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May 9, 2014

Hugo Boss Dismasts En Route to New York

This file shot gives you an idea of Hugo Boss’ offshore speed. She was beating upwind when the partial dismasting occurred, apparently under shortened sail, as no sail damage was reported.

Hugo Boss
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While sailing across the Atlantic from Portsmouth, UK to New York, the Open 60 Hugo Boss dismasted, breaking its rig above the top spreader. The boat was repositioning to compete in the inaugural New York- Barcelona Racethe first-ever IMOCA-sanctioned event to ever begin or end in the United States. Onboard were Alex Thomson, American Ryan Breymaier, Pepe Ribes and preparateur Willy Altadill.

The Englishman Thomson, who finished 3rd in the last Vendée Globe, had chosen American Ryan Breymaier to take his place in the doublehanded race from New York to Spain, alongside co-skipper Pepe Ribes, so that he can be home for the birth of his second son. Breymaier, a veteran of the last Barcelona World Race, has recently signed on with the same sports marketing agency as Hugo Boss and is in a prime position to land a good sponsor for the next Vendée Globe, which starts in France in 2016. The New York-Barcelona race aboard Hugo Boss was supposed to be his big shot.

Latitude staffers had the pleasure of meeting up-and-coming sailing star Ryan Breymaier, left, when he arrived in the Bay last year with Giovanni Soldini (center) and crew, after their record-breaking NY-SF run aboard Maserati.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Hopefully it still will be. With no reported damage to the rest of the rig or sails the team is now sailing for Newport, RI under reduced sail, and will attempt to fix the mast before the May 25 prologue race from Newport to New York. Hugo Boss was sailing upwind in 25 knots of wind when the partial dismasting occurred and, despite there being a trio of Open 60 round-the-world racing veterans onboard, the cause of the failure is unknown, leading this writer to speculate that the mast section may have simply broken above the spreaders due to an odd load, while sailing reefed and with solent in heavy upwind conditions.

The rig, a two-spreader Southern Spar, had been around the world twice with Jean-Pierre Dick as Virbac-Paprec 3. Winning the last Barcelona World Race and finishing 4th in the last Vendée Globe, the spar had been the very definition of reliability.

Also in Newport, the all-female Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA recently arrived, thus completing their first transatlantic training run! 

No More Dusty-Field Ha-Ha Baseball

The formerly brown baseball field at Turtle Bay is now a lush, plastic green. Even the outfield!

Chip Prather
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Perhaps the most hilarious recent innovation at the Baja Ha-Ha has been the now-annual baseball game on the dusty dirt field at Turtle Bay. We guess it would be a stretch to call it ‘baseball,’ as there are normally about 30 people on the field, all batters get as many strikes as they need to hit a ball, and the pitches come in about 10 seconds apart. Did we mention that participation of all genders and ages is strongly encouraged?

The game — which always features as many locals as possible, including really young kids who are superb at cutting in line to bat for the 34th time — has always been played on a ragged dirt field. No more. For as the accompanying photo from Chip Prather shows, the Turtle Bay field now sports AstroTurf, and looks great. If we’re not mistaken, the light standards make it seem as though it’s ready for night games, too.

Back in 2010, before the Ha-Ha rabble took the field, the youngsters showed us how the game is supposed to be played. That six-year-old pitcher was a phenom.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Turtle Bay, with a population of about 2,000, is baseball-mad. The last we heard, they had three superb adult teams that traveled all over Baja to compete. In addition, there are a number of kids’ teams, including one for kids six and under that recently won the Baja Championship in Cabo San Lucas.

The Ha-Ha version of America’s favorite pastime bends almost all the standard rules. But it sure is fun.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Speaking of the Ha-Ha, it’s now possible to register online for the 21st running of this San Diego-to-Cabo rally. You’ll find the schedule of events, an FAQ and more at the official website. Leg One of the 750-mile rally begins October 27.

America’s Cup 34 has won an Emmy in the newly created "Outstanding New Approaches — Sports Events Coverage" category.