Heading South: Latitude 38's Guide to Sailing and Cruising the Coast of Mexico and Central America
The Baja Ha-Ha is the 750-mile cruisers' rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with R&R stops along the way at funky Turtle Bay and spectacular Bahia Santa Maria.
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I was presented with an opportunity to go sailing, but not just for a weekend or a day — this was a three-month commitment. While I admit the decision wasn’t too difficult to make, I did experience a period of anguish over the chaos that would ensue once I told my boss I was going.Read More
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The annual West Coast Mexico migration covered in the pages and pixels of Latitude 38 has been on people’s sailing calendar for decades or even a lifetime. For every sailor who participates in the Baja Ha-Ha or other southbound sail, there are dozens more who stay behind and say. “Maybe next year . . .” Here…Read More
By Richard Spindler, Founder of Latitude 38 and Grand Poobah of 26 Baja Ha-Ha's, with help from Patsy Verhoeven, vet of 12 Ha-Ha's.
Why Cruise Mexico?
Walk the docks of any marina from Vancouver to San Diego this summer and you're likely to find dozens of sailors fitting out their boats for extended cruising. Where are they headed? While some undoubtedly have lofty dreams of eventually cruising the South Pacific, the Caribbean or the Med, destination numero uno for almost all of them is Mexico.
A centuries-old adage claims, "You can tell a lot about a sailor by the cut of his jib." But when it comes to modern cruisers, nothing reveals more about their sailing style than the 'back porch' of their boat. That is, the stern section, which may house everything from solar panels to surfboards, and barbecues to radar domes.
One of the frustrating aspects of living in this 'app-happy' era of endless innovation is that is it seems almost impossible to keep up with the latest, greatest developments in technology — including smartphone, tablet and computer software related to boating.
Now more than ever, the modern sailor has lots to choose from when it comes to navigation and safety instruments. Communication devices such as the Iridium GO! and Garmin inReach (which also has GPS capabilities) have complemented the single-sideband radio and VHF. Chartplotters have digitized and dramatically simplified navigation, and radar has long been an important tool for identifying marine traffic, obstacles and weather.
With the ever-expanding assortment of communications devices designed for offshore sailing, comes the dilemma of deciding which ones belong on your 'must-have' list, and which ones you can live without — especially if you're on a limited budget. With that in mind, we'll share some tips and insights here that we hope will reduce your befuddlement.
Despite several advances in offshore voice communications such as satphones, marine single sideband (SSB) isn't going away anytime soon. That's because SSB, unlike satphones, allows an unlimited number of people to listen to a transmission at the same time.
You don't have to own a fully equipped 50-ft cruising boat to enjoy the spectacular Sea of Cortez, a vast, sparsely developed wonderland for sailors and adventurers.
Latitude reader Derek Rice and a buddy recently had big fun tapping into the region's magic aboard a 44-year-old Catalina 22 daysailer.