Just as the bulk of the Baja Ha-Ha 17 fleet approached the finish line of Leg Three, they were greeted by 25-knot headwinds — a final trial for the 600 sailors in this 155-boat fleet on their 750-mile ‘cruise to the Cape’.
As we write this, we’re about to head off to the annual Cabo San Lucas beach party, but here’s a quick update of recent events.
As reported earlier, more than 50 members of the fleet pitched in to help Mark Cholewinski of Vallejo strip everything of value from his Downeast 38, Tachyon, which had been beached four miles north of Bahia Santa Maria just before dawn, Monday, November 1. The solo sailor had simply fallen asleep with his autopilot on. Sadly, a massive effort to refloat the stout hull by local fishing charter operator Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Outfitters and a team of fishermen was unsuccessful.
Desite that sad affair, the fleet’s stay in beautiful, unspoiled Bahia Santa Maria was joyous. The high points were long walks on the pristine, 10-mile-long beach, dinghy expeditions into the mangrove-lined estuary, a day-long volleyball competition, and a rip-roaring party ashore put on by local fishermen that featured a sizzling rock ‘n’ roll band from La Paz.
The 7 a.m. start of Leg Three was memorable for its ample breeze — a rarity in recent years — which allowed many boats to carry assymetrical chutes for several hours before it fizzled out later in the day.
Upon arrival at Cabo the next day, an extremely uncommon easterly blow made the anchorage rough and rowdy for several hours. So much so, in fact, that the port captain refused to let pangas go out to taxi sailors ashore. As a result, the annual ‘We Cheated Death Again’ celebration at the notorious dance bar Squid Roe was a bit less crazy than usual. But those who did attend did their best to uphold the Ha-Ha dance-crazy reputation.
Baja Ha-Ha XVII ends tomorrow with the Awards Ceremony, hosted by longtime sponsor Cabo Marina, which was able to accommodate all 75 boats that requested slips this year. For a full recap of this year’s event see the December edition of Latitude 38.
Eleven agonizing days after leaving Victoria, B.C. on her second attempt at a nonstop solo circumnavigation aboard her Najad 380 Nereida, 68-year-old Jeanne Socrates is finally getting close to the Bay Area. "I can’t believe how slow this passage south is," she wrote on her blog. "Previously, it’s taken from five to seven days maximum from Neah Bay to San Francisco."
Over the first three days, Jeanne battled light winds and strong tides as she slowly — ever so slowly — made her way out the Strait of Juan de Fuca. She was then greeted by unfavorable currents and southerly breeze, which not only made for slow going, but occasionally forced her to sail in the wrong direction! "I always hate having to go north when I want to head south," she groused a few days ago. But happily, the wind direction has settled into a more northerly pattern so Nereida‘s finally making some progress.
Stay tuned to ‘Lectronic for periodic updates from Jeanne, or keep up with her blogs at www.svnereida.com.
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We fielded an interesting call from 47-year-old filmmaker Cory Wolfe yesterday asking if we knew any liveaboards who would be willing to be interviewed for a documentary project. "I moved to San Diego from Alaska a couple months ago, and became fascinated with people who live aboard their boats," Cory said. "As a new liveaboard myself, I want to explore why others chose the lifestyle."
It was clear from our conversation that Cory is sincere about his project — he’s willing to travel as far south as Mexico and as far north as the Bay in the coming months to interview liveaboards — but we don’t know him personally so all the normal caveats about meeting strangers apply. If you’re in the Bay Area, Cory says he’ll be in town through tomorrow for interviews, or you can contact him via email or at (907) 744-2128 to schedule a visit. Hopefully he’ll send us a review copy when the film is finished — sounds like a cool project!
Although Franck Cammas and his monstrous Groupama 3 continue to lead the Ultimate division in the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, unsettled weather in the North Atlantic has allowed Thomas Coville’s Sodeb’O and Francis Joyon’s Idec II to make significant gains. Despite having reeled off a 490-mile day, Cammas’ lead against Sodeb’O — well north of G3 at this point — has shrunk some 86 miles over the last 24 hours to 260 miles, although Cammas has the rhumbline well defended. Joyon clawed back 60 miles to sit about 310 miles astern. Since Wednesday’s report, Sidney Gavignet has been successfully rescued from his seriously damaged Air Oman Majan. Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain is currently holding the lead in the IMOCA 60 class, but perhaps the biggest news is that Michel Desjoyeaux is . . . flushed! ‘Le Prof’, as he’s known, made a bold move south early in the race that doesn’t look like it’ll pay off anytime soon. Franck-Yves Escoffier is clinging to a narrow lead in the Multi50 division aboard Crêpes Whaou, while Thomas Ruyant aboard Destination Dunkerque is now the Class 40 leader as early frontrunner Bernard Stamm has suffered damage to his steering system aboard Cheminées Poujoulat. In the Rhum division, the lone American in the race, Etienne Giroire aboard ATNinc.com currently lies in seventh place, only 174 miles behind leader Pierre-Yves Chatelin’s Destination Calais.
On the opposite side of the Equator, Brad Van Liew’s Le Pingouin and Gutek Gutkowski’s Operon Racing are technically tied in the rankings for the first leg of the Velux 5 Oceans, with both sitting some 2,600 miles from the finish. However, Van Liew is about 200 miles farther south than the Polish skipper with the race tracker showing both headed for Cape Town. As long as Van Liew hasn’t overcooked his angles, he should pull ahead in the next 24 hours or so. Canadian Derek Hatfield is still in third, 440 miles back.