Photos of the Day: Baja Ha-Ha
November 3 - Bahia Santa Maria, BCS
This report on Baja Ha-Ha 10 was transmitted from the committee boat, Profligate, while at sea via her onboard Globalstar phone.
It's now Monday, and all but three of the more than 100 Baja Ha-Ha 10 boats have finished the 240-mile second leg from Turtle Bay to naturally spectacular Bahia Santa Maria. The leg started on Saturday with 10 to 12 knot winds and completely flat seas. The sky was blue, the air and water were warm, and it was just a couple of knots of wind short of being perfect. Seeing 100 boats, most of them flying chutes, strung out along this desolate and uninhabited part of the coast was really something.
About one-quarter of the Ha-Ha fleet starting from Turtle Bay is captured in this shot.
There were few problems in the fleet other than Profligate catching both her Saildrives and rudder in a fishing net strung with fish heads and having to dodge a series of whales. Also seen were turtles, a flipping manta ray, and lots of fish . . . some of which stayed on the hook.
Although there were light periods, the wind held through an unusually warm night. Sunday's sailing was also excellent, although a few more knots of wind and a few more feet of sea wouldn't have hurt. We haven't received final times yet, but it's believed that the Santa Cruz 52 was first across the line, just before sunset, narrowly edging Profligate and the Swan 65 Casseopia. Also doing very well was the Serendipity 43 Scarlett O'Hara. Already in port was Pat Nolan's powerboat Grand Slam, which had been out catching wahoo which they shared with some of the fleet.
About 0200 on Monday, while the early finishers were catching up on sleep after sumptuous fresh fish meals, the wind predicted by Commanders Weather forecasting filled in, with wind up to the mid-20s and seas to 10 feet or more. Two boats reported gusts of 44 knots, but some folks were skeptical. While a lot of crews got fatigued and beat up a little, there have been no serious problems.
The wind was blowing all the way down the coast, and by this morning it was blowing in the mid-20s at Bahia Santa Maria. Fortunately, the protection is excellent and the holding terrific. About the only beach activities today are climbing the the nearby hills for views of the majestic bay and Mag Bay in the background. It's not a big deal, as most of the crews, having had to resort to shortened sail, are catching up on sleep.
After a lay day Tuesday, the last leg of the Ha-Ha, to Cabo San Lucas, starts on Wednesday. It looks as though there will be as much wind on the third leg as there wasn't on the first leg, but we'll have to wait a couple of days to be sure.
All up and down the second leg course there were groups of boats such as this.
Bob Smith aboard his rocket fast custom 44 cat Pantera from Sidney, BC. A dedicated singlehander, Smith relented to Ha-Ha rules by taking along crew members Ray Theon and Otto Hilm.
David Guthe's Seattle-based Fuji 45 Mustang looks color coordinated just past Turtle Bay against the backdrop of the Baja mountains.
There are lots of kids in this year's Ha-Ha - the one in this photo helps his parents set the chute.
Three boats charge off the starting line.
Toll Mounts in Transat Jacques Vabre
November 4 - English Channel/Atlantic Ocean
Mark Taylor and Ricardo Diniz on the Open 50 Labesfal retired yesterday from competition. Taylor explains:
"It was with great sadness after six hours of consideration that at 20.26 UT Labesfal retired from the Transat Jacques Vabre. During Saturday night when all was well onboard Labesfal, she suffered damage to her forestay which potentially threatened the safety of the rig. At the time we were experiencing 34- 45 knots wind and four-meter seas. We continued racing and considered our options. Initially we discussed heading for Cherbourg, however, we were bullish and decided to continue to race and head further north through the shipping lanes. We had decided that our best route would be to stay on the north side of the Channel in less tide and therefore less seas. We then intended to head south and west of land's end giving us a safe clearance on Ouessant TSS. However, as we received further forecasts of Force 10 winds and increasing seas we decided the only seamanlike option was to stop. We could run downwind to either Weymouth or Cherbourg or continue into the relative shelter of Torbay and head for Brixham or Dartmouth. We decided to head for Brixham. As we approached Berry Head we decided to try to return to our home port and make the final decision of whether to retire when off the entrance to Dartmouth. At 2026 we made the impossibly hard decision to head into the River Dart and end our 2003 TJV.
"We moored on the Town quay at 21.45 and headed straight to the Castle Hotel for a drink and to discuss our options. The Open 60 Tir Groupe, skippered by the legendary Mike Birch, was also moored on Town quay. Whilst we could get the rig repaired today and restart, we would not complete the course within seven days of the first Open 60 and therefore would record a DNF (did not finish), as stated by the race rules."
Also on Monday, Ross Hobson and Andi Newman announced that they were putting into port in Abervac with the assistance of the French Coastguards after their 50-ft multihull Mollymawk hit a UFO (unidentified floating object) as the forward compartment has a 1-ft diameter hole in it and was completely flooded. There was no risk of the boat sinking, and both skippers are fine. Mollymawk was the last Open 50 multihull remaining in the race.
Objectif 3 (ex-Gartmore), an Open 60 monohull, also withdrew yesterday due to a broken mast. Spaniard Javier Sanso reported, "Broken mast. We're okay, the hull is okay." Objectif 3 was five miles NNW of Ushant.
The dismasted Objectif 3 catches a tow.
Next, British skipper Emma Richards announced that they intended to abandon the race for technical reasons. Pindar recorded 35 knots of wind in their area and the boat was about 25 miles from Camaret. Emma indicated that they were heading towards Brest.
Leading the remaining monohulls is Ecover, whose co-skipper Brian Thompson said today: "The racing is getting very close now; Virbac has had a fantastic 24 hours going lower than the rest of us and is now barely two miles behind in terms of distance to Brazil - it's pretty exciting! We've also got our eye on Sill in the northwest; they tacked earlier and that option might pay off too. We've certainly got our hands full right now! It's a great race, and a good motivation for us!" The leaders are now past the Bay of Biscay.
For complete reports, more photos and to follow the action, see www.jacques-vabre.com.
New Bridge Opens This Weekend
November 4 - Crockett
Iron Workers Local 378 and the Crockett Chamber of Commerce encourage everyone to come out for the Grand Opening Celebration of the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge, the new suspension span west of the old Carquinez bridge, this Saturday, November 8. The span carries I-80 across the Carquinez Strait between Vallejo and Crockett.
Photo Courtesy Crockett Chamber of Commerce
Here's the schedule of events:
Saturday, 8:00 am: Street closures begin
Free parking and shuttle service will be available on the Vallejo side at a Park & Ride lot on Curtola Parkway at Lemon near the Greyhound station. In Crockett, parking and shuttles will be available at the Selby lot (site of the the old Selby refinery). To find this lot, follow Cummings Skyway west to San Pablo Ave. Turn left on San Pablo Ave. and follow signs to main parking area. Pedestrians in Crockett can also catch a free shuttle at Pomona and Vista del Rio. For more details and maps, see www.alzbridge.com/openingday.htm.
Boaters are welcome to come and cheer on the proceedings by water, but should be aware that the docks at Cal Maritime Academy will be closed.
The new bridge is named for Crockett iron worker Alfred Zampa, who was working on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 when he fell off and broke his back. The fall made him a member of the legendary Halfway to Hell Club. He recovered from his injuries and resumed working on bridges, including working with his two sons on the second of the two old Carquinez spans. Three grandsons have continued the family involvement with Iron Workers Local 378. Zampa passed away in 2000 at the age of 95. The Zampa bridge is the first in the U.S. to be named for an Iron Worker.
For details on the event and more history, see www.alzbridge.com.
November 4 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
November 4 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather
Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State
The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states
has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.