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Fine Ride to Turtle Bay

November 3 - Turtle Bay, BCS

November issue cover girl Sea Ya and the pack at the start

The largest Baja Ha-Ha fleet ever set sail from San Diego on Monday with roughly 10 knots of breeze and mild seas. The NW wind angle was a big plus for the fleet, allowing many boats - even those flying asymmetrical chutes - to sail right down the rhumbline on much of the 360-mile leg to Turtle Bay.


Photos Latitude/JR

Despite fine sailing, the trip was not without typical mishaps. Aboard the committee boat, Profligate, the brand new ICOM SSB crapped out, leaving her unable to perform net functions. However, radio nut Bill Finkelstein of the Valiant 50 Raptor Dance did a great job filling in.

The only serious injury was to Maryann Russin of the O/I 41 Bronco who broke six ribs in a fall. She got patched up at Turtle Bay, where many cruisers assisted others with all manner of problems, from simple exchanges of nuts and bolts to complex repairs, such as radio fixes performed by Tom LeFleur of the Swan 53 Mistress and watermaker repairs by Les Sutton of the Albin Nimbus 42 Gemini.

Look for a photo report from Turtle Bay on Monday.

- latitude / aet


Ocean Racing Update

November 3 - Atlantic Ocean

There's been plenty of singlehanded action in the Atlantic this week, with racers in the Route du Rhum and Velux 5 Oceans continuing along on their respective race tracks.

In the Route du Rhum, the carnage is slowly mounting as five of the original 86 skippers have pulled out of the race from St. Malo, France, to Guadaloupe. Among the most recent victims, Didier Levillain aboard the 40-ft Frers IOR A Fond Contre la Spondylarthrtite was airlifted off his sinking boat by a Spanish helicopter 160 miles from Cape Finisterre. No word yet as to what caused the boat to take on so much water.

His abandonment was preceded by Charlie Capelle of the new Nigel Irens/Walter Greene-designed trimaran Switch.fr, which capsized midday yesterday. Capelle was picked up by competitor Philippe le Gros, and the two will continue on to Guadaloupe. And then there was veteran sailor and pre-race favorite Vincent Riou on PRB, who dismasted on Tuesday. Jeremie Beyou on the monohull Delta Dore retired so that he could be with his wife, who had a medical emergency.

Down but not out, Steve Ravussin aboard the trimaran Orange Project says he has no intention of quitting the race after he hit a sub-surface container yesterday. He has turned for the Azores, where he will meet his shore team and make repairs before returning to the race.

Photo Thierry Martinez/www.thmartinez.com

The remaining sailors continue their record-breaking pace as they pick their routes around the Azores. Race leader Lionel Lemonchois on the IMOCA multihull Gitana 11 covered 562.5 miles in the last 24 hours. (The current multihull 24-hour distance record is 585 miles, set by Yves Parlier in May.)

The only American skipper in this year's race, Kip Stone of Maine, continues his lead in Classe 2 aboard the Open 40 Artforms, 135 miles ahead of his closest competitor.

Meanwhile, things have calmed considerably for the seven sailors in the Velux 5 Oceans. You'll recall that the first few days of the race featured 70-knot winds that left only two sailors racing. Now that the winds have returned to a somewhat more normal pattern, racers have returned to the course and appear to have settled into a routine.

That said, the fleet continues to sort out various difficulties. Graham Dalton told race headquarters this morning that he has stopped racing and is motoring into Porto Santo, Madeira, so that he can fix a rudder problem. He now faces a 48-hour compulsory minimum stopover, likely to enable Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to overtake him again for fifth place.

Because of various repairs and starting delays due to the strong weather, the fleet is spread thin off the coast of Africa, with a 2000-mile split between Spain's Unai Basurko and race leader Bernard Stamm. Stamm is still nearly 8,800 miles away from the finish of leg one in Perth, so there's plenty of time for the fleet to consolidate.

- latitude / ss

16th Annual Racer Chaser

November 3 - San Francisco

We invite you to advertise in the 2007 Latitude 38 YRA Calendar, a comprehensive full color guide to Northern California racing. Ideal for any club, class, association or business wanting to reach local racers. Click here for details (a PDF flyer will download).
(415) 383-8200; John Arndt, ext. 108; Shawn Grassman, ext. 107.

La Paz Marinas Are Filling Up

November 3 - La Paz, BCS

Cruisers expecting to find a slip in La Paz better have a reservation or they might just be anchoring out. The Baja Ha-Ha alone will bring more than 160 boats to Cabo with many planning to go on to La Paz.

Marina de La Paz has several openings right now, but they expect to be at capacity by November 15. They recommend that anyone who doesn't have a reservation yet get their names on the waiting list ASAP. Contact them by email or call 011-52-612-122-16-46 for reservation info.

Eduardo Corona and Eloisa Lopez show proof that space is getting tight at Marina Palmira.

Marina Palmira's Dockmaster, Eduardo Corona, says they already have a number of reservations from Ha-Ha'ers and currently only have about 20 open slips, though turnover throughout the season should keep that many open at any given time. But the crush of boats leaving California in early November promises to shrink that number considerably for a while. Contact Eloisa Lopez at 011-52-612-123-70-06.

Marina Costa Baja is one of the newest marinas in town but will be full by mid-month.

Marina Costa Baja at the east end of La Paz Bay is in their second year of operation but is also tight on slips. At the moment, Lupita Morales reports they are only at 60% capacity, but expect to be full by mid-month. They still have 10 spots with no reservations, so if you'd like to berth there, call them soon. After that, their waiting list will require a reservation at least a month in advance. Call Costa Baja at (866) 899-7567. By the way, they've recently added cable TV and Internet to each slip.

Marina Fidepaz, part of Escalera Nautica, will open in a couple weeks.
Photos Latitude/LaDonna

La Paz's newest marina, Fidepaz, is set to open in mid-November. When we were there just a few days ago, workers were busily painting and cleaning up construction debris in preparation for the grand opening. Located at the west end of the bay, it's a hike into town but many amenities will be found right at the marina: restaurant, laundry, showers, Jacuzzi and pool. Forty slips will accommodate boats from 22 to 75-ft, but they can only stay a maximum of 15 days, which will at least give other boaters a chance at a slip. Contact Arie Laniado Aragonez at 011-52-612-124-22-06.

- latitude / ld

Sea Scouts Welcome New Members

November 3 - Tiburon

The Marinship 1 Sea Scouts, a low-cost program of the Boy Scouts of America, have openings for high school and college students, both boys and girls, ages 14-21, who sail or who are interested in learning to sail.

Regular meeting times are first and third Tuesday evenings at Tiburon Yacht Club in Paradise Cay. They sail their Santana 35 from the Cay, but the Ship also has two Santana 22s at the Cay, some Lasers and other small boats at Larkspur Landing, and the vintage tall ship Active at San Rafael Yacht Club (if you've ever crossed the San Rafael Canal on Grand Ave., you've seen the Active).

Scouts and leaders maintain the boats as well as sail on them. The young sailors have the opportunity to gain their ASA Keelboat Certification. Rather than leaving the program at age 22, Scouts often stay on as Adult Leaders, like David Mai, who can be reached for more info at (415) 328 0993.

- latitude / cw

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