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October 17, 2007

Mexico-Bound Cruisers Descend on San Diego

Although this Bristol Channel Cutter is traditionally rigged, that doesn’t mean she needs to have a stodgy paint job.

© 2007 Terry Nugent

Despite the fact that Terry Nugent’s 26-ft Bristol Channel Cutter Eye of Infinity IV is the smallest boat in this year’s Baja Ha-Ha fleet, she definitely won’t go unnoticed. In fact, her paint job may be the wildest in the 14-year history of the event. Actually, this boat is big compared to some of the boats that this zany retired photographer has made offshore passage in – his adventures could fill a book.

With the start of the San Diego to Cabo San Lucas rally just 12 days away, the Eye and roughly 170 other boats will be descending on San Diego Bay during the next few days. As always, transient slips are hard to come by. However, the friendly folks at the San Diego Police Mooring Office on Shelter Island are doing their best to shoehorn in as many boats as possible at their own docks, and they’re keeping track of availability at all area marinas. One hot tip is that Chula Vista Marina currently has a half dozen slips available for boats 35′ and under. Skippers who can’t find a slip can pick up a Ha-Ha mooring permit from the Mooring Office (free of charge) which will allow them to anchor in a specially designated anchorage at Glorietta Bay.

Although the number of entered boats (178) is down by five from last year’s record-breaking total, the tally of crew members has never been higher: 680. With the starting date set for October 29, the fleet should be arriving at the Cape on Thursday, November 8. Look out Cabo, here they come!

Hawaiian Chieftain Towed into Tillamook

The Coast Guard reports the Hawaiian Chieftain was towed into Tillamook Bay on the Oregon coast yesterday after becoming disabled in rough conditions. The 12 crew on the 103-ft tallship, a fixture on San Francisco Bay for many years before moving to her new homeport of Grays Harbor, Washington, had struck sail when the winds increased to 35 knots but then found their 490-hp engine seized.

The Chieftain had a rough time of it off the Oregon coast yesterday.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We don’t know where she was going or which way the wind was coming from but presume it was on the nose as 35 knots seems to be just enough wind to get the 80-tonner moving. Of course the 14-ft seas probably didn’t help matters either. No injuries were reported and the Chieftain was able to continue on to Garibaldi under her own power once inside Tillamook Bay.

For more information on what the Hawaiian Chieftain is up to now, go to the Grays Harbor Historical Society’s website at

Here Come the Sailing Judges

The St. Francis YC is sponsoring a US Sailing Judges Workshop Seminar and Exam this weekend. The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about the racing rules, including racers and race committee personnel. At the end of the workshop there will be an exam for all those applying for or renewing their US Sailing certification as judges.

The event fee is $85 for current US Sailing members and $110 for non-members. Included in this fee are the necessary event materials and breakfast and lunch for both days, which run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advanced registration and payment is required. For more information, what to bring and to register online visit:

Swell Surf for Liz

For those of you surfers who’ve had enough of the crowds in the line-ups at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, County Line, Malibu, Huntington Beach, Newport, Trestles – heck, just about anywhere in California – there is an alternative. It’s the South Pacific. There are waves down there, and if you go to the right places, there’s hardly anybody there to ride them. Indeed, you can often end up being the ‘lonely surfer’.

Not only are the waves good and uncrowded, the water is warm.

Liz Clark, Swell
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The accompanying two shots are courtesy of Liz Clark of Santa Barbara, who is nearly two years into a surfing-sailing safari aboard her Cal 40 Swell. As much as Liz would like to tell you where this spot is, you know the rules. Let’s just say it’s somewhere in the Marquesas-Tuamotus, and that it’s not the only spot around.

You paddle in from your boat and start catching steaming warm water tubes – it’s every surfer-sailor’s dream.

Liz Clark, Swell
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Red Wine & Rubber Boots

Black ties and rubber boots are strictly optional at tomorrow’s Tall Ship Education Academy’s annual benefit reception. The fundraiser will be hosted aboard the historic ferry boat Eureka, docked at Hyde Street Pier, from 6-9 p.m. Nibble on hors d’oeuvres, sip some wine and open up the wallet for the silent auction, featuring such unique ‘items’ as a kayaking lessons, yoga classes and a fire boat ride courtesy of SFFD. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Students under 21 get in for $15. For more info, go to or call (415) 405-3703.

UPDATE: Due to an electrical fire in the transformer that services Hyde Street Pier, the event has been moved to the San Francisco National Maritime Historic Park’s Visitors Center in the Argonaut Hotel building at the corner of Jefferson and Hyde Streets (across the street from Hyde Street Pier). Call for directions.

Where to Go in Mexico

Southbound cruisers take note: Be sure to check out ‘Lectronic on Friday (10/19), as we plan to run a detailed overview on the status of marinas in Mexico. Many of the long-established facilities are already chock full, but new options have recently opened up, so don’t miss this special report.

John Jennings and crew sailed Natural Blonde (173) on Sunday. The boats were donated by the local J/105 fleet and sailed with either an owner or owner’s rep aboard.
When the famed 72-ft gaff tops’l schooner Lord Jim hit a rock off the coast of Brazil last spring and sank, many assumed that she would never sail again.
Based on data culled from the Ha-Ha entry forms, Honcho Lauren Spindler reports that although the number of paid entries is down from 183 last year to just 178 this year, the number of people expected to participate will be up by more than 10% – 680 versus 601.