America’s Cup Veteran Shares Views at Yacht Club

Sailor Gary Jobson, the tactician who helped Ted Turned win the America’s Cup in 1976 and now serves as a commentator on the sport, spoke to about 130 members of the Alameda-based Oakland Yacht Club and guests on May 18. In addition to sharing his love of the sailboat racing and some history, Jobson also gave his opinions on the upcoming 34th America’s Cup races.

Despite the death of Team Artemis crew member Andrew Simpson during a training exercise in mid-May, he predicts the races will be held with great fanfare this summer. “Many people are coming from all over the world to San Francisco Bay for the events, though the unfortunate event with Team Artemis has raised eyebrows,” he said.

While he can’t predict what Alameda Point-based Team Artemis’ plans for the races will be ultimately, Simpson says the teams from New Zealand and Italy (Luna Rossa, operating out of Alameda Point) haven’t had problems are should “be at the starting line this summer” in their AC72 catamarans. The New Zealand catamaran, for instance, has hit speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Still, the veteran sailor thinks the Team USA, aka Oracle Racing, has “an edge.” The group is led by Australian-born skipper and helmsman James Spithall, who’s knows how to “come from behind” to win.

“This is the most exciting part about the America’s Cup, because you simply don’t know who will win,” explained Jobson. “Each of the 72s has an advantage in different winds and conditions. I don’t know who’ll win, and they don’t know either… and the weather really affects the races, too.”

The America’s Cup commentator, who will be working with ESPN and NBC during the races, says he loves being out on the water to watch the action. But Jobson believes the TV cameras will do an excellent job recording the sounds and sensational activity of the Bay Area sporting event, set to run from July 4 through Sept. 21.


Virago’s “Sonia Flew” on Stage ‘Til June 1

“Sonia Flew,” a play directed by Alameda-based Virago Theatre’s artistic director Laura Lundy-Paine, is being performed on stage at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco through June 1.

Final shows are set for 8 p.m. tonight (May 24) and Saturday (May 25), as well as at 2 p.m. Sunday (May 26). The play will also be onstage next weekend at 8 p.m. Friday (May 31) and Saturday (June 1).

“Sonia Flew,” written by Melinda Lopez, tells the story of a woman who learns of her son’s decision to leave college, enlist in the military and fight against terror in Afghanistan. She struggles to come to terms with being forced to leave Cuba as a young girl with her own responsibilities as a mother facing uncertainty.

To buy tickets, go to Virago Theatre’s website.


L’Hydroptere Training on Bay After Alameda Departure

Photo courtesy of L'Hydroptere (Copyright).

Photo courtesy of L’Hydroptere (Copyright).

The Hydroptere team has left the Island. According the group’s website, the vessel and its crew moved from Alameda to Richmond on Tuesday, May 21.

The sailing team had been working on improvements at Nelson’s yard, which was closed earlier in May due to unpaid fees, according to the Alameda City Manager’s Office. The crew members shared that Carl Nelson had not charged them for their stay in the dry dock area, which they appreciated.

The group’s objective is to set a world speed record on the journey between Los Angeles and Honolulu. It did some practice exercises on the Bay today (Thursday, May 23), staff at Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond said.

L’Hydroptere thanked many local supporters and organizations that helped with the trimaran’s launch into the water off Alameda Point: Hadal Submarines, Kai Concepts, Germain Belz, Marina Bay, Gaël Simon and GravlaX, and others.

The French trimaran, which came to Bay in 2012, was “the first to fly in the bay at over 45 knots,” according to its website.

Team leaders Alain Thébault, Jean Le Cam, Jacques Vincent and Paul Besserea arrived from France to the Bay Area yesterday (Wednesday, May 22).

“In fact, we will perform a complete check-up of the boat which has just been launched in her offshore configuration. After this first trial, we will leave San Francisco to convey the Hydroptère to Los Angeles, which is the starting point of the Transpacific record. We will stay in standby for the record from [the] 1st [of] June waiting for a good weather window,” said Thébault on the group’s website.

Photo courtesy of L’Hydroptere (Copyright).


Memorial Day Ceremony Planned for Veterans Park

At 11 a.m. on Monday, May 27, the American Legion Leland J. Thompson Post 647 is hosting a Memorial Day Ceremony at Alameda Veterans Memorial Park off Island Drive on Bay Farm.

The service is being held to remember members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marines, Navy, EMTS, Firefighters and Police Officers.

The event will include music provided by the Alameda All City Band, welcoming remarks by Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, an address by Rear Admiral Karl L/ Schultz, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard 11th District, and a presentation of commemorative wreaths.

Those supporting the event include the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department, along with the Harbor Bay Homeowners Association, Gold Coast Grill, Safeway, and many other local merchants and organizations–such as the Encinal High School Jr. ROTC, Sea Scouts Navy League and Vietnam Veterans of America-Chapter 400, as well as the Disabled American Veterans of Alameda-Chapter 8.


Films Come to Library; Teen Book Group to Meet

A preview of short films set to be featured at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival in June is taking place today (Wednesday, May 22) at the Main Library at 5:30 p.m.

Films being shown this afternoon were made in 2012 and earlier this year. Plus, there will be some “surprises,” event organizers say.

Local film-maker and curator Jeff Giordano will lead a discussion after the films are shown; the shorts last about 90 minutes in total.

The event is free and open to those 18 years old and up.

The Teen Book Club will meet tomorrow (Thursday, May 23) at 4 p.m. to discuss the book “Where Things Come Back” by John Whaley.

Please contact Jill Russell via jrussell@alamedaca.gov or 510-747-7713 for more information or to RSVP.

Snacks will be provided,and the event is sponsored by the Friends of the Alameda Free Library.

Whaley’s novel tells the story about a 17-year-old living in a small town in Arkansas who meets a birdwatcher interested in finding a special woodpecker. The plot shifts abruptly when the main character’s son goes missing.

A parallel story is told in the book about a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith.


South Shore Hosts Life-Jacket Event

south shore

Alameda South Shore Center, 523 South Shore Center West, will host a life-jacket inspection from 4 to 6 p.m. this Friday, May 23, in Neptune Court.

Parents and children are invited to stop by Neptune’s Court in the middle of the mall area to have kids’ life jackets inspected by water professionals.

If their life jacket is worn out, kids will get to trade in the old jacket for a new one! The offer of one new life jacket per family is good while supplies last, organizers say.

The California law states that all children under 13 must wear a life jacket when in or near the waterways.

This event is sponsored by the California Department of Boating and Waterways, the United States Power Squadrons and Radio Disney.


Preservation Awards Set for Thursday

auctions by bay

It’s that time of year: Preservation Awards Night, put on by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 23, at Auctions by the Bay Theater, 2700 Saratoga Ave., at Alameda Point. It should end by 9 p.m., organizers say.

The 16th-annual celebration of historic preservation projects on the Island, will include the winners of the second-annual AAPS Kids Preservation Contest.

Every year, members of AAPS recognize the owners, managers, designers and workers who have restored properties in Alameda with historic or architectural significance. Nominated buildings may range in age from the 19th Century through the 1940s, according to AAPS, and their use may vary.

The winners usually include commercial properties, churches, governmental structures, single-family homes and apartment houses. And during the awards gala, community members get to hear how these showcase projects enhance the architectural character of Alameda.

The event is free. For more information, call 510-479-6489 or go to the AAPS website.


Library Garden Needs TLC

Alameda’s West End Library, 788 Santa Clara Ave., is asking supporters and gardeners to come by for some spring sprucing from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. this Saturday, May 18.

Volunteers should bring their favorite gardening gloves to help with weeding and clipping. Refreshments will be served.

In other library news, Friends of the Alameda Free Library just hosted a book sale in early May at the Al DeWitt “O” Club at Alameda Point. Volunteers say the book sales, held each year in May and October, raise more than $15,000 for the library.

Hundreds of book-lovers come from around the Island and the Bay Area to buy texts, music, art and more. It was a great success, and library supporters invite the community to get ready for its fall event.


Boat Show Coming to Town


The Northern California Boat Fest is going on today through Sunday, May 16-19, at Marina Village Yacht Harbor. It should be a fun event for Islanders and friends.

Visitors can get information from local yacht clubs, check out used boats for sale, stroll through new and used power and sail yachts, get details on joining a sailing club or owning a boat in a charter program, go out for a sail, see the newest boat equipment, attend one of several sailing seminars — and more.

Seminars will focus on sail-making and maintenance, emergency life rafts and chartering in the Caribbean, for instance.

Musicians featured at the event include Steve MeckFessel–folk, blues and jazz; Michael McNevin — songwriter, vocalist, steel-string guitarist and storyteller; and pianist John R. Burr.


Sailor Simpson Remembered at Service

Artemis Racing, 3 November 2012, Alameda, USA

Team Artemis, based at Alameda Point, said it held a private ceremony to commemorate the memory of teammate Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who died on May 9 during a practice session when the team’s AC72 catamaran capsized on the Bay.

After eight bells this morning (May 16), a wreath was cast upon the water by representatives of the four teams of the 34th America’s Cup, according to Team Artemis.

Simpson was a British double-Olympic-gold sailing medalist.

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said CEO Paul Cayard, in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

“Our thoughts are with Andrew’s family, who suffered a tragic loss yesterday—of a son, a father, and a husband. As our friend and teammate, Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson was central to Artemis Racing, both in the course of racing and our lives. His presence and personality was a binding force and he will be missed,” added Torbjörn Törnqvist, chairman of Artemis Racing, in a separate statement.

Team Artemis of Sweden says it is conducting a “thorough analysis and review” of the accident. It is one of two America’s Cup teams based at Alameda Point, along with Luna Rossa of Italy.

A banner with photos of Simpson is posted on a fence near the team’s operations at Alameda Point, along with several bouquets of flowers. It reads: “Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, you will be missed!”