October 28, 2013

Baja Ha-Ha XX Sets Sail

This plate full of tacos were looking good, but their little chili pepper seemed less than thrilled with his costume.

latitude/Andy
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The 20th annual Baja Ha-Ha rally got off to a spectacular start yesterday with the traditional Costume Kickoff Party at the Shelter Island West Marine super store. Thanks to generous support from Mexico Tourism, a terrific mariachi band set a festive mood.

Mariachis gave the costumed crowd an authentic taste of the Mexican culture, courtesy of our friends at Mexican Tourism.

latitude/Andy
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The Indigo Sea crew were looking sleek — and decidedly indigo.

latitude/Andy
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The pet costume contest was won by this canine buccaneer, who’s ‘crewing’ for Craig Shaw and Jane Roy aboard the Columbia 43 Adios.

latitude/Andy
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As always, the vast majority of fleet members were decked out in elaborate costumes. Predictably, there was a huge contingent of swashbuckling pirates and saucy wenches. Everyone was offered authentic beef, pork and chicken tacos, plus a boatload of cool libations. Representing Mexico Tourism, Alejandro Santander gave the fleet a heartfelt welcome to his country, acknowledging that maritime travelers are an important segment of Mexico’s overall tourism market.

We’d guess that judging the sexy wench contest is ‘Cap’n Ron’s favorite task as a West Marine employee.

latitude/Andy
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Yesterday’s Kickoff Party was held in West Marine’s parking lot.

© Kurt Roll
Silly stewardesses and their fearless captain

latitude/Andy
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Prior to the official start of Leg One this morning, the fleet participated in a parade through the harbor, cheered on by local well-wishers. Aboard the sport fishing boat Dolphin, Mexican dignitaries, San Diego city officials, Coast Guard officers and an assortment of print, TV and radio press, recorded the fleet’s departure. Sharon Bernni-Cloward of the San Diego Port Tenants Association and Ken Franke of the Sportfishing Association of California went above and beyond in organizing the parade, inviting the media, and welcoming Mexican Immigration and Tourism officials aboard the parade committee boat.

The fleet left port this morning in grey, rainy conditions, but don’t feel too sorry for them — they’ll hit sun soon enough.

latitude/John A.
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Editor’s note: The Assistant Poobah, Andy Turpin, was supposed to have called in with an offshore weather report but he’s clearly too busy to check in. We’ll have a full report in a few days.

Jeanne Socrates to Speak at TYC

For the last several years, we’ve closely followed the exploits of one particularly spunky British granny, Jeanne Socrates. On July 8, Jeanne finished her third solo circumnavigation — this one nonstop — and, at 70, became the oldest woman to have achieved the feat.

Jeanne Socrates, seen here at the Matthew Turner keel laying ceremony last weekend, will be speaking at Tiburon YC on Friday. Call to RSVP.

latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Jeanne is now on her way south to Mexico aboard her Najad 380 Nereida and stopped in the Bay for a couple weeks to visit old friends. Tiburon YC has kindly invited her to give a presentation on her latest voyage, which will be held this Friday, November 1 at the club. The bar opens at 6 p.m. and Jeanne’s talk will start at 7. RSVP to Alice Shinn at (415) 272-0562.

So what does Jeanne’s future hold?  She told us that she’s looking forward to cruising Mexico and beyond in company with other boats, and maybe even taking on crew now and again. She may be slowing down — all the better to enjoy the scenery — but it will be a long time before she stops. 

A Warm Welcome for Gloria

Gloria steamed under the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday morning, her yards lined with cadets.

© Alison Healy

A large crowd of party-goers thronged the aft deck of the Buque Escuela ARC Gloria on Friday night to welcome the ship’s complement to San Francisco. Since May, the 257-ft barque, the official tall ship of Colombia, has been making a friendship tour of the Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The ship’s officers and Madama Consula Ilse Bechara Castilla formed a receiving line to greet the party guests. Spike heels on the varnished deck? No problema!

latitude/Chris
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ‘Escuela’ part of Gloria’s name refers to her role as a training ship for 100 or so cadets in the Colombian Navy. The cadets, who range in age from 18 to 24 and have a male-female ratio of about 80%-20%, sign on for a four-year tour, after which they can leave the service, move to other branches of the military, or stay in the Navy. We spoke to Cadete Juan Camilo Gandara, who said he will become a Lieutenant in the Navy once his training tour is complete. Some of the well-wishers at Friday night’s party spent the weekend hosting cadets for tours of the City and beyond, and helping with necessities such as provisioning.

Locals like Master Mariners Junior Staff Commodore Ariane Paul and her friend Ricardo Padilla mingled with the ship’s crew, such as Cadete Juan Camilo Gandara.

latitude/Chris
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Los Tambores de Colombia played music on top of the pilothouse and got the crowd dancing.

latitude/Chris
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Folk dancers performed as well.

latitude/Chris
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Gloria is open this afternoon until 5 p.m. and tomorrow morning from 10 to noon, after which she’ll depart for San Diego around 3:15 in the afternoon. From there, she’ll visit Panama before returning home to Cartagena on December 6.

Gloria, making quite an impresseion displaying her ‘friendly’ lights, is docked at Pier 17 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero right next to the Exploratorium.

latitude/Chris
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Losing Faith in Long-Range Forecasters?

In May of this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, citing unusually warm ocean temperatures, predicted that there would be 7 to 11 hurricanes in the Atlantic / Caribbean this season, and that three to six could become major hurricanes with winds of over 110 knots.

With one month to go in the Atlantic / Caribbean season, the forecast has, as many of the previous forecasts have, proven to be way off. Way, way off. To date there have been just two hurricanes, Ingrid and Humberto, and both of them barely rated minimum Category 1 status.

A chart of 2013’s Eastern Pacific tropical storms and hurricanes (not including Raymond). Red=Hurricane; Yellow=Tropical Storm; Green=Tropical Depression. Note the absence of purple, which denotes a major hurricane.

© 2013 NOAA

Chris Fogarty, a honcho for Canadian government forecasters — yes, they get hurricanes, thanks to the Gulfstream — says the Canucks abstain from such predictions, and suggests that U.S. forecasters might think about doing the same. The problem, Fogarty says, is such inaccurate forecasts hurt the credibility of the weather services. No kidding. We’ve been following government and private industry hurricane forecasts pretty closely for more than 20 years, and their record has been dismal.

Hurricane Raymond has been fumbling around offshore for more than a week.

© 2013 NOAA

To our knowledge nobody makes similar projections for the Eastern Pacific — Mexico — because most don’t strike land. But this year seems like a normal year, with six tropical storms and eight hurricanes. The most recent, and hopefully the last of the year, is long-lived Raymond. The dude started off down by the Guatemalan border, as most Eastern Pacific hurricanes do, headed due west, then made a 90-degree turn north, and is projected to drift northeast in the general direction of Cabo. The most recent forecasts suggest that, because of cooler water, Cabo won’t be hit and the Ha-Ha fleet will be far from any threat that Raymond might pose. Not trusting forecasts, the Grand Poobah will naturally be monitoring Raymond‘s progress, or lack thereof, for the Ha-Ha fleet.

Paper is so passé — at least according to the federal government. NOAA announced earlier this week that the Federal Aviation Administration, the government agency that prints maritime charts, will cease printing them after April 13, 2014.
Throughout the world, tall ships are divided into four classes, with the largest — longer than 131 feet — given the designation of ‘Class A’.