Since our previous report on Wednesday, the entire Baja Ha-Ha fleet has arrived in Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay), a huge circular anchorage roughly 360 miles south of San Diego. Skies are sunny, and the water temperature is a delightful 75 degrees.
After very light air on Monday and Tuesday, a gentle breeze of 6-10 knots finally filled in from the northwest. As the fleet sailed past the Benitos and Cedros Islands toward the Leg One finish line, diehard baseball fans did what they could to access the final game of the World Series. Some were actually able to tune in KNBR on AM radio — despite being 800 miles south of the transmitters — while others picked it up via satellite radio. Roy Neyman of the CT41 Mabrouka was a hero to many for relaying the play-by-play via VHF. The rabid Giants fans aboard the committee boat, Profligate, were listening intently during the bottom half of the ninth inning when the satellite transmission dropped off. Our beloved Giants were up 3 to 2 over the Royals; but the tying run was on third with two outs. Fortunately, the transmission returned just in time for the crew to hear the final out. (Go Giants!)
Yesterday, there was better turnout than ever for the annual Ha-Ha baseball chaos ashore in the town of Bahia Tortugas. With an age range from 4 to 77, at least 150 sailors participated, all of whom were thoroughly impressed with the brand-new artificial turf field — it’s particularly impressive as there is not a blade of grass in the entire town.
Today a massive beach party is scheduled, which is always great fun, and tonight kids will trick-or-treat from boat to boat in costume. Leg Two will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. Longtime sponsor Commanders Weather predicts great sailing conditions for Leg Two, with 15-20 knots of wind from the northwest, and 4- to 6-ft swells — ideal for surfing aboard light-displacement boats. Meanwhile tropical storm Vance is slowly moving up the coast from the Acapulco area. Computer models agree that it should turn inland well south of Cabo San Lucas and not be a threat to the fleet, but it’s being closely monitored nonetheless.
Every four years the Route du Rhum transatlantic race gets the French all excité, and we should get excited too because it’s one of the classic singlehanded adventures – like our Singlehanded TransPac, but with more and bigger boats and scads more money.
The race starts in often-rainy Saint-Malo, Brittany, on Sunday and finishes 3,500 miles later in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in the warmth of the Caribbean. The race attracts the rockstars of Europe but leaves room for some semi-Corinthian racers, with 89 boats in five classes ranging from the Ultime multihulls, down to the Rhum class of multis and monohulls no smaller than 39 feet. Class Ultime includes Spindrift 2, a 131-ft trimaran that is squirrelly enough sailing with a full crew but now must be reined in by Yann Guichard solo. One of the newest tricks for sail-handling on these beasts solo is a bicycle pedestal for grinding.
Class Rhum includes Grey Power with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston at the controls of an Open 60. At 75 years young, Sir Robin responded to the question of why he’s doing the race: "Because I bloody well want to! I’m not yet ready for the pipe, slippers and TV!"
Rounding out the fleets are the IMOCA 60 monohulls of Vendée Globe fame with some of the same famous racers, the Multi 50 trimarans, and an impressive complement of 41 Class 40 monohulls that surely will bring out close racing all the way to the finish in sunny Guadeloupe.
For a comprehensive preview of the Route du Rhum, see the Sightings section of the November Latitude 38.
Wanna know what’s really scary? It’s time for the Midwinter racing season. Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Seaweed Soup Regatta, Vallejo YC’s Tiny Robbins Midwinters, and Sequoia YC’s Winter Series will begin on Saturday. Sausalito YC’s Midwinter Series and the Laser Series at Richmond YC start this Sunday. Remember to ‘fall back’ an hour on Sunday morning!
Tiburon YC’s Red Rock Regatta will tour the North Bay on Saturday. The Treasure Island Vanguard 15 fleet’s 2v2 Random Pairs will also be held tomorrow. This is a two-boat vs. two-boat team race regatta. Each boat signs up independently, and the teams change with every race.
The last event in Latitude 38’s unofficial women’s circuit will be this Sunday, when Island YC will host the Jack & Jill + 1 women skipper triplehanded race on the Alameda Estuary. It’s not too late to sign up! Ladies who’ve participated in multiple events on the circuit are encouraged to submit their list by November 10 for consideration for the 2014 Queen of the Women’s Circuit.
Twelve teams vie for the 100th anniversary Lipton Cup at San Diego YC today through Sunday. Competing against defending champion SDYC are seven past Lipton Cup champion yacht clubs: California, Coronado, Newport Harbor, Southwestern, Long Beach, St. Francis (Chris Raab with Russ Silvestri), and San Francisco (brothers Chris, Phil and Jon Perkins with Paul Cayard and Craig Healy as trimmers/tacticians). Four clubs are hoping to capture the Cup for the first time: NYYC, Kaneohe YC, Seattle YC, and Cortez Racing Association.
Many more midwinters and additional races can be found in the Calendar section of our magazine and online.
Once you’re off the water on Saturday, you might want to turn on your TV. Jeff Rutherford writes: "This coming Saturday evening, November 1, at 6:00, KQED 9 is showing The Ultimate Restorations episode about Cangarda, the steam-powered yacht that was originally built in 1901 and restored by Rutherford’s Boat Shop. Those of us at Rutherford’s are very proud of the work we did."
Because our office is located in a ‘Halloween neighborhood’ that gets very scaaaary around our regular quittin’ time, we’ll be closing today at 4:00 p.m. Happy Halloween!