Renaissance Racing Man

He was one of the great racing sailors of his generation, and we’re coming to a big weekend at what was once Myron Spaulding’s boatyard in Sausalito. Today it’s the people’s boatyard, if we can keep it.

Steaming_garboard_plank Steaming the garboard © Scott Wall

Given the value of waterfront property, especially in California, there are no guarantees that a nonprofit can stay ahead of the need for profit, but the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center is a living thing, not a museum. If you like the smell of sawdust, if you like the way light slants down from a skylight to illuminate the energy of wooden boat work ongoing, if you value that which could never be reinvented, you will appreciate this realm that Carl Nolte pegs as, “a cathedral of wooden boats.”

Freda_reframedFreda in frame © Scott Wall

And now it is time to celebrate the beginning of the replanking of a deeply-restored Freda. Dating from 1885, this little sloop is one of the treasures of the West Coast (truth to tell, I can’t remember a time in the last four decades when Freda wasn’t in some state of restoration; what a boon to the industry she is, but this turn should do her for the next quarter century or so). On Saturday, the Spaulding Center is also celebrating 1) the launch of Lightly Salted, a student-built pram that now becomes a sail-training platform for the 8- to 16-year-olds who built it in collaboration with the Arques School, and 2) the relaunch of Aurora, a classic Spaulding 33 restored by staff member Jonah Ward.


In his 95 years, violinist, yacht designer, measurer, builder Myron Spaulding influenced generation after generation. His signature moment came in 1937, skippering Dorade (yes, that Dorade) to a sweep of the Transpacific Yacht Race, the first Transpac sweep ever. He could be as cantankerous as the day is long, as generous as sunshine in May. R.C. Keefe once remarked, “Had he plied his trade on the shores of Maine, instead of the wilds of San Francisco Bay, he would have been one of the most famous figures in all of yachting.”

Warwick “Commodore” Tompkins, who calls Myron his second father, wryly allows as to how Spaulding was, “a complicated man; a seat of the pants scientist; a synthesizer of ideas, possessed of an exhaustive memory and remarkable charm, which he chose to use occasionally.” SWBCmyrononsparloft215

Saturday’s event is neither wide open to the public nor exclusive. If you ought to be there, you know who you are, and they want you.

To receive an invitation, contact Andrea Rey, Program Director, at 415 332-3179 or



And Turning to the America’s Cup

It should come as no surprise that Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team has appealed the court ruling dismissing Ras al Khaimah as a venue for AC 33. If you had sold an emirate of the UAE on spending $120 million US to build an island to host your boat race, you’d want to be showing your friends your best diligence along about now.

Imagine the conversation.

Somewhere in Geneva, a hand dials. Somewhere in RAK, a hand picks up, recognizing a call from the SNG.

Voice of SNG: “Al, we have a problem.”


Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi: “Don’t call me Al.”

The Next World Record Attempt

Groupama 3 has departed Brest, France for an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, a round the world record. A first-communication from skipper Franck Cammas:

“We’re going to set off under reduced sail to get free of the continental shelf. After that this NW’ly wind will shift round to the West for three hours at which point we’ll have to sail close-hauled. It’s not the ideal scenario for starting out, however the weather window is pretty favourable after that. In fact, from lunchtime Friday, Groupama 3 should already be sailing along the coast of Portugal. At that stage we’ll hit some N’ly and then NE’ly winds, which are set to accompany us to the archipelago of Cape Verde.”

Oh, and who’s navigating? An American, Stan Honey, who’s had a spot of success here and there. Go Stan.

(Kind of a renaissance man, himself.)

Suns New Jerseys