From The Boathouse: Closing in on September Showdown


Emirates Team New Zealand was declared the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup final races held in San Francisco Bay. The Kiwis almost had a clean sweep in the series against the Italian team, Luna Rossa Challenge, with the final 7-1 score. The first team to reach seven points wins the finals, and on Sunday, Team New Zealand won its seventh race.

Last week when I was at the America's Cup media center watching the races, I noticed that Emirates Team New Zealand had a considerable lead on Luna Rossa. The Kiwis picked the perfect wind lines, and the team sailed flawlessly around the course in the bay. Now, the Kiwis will compete in the 34th America's Cup against Oracle Team USA.

Both teams sailed well, especially when trying to control the new and very high-performance AC72, which has had its share of equipment problems during practices and races. Emirates Team New Zealand's boat will have a few modifications and adjustments — which are top secret, of course.

Before the first race Sept. 7, Luna Rossa will aid the Kiwis as the two teams practice sail against each other. The race has been dubbed the September Showdown. It should be very exciting, with the two top teams in the world competing for the cup. I will be traveling north a couple of times to watch the America's Cup races and will report back from the media center.

Tip of the week is for you to get on the water this Labor Day weekend. Many of you will be reading this column while enjoying the weekend, which signals the end of the summer season. This summer has been great for boating. An afternoon wind has been blowing for the rag boaters — I mean sailboat sailors.

I say sailboat sailors because referencing sailors does not automatically signify someone on a sailboat being powered only by the wind upon the sails. Webster's Dictionary defines a sailor as "a person who makes his living by sailing, member of a ship's crew, a traveler, a seaman, a traveler by water, or a stiff straw hat with a low flat crown and a straight circular brim." The last reference is very interesting and I will have to find a sailor hat.

Now remember not to confuse sailor with sailer — the "er" changes the reference to vessels having specified sailing qualities, a very loose definition. To complicate the matter further, sailing is a term to be used more generally than I usually hear on the water or in the local yacht clubs. Sailing is the technical skill of managing a ship, the method of determining the course to be followed, riding in a sailboat, or a departure from a port.

So, the next time you head out to sea, begin by telling your shipmates that you are all sailors sailing on a sailer.

However, I digress from this nomenclature tangent that steered me off course. Keep in mind that this weekend is one of the busiest boating periods, other than the Fourth of July, so be alert on the water.

I will be sailing in the last sailboat races for the season at the Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club, a mile high in the San Bernardino Mountains. This is the novice race that puts a crew member who has not skippered in a series at the helm.

Our team's skipper for the race will be Annie Keller — her first time on the tiller — while Kurt Zimmerman and I crew the C-Scow. I know she will keep the boat right-side up and toss us in the water as I did last Sunday.

We were sailing to the very last rounding mark before heading to the finish line, and then suddenly everyone was in the water and the boat was on its side. We do not know what happened since we set up for a controlled jibe to round mark six, and as we jibed, the sail came across as expected but the boat instantly capsized, tossing all three of us into the lake.

Welcome to sailing a C-Scow. The unexpected happens, but it's a fun boat to sail.

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

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

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