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15th Annual Ha-Ha Begins

October 27, 2008 – San Diego

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The Ha-Ha festivities started with Holly Scott and her Desperate Housewives crew on the Cal 40 Mahalo dancing up a '50s style storm. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It was foggy this morning in San Diego, but the sun made an appearance for the 11 a.m. start of the 15th Annual Cruiser's Rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas — with the usual stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. Commander's Weather, the official forecaster, is calling for winds to be under 15 knots and smooth seas for the first three or four days. As the fleet crossed the start line, a 12-knot westerly was blowing.

Holy Minnows, Mary Ann and Jonas Grumby, aka 'The Skipper', made an appearance and will be sailing with the fleet. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There were 182 boats that signed up for the event, but thanks to the usual percentage of dropouts, 140 — and 564 people — showed up at the starting line. Engine problems kept several boats at the dock for the start, but they'll join the fleet as soon as they can. That should bring the number of starters up to about the same as last year.

A number of Ha-Ha sponsors from Mexico came up for the Kick-Off Party, including Dick Markie of Paradise Marina, Geronimo Cevallas of El Cid Marina in Mazatlan, and the best looking of all, Aline Amieva of the Nayarit Riviera Marina. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The event actually started yesterday with the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Halloween Costume Party at the West Marine Superstore in San Diego. About 600 people, most of them participants, showed up. Everyone was having a fine time in fine weather — except one neighbor who complained, "We're old people in Pt. Loma, and we don't want to hear any noise." Oh well, you can't please everyone. A half hour later a cop drove by and gave us a friendly wave.

Angie, a lovely member of the West Marine Swag-a-licious dance and helper team, reached deep in the raffle jar to pull out the name of the winner of the Raymarine Life Tag 'Personal Safety Monitoring Device.' Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We wish you could all be here with us. Maybe next year!

Girls want to do more than just have fun, but you couldn't tell from this photo. In the next update, we'll have a report on the fact there are men in the Ha-Ha, too! Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / rs

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Hal Roth Succumbs to Cancer

October 27, 2008 – Easton, MD

Venerated sailor and author Hal Roth lost his 2 1/2-year battle with lung cancer on Saturday. He was 81.

In 1967, Roth and his wife Margaret quit their jobs to set off on their famous North Pacific Loop about which he wrote in Two on a Big Ocean. The couple's later adventures — from rounding Cape Horn to sailing in the wake of Odysseus to circumnavigating — resulted in several more well-respected and very popular books. At the age of 59, Roth entered his first BOC Challenge, a singlehanded race around the world. He did it again four years later. Those voyages also yielded two very popular books. Roth's latest book, Handling Storms at Sea, will be published later this month.

Hal Roth, who undoubtedly launched a thousand sailing dreams, was a very approachable person and will be sorely missed. Our hearts go out to Margaret who shared in all his adventures.

- latitude / ld

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Weekend Racing Wrap-up

October 27, 2008 – The Bay

The crew of John Wimer's J/120 Desdemona gettin' their funk on at the Great Pumpkin. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

With 150 boats in 13 one design and six PHRF divisions for Saturday's three buoy-races on courses strung out from the Southampton Shoal to the Circle, and 164 boats for Sunday's pursuit race, Richmond YC's Great Pumpkin Regatta showed that everyone was a little reluctant to let the 2008 season go quietly into winter.

The Ultimate 20 contingent at the 2008 Great Pumpkin Regatta. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

The pursuit was a classic "two-island fiasco" complete with sunshine, fog and a Top Ten that included a diverse range of boats from winner Comfortably Mumm, Tim Cordrey's Mumm 30, to the multihulls like Roger Barnett's Prosail 40 Tuki and small ultralights like Will Paxton's Express 27 Motorcycle Irene.

We're not sure if he was eligible, but ace photographer Peter Lyons gets our vote for the costume contest. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Over on the Cityfront St. Francis YC's Fall Dinghy and Olympic classes regatta hosted Club 420s, Lasers, Laser Radials, Finns, 29ers, 49ers, 505s and Flying Dutchmen on two courses. In breeze from the mid-teens into the low-20s and a sloppy chop, each class sailed between four and six races.

- latitude / rg

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Virgin Money Throws in the Towel

October 27, 2008 – North Atlantic

Richard Branson's Virgin Money charges off the Eastern Seabord, not long before a 40-ft wave ended their record attempt. Photo Courtesy Virgin Money
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Only two days into an attempt on the west-east transatlantic record, the crew aboard Richard Branson's 99-ft Virgin Money is diverting to Bermuda and calling it quits after enduring wind into the 50s. The decision was pretty much made for them when a breaking wave washed a 10-man liferaft overboard while blowing up the mainsail at the first reef and destroying their spinnaker. Although it might not be until next year, we suspect Branson will be back for another shot at the record given his history with the various challenges he's undertaken over the years.

"I am surrounded by the most amazing group of world class sailors  — all of whom are still committed to getting this record," Branson said. "It's just a shame it wasn't to be on this attempt. Virgin Money will soon be fighting fit and ready to take on the Atlantic again in the very near future. But I truly believe that next time . . . Virgin Money will set a new world record that will secure its place in the record books for many years to come."

- latitude / rg

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