesday between the Emirates Team New Zealand and the Luna Rossa. New Zealand beat Luna Rossa in last Sunday’s match race, so this is going to be a great challenge race since the Luna Rossa needs to capture a win.

Then Artemis Racing and the Luna Rossa will be competing against each other Thursday, and Artemis Racing is back on the course Sunday while sailing against the Emirates Team New Zealand. Round Robins 5 races begin Sunday as the last of the round robins, and the semifinals begin Aug. 6.

Additionally, the Transpac is underway, and boats are finishing as I submit this column to make my editor’s deadline. The Transpac organizers started the boats over a weeklong period, with the slower boats crossing the start line first and the fastest boats leaving last. This staggered method of starts, hopefully, allows the boats to finish together rather than having huge gaps if they were to start at about the same time.

The first boat to finish was Tritium Racing on July 18 after covering the 2,225-plus-nautical-mile course with a time of five days, 11 hours and 52 minutes. The team missed the record set in 1997 by an 86-foor catamaran, Explorer, which made it in five days, nine hours and 18 minutes.

Keep in mind that you cannot calculate the average speed of the boats by dividing miles by time. The boats do not sail a direct line from start to finish since the Pacific High pressure zone is sitting between the two lines. So the boats usually drop in latitude to round the Pacific High with the clockwise circulating winds.

The tip of the week comes from two e-mails in my in-box that I think you will enjoy.

The first is from a boater who was having a little problem with red tides. He said the red tide made flushing the head an experience, with coloring and odor a problem, and wanted to know how to use only the clean seawater.

On some boats, especially sailboats that do not carry hundreds of gallons of freshwater, raw (sea) water pick-ups can be used for flushing the heads and washing the decks and for a non-freshwater faucet at the sinks. This plumbing design that allows boaters to use raw water in lieu of fresh saves the freshwater for more important needs like cooking, bathing and washing dishes. I do not recommend drinking fresh water stored in the boat’s holding tank.

I reminded the writer that red tide is a natural occurrence that can affect boaters as well as swimmers, and just as a boater would do with fog, you can change your boating schedule to avoid the algae. Red tides are actually algae blooms, so theoretically, you could install in-line filters, but they will most likely become clogged quickly.

The more practical options are carrying gallon jugs of freshwater to use for flushing and rinsing the heads, sailing out to sea past the red tide line or waiting until the red tide is gone.

The second email is from a boater who is trying to define seaworthiness. I was thinking how the meaning of seaworthiness can be very subjective or a legal definition to law enforcement. A boat’s seaworthiness to row across the bay has a completely different meaning from its seaworthiness to sail in the Transpac to Honolulu.

I looked up seaworthiness and found this definition: “The state or quality of being seaworthy, or able to resist the ordinary violence of wind and weather.” So the vessel just has to be seaworthy, and seaworthy is defined like this: “Fit for a voyage.”

In other words, to achieve seaworthiness, a boat needs to be fit for a voyage. Get me a cardboard box and duct tape, and I will create a seaworthy duct-taped box ready for a voyage, albeit a short one.

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, “Boathouse Radio Show,” broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World