merlin returns home to santa cruz
s.f. boat show The third annual Progressive Insurance San Francisco Boat Show has moved up a week, to January 15-18, in order to take advantage of the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day holiday weekend. The venue remains the same — Pier 48 with boats in the water at McCovey Cove adjacent to AT&T Ballpark. Among the highlights of the show is Try It Cove in the waters of McCovey Cove, where show-goers can try out such small paddlecraft as kayaks and SUPs — popular water toys for cruisers. Those new to sailing might like to hop aboard the indoor Sail Away Sailing Simulator,
Wednesday, October 28, was a day of joy for the Santa Cruz sailing community, as it was the day that Merlin returned home. Her designer, Bill Lee, had bought her back and had her trucked to California from the Great Lakes. After an overnight delay on Donner Pass due to a zebra mussel infestation, Merlin 'sailed' into Santa Cruz Harbor on the back of a big rig. The 68-ft sled was built by Lee and friends in a repurposed Soquel chicken coop. In the year of her launching, 1977, she set an elapsed-time Transpac record of 8 days, 11 hours and 1 minute — and retained it for an astonishing 20 years. She won the first Pacific Cup in 1980, and held that elapsed-time record until 1994. The Pacific Cup Yacht Club reports that Lee will offer Merlin for charter in the 2016 Pac Cup. While she was owned by Bill Lee, Merlin was far from a glamour boat. Rather, she was sailed for the fun of it, and everyone was welcome aboard. Subsequent bigbudget owners have made some unfortuBill Lee, 'Merlin's designer, nate updates, some of which will have to sporting his wizard cos- go, while others that will be tolerated, at tume. least for now. Lee has removed the canting keel — the first modification to go — and is currently shopping for an appropriate fixed keel. He plans to enter the boat in the 2017 Transpac. Merlin was the topic of several posts in 'Lectronic Latitude in late October and early November, and more Merlin Memories are featured in this month's Letters. Also see www.fastisfun.com. — chris
With more than seven months still remaining until the start of the 19th Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, the race has attracted 80 boats and now has a waiting list. Ranging in size from diminutive Moore 24s to an awe-inspiring 100-ft supermaxi, with almost everything imaginable in between, the fleet will be as diverse as it is large. New boats, legendary older boats, big boats, small boats, cruising boats — you name it, the 2016 Pacific Cup fleet has it. Long billed as the 'Fun Race to Hawaii', Pac Cup continues to attract all manner of boats, provided they are seaworthy and meet the race's requirements. Though the race starts in San Francisco, entries hail from Seattle to San Diego, and Hawaii as well. The inclusive mentality of the Pacific Cup has helped to attract 23 doublehanded entries, many of which are too small to be eligible for other Category 1 races such as the Transpac. Many of the usual suspects are back to race doublehanded, including virtually the full range of small Santa Cruz ultralights, but also bigger boats like the Antrim Class 40 California Condor, Cal 40 Nozomi and the largest, Jorge Morales' J/46 Bolero. One boat to watch will be Mark English's beautiful green Moore 24 ¡Mas!, with navigator and co-skipper Ian Rogers. The two new fathers have led the way in planning for 2016's Pac Cup with two years of solid prep that has seen them win the 2015 Coastal Cup overall and become the first boat in fleet to pass the mandatory safety inspection. Several top-tier programs have signed up for the fully-crewed divisions. Manouch Moshayedi's Bakewell-White 100-ft super-maxi Rio100 would appear to be a shoo-in for fastest elapsed time, with continued on outside column of next sightings page Page 58 •
• December, 2015
SPREAD: JEREMY LEONARD / SAIL REVOLUTION; INSET: LATITUDE ARCHIVES
pacific cup fleet lookin' good
Spread: 'Merlin' and Bill Lee on October 28, the day the sled returned home to Santa Cruz Harbor. Inset: The slim, sleek — and wet — 'Merlin', in the days before the fancy airbrush paint job.
The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.