Encinal Yacht Club

Students at a pair of Alameda schools are celebrating wins in regional and state competitions.

Artemis Racing foils on San Francisco during the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals. Photo by Dave Bloch.

A CURVE TOO STEEP

Artemis Racing ended its campaign for the America's Cup last Saturday with their fourth loss to Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge. It was the best race of the lot, and might have turned out differently if not for some penalties assessed against the team.

John Stokes is 87 now, but he clearly remembers his service during World War II. During the bloody battle of Okinawa off Japan, Stokes and the rest of a gun detachment assigned to an ammunition ship survived 32 air attacks by Japanese planes and shot down two of them.

On Saturday, Stokes stood on the dock of the Encinal Yacht Club to assist hundreds of other veterans who were there for a much quieter afternoon on San Francisco Bay. Stokes was one of 300 volunteers who took part in the 16th annual Margot Brown Wheelchair Regatta, an outing for aged vets who are disabled and living in Northern California Veterans Administration hospitals.

It is a balmy summer evening as dozens of sailors prepare for the next race in Oakland Yacht Club’s 2012 Sweet Sixteen Series – which is perhaps better known, along with similar races run by Encinal and Island yacht clubs on Friday nights, as Alameda’s beer can races. Martin Jemo and his crew prepare the Joanna, Jemo’s 30-foot Irwin, for a 90-minute run on the Alameda/Oakland Estuary.

Jemo has been sailing since the 1950s, and he and two other members of the crew have sailed together for so long that one crewmember jokingly refers to them as the Ancient Mariners.

Leaders of Alameda’s marine and merchant communities said Wednesday they are overjoyed with the news that America’s Cup challenger of record Artemis Racing is planting its flag here on the Island.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Alameda,” said Encinal Yacht Club Commodore Victor Early.