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Leg One of the Ha-Ha a Breeze

October 31, 2008 – Turtle Bay, Baja

Bombs Away!
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

When the wind went light, some crews amused themselves with mischief - such as launching water balloons at the Rally Committee. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As you read this, members of the 15th annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers' rally have arrived at the sleepy fishing town called Bahia Tortuga — Turtle Bay — which lies roughly 360 miles south of the San Diego starting line. One of the rewards for sailing three days south of the border is air temperatures in the 80s, water temperatures in the high 70s and clear blue skies.

Many would say that wind and sea conditions at the start of Leg One were ideal: 10-12 knots of westerly breeze with a benign sea state, allowing many boats to fly spinnakers within minutes of Monday's 11 a.m. start. One hundred forty boats started on time, with a half dozen more vowing to catch up with the fleet after completing last minute repairs and errands.

Midway through that first night, intermittent fog gave way to uncommonly warm and dry air. For most boats the breeze held until the wee hours, then backed off to a whisper by dawn. Seas, however, were so flat you could have waterskied, so many in the fleet hung in there and played the light breeze throughout the day. Rich and Sheri Crowe, aboard their homebuilt Farr 44 Tabu, crossed the infinite finish line in excellent time 140 miles offshore — their hunch to go way out paid off, as they never saw less than nine knots of breeze, while many other boats eventually gave up and motored.

Mexican Sunset
Both sunrises and sunsets tend to be spectacular south of the border. Sometimes you even see the elusive green flash - but not this time. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After today's beach party and barbecue, the fleet will be off to Bahia Santa Maria — a distance of approximately 240 miles. Weather gurus promise much stronger winds for Leg Two, perhaps in the high 20s at times with even stronger gusts funneling down coastal canyons.

Look for further reports and photos next week, and a complete recap in the December issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / at

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

90 Day Wondering

October 31, 2008 – Sacramento

As you know, Governor Schwarznegger signed a new state budget at the end of September. As most boaters will probably also know, in addition he signed a bill that once again killed the so-called 90-Day Yacht Club. This was the provision that allowed folks buying boats to avoid paying use tax/sales tax — if the boat was kept out of state for at least 90 days. The new bill,  AB1452, requires that yachts — as well as airplanes, RVs and other high-ticket items — stay out of the state for at least one year to avoid the use tax. Although this would likely not affect the average guy, when the 90-Day rule was in affect in 2004, as many as 90% of buyers paying $200,000 or more for boats took delivery offshore and met the out-of-state requirement.

With the California budget in a perennial shambles it's hard to blame state politicians for appearing to do the 'right thing'. And on the surface, AB1452 seems like it would bring more money into the state coffers. In reality, the bill will very possibly lose the state both money and jobs. Consider:

  • Fewer people who can afford high-end boats will buy them here.
  • Buyers opting to meet the one-year-away rule will hurt the state marine industry by berthing and having work done elsewhere.
  • There are other ways to legally avoid paying use tax, such as registering the boat under an offshore corporation. Last time we looked, you could form an offshore corporation online for only a few thousand dollars, which is nothing for someone facing $50,000 in use taxes.

Unlike bills that came before it, AB1452 has no sunset clause, meaning it is theoretically 'permanent'. But hey, so was Prohibition. We will have more on the end of the 90-Day Yacht Club in the next issue. In the meantime, we would like to hear from those who have been affected by it, who have used the 90-Day Rule, those who have changed buying plans since its repeal, and what legal alternatives California yacht buyers have in the face of this new legislation. Email comments and contacts to John.

- latitude / jr

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Ad: Free Cruising Ports Updates Ready

October 31, 2008 – World Wide Web

Cruising Ports
Free updates for Cruising Ports: The Central American Route are now ready for free download.
© 2018 Point Loma Publishing

October 2008 Updates (4 pages, full color) for Cruising Ports: The Central Amerian Route include all cumulative corrections and changes . . . plus the latest news and changes in red. Click HERE to go to our Updates page, then under Cruising Ports, click "All Inclusive through Oct 2008." Or for just the newest stuff, click "June through Oct 2008 only" for our mini-updates. Save the PDF to your computer so you can view or print it now or later.

Stay safe by keeping your nautical guidebook up-to-date. Our updates are always free and downloadable from Point Loma Publishing. Look for Cruising Ports: The Central American Route and Mexico Boating Guide at chandlers, bookstores, boat shows and cruising seminars. Buen viaje!

Point Loma Publishing

© 2018 Point Loma Publishing /

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November Issue is a Treat

October 31, 2008 – Bay Area

November Issue
Check out our onboard coverage of Maltese Falcon in the November issue of Latitude. Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The November issue of Latitude 38 hits the streets today. In it you'll find all sorts of treats, from full Maltese Falcon coverage to cruising Prince William Sound on a small boat to college sailing. So set out a bowl of candy, turn off the porch light and enjoy Halloween Latitude-style!

- latitude / ld

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Racing Notebook

October 31, 2008 – The Globe

Joyon's lead for the Route of Discovery record is getting smaller. © 2018 JM Liot/DPPI/IDEC

The midwinter racing schedule is winding up here at home, and over in the Atlantic, there's a record in the making and one that's already fallen — twice! In the North Atlantic, Francis Joyon had stretched IDEC's lead to over 300 miles in his assault on the singlehanded Route of Discovery record since we last checked in with him on Wednesday, but lighter-air and a less-favorable angle have wound him closer to the Azores High and reduced his advance over the existing record's pace to only 260 miles.

The guys aboard Ericsson 4 broke the monohull speed record . . . twice! © 2018 Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race

And in the South Atlantic, Torben Grael's Ericsson 4 kept the pedal down. Just hours after adding a little over 30 miles to the 24-hour monohull record, the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 leader, did what would have been incomprehensible just five years ago — breaking the 24-hour 600-mile barrier in a monohull, with a run of  602 miles.

Watch their speed!
Dave Endean and Joao Signorini celebrated their record breaking runs while holding on for dear life. © 2018 Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race

As the fleet continue to thrash toward Cape Town, the boats continue to get a thrashing. Ian Walker's Green Dragon hit something hard that slowed them down for a few hours until the unidentified object came loose. Fernando Echavarri's Telefonica Black sheared off a rudder in a particularly nasty nosedive that also claimed the boat's bowsprit.

Closer to home this weekend, Saturday will have the first installment of the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Series at the Golden Gate YC. The Oyster Point YC is hosting the South Bay YRA's Winter #1 and the Sequoia YC is hosting its Winter #1. On the Circle it's the RegattaPRO Keelboat Midwinters #1.

On Sunday, Daylight Saving Time may be ending but the Berkeley YC's Chowder Series is in full swing and the Midwinter #1 gets the Sausalito YC's winter racing going. And as reported in Wednesday's 'Lectronic Latitude, there's the Island YC's Jack and Jill+1 on the Estuary.

- latitude / rg

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