November 2, 2012

Ha-Ha’ers at Turtle Bay

As the fleet motorsailed toward the starting line last Monday, fleet members got extra credit for wearing their costumes — the more elaborate the better.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we gather together our beach toys, potluck utensils and fresh-caught fish for today’s Turtle Bay beach party, we’ll take stock of the last two days, since Wednesday’s report.

As reported earlier, there was very little wind at the 11 a.m. start, so a rolling start was instituted — where boats could motor without penalty. But less than a half hour later, a light breeze filled in from the west and built into the teens during the night.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
By early afternoon chutes were flying all through the fleet.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With a dozen boats converging several miles outside the broad Turtle Bay entrance, a brilliant full moon rose over the Baja Peninsula as if custom ordered so the fleet could enter and anchor with ease and confidence. 

On the radio net the next morning most boats reported having a splendid time sailing during the 360-mile first leg, with far less drama and blown-out sails than was typical during previous years due to the relatively light winds. 

If youre not used to standing watch in the wee hours of the night, doing so can be a shocker, but there are distinct rewards, such as viewing spectacular sunsets.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Eight boats sailed whole way, and several others motored only a very short distance.

During the run south, water temperatures were roughly five degrees higher than normal, which led to both experienced and inexperienced fisherfolk boating tuna, dorado and more. 

In Turtle Bay, two competing fuel services supplied diesel at less-than-stateside price, from floating fuel boats.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The big event yesterday was the annual Ha-Ha baseball game, where the event’s Grand Poobah pitched continuously for hours, giving up roughly 2,000 hits, without a single strikeout. Spectators hooted and hollered as local kids, as young as 6, joined in the fun.

The Poobahs soft lobs were easy to hit — and everybody got a chance to play.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Pasty Verhoeven sprints for first base hoping to evade the tag.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Last night fleet members filtered throughout the town, patronizing small tiendas, the internet cafes, and all three restaurants. A first this year was when the Vera Cruz — which boasts the town’s only disco dance floor — ran out of tequila. Shocking! 

Crew members from the Seattle-based schooner Patricia Belle were in high spirits as they celebrated their successful first leg.

latitude/Andy
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With any luck we’ll be able to post an additional Turtle Bay report Monday morning, before the fleet departs on 240-mile Leg Two to remote Bahia Santa Maria.

Disabled San Diegan Wins Gold

The doublehanded Martin 16 division starts a race in the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships.

© Ian Trotter

San Diego sailor Ryan Levinson won first place overall in the three-person keelboat division at the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships on October 26-28 at Southwestern YC, sailing on a Capri 22 for the Gene Hinkel Trophy.

The winning Capri 22 can be seen on the left side of this photo.

© Ian Trotter

Levinson is a life-long sailor who suffers from FSH Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes muscles throughout his body to progressively weaken over time. There is no known treatment or cure. Levinson is now too weak to raise his arms overhead or do a single sit-up, push-up, or pull-up. He has lost muscles in his leg and can no longer stand on his toes, yet Levinson has developed techniques and modified equipment that enable him to continue sailing at a high level despite his increasing weakness.

Levinson has won national and state championships in triathlon and cycling, but this was his first time competing in the disabled division of a sailing regatta. He is currently preparing his 38-ft sailboat Naoma for an extended passage to the South Pacific. As part of that preparation he recently completed a 22-day sailing expedition — mostly singlehanded — through the Channel Islands and coastal ports as far north as Point Conception.

At the U.S. Championships Levinson sailed with skipper Andrew Fisher and Mike Hersey, both East Coasters. The trio dominated the regatta with first place finishes in six of the eight races despite facing competition that included a Paralympic silver medalist and a former world champion.

Levinson said, "It feels incredible to be able to compete successfully against athletes of this caliber. Having the regatta here in San Diego made it an especially meaningful victory for me. I’m grateful to US Sailing, Southwestern YC, and the Challenged Athletes Foundation for their support and for ensuring that sailing is open to everyone regardless of their physical ability." Challenged Athletes Foundation is a San Diego non-profit.

Charlie Rosenfeld (#2) chases second place finisher Joseph Hill (#121) in 2.4m singlehanded dinghies.

© Ian Trotter

Nearly 50 competitors traveled from all across the country to compete in six classes. This was the first time the event was held on the West Coast. In the 2.4 mR singlehanded fleet, Charles Rosenfield of Connecticut won his third Judd Goldman Trophy. Michael Strahle of Redding and Donna DeMarest  of Waterbury, CT, captured the Martin 16 doublehanded fleet for the Chandler Hovey Trophy.

Michael Strahle and Donna DeMarest, sailing for Redding YC, can be seen here in a Martin 16. Liberty sailor Russell Phillips rounds the mark behind them.

© 2012 Ian Trotter

For more, see http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/USDisabledChampionship.htm, http://ryanlevinson.comwww.southwesternyc.org, and www.challengedathletes.org.

Apple’s Venus

Normally Latitude 38 is all about sailing, but since the late Steve Jobs was so local, and was certainly the greatest entreprenuer of the Baby Boomer generation, we present the first views of the 250-ft boat he was having built in The Netherlands. She bears a resemblance to A, but is nonetheless very different. What else would you expect from someone who never relied on marketing surveys to decide what products Apple would manufacture?

Richmond YC’s Great Pumpkin Regatta was held last weekend, stealing the thunder, and most of the boats, from other sailing events on San Francisco Bay.
As we post this report (noon on Wednesday) via SailMail from the Baja Ha-Ha mothership Profligate, we’re about 60 miles from crossing the finish line of Leg One, just outside Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay), with the fleet spread out far and wide around us.
Most boats lose a little speed as they age. It might be older sails, but often times it’s the amount of stuff that collects onboard.