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Mystery Ship

October 24, 2014 – Channel Islands Harbor, CA

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Long may she run? This wood beauty has been running in style for more than 100 years.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When we came into Channel Islands Harbor during the SoCal Ta-Ta in September, we spotted a large wooden vessel that looked familiar, but as though she might be missing something. When we got close enough to see her name board, we saw that she was indeed the Baltic trading schooner we used to anchor next to all the time off Caneel Bay, St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. What made her look different was that without her 24-ft bowsprit, she was only 77 feet long.

This 280,000-pound beauty was built to haul granite across the North Sea 101 years ago, has a windlass from a German U-boat, and has an interior that Chris Caswell brilliantly described as "Haight-Ashbury-hippie-pad-meets-Swiss-Family-Robinson-treehouse."

Can you name the schooner? Hint: Up until three years ago, she'd been owned by rock 'n' roll royalty for more than 35 years. Hint: One of his most famous songs was about a hearse he once owned.

- latitude / richard

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Weekend Racing Preview

October 24, 2014 – California

Saturday buoy racing at Great Pumpkin

Last year's Great Pumpkin had light air for Saturday's buoy racing and heavy air for Sunday's pursuit race. The forecast for this year's regatta is the opposite.

© 2018 /

If you're racing in Richmond Yacht Club's Great Pumpkin, or St. Francis YC's Fall Dinghy Regatta this weekend, you've probably already cast a nervous eye at the weather forecast. "Winter is coming," warns Mike Dvorak of Sail Tactics, "and Saturday will bring some of the first stormy southwesterlies we've seen this year, along with some rain. Plenty of breeze is forecast, with sustained winds as high as 25 knots on Saturday afternoon." Dvorak predicts that the winds will drop down into the low teens at times as different parts of the storm roll through. "Winds will slowly shift to the west as the day goes on. Sunday will see a return to a normal and light northerly flow, possibly diminishing to very light conditions in the early afternoon. The Sunday forecast will likely change significantly by Sunday morning."

While Great Pumpkin and Fall Dinghy will suck in most of the race boats in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, a few other events around the state are worth noting.

Encinal YC will run the Jessica Cup west of the Berkeley Pier tomorrow, a change of host and venue from the usual StFYC Cityfront course. The Jessica Cup is open to classic yachts of traditional design and construction with a minimum of 30 feet on deck. The regatta will also be open to Birds and boats in the Spirit of Tradition class.


Brigadoon in the 2012 Jessica Cup.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Also on Saturday, the UC Davis Sailing Team will host their annual Benefit Regatta at Lake Washington Sailing Club in West Sacramento. In lieu of entry fees, the team will be accepting tax-deductible donations of any amount. The team receives no financial support from UC Davis, and the funds raised by this regatta fulfill 60-70% of their annual racing budget.

About three years ago, the International Masters Regatta moved from StFYC to San Diego YC. Don Trask, a member of StFYC, started the regatta in 1975. Trask will be one of a dozen skippers racing this year, including such sailing luminaries as Gary Jobson, Augie Diaz, and Tom Ehman. Many sailors from SF Bay will be participating, with racing starting today on J/105s. Skippers must be at least 60 years old, and crewmembers must be at least 45.

- latitude / chris

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Ha-Ha XXI Starts on Monday

October 24, 2014 – San Diego to Cabo San Lucas

Crew positions are apparently still fluid on some Ha-Ha boats.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After months of preparation and perhaps the expenditure of a few dollars, the skippers of Baja Ha-Ha XXI, the cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, have completed all preparations for the Monday-morning start, and will be spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday relaxing, making new friends, and seeing the sights of San Diego. Well, one or two skippers may have a couple of minor projects to complete.

Hope the wind for the 11:00 a.m. start on Monday will come a little closer to shore than forecast. By Tuesday, it's going to be light, and by Wednesday it may be lighter still.

Photo Courtesy Passage Weather
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party will again be at the West Marine Superstore on Rosecrans in San Diego on Sunday starting at 1:00 p.m. It’s free to skippers and first mates, while crew and anybody else interested pay about $10 for a big lunch, beverages, schmoozing with Mexican officials and harbormasters from marinas in Mexico, and making new friends. Did we mention it’s a costume party and that about 500 people attend?

The San Diego Police Dock is packed with Ha-Ha boats. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Looking to crew or still looking for crew? It could happen at the Kick-Off Party.

The weather for the 360-mile first leg to Turtle Bay looks like . . . well, it looks as though everybody will need a lot of suntan lotion, and white-sails boats will not want to skimp on fuel. Fast boats that can get off the coast quickly may catch the tail end of some breeze, but after that it looks as though high pressure will settle in over the Ha-Ha course, and it will be extremely difficult for anyone to be a ’Soul Sailor’ — one who sails the entire course, this year.

We're going to miss 'Dr. Electron' on this year's Ha-Ha, but congratulate him on the arrival of his new Slocum 43, and expect to see him in next year's Ha-Ha. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The one Ha-Ha stalwart who won’t be sailing to Cabo this year is Alan ‘Dr. Electron’ Katz. Over the years the ‘Dr.’ has been a hero of the Ha-Ha, as he’s selflessly helped countless Ha-Ha folks in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria who had one electrical problem or another. The Dr. won’t be on duty this year because his boat — a Slocum 43 — didn’t ‘come in’ until just yesterday and it was on a truck from Virginia. So make sure none of your ground wires are loose.

- latitude / richard

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Volvo Ocean Race on TV

October 24, 2014 – Stamford, CT

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race will begin this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PDT with a 90-minute special highlighting the start of the race and previewing the 39-week circumnavigation.

Following the debut on Sunday, NBCSN will telecast 30-minute shows each weekend throughout the nine months of the race, for a total 20 hours of coverage. Each team has a dedicated reporter on board, shooting video, conducting interviews, and reporting from each boat during the race. Every episode on NBCSN will feature coverage from the onboard reporters, who will provide a look at the action on each boat.

Onboard Alvimedica

Amory Ross is the onboard reporter/photographer/videographer on the American Alvimedica entry. This is Ross's second VOR, as he was also the onboard reporter for PUMA Ocean Racing in 2011-12.

© 2018 Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica / Volvo Ocean Race

The show will be on at seemingly random times, changing each week, so here's the complete schedule in Pacific Time:

October 26, 10:00 a.m.
November 2, 11:00 a.m.
November 8, Noon
November 16, 7:30 p.m.
November 23, 11:30 a.m.
November 29, 3:00 p.m.
December 7, 1:00 p.m.
December 14, 2:30 p.m.
December 21, 2:30 p.m.
December 28, 3:30 p.m.
January 4, 3:00 p.m.
January 9, 3:30 p.m.
January 16, 8 p.m.
January 25, 10:00 a.m.
February 1, 2:00 p.m.
February 8, 2:30 p.m.
February 15, 9:00 a.m.
February 21, 10 a.m.
March 1, 3:00 p.m.
March 7, 9:00 a.m.
March 14, 1:30 p.m.
March 22, 12:30 p.m.
March 29, 1:30 p.m.
April 5, 11:30 a.m.
April 11, 9:30 a.m.
April 19, 11:30 a.m.
April 25, 3:00 p.m.
May 3, 1:00 p.m.
May 9, 12:30 p.m.
May 17, 1:00 p.m.
May 23, 1:30 p.m.
May 31, 10:00 a.m.
June 7, 1:00 p.m.
June 14, 12:30 p.m.
June 21, 1:00 p.m.
June 28, 10:00 a.m.
July 5, 4:30 p.m.

- latitude / chris

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