November 4, 2011

Ha-Ha Fleet Reaches Cabo

This unusual folding cat was trucked from Wyoming for the San Diego start. Aptly named Cat 2 Fold, she was looking good at the start of Leg 2.

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There are dozens of reasons why sailors from all along the West Coast and beyond join the Baja Ha-Ha rally each year. But one of the most common motivators is to escape the arrival of winter. This year, as always, as fleet members moved south, they replaced the grey skies of the U.S. and Canada with brilliant blues above, and traded the chilly fall temperatures with ever-increasing warmth — culminating with air temps in the 90s and water temps in the 80s upon arrival at Cabo San Lucas

Now that the fleet has arrived at the Cape, there’s a celebratory mood among the 500+ participants. After a big night of unwinding at the famous Squid Roe dance bar, we’re presently gearing up for the annual Baja Beach Party at the Baja Cantina Beach Bar. So we’ll keep this report short and let the photos tell the story of the past two legs.

For the first time ever, immigration officials from San Carlos made a special trip to the Ha-Ha’s second stop, Bahia Santa Maria, to clear in members of the fleet. Their efforts saved fleet members time in Cabo, and the officials greatly enjoyed meeting this disparate assortment of sailors.

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Once anchored at Bahia Santa Maria — or anywhere else, for that matter — it’s great to have a watersports toy or two, such as this stand-up paddleboard.

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
One of the highlights of the fleet’s visit to Bahia Santa Maria is the annual rock ‘n roll party on the bluff overlooking the massive anchorage. Musicians from Cabo and La Paz travel 120 km up the highway, then 40 miles across the desert, followed by a stream of crossing and another 20 miles down the beach at low tide, just to arrive at the gig. And they play for tips only!

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The 7 a.m. start of Leg 3 was one of the best ever, as a light breeze held all morning and built in the afternoon to 10 knots — a perfect formula for relatively flat seas and low-stress sailing.

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The closer you get to the Cape, the more dramatic the sunrises. The warm evenings were memorable too. During the final night, many crewmembers sacrificed sleep to enjoy the warm, starry night.

latitude/Andy
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Emma Delivers

Emma Creighton rode her 21-ft Pocket Rocket some 4,200 miles from France to Brazil . . . solo!

© 2011 Pierrick Garenne/GPO

After 4,200 miles of sailing alone in a 21-ft Mini 6.50, Emma Creighton became the first American woman to finish the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 since ’01. Yesterday Creighton, who has hailed from the Bay Area for the past few years, was the 23rd proto to arrive in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. In doing so, she became only the third American woman to finish the race throughout its 34-year history. In a race where a total of 15 of the 72 boats have had to drop out, finishing the trip is an amazing accomplishment. Creighton has so far done a great job of sharing her campaign through her blog. We expect she’ll take a few days to catch up on sleep before updating it, but keep an eye out for it — we’re sure it will be worth reading.

Emma gets the traditional Bahia welcome.

© 2011

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Taking Sailing to the Kids

As a vocal advocate of teaching kids how to sail, Kame Richards, owner of Alameda’s Pineapple Sails, knows that many children aren’t able to take advantage of learn to sail programs, even if they’re free. Transportation to and from the venue is just one obstacle, but most such programs also require the kids to know how to swim — and many low-income kids have never had the opportunity to learn. So instead of forcing the kids to come to the boats, Kame and his cohort in creativity, Brent Drainey, have devised a way to take the boats to the kids. Check out this video by Vince Casalaina of Brent’s son Jeff testing out the ‘land sailer’.

Kame and Brent developed this prototype in conjunction with the Youth Sailing Initiative of SailSFBay.org, a group of marine industry leaders whose aim is to grow sailing in the Bay Area. They’re hoping that folks who have old El Toros lying around will consider donating them so they can be converted to ‘land sailers’. Email Kame if you’d like to help out, and check out the December issue for more on this fantastic project!

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© 2011

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Confirming a rumor that had been floating around for a week or so, the Luna Rossa sailing team has been announced as a challenger for the 34th America’s Cup.
The crew of Profligate, the mothership of the Baja Ha-Ha, are obviously having a terrific and care-free time during the ‘Barely Legal’ version of the 750-mile rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.
Last month, we reported on the abandonment of Quantum Leap after her captain, delivery skipper Phillip Johnson, was severely injured.