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SIGHTINGS — cont’d short but they not only caught ‘the big one’, they’re heroes to boot! QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA — Two years ago, Aussie mates Brad Gillam, Rob Meharg and Chris Taylor were “just sitting around in our shed drinking beer” one day when they had an undoubtedly alcoholinduced inspiration. Not only would they recycle their empties, they’d do it in a decidedly “creative” fashion: they’d build a sailboat with them. Surprisingly, after sobering up, the trio still thought their plan was a good one.

season of the witch Rick Hastie’s beautiful 32-ft (LOD) gaff sloop Black Witch became the first boat to receive an award from the California Heritage Council last month. Normally, this 45-year-old organization honors exemplary preservation efforts involving historical sites and buildings. However,

LATITUDE / JR

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‘Black Witch’ at the Master Mariners, where she posted the fastest elapsed time in the Gaff II class, earning her the Kermit Parker award.

they recently expanded the program to include some of the floating maritime history of the Bay Area, as well. Besides the spectacular restoration that Hastie completed over a four-year period, the award seems all the more appropriate since Black Witch is a California native. She was built in 1949 in Wilmington to a 1931 Ralph Winslow design. The boat has spent her entire life on the West Coast, and has been active in the local Master Mariners Benevolent Association since 1965. Best of all, says Hastie, is that the award will also honor the many local shipwrights who helped with the project, including Dan Jones, Harold Sommer, Billy Martinelli, Ross Sommers, Jeff Reed and many others. — jr

nuovo mondo’s day at the races Remember the old seat belt statistic that most accidents occur within just a few miles of home? Who knew it applied to boats, too? But such was the case with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s replica felucca Nuovo Mondo. On May 26, during the Master Mariners Regatta, it capsized. To back up a moment, the historically accurate Nuovo Mondo was built on San Francisco Bay at Pier 54 and launched in 1987. It is the only existing working example of a San Francisco felucca — descendants of Mediterranean craft of the same name which were the mainstay of the local fishing fleet in the early days of the City by the Bay.) It has been part of the historic fleet at Hyde Street Pier since its launch. Although visitors can see the boat up close at the dock, she is hardly a ‘static’ display. The boat sails regularly. She has participated in several Gunkhole Trips (a yearly small boat fleet trek to the Delta and back) and has raced in four previous Master Mariners Regattas. In every instance, she has acquitted herself as a safe, fun boat. She has even traveled abroad — to both France and Italy for international felucca events. (Yes, even feluccas have their diehard fans.) In Italy, she actually finished in the top ten over more than 100 other continued on outside column of next sightings page July, 2007 •

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Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.