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October 27, 2014

Today Is the Day

Costumed fleet members took over the parking lot of the Shelter Island West Marine, the fiesta’s co-sponsor. 

© 2014 Kurt Roll

For the skippers of 131 boats and 490 crew, today is the long-awaited day of the start of the 21st Annual Baja Ha-Ha cruising rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas with stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. Yesterday’s Kick-Off Party at the San Diego West Marine got everybody in the spirit, with the Halloween costume theme.

The cast of Austin Powers were in a festive mood.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As always, there was a wide range of costumes, some of which were extremely creative and elaborate. In addition to the requisite pirates and wenches, there were a bevy of jellyfish, a band of cheetahs, and a group of lab experiments gone wrong. 

This boatload of nautical cheetahs were itching to scratch. 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
West Marine’s perennial MC Captain Ron presides over the costume contest. We’re pretty sure he had more fun than anyone. 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The weather for the 360-mile first leg to Turtle Bay appears as though it will be light. Long-range forecasts for the second leg suggest a nice downwind breeze. There is a possibility of a tropical depression forming way, way south at about 8 degrees, so that will be monitored.

This one needs a little explanation: "We’re from New Zealand, but we’re posing as Aussies!" 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On the way out to the 11:00 a.m. start off Pt. Loma, the fleet will ‘parade’ through San Diego Harbor just for fun. Dignitaries will observe the action from aboard the sportfishing vessel Dolphin, where local print, radio and TV journalists will record the action. This year, for the first time, CNN will shoot the scene and broadcast their footage on national television (sorry, time unknown).


Look for additional updates here in the coming days.

What Dark Mind Modified This Light?

Meet the replacement. May it shine long and bright — once we make the modifications necessary to the original installation. 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of the things that we find annoying is when the replacement part from one company has a different mounting pattern and perhaps a different electrical connection than the original. It happens from time to time, but we find it particularly irritating when the replacement part has to go somewhere relatively inaccessible — such as the top of the mast.

The particular item that is bugging us right now is Profligate’s Luna Sea brand LED tricolor/anchor light/strobe light. When we installed the original Luna Sea masthead light, we were thrilled. The light was super bright, it hardly drew any juice, and it had a sharp point on the top so if any birds sat on it they’d get a sharp poke in the ass.

We’re not even that annoyed that the anchor light part of it didn’t last the 30,000 or so hours it was supposed to. Profligate has been around a lot of lightning, so we’re going to blame the failure on that. But what really grates on us is that Luna Sea’s new version of the light has a different pattern for mounting on the top of the mast, plus a different electrical connection. We’re sure there must be a good reason for the two changes, but we can’t figure out what it might be. And just so there is no misunderstanding, we’ve used a number of Luna Sea products and really liked them.

Have you come across a replacement product that’s caused you grief?

While we’re on the subject of LED lights, a couple of years ago we highly recommended the 12-volt LED strip lights you can buy from China via Amazon. A 15-foot strip costs about $10, and a dimmer switch is about $5. These lights are also supposed to be good for about 30,000 hours, but we’ve noticed something funny recently — over time they’ve become much dimmer. And the problem is not that they aren’t getting plenty of 12-volt power, because they are. What’s that about?

SF Maritime Park Fees

Latitude 38 runs Calendar listings every month for events at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, an historical treasure on Hyde Street Pier at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf. The pier and the museum building are free to enter, but the park charges a fee to board such classic craft as the C.A. Thayer and Balclutha. One ticket covers admission to all the vessels and is good for seven days. The current $5 adult admission fee has been in place since 2000, and the Park is proposing an increase to $10. The annual pass would also double, going from $20 to $40 in 2015.

The fantail of the Balclutha provided an excellent viewing platform for America’s Cup fans.

© 2014

According to a recent Park press release, "Additional revenue would help improve access to park resources (including the fleet of historic vessels), develop new education programs, and upgrade informational exhibits/displays."

Nothing happens these days without a study, so rather than simply raise the price, the Park is inviting public opinion at an open house tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 28, 4:00-7:00 p.m., in the General’s Residence, Fort Mason, San Francisco (enter at the intersection of Bay and Franklin Streets). Comments can also be submitted online at

Long may she run? This wood beauty has been running in style for more than 100 years.
Crew positions are apparently still fluid on some Ha-Ha boats. latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC After months of preparation and perhaps the expenditure of a few dollars, the skippers of Baja Ha-Ha XXI, the cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, have completed all preparations for the Monday-morning start, and will be spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday relaxing, making new friends, and seeing the sights of San Diego.