The start of the 16th annual Baja Ha-Ha received a surprising — but welcome — amount of local media attention this week, including reports by NBC San Diego and the San Diego News Network, as well as the cover of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The comprehensive U-T report by Matthew Hall included great photos, a video and a list of the rally’s official rules, the most important of which is "There shall be no whining! And no sniveling either!" This rule has been especially pertinent this year, as winds and seas combined to get the rally off to a wild start.
As we noted in Monday’s ‘Lectronic, the Grand Poobah encouraged Ha-Ha’ers to tuck into San Quintin or Punta Baja on their way to Turtle Bay to wait out heavy seas. Assistant Poobah ‘Banjo Andy’ Turpin reported this morning that about half the fleet did just that. "This is an incredible spot," said Turpin. "I bet 1,000 boats could anchor here — and it’s dead calm in these northwest winds." According to Turpin, Ha-Ha’ers were reporting swells to 15 feet and gusts up to 30 knots. "Most of the big stuff was way offshore," he said. "This year has been abnormal in that most of the fleet has stayed close to shore."
At least two ‘rough riders’ said to heck with the weather and have already made it to Turtle Bay: Scott Piper on his J/160 Pipe Dream IX and Rob Macfarlane aboard his Nelson/Marek 45 IOR Tiger Beetle. Both are accomplished singlehanders — Piper has circumnavigated four times and Macfarlane has made five crossings to Hawaii — so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that they viewed 30 knots of wind as good spinnaker-flying weather.
The San Quintin contingent left this morning around 10 a.m. and expect to arrive in Turtle Bay tomorrow morning. From that point on, the rally committee will maintain the published schedule. Stay tuned for further reports.
Somali pirates are reporting that they captured a British cruising couple in the Indian Ocean yesterday. Paul and Rachel Chandler, 58 and 55 respectively, left the Seychelles October 22 bound for Tanzania aboard their Rival 38 Lynn Rival. A spokesperson for the pirates claims the Chandlers are in good health and are on their way to Somalia, where ransom will presumably be asked. Family members say the Chandlers are retirees on a limited income and have little means to pay any ransom.
Monsoon season has just ended in the area, which means calm weather for pirate activity. Authorities have issued warnings about pirates, and several attacks have been reported in the last few weeks, so it’s unclear why the Chandlers chose to leave when they did. Even the pirates say they were surprised to find the couple out during peak piracy season.
Because the first of November falls on Sunday, we figured we’d try to get the magazine out on Friday, a couple days early, so you’ll have it to enjoy over the Halloween weekend. That means you’ll have a perfect opportunity to get warmed up for your Halloween party schedule with a Latitude 38 ‘Delivery Day’ party.
Have you ever been reading a Latitude and suddenly exclaimed "Right on!" or alternately, "That’s such bullshit!" and then wondered what your friends and fellow sailors thought about the item in question? Well, if you’re reading alone, you’ll probably have to wait until you see their letters in the following month’s issue, and let’s face it, it’s just more fun to have people around when you’re reading the magazine. So consider gathering your friends and family together for a ‘Delivery Day’ party! Partake in a frosty beverage and a group Latitude reading at your yacht club, favorite watering hole or marine business. All it takes are a few copies of the magazine and a few friends — sounds like a good time to us. Send us some photos of your ‘Delivery Day’ party and you just might see them in the magazine!
PS: A Halloween-themed ‘Delivery Day’ party would be especially photogenic!