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Ha-Ha Fleet Hits a Home Run

November 1, 2013 – Turtle Bay

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

At the annual Turtle Bay baseball game, seven-year-old Beto Eichen off the Sausalito-based Farr 44 CompaƱera had one of the narrowest strike zones in the fleet, but he got several powerful hits. © 2018 Fin Beven

Having completed Leg One, the Baja Ha-Ha fleet is currently staged in the remote Turtle Bay, roughly 350 miles south of San Diego. 

As reported earlier, the first leg was an unusual one, as it began with mild headwinds — one of the few times that's happened in the event's 20-year history. But by the third day — Wednesday — the fleet was sailing in classic Ha-Ha conditions: 12-20 knots from the northwest with following seas and southbound current. 

The Ha-Ha's Grand Poobah pitched continuously for two hours, ensuring that every batter got a hit. © 2018 Fin Beven

Crewman Fin Beven and others brought baseball gear to share with the local kids, who were extremely appreciative. © 2018 Fin Beven

The big event yesterday was the annual Ha-Ha baseball game — well named, as the antics of fleet members often brought a laugh. Per the rules, every batter got as many pitches as it took for him or her to get a base hit. A couple hundred players took a turn at the plate, including Swedish skipper Eric Boye of Borghegn 49 Ariel IV, who got one of the longest hits of the day — it was his very first time swinging a bat. Likewise, an Aussie named Robert walloped an inside-the-park home run, his only mistake being that he carried the bat with him the whole way around the base path. 

Except when the Ha-Ha fleet is in, Turtle Bay is a sleepy village where life revolves around fishing activities. As a testament to how healthy the ecosystem is here, hundreds of pelicans call the bay home. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today's big event is the Turtle Bay beach party, where fleet members will compare passage tales, play volleyball, body surf and enjoy a massive pot luck. Water temperature in the bay is 70 degrees.  

The fuel pier at Turtle Bay may not be sophisticated, but it serves the needs of visiting sailors and fishermen. Here the Vancouver-based Tayana 48 Indigo Star approaches the rickety pier to top up her tanks. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Leg Three, to Bahia Santa Maria, is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, although a building tropical depression could possibly cause a delay. At this writing, Commanders' Weather reports that all weather models agree that the system should not affect our course, as the system is expected to peter out south of Cabo San Lucas, where the rally is slated to conclude next Thursday. 

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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November Latitude Heads Your Way

November 1, 2013 – Bay Area

The November issue of Latitude 38 is on its way to soothe your post-candy hangover. Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With the Summer of Sailing now behind us, it's time to grab a copy of the November issue of Latitude 38 at your favorite yacht club or chandlery. November is a great time to catch up on everything from September's Rolex Big Boat Series to upcoming midwinter racing around the Bay to the first segment or our annual Season Champions series. But wait, there's more! The Baja Ha-Ha is now underway, so you can read the final installment of Ha-Ha'er profiles, as well. And while reading about these interesting folks cruising down the Baja, why not investigate the World of Chartering, so you can plan the sailing vacation of your dreams? It's all in there, and if you're not in the Bay Area, you can always read the magazine for free on our site!

- latitude / ross

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Weekend Racing Preview

November 1, 2013 – USA

Our local intrepid traveling sailors, Elliott James and Dan Thielman, both from Tiburon, are in Miami this weekend for the 45-boat Audi Melges 20 Winter Series, which starts today. Joining them are Tom Kassberg of Belvedere and Skip Shapiro of Palo Alto. Making the trek from SoCal are John Kilroy, Bob and Cheryl Hayward, and Camille Rasdal.

Sail Newport, RI, is hosting the Cressy Trophy, aka the U.S. HIgh School National Singlehanded Championship, today through Sunday. Sailors attending from the Pacific Coast (PCISA) include Matthew Long, Richard Didham, Stephen Leuck, and Connor Kelter, all from SoCal, in Lasers. In Radials, Lindsay Baab of Saratoga and Lawson Willard of San Francisco, plus SoCal sailors Simone Staff and Cooper Weitz, represent PCISA.

Left to right: Snafu, Ghost, Dire Straits, and Faster Faster make the turn at Jack London Square and begin the parade down the Estuary in the 2012 Jack & Jill + 1. © 2018 /

You still have until Sunday morning's skippers meeting at 11:30 to enter the Jack & Jill + 1 women skippers race at Island YC on November 3. The triplehanders will sail up and down the Estuary, then enjoy a post-race chili cook-off back at the club.

Lake Washington Sailing Club will host the Turkey Shoot on Saturday, November 9. Fall racing will be followed by the club's "famous Turkey Chili." Several Midwinter series begin on the second weekend of November as well, including Berkeley YC's separate Saturday and Sunday series, IYC's Island Days on the Estuary, and Sequoia YC's Winter Series. The Opti Winter Series begins at San Francisco YC, and RegattaPRO's Winter One Design invites the J/120, J/105, Melges 24, Antrim 27, J/70, Express 27, Moore 24, J/24, Melges 20, and Open 5.70 classes.

BYC Midwinters
A light air drifter in last season's BYC Midwinters. © 2018 Tim Sell

St. Francis YC will kick off the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Race to Rio National Tour speaking series on November 7. They'll head over the Golden Gate Bridge the next day to address the crowd at SFYC in Belvedere. Atheletes attending include Molly Vandemoer of Redwood City, 49er FX; Marion Lepert of San Francisco, RS:X; Caleb Paine of San Diego, Finn; and 49er duo Fred Strammer of Nokomis, FL, and Zach Brown of San Diego. See

It's still seven months away, but you'll want to mark your 2014 Calendar as soon as you get it. Stockton Sailing Club had previously publicized June 14 on their website as the date for the Delta Ditch Run – but: "We changed the date for the 2014 Delta Ditch Run," writes DDR honcho Tom Lueck. "The new date is Saturday, May 31. We did this because the old date was on Father's Day weekend, and some of our volunteers were unable to help out." Lueck also points out that the currents on May 31 will be highly favorable. This will be the first time that the 24-year old race will be run in May instead of June.

- latitude / chris

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Transat Jacques Vabre Preview

November 1, 2013 – Le Havre, France

Now that the America's Cup is over, and all of the prominent round-the-world races are in an off-year, sailing fans are looking for the next big event to watch. The 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday in northern France, is it. Created in 1993 to retrace the return route of the famous clipper ships that established the coffee trade between France and Brazil, the biennial doublehanded transAtlantic race will take 44 teams nearly 5,000 miles from Le Havre, France to Itajal, Brazil. (Note: Race officials announced that the start may be delayed due to weather, though they will not know for sure until tomorrow morning.) 

Four classes will compete in this year’s race, which is forecast to blow dogs off chains from the get go: IMOCA 60s, Class 40s, Multi 50s and MOD 70s. In the 10-boat IMOCA 60 class, the powerhouse MACIF team are the pre-race favorites with current Vendée Globe winner Francois Gabart at the helm and none other than two-time VG winner Michel Desjoyeaux as his crew. The dynamic duo will have their work cut out for them however as any one of five teams could realistically win. 

Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam will be skipper PRB in the Transat Jacques Vabre. © 2018 Jean Marie Liot / DPPI

The largest division in the race this year is that of the Class 40s, which sport an impressive 26 entries. While any one of about 12 teams have a shot at the win, one boat to watch will be GDF SUEZ and her skipper Sebastian Rogues. The former Classe Mini standout has been on a tear this year and has won an incredible five of the last six Class 40 races leading up to the TJV. 

In the two multihull divisions, we see a six-boat Multi 50 class and a two-boat MOD 70 class after Jean Pierre Dick’s dramatic capsize and resulting dismasting onboard Virbac Paprec 70 a few weeks ago. Both of these classes should offer up thrilling racing, assuming the boats can hold together in what should be very challenging conditions.

Aside from a star studded fleet, the TJV course is one of the most challenging in the world of ocean racing. After the start, racers must transit the busy and bumpy English Channel before crossing the often treacherous waters of the gale-battered Bay of Biscay. Turning down at Cape Finisterre, the fleet will likely endure a heavy-air downwind run before the Portuguese trades, eventually entering the northeast trades, and then crossing the equator and its dreaded doldrums. Re-entering the southeast tradewinds, the 44 boats will face one final challenge in the waters off Brazil, as they are likely to have to negotiate fast-moving low-pressure areas and the no-wind zones that are left in their wake. 

So turn on your laptop, fire up the website and make some popcorn. The next few weeks should be quite a thrill ride. Lectronic will keep you up to date as the race progresses.

- ronnie simpson

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

November 1, 2013 – San Francisco, CA

For Sale: Bristol 41.1
Click on the image for complete details and lots of photos.
© 2018 /

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