Wind was very light — and sometimes non-existent — during the final leg of this year’s Baja Ha-Ha rally, but the promise of hot tropical weather was definitely fulfilled. Both air and water temperatures along the Baja Peninsula were substantially hotter than normal, which meant better-than-normal fishing and being able to stand middle-of-the-night watches in shorts and tank tops.
Since our last report from Turtle Bay, the fleet sailed 240 miles to remote Bahia Santa Maria, on the outside of the peninsula that defines the northern basin of Mag Bay. Sailing conditions were spectacular, with moderate winds of 8-18 knots and relatively flat seas. Several skippers exclaimed that the two-day run had been the sweetest sailing they’d ever done.
Swimming in 74° water, hiking and beachcombing were the principal activities during the lay day, last Monday, followed by the annual BSM beach party on Tuesday — complete with a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band that came all the way from La Paz and across the desert to perform.
A rolling start was declared at the 7 a.m. start of Leg Three, Wednesday, meaning that all boats could motor down the course at 5 knots without penalty until the breeze filled in. Sadly, it was late afternoon by the time there was enough wind to carry spinnakers, and even that petered out during the night. But the sky overhead was ablaze with brilliant stars and the sea state was smooth as silk.
Most boats arrived in Cabo early Thursday having motored much of the way, but at least two boats, including Camelot and Talion — both from Oregon — toughed it out and sailed the whole way. They were still out there inching along last night while hundreds of their fleet mates were whooping it up at the famous dance bar Squid Roe. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. Look for our complete Baja Ha-Ha recap in the December edition of Latitude 38.
If you thought the devastating loss of Team Oracle’s AC72 USA 17 meant you wouldn’t get to watch one of the monster cats plying the waters of San Francisco Bay for several months, then you obviously forgot about the Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing. Led by Bay Area golden boy Paul Cayard, the Swedish team is based in Alameda and launched the first of their two AC72s on Monday.
Sweden’s Consul General Barbro Osher — who has also been dubbed the ‘Godmother of Artemis’ — christened the cat. "We are extremely excited to get out sailing with this first boat and the learning opportunity it represents," said designer Juan Kouyoumdjian. "Sailing here, in the realities of San Francisco Bay, makes the lessons hard, but extremely relevant."
Watch for the boat’s bright red hulls on the Bay next week. Training will be led by French multihull legend Loïck Peyron, who will sail with the team this month before continuing with France’s Energy Team for the AC World Series.