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May 2, 2016

Baja Ha-Ha & SoCal Ta-Ta Signups Now

Picture yourself smokin’ downwind in the sunny latitudes of Mexico — or Southern Cal.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Ready for big fun on the water? Online signups begin now for both the Baja Ha-Ha XXIII rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, and the SoCal Ta-Ta IV, from Santa Barbara to Catalina.

If you’re a regular reader you could probably recite the schedules of both yourself, but if not, you’ll find complete info on the newly updated websites: For the Ha-Ha click here. And for the Ta-Ta, click here

We’ve heard every excuse in the book for procrastinating about going cruising. If you’ve got a few excuses of your own, we suggest you pitch them overboard and join the fun this year. 

Look for updates on both events here and in the pages of Latitude 38 magazine.

Cook’s Endeavour Found on Sea Floor

An artist’s depiction of the HMS Endeavour in Australia in 1768.

© 2016 National Library of Australia

As marine archaeological finds go, this is a biggie: The remains of Captain Cook’s famous HMS Endeavour has been found by scientists at the bottom of Narragansett Bay, just off Newport, RI. The little-known chronology of how she got there is a fascinating tale.

As every nautical history buff knows, English Captain James Cook made his first, and most famous, voyage of discovery aboard the 97-ft HMS Endeavour. From 1768 to 1771 he, his crew and a contingent of scientists made dozens of important scientific observations, claimed great land masses for the British crown — including Australia — and returned home without losing a single crewman in an era when scurvy and other horrors typically diminished crew rosters by as much as 50%.

While Cook achieved widespread notoriety for his accomplishments and was quickly commissioned to lead a second voyage aboard the larger HMS Resolute, the Endeavour was largely forgotten. She was considered too old and damaged to be of further use to the Royal Navy, and was sold to a shipping firm. But five years later, at the height of the American Revolution, she was ‘recruited’ into service again, albeit ignobly, under the name HMS Lord Sandwich. Sailed to North America as a troop carrier and destined to serve as a prison ship, she was ultimately blown up in Newport Harbor in an attempt to create a blockade. At least 13 ships ended up at the bottom of the bay during that battle, all of which, say researchers, are historically significant. For more on this ongoing research see the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project’s website.

The Great Vallejo Beat

The 1D48 Bodacious+ on the beat to Vallejo Saturday.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The great irony for which the YRA’s 2016 Great Vallejo Race will be remembered is the use of downwind ratings to score an all-upwind race. Most years, the race from the Berkeley Circle to Vallejo Yacht Club on Saturday is mostly downwind, featuring colorful spinnakers parading through the North Bay and San Pablo Bay. The race is held in the spring, however, when conditions can be unsettled. This year, a vigorous northerly blew all day Saturday, and not one spinnaker set was even contemplated. The wind strength was fortunate, as it overcame a strong adverse current. The sun shone brightly, and both days were unusually warm.

Most of the racers rafted up, Med-tied, or found slips at VYC on Saturday afternoon, while the Express 37 fleet gathered at Vallejo Marina next door. A few did the turn-and-burn, eschewing Sunday’s race.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The race from Vallejo back to the North Bay on Sunday was also a beat, albeit with a lot less breeze. The wind didn’t really turn on until about 2:30 p.m.

© 2016

Fortunately for the racers on Sunday, that same strong current helped them through a light-air race to a finish line just north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Some of the racers suffered the misfortune of mistiming the start, or underestimating the flow of water in Mare Island Strait, as many were over early and had to struggle to get back to the line to restart. Others suffered mishaps at the finish, snagging the anchor rode on the port side of the line — perhaps getting as a result of getting swept downstream in the current — or running aground on a new shallow spot right next to the race committee boat. The race’s PRO encourages those who ran aground at the finish to file a ‘Request for Redress’.

This unfortunate crew found a shallow spot just shy of the finish line.

© 2016

In between the two races, VYC threw a grand party, with multiple musical acts, dancing, food vendors including seafood and BBQ, and plenty of Mount Gay rum drinks and other liquid refreshments.

Copious quantities of adult beverages kept the party going past the witching hour.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On the docks, VYC members Bruce and Gail Sinclair hosted a mini-boat show of three cold-molded Gary Mull-designed 30-footers, Chico, Shadow and Pretty Penny. The Sinclairs own the latter two. John Lidgard built Chico in New Zealand in 1968; Marin County’s Hank Easom built Pretty Penny in ’72 and Shadow in ’74.

Checking out the Mull 30s on Sunday morning.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Preliminary race results are available on Jibeset. As mandated by the Sailing Instructions, Saturday’s race was scored using downwind ratings, but the overall standings were figured using standard PHRF ratings.

Springtime sailing outside the Golden Gate. Sweet! latitude/Annie
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC One thing that keeps us motivated here at Latitude 38 World Headquarters is often hearing compliments from readers about how much they love our content.
Are you ready to Ha-Ha? Organizers of the West Coast’s largest cruising rally have come out of hibernation and are now gearing up for the 23rd annual San Diego-to-Cabo San Lucas rally, the Baja Ha-Ha.