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October 24, 2012

Jeanne Socrates Does It Again

Jeanne Socrates left Victoria, BC, Monday morning aboard Nereida bound for…Victoria, BC.

© Jak Mang

You just can’t keep Jeanne Socrates down. The irrepressible Brit left Victoria, B.C. Monday morning aboard her Najad 380 Nereida on her third attempt at a nonstop solo circumnavigation. If she succeeds in completing this one nonstop — she was forced to stop during her last two circumnavigations when her boat was damaged — she’ll not only be the oldest woman, at 70, to have done so, she’ll also be the only woman to have done so starting from North America.

Record-setting solo circumnavigator Tony Gooch was stationed at Ogden Point to note Socrates’ official start time around 11:30 a.m.

© 2012 Jak Mang

Though record-keeping organizations no longer recognize age-based sailing records, they are very interested in geographical and gender-based records. That being the case, Canadian Tony Gooch, who set the record for the first North American (Victoria) singlehanded nonstop circumnavigation in ’03, was on hand to seal her prop shaft and take her time for the World Sailing Speed Record Council. It’s interesting to note that Socrates is not sponsored — other than a few equipment donations — and she’s sailing to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care, a nonprofit that supplies nurses to terminally ill patients.

As of this morning, Nereida was heading offshore before making her turn south.

© Exact Earth

Socrates’ journey should take about eight months — over half of it in the Southern Ocean! — and we’ll be posting frequent updates from her here in ‘Lectronic. You can also follow her at

Go get ’em, Jeanne!

An Unusual Hitchhiker

"On the morning of October 17, I picked up a hitchhiker in Why, Arizona, who was on his way to Tucson," reports Greg Joder. "The man was in his 60s and very animated. He told me that he was originally from Czechoslavia, but had been cruising the Sea of Cortez off and on for many years. But apparently he won’t be sailing in the Sea again anytime soon because he told me he’d lost his boat on the rocks at Isla Rasa, which is near Bahia de Los Angeles. Did Latitude hear anything about the loss of a boat?"

Nope, we didn’t. If anybody has details, we’d love to be able to report them. Email us.

The Times They Are A-Changing

And like ol’ Bob Dylan sang back in the early ’60s, "and accept it soon that [if you stay in California] you’ll be drenched to the bone."

A reminder to one and all that Daylight Saving Time ends in the wee hours of Sunday, October 28, in most of Mexico (in the States and municipalities bordering the U.S., it ends November 4). Ha-Ha boats will stay on San Diego time until we get to Cabo San Lucas, which is one hour ahead. Yeah, we’re confused, too, so we have no idea how that’s going to affect whether you’re late or early to the ‘Can’t Believe We Cheated Death Again’ party on November 8 or the Beach Party on November 9. Thank goodness we’ll be in ‘cruising’ mode, not ‘catch a flight’ mode!

When in Rome…. Be sure to bring your best costumes for the Kick-Off Party on Sunday at 1 p.m. And don’t be late!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s cool here in San Diego, so some good friends — Barritt and Renee Neal of the San Diego-based Peterson 44 Serendipity and Chip and Katy Prather of the Dana Point-based Morgan 45 Miss Teak — took off this morning for Ensenada. These Ha-Ha vets plan on making a very leisurely cruise down to Cabo, over to the mainland, and as far south as Zihua. Bon voyage!

Fortunately, it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and stay warmish through Tuesday. Sailing conditions on the first leg appear as though they will be light, as opposed to the very breezy conditions we’ve had this week. The tropics have been erratic — off and on it’s been looking as though there might be a tropical storm, one that was headed out into the Pacific, then into the southern mainland shore, and now, it hasn’t come to fruition at all. We’re watching, but right now everything looks fine.

If the predicted light winds on the first leg mean you run low on fuel, no worries, as you can get it in Turtle Bay from either Enrique Gerardo or Services Annabelle. "Good morning," Enrique wrote to us the other day, "I am Enrique, Jr, the fat person on the pier in Turtle Bay with fuel for sale. We are ready to serve everyone with fuel, and we take credit cards." Who in America would describe themselves as ‘the fat person’? But how things have changed in Turtle Bay. We’re told that competitor Services Annabelle comes out to boats with fuel, and does credit card transactions on the spot via satellite.

We also understand that Bob Hoag of Mag Bay Outfitters will have a limited supply of fuel at Bahia Santa Maria.

Speaking of Ensenada, we’ve heard from a few skippers who want to start the Ha-Ha from there. No problem, boats do it every year. But it sure would be nice if you could take a bus up for the Skipper’s Meeting and party on Sunday, as folks have done for a long time. If not, we’ll just catch you on SSB 4A Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m., and we’ll give you your swag bags and other gear in Turtle Bay. In addition to being a good place to check into Mexico, Ensenada is also the most convenient place to get your Temporary Import Permit. You can’t get one in Cabo, and it’s a bit inconvenient to get one in La Paz.

Webb Chiles, the ultimate Zen sailor. latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC A man in his early 70s losing his vision in one eye but planning to do a circumnavigation on a Moore 24 ultralight?
Three years have passed since then-16-year-old Jessica Watson’s record-breaking nonstop solo circumnavigation, and casting has begun for a film based on her journey.
It’s been cloudy and rainy in San Diego for the last couple of days, and with the 149-boat Ha-Ha fleet slated to head south of the border one week from today, it looks like another couple of overcast days are ahead.