Sailor Gary Jobson, the tactician who helped Ted Turner 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 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 tragic death of Team Artemis crew member Andrew Simpson during a training exercise in mid-May, he predicted 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' ultimate plans for the races will be, Jobson said the teams from New Zealand and Italy (aka Alameda Point-based Luna Rossa) haven't had problems and are should "be at the starting line this summer" in their AC72 catamarans. The New Zealand catamaran, for instance, has hit speeds of 50 mph.
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 knows how to "come from behind" to win.
"This is the most exciting part about America's Cup, because you simply don't know who will win," Jobson said. "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, said he loves being out on the water to watch the action. But Jobson believes the TV cameras will do an excellent job sharing the sounds and sensational activity of this Bay Area sporting event, set to run from July 4 through Sept. 21.
How about this wind-related news? Alameda Point-based Makani Power is being acquired by Google. The innovative wind-turbine maker, founded in 2006 by Don Montague, Saul Griffith and the late Corwin Hardham has received Google's support, along with that of the Department of Energy, over the past few years. (Montague and Makani Power were just featured in the New Yorker magazine, as well.)
For those looking to unleash their creative spirit in arts and crafts, the Frank Bette Center hosts Community Art Night from 4 to 8 p.m. each Thursday. The center is located at Lincoln Avenue and Paru Street. The center's annual "Alameda on Camera" exhibit ends Saturday. "By the Sea" will be open Monday, and the show "On the Bay" kicks off with a reception on June 14.
Also, several Alameda artists, like Bonnie Randall Boller, are getting ready for the Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and June 8-9. Randall Boller will display her clay monotypes, ceramics and other art at the Clay Art Studio, 3239 Briggs Ave., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Other art will be on display at artists' homes, as well as at Autobody Fine Art on Park Street. Go to the group's website, www.proartsgallery.org for more information on the East Bay event.
Janet Levaux also writes the Alameda Journal Blog at www.ibabuzz.com/alamedajournal.