Letter from Latitude 38 October 2005

Thanks for the September 7 photo feature in 'Lectronic about the Thursday Night Beer Can Series in Newport Harbor. It was great to see photos of the local sailing action for once.

But I do have one small correction regarding one caption. Aileen, the Shields that was featured in one photo, is not from Orange Coast College, which has a fleet of them also, but from the UC Irvine Sailing Association's fleet of six. These can be used by club members for both one design and PHRF racing.

In case your readers didn't realize it, UC Irvine runs a marvelous, multifaceted sailing program on Newport Harbor. It includes sailing instruction for students and all affiliates - meaning alumni, staff, faculty and family/spouses of not only UC Irvine, but all of the University of California campuses. With demonstrated sailing proficiency, these same UC affiliates are able to become members of the UCI Sailing Association for a nominal annual fee, and thus have year-round access to the fleet of Shields and Capri 14s.

The Capri and Shields Fleet Captains at UCISA also organize intra-club races, cruising activities, and dockside BBQs year 'round, as well as seminars on racing, tactics and crewing. All of this is separate from UCI's Intercollegiate sailing team. The nexus of these three sailing entities at UCI promotes and enables sailing opportunities for sailors of all tastes, be they cruising or racing, and at all levels of experience. It is truly a wonderful program that frequently is overshadowed by the high profile donation program at Orange Coast College.

With all due respect to Orange Coast and its efforts to promote sailing, I just wanted to make sure UCI gets its fair recognition, as I have fond memories of my time in the UCI program, which contributed greatly to my obsession with sailing. I took lessons while I was a nontraditional student at UCI, and I now spend the majority of my recreational time participating in sailing of all kinds - from highly competitive J/105 racing in both Southern and Northern California, to crewing on dinghies, crewing on many PHRF boats, and general cruising. All this is a result of the skills and friendships I made through UCI Sailing Association.

I read Latitude cover to cover every month, and aim to go long term cruising, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Much of this started from racing Shields in the very same Thursday Night Beer Can races - although no alcohol is allowed aboard UCI fleet boats at anytime - pictured in 'Lectronic Latitude. I encourage anyone with a University of California affiliation and an interest in sailing to check out the UCI Sailing Association's very informative Web site at www.sailingclub.net.

On a side note, as we headed out to the start of Long Point Race Week - a three-day series of races to, up and down, and back from Catalina - aboard the Shock 30/30 Problem Child, it occurred to me that it would be a great regatta for Latitude's catamaran Profligate to participate in one of these years. After all, we know the cat is usually hanging around Newport at this time of year, presumably making her way south for the start of the Ha-Ha. Hope to see you some day!

Ashley Knox
Newport Beach

Ashley - Thanks for the clarification on the Shields affiliation and for all the great information on the UC Irvine sailing program. We didn't even know Irvine had such a program. As a former UC student at both Santa Barbara and Berkeley, we can only imagine how many alumni will be thrilled to learn they can join the organization and sail a Shields or Capri 14 around Newport Harbor for a nominal fee. What a great opportunity!

We also appreciate the info on the Long Point Event, which we hear features some great racing and some of the best parties of the year out at the island. If it's going to be the weekend before Labor Day again next year, and if that Catana 431 or some other cat races again, you can count us in for sure.

For the record, Profligate spends all of August, September, and October in Southern California, not just making her way south for the start of the Ha-Ha, but so we can enjoy all the great sailing and cruising opportunities down there. It's a wonderful counterpoint to the sailing in Northern California.