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Hurricane Paul Threatens Cabo San Lucas and La Paz

October 23 - Baja California Sur

In all of recorded hurricane history in Mexico, only one hurricane has hit Baja after October 14. That was Olivia, which made landfall near Mulege back in '67. But if Hurricane Paul, which has built to a category 2 hurricane, keeps on its projected path, it could hit Cabo San Lucas and/or La Paz, and elsewhere on Baja. Like a lot of late season hurricanes, it started out heading due west, but is expected to rapidly make a nearly 120 degree turn, and head toward Baja, and then the somewhat less populated areas of the mainland.

Graphic Courtesy Unisys Weather

For the record, three other hurricanes have passed close to Baja after October 14, but didn't make landfall. One of them - and this will keep you on your toes if you're headed south - came close on November 29, nearly a month after hurricane season is generally considered to be over.

What's all this mean for the Baja Ha-Ha? At this point nothing, other than the Ha-Ha staff will continue to monitor tropical conditions via Commander's Weather as they do each year.

Graphic Courtesy National Weather Service

"One of the good things about the Ha-Ha is that the course takes the fleet far to the south," notes the Grand Poobah, "so the first half of the event is in cool water, which doesn't support hurricanes. As you can see from the water temperature analysis, the sea surface is actually reasonably cool - about 76 degrees - even down at Turtle Bay. Another thing to remember is that this is the transitional season in Mexico, when the weather is changing rapidly. While it had been blazing hot only a short time ago, now people are wearing sweaters at night in La Paz, turning off air conditioners in Mazatlan, and so forth.

"Nonetheless, the possibility of hurricanes and even tropical storms is nothing to be taken lightly, so we at the Ha-Ha will be monitoring the various conditions necessary for the formation of hurricanes on a daily basis. And, if two weeks from now, when the fleet should be leaving the secure anchorage at Turtle Bay for Bahia Santa Maria, the conditions look ominous, we would certainly reevaluate the situation, and perhaps hold the fleet until conditions looked safer. I can assure everyone that we have no interest in sailing into a tropical storm or hurricane. But for now, all is proceeding as normal."

The other thing folks need to keep in mind is that climate analysis and weather forecasting are far superior to what they were even a few years ago. As such, the chance of suddenly being caught by surprise is rather remote. For example, in the case of Paul, residents of Baja will have had at least two full days of knowing there was a tropical depression with the potential to build heading their way.

- latitude / rs


Are We Clubbing or Racing?

October 23 - Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

Just prior to the start of the Bilbao to Fremantle, Australia, leg of the 30,000-mile Velux 5 singlehanded around the world race, Alex Thompson, skipper of Hugo Boss, was hamming it up for photographers with four Hugo Boss babes, looking for the world as though they were about to go clubbing. But as you can see from the second photo, Thompson quickly got down to business in the breezy start of the event that had previously been known as the BOC and Around Alone. Having been held every four years since 1982, it's the oldest continuously held singlehanded around the world race. For extensive details on the event and photos, Google Velux 5 Oceans, and check out the November issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / rs

Photos onEdition

Advertisement: Coast Guard Licensing in Sausalito

October 23 - Sausalito

Modern Sailing Academy will be offering a licensing course for the OUPV ('Six Pack') and 100-ton Master license in Sausalito starting on November 4.

The classes will take place on weekends and weeknights - click here for details: http://modernsailing.com/oupv.html or call Mollie Hagar at (800) 995-1668.

The World of Weather - Even Better than We Thought

October 23 - Baja California

Last Friday, we mentioned the weather site www.sailflow.com. Having had even more time to fool with it, we think it's absolutely terrific. For example, if you're going to be doing the Baja Ha-Ha or otherwise sailing down the coast of Baja, go to www.sailflow.com, use the little message box to get xt-Baja Califo, and then click on the 'windflow' chart, and you'll get an animated representation of what's been happening there: http://www.sailflow.com/windandwhere.iws?regionID=130&regionProductID=3&timeoffset=0

It's absolutely fascinating.

For Ha-Ha folks, one aspect in particular worth studying is the windflow on the second leg, between Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. If you watch over a period of days, you'll see how important it is to be on the right jibe at the right time in order to sail both the shortest distance and the hottest angle. Absolutely check this thing out.

- latitude / rs

Infatuation with Mega Yachts

October 23 - Cyberspace

Even though we wouldn't want to own one, we have a thing for well-designed and built boats that are really large. We see them as great works of art. And apparently, we're not the only ones. A couple of years ago, some folks started a site called www.yachtspotter.com, to list and track boats that are 100 feet or larger. It's said they now get something like 70,000 hits a day.

Care to take a guess how many sailboats there are in excess of 100 feet? The answer is about 250. We didn't take the time to count, but we're guessing that the great majority have been built within the last 15 years. What we know for sure is that this segment of the market is booming. It's reported, for example, that Dr. Jim 'Netscape' Clark, who already owns the 290-ft clipper ship Athena, and may still own the Frers 156 Hyperion, has commissioned an aluminum version of the J Class yacht Endeavour.

When it comes to mega motoryachts, if your yacht isn't over 210 feet, it's not even in the top 100. And there are countless new megayachts being built.

One of the big features of yachtspotter.com is for readers to send in reports when they see megayachts, so if you're really nosy, you can find out where most all of the megayachts are at any given time. In fact, if you want to track a yacht's movements for the last several months, you can do that, too. That sounds a little creepy to us, so we can understand why some owners aren't too thrilled with the site. But if you're not a creep, go ahead and check the site out.

- latitude / rs

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