Kimball Livingston

A Million Bucks

3 Oct

If you’ve been playing Johnny Yachtracer for a while, you’ve said it yourself. If you’ve been playing Johnny Yachtwriter for a while, you’re written it.

There were no losers.

It’s a trite but perfectly-accurate assessment of an event in which scads of people had fun on the water, and a few of them won a thingie to take home. Happens pretty often in sailing, but nowhere was it ever more true than last weekend at the Leukemia Cup Regatta on San Francisco Bay, an endeavor that raised a record $1 million for cancer research.

This annual all-out effort at The ...

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The North Side of Tonga

27 Sep

A while back I challenged readers to name a regatta that in just three years became the biggest annual festival in its island state. The answer was, and is, Regatta Vava’u & Festival.

Northernmost of the island groups in the Kingdom of Tonga, Vava’u has whales, reefs for the diving, beaches (though not as many beaches as Ha’apai to the south) and smooth, protected sailing waters. There’s even a modest charter industry, with Moorings and Sunsail facilities side by side.

I went for the racing, such as it is, with one after another cruiser “racing my house” and being rather ...

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Dolphins-Patriots, Interrupted

13 Sep

We could consider it the good news that I started out watching Monday Night Football during Tuesday lunch, live on the Tongan side of the International Date Line. The scene was the Aquarium Caf, Neiafu, Vava’u with a brace of new friends.

We could consider it the bad news that the score was 14-7 in favor of I-don’t-remember-who when the signal dorked out.

Or we could consider it the bad news that I wasn’t on a boat, sailing idyllically along in Regatta Vava’u and not caring a fig about American football. But I’ve had a shot at that. The ...

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More Regatta Stress

8 Sep

Quick, now.

Name a regatta that became the biggest festival in its island state in just three years.

Where pigs range free.

Where the King banned all whaling in 1979.

Where a Catholic schoolboy’s uniform mandates the long, wraparound skirt called a tupenu.

Where protected sailing waters know nothing of the sea state in (another hint) Oceana beyond.

If you said Regatta Vava’u & Festival, you’re spot on, and if you even know about Regatta Vava’u you’re ahead of most. This island chain in the north of Tonga is celebrated among those who know for its diving, whale watching and ...

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A Moment for Chubby Love

25 Aug

As nicknames go, “Chubby” wouldn”t sign affection

Unless applied to the S&S yawl Chubasco that helped shape the face of yachting as we know it on the California coast. South. North. Yonder to Honolulu. Chubasco was launched in 1939 and honored on Wednesday night with a modelbegun nearly half a century ago, completed at lastdonated to the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. The full-sized version has carried NHYC’s burgee, very well, since 1958.

Chubasco at Catalina. Photo by John Fuller

Along with one other vintage yacht, Odyssey, Chubasco reigns over Newport Harbor by dint of time, accomplishment, and, shall we ...

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