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Where Were You on Opening Day?

May 2, 2011 – San Francisco Bay

opening day on the bay
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

When the sun is shining and the breeze is up, it's easy to make new converts to the sport of sailing. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Yee-hah, we're having some fun now!"

On San Francisco Bay, it's rare to have both breeze and sun-tanning weather on the same day. But Opening Day (yesterday) had it all — an ideal day to introduce new sailors to our sport. 

Hundreds of boats of all types plied Bay waters yesterday, in what we think of as an all-inclusive celebration of fun on the water. If you were out there, we'd love to hear about it. So email us a few lines about your experience, along with a few of your best photos. Who knows, your thoughts and/or photos might end up in the magazine. In any case, the spectacular day was a splendid start to the summer sailing season. We'll see you out there!

- latitude / at

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Ha-Ha 18 Registration Begins Today!

May 2, 2011 – Baja Ha-Ha World Headquarters

And they're off! On cue, the breeze kicked in just before the 11 a.m. start of last year's rally off Point Loma. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It always amazes us how many sailors seem to be champing at the bit for May to roll around so they can sign up for the Baja Ha-Ha cruising rally. But we have to remind ourselves that some potential entrants have been working for years, if not decades, toward the goal of sailing south of the border with this world-renowned San Diego to Cabo rally. If you count yourself among those who will be ready to break away from the rat race in late October, we offer our heart-felt congratulations, and welcome you to the fleet.

How do you sign up? Just go to the Baja Ha-Ha site and click on the "Sign Me Up" button. The whole process, including payment on a secure server, takes only about 15 minutes. The entry fee is $375 per boat (regardless of the number of crew). If the owner's age or his/her boat length is less than 35, the fee is discounted to $325. In either case, that's merely a fraction of what other large cruising rallies and offshore races charge. 

Why sign up early? Some folks are always very concerned about getting a slip in Cabo. There aren't always enough available, so we assign slips based on the order that boats entered in the rally. Also, of course, early entrants get the quiet thrill of seeing their boat's name near the top of the list, That said, the Rally Committee urges all potential entrants not to sign up until they are certain they can make the trip, as there are no refunds. Registration ends September 10.

"Free at last, free at last!" Having done their stint as yacht brokers Roger and Diane Frizzelle and their crew showed their Ha-Ha spirit at last year's send-off party. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you're in Southern California and are curious about the Ha-Ha, we encourage you to attend one of our free seminars this week, sponsored by Ullman Sails.

The first will be tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3, at the Santa Monica Windjammers YC in Marina del Rey (7 p.m.), and the second will be Wednesday, May 4 at the Dana Point YC (also 7 p.m.). Ullman Sails requests that you RSVP to (714) 432-1860 if you plan to attend.

When we created the Ha-Ha rally 18 years ago, we had no idea it would grow into one of the world's largest sailing rallies, nor that it would be such a life-changing experience for those to participate. And perhaps most importantly, that the rally's concrete starting date (October 24 this year) would force procrastinators to finally throw off the docklines and turn their cruising dreams into reality. Look for complete details on this year's event at the site.

- latitude / at

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Ad: Ullman Sails Ha-Ha Seminar

May 2, 2011 – Newport Beach Loft

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Weekend Racing Wrap-up

May 2, 2011 – The Bay and Beyond

The crew of Greg Mullins' Farr 52 Zamazaan pretty much summed up Saturday's experience for The Great Vallejo Race participants. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

The weather on Saturday was about as wacky as you get for the Bay, and the result was that only 42 of the 240 entrants were able to finish 21-mile Great Vallejo Race and YRA season opener.

When the breeze finally filled on Saturday, the going got good. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

After a light, but sufficient northwesterly at the start, the breeze gradually clocked and died, wadding-up the bulk of the fleet at Red Rock. Although there was just enough breeze to get closer to the Brothers, multiple valiant attempts at getting around them were in vain in the ebb that we clocked at as much as two knots. The big boats, led by Lani Spund's monohull elapsed-time winning SC52T Kokopelli² had the most success, and ended up getting good pressure as they made their way down San Pablo Bay. But the top-three overall spots went to a trio of J/24s, led by Michael Whitfield's TMC Racing, which finished a mere 25 minutes before the 8 p.m. deadline! Top elapsed time honors went to Ian Klitza aboard the D-Class Catamaran Rocket 88.

There was plenty of effort expended in getting past the Richmond Bridge. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

Although a lot of boats dropped out, many of those still ended up making the trip up to Vallejo YC for Saturday night's party, which set a new standard for Vallejo Race parties on every front: entertainment, food and affordable drinks! The raft-up, although not as typically big, still produced great dock and boat parties, and a raft of Cal Maritime students and their families who had graduated earlier that day helped pick up the slack at the party.

Mark Thomas' SC 37 Wildcard rolls into a gybe. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

The toll that Saturday's lack of breeze took on the fleet was also evidenced by the lower number of finishers on for Sunday's 14-mile return trip. However, 104 boats still made it to the finish line off the Richmond bridge. We'll have a lot more on the Vallejo Race in the June issue of Latitude 38, and we'll cover the El Toro YRA's annual Bullship Race, and the College Sailing Semifinals in Wednesday's 'Lectronic Latitude. In the meantime, please be advised that the Trophy presentation for BAMA's Doublehanded Farallones Race will be held at the Oakland YC on Wednesday night from 8-9 p.m.

- latitude / rg

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Looking for Bridge Doppler

May 2, 2011 – Petaluma River

Last week we reported on Laurie Chaikin's successful trip under a 70-ft bridge on her Leopard 45 Charleette II, which sports a 71-ft mast. First Mate Ron Taillon wonders if there's a way to confirm the clearance before you get to the point of no return.

Five feet of clearance can make your heart go thumpity-thump. © 2018 Laurie Chaikin

"That was a hair raising experience," Ron says of the trip under the Hwy 37 bridge on the Petaluma River. "We measured the exact mast height above the water, then calculated low tide at the first bridge, checked predicted winds, etc. We figured we had a 5-ft margin, but it was still unnerving to slowly motor under the bridges and cable. There must be some type of doppler device to get a quick reading from the deck so you can have confidence in trusting the chart's readings. Does anyone know of a device like this?"

We'll leave it to our readers — does anything like that exist and is it feasible on a regular cruising boat? Send your thoughts — and photos, if appropriate — to LaDonna.

- latitude / ld

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