Unless you’re well over 60, you’ve probably never seen the 1953 black-and-white film From Here to Eternity — except perhaps via an oldies TV channel. But most sailors who’ve done the Baja Ha-Ha rally have witnessed the annual From Here to Eternity Kissing Contest on the beach at Cabo San Lucas, where fleet members make heartfelt attempts to reenact that classic flick’s most famous scene: when actors Burt Lancaster (as Milton) and Deborah Kerr (as Karen) lock lips during a passionate embrace at the water’s edge. "I never knew it could be like this," she says as she comes up for air. "No one ever kissed me the way you do." Pretty steamy stuff for the early ’50s.
Having won eight Academy Awards, including best picture and best director (Fred Zinnemann), the film remains a cult classic that deserves a look, even today. If you plan to do the Ha-Ha rally in the coming years, take a cue from Lancaster and Kerr: rather than attempting to smooch with your lover in chest-high water, as many rally participants do, find a nice sandy spot far enough up the beach so that the incoming surf simply tickles your toes, rather than nearly drowning you.
The annual Cabo beach party (November 11 this year), is always a laid-back opportunity for fleet members to compare sailing tales and reflect on the achievement of having safely reached the tip of the Baja Peninsula, 750 miles south of the San Diego starting point — which, for many, is the most challenging voyage of their sailing careers. Nevertheless, every year we hear comments like, "That wasn’t so hard. I should have done it 20 years ago on the little boat I had back then!"
Look for our complete recap of Baja Ha-Ha 23 in the December issue of Latitude 38 magazine (also available free online.)
"We had a great group of Singlehanded TransPac alumni show up at the reunion get-together at Ayala Cove on Angel Island Saturday," reports Randy Leasure of the Westsail 32 Tortuga. Four boats arrived around noon, but not necessarily singlehanded. As this was just a social cruise-in, crews were allowed.
Boats making the scene included Steve Hodges’ Islander 36 Frolic (2012, 2014), Brett Suwyn’s Cavalier 36 Althea (2016), Robert MacDonald’s Olson 29 Nina (2016), and Randy Leasure’s Westsail 32 Tortuga (2012, 2016). Also on hand was the legendary Skip Allan (1978, 2008), 2016 overall winner David Herrigel from the Wilderness 30 Domino, and 2016’s first-to-finish Olson 30 Kato, skippered by Jiri Šenkyrík.
"After swapping sea stories and tips on trying to assimilate back to the 9-to-5 after the adventure of a lifetime, the question of the day was who was planning on sailing in the 2018 SHTP," said Leasure. "There seems to be plenty of interest, and we very well may see a lot of these SHTP veterans rejoin the race to Hanalei Bay, Kauai, in 2018!"
A new Queen of the Women’s Circuit was crowned last night at the Yacht Racing Association’s awards party, which was hosted by Berkeley Yacht Club. The ‘women’s circuit’, in case you’re not familiar with it, is just a list of women skipper races collected by Latitude 38 and published on a page of the annual YRA Calendar.
It’s not an official series, but we encourage female sailors to pick a few events that are geographically practical, take the helm of their own or someone else’s boat(s), and create a series of their own. In 2016, Jennifer McKenna did just that. She may not have even noticed it at the time, but we did.
In a tradition going back 10 years, the Richmond-based sailor raced in Sausalito YC’s Women Skippers Race on August 27. "This was the most fun of all," she said. She sailed her own Santana 22, Zingaro, in that race. Next was Tiburon YC’s Joan Storer Regatta on stormy October 15, a trying day for all who braved the weather. In that race, McKenna took the helm of Pat Broderick’s Wyliecat 30 Nancy. In his Santana 22 days, Broderick was one of Jennifer’s early mentors.
The weekend of November 5-6 was a busy one. On that Saturday, RYC launched the inaugural Amazing Grace Cheney Cup, a women-only race honoring a beloved club member who passed away suddenly in April. McKenna sailed Zingaro in that race with her regular crew plus an extra guest sailor in the spirit of inclusiveness.
The women’s circuit wrapped up the next day on the Alameda Estuary with Island YC’s Jack & Jill + 1. In that triplehanded race, McKenna served as the ‘plus one’ for a new Santana 22 owner, paying forward the mentoring she had received when she was a novice Tuna sailor.
After the 2017 YRA Calendar is published on December 30, we encourage Northern California racers to check out the new Women’s Circuit page. Put together your own series of events, send us proof of your participation by November 10, and you too could be crowned Queen of the Women’s Circuit.