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June 16, 2008

Baja Ha-Ha Online Sign-ups Go Live!

Four months from now, hundreds of cruisers will be making final preparations for the 15th annual San Diego to Cabo rally.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s live! As we write this, the Baja Ha-Ha cruising rally’s brand new online sign-up procedure has just been finalized and is now ‘live’ — meaning that potential entrants can fully sign up for the October 2008 event at

Who knew it would be so incredibly complicated to convert a stack of forms to an online signup page? (Certainly not the Rally Committee.) But after thorough testing, the bugs have been worked out and the Committee is happy to be tip-toeing into the 21st century.

All indications are that this year’s rally will be as well attended as in years past. Over 150 boats have begun the entry process, and 31 have fully completed it. For those who shun doing business online, sign-ups may also be accomplished the old fashioned way — see the site or the June Latitude 38 (Sightings article).

Completed entries to date:

1) Miela, Moody 44, Bill Vaccaro, Chico
2) Eager Dreamer, Andromeda 48, John Olson, Blaine, WA
3) Norsk Vind, Wauquiez 43PS, Jim Knutson, Lake Forest Park, WA
4) Samantha, Nauticat 38, Scott Brear, San Francisco
5) Alegria, Hunter 460, John Steven Sabree, Pass Christian, MS
6) Drum, Tayana 37, Andrew Signol, Alameda
7) La Palapa, Catalina Morgan 440, Roger Hayward, King Harbor
8) Di’s Dream, Catalina 470, Roger Frizzelle, San Francisco
9) Tumbleweed, Cal 39 Mk III, Ted Morgan, Seattle, WA
10) Misjudged II, Hunter 460, Patrick Magers, Newport Beach
11) Scrimshaw, Endeavour 37-A, Don Lambdin, Vallejo
12) Cat’s Meow, Catalina 36, Nancy DeMauro, Richmond
13) Flibbertigibbet, O’Day 34 sloop, Betty Adams, Discovery Bay
14) Follow You Follow Me, Hunter 466, Allan Alexopulos, Redwood City
15) Solitude, Catalina 30, Allan Collister, Emeryville
16) Citla, Cal 39 Mk III, Peter Mirrasoul, San Diego
17) Third Day, Pearson 365 ketch, Richard Boren, Avila Bay
18) Bamboo, Passport 50, Timothy Lutman, Des Moines , WA
19) Don Quixote, Lagoon 380, Dean Conger, Seattle, WA
20) Endless Summer, F-41 Catamaran, Steve May, Emery Cove Marina
21) Risk Taker, Catalina 38, Duane Rawson, San Francisco
22) Princess Anna, Mainship 390, Michael McGuire, Channel Islands Harbor
23) Victory Cat, Seawind 1160 cat, Tim Henning, Anthem, AZ
24) Wandering Puffin, Islander Freeport 46, William Holbrook, Hallowell, ME
25) Thumbs Up, Catalina 42 Mk 2, Ivan Orgee, OYC Alameda
26) Nirvana, Irwin 44, Bob Davis, Shell Beach
27) Sea Bisquit, Slocum 43, Steve Sommer, San Francisco
28) Mystical Crumpet, Passport 40, Alan Jackson, Berkeley
29) Double Play!!, Gemini 105Mc catamaran, Don Parker, Alameda
30) Viva, Saga 43, Scott Harkey, Seattle, WA

Another Pterodactyl Sighting

Close encounter – Pterodactyl gets checked out by a boarding party from the MV Namrun in mid-May.

© Melih Akgul

Earlier this month, we reported in ‘Lectronic Latitude that a Navy ship had come across the Olson 40 Pterodactyl, which you may remember had to be abandoned during the March 29 Doublehanded Farallones Race. No position was given for the encounter with the Navy ship — only that the boat, with tattered sails, had been spotted during the warship’s return from Japan.

Pterodactyl was in rough weather on the way back from the Farallones when, about five miles from the island, a freak wave dumped owner Luc de Faymoreau and crewman Disun Den Daas out of the boat. Although rescued quickly by another boat, they were unable to reboard the Olson due to the rough sea state.

Although her sails are shredded, Pterodactyl otherwise appears to be weathering her unmanned ocean crossing pretty well. At last report, she was headed southwest at 1.5 knots.

© Melih Akgul

Then, this last weekend, we got details of another sighting. This one occurred two weeks earlier than the Navy sighting, but you’ll understand the delay in our receiving the information in a minute.

At 0200 on May 13, some 900 miles southwest of the Golden Gate, the bulk carrier MV Namrun nearly ran down an unlighted sailboat with tattered sails. Captain Melih Akgul returned to stand by the boat while they reported the encounter to Coast Guard Honolulu. At daybreak, they were able to read off the name and homeport: Pterodactyl, Moss Landing. By request of the Coasties, Captain Akgul sent a boarding party over to see if anyone was aboard. Finding no one, and again as requested, they gathered a few personal items. With no way to recover or tow the sailboat, the 30,000-ton bulk carrier left her adrift and resumed her run from Xiamen, China, to Houston. Upon arrival, Captain Akgul turned over the personal items from Pterodactyl (cellphones, laptops and IDs) to the Coast Guard. 

At no point in all this did the Coast Guard ever tell him the story of what had happened to the boat, or that the crew were okay. Himself a sailor — Captain Akgul sails a 31-ft sloop out of his homeport of Istanbul — he says he worried about what had happened to the people on Pterodactyl the whole rest of the trip. So while waiting for a flight home at the airport, he pulled out his laptop and Googled the boat name and hailing port.

“And I found your web page about the incident,” he wrote. “I was relieved that the crew were saved.”

And that’s when he wrote to us.

Sunderland Departs on Solo Attempt

Striking a pose at the dock for cameramen, Zac has now left the media circus behind to face many months of solitude on the open ocean.

© Nicolas Vanhove

As promised, 16-year-old Zac Sunderland set sail from Marina del Rey at 1 p.m. Saturday on the first leg of his around-the-world journey.

If he returns home in 11 months, as planned, he will become the youngest sailor ever to have rounded the globe.

Stay tuned to ‘Lectronic Latitude and Latitude 38 magazine for updates, and see Zac’s website for complete background on the campaign.

We all knew that the Southern California-like weather we’ve been having — 85-degree days with little to no wind — wouldn’t last.
Tortuga, seen sailing here on San Francisco Bay, is a sistership to Bag End, which has completed half a circumnavigation.