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April 3, 2019

Two Things About the Baja Ha-Ha

Meet ‘Baja Mitch’ at the Latitude Booth at This Week’s Boat Show

Seek out ‘Baja Mitch’, center, for encouragement and questions about the 2019/20 Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump. In this photo, the crew of Bow Tied at the Bahia Santa Maria party last year.
© 2019 Bow Tied

Mitch Perkins, who is the advertising manager at Latitude 38, which is title sponsor of the Baja Ha-Ha, will be on ‘Ha-Ha watch’ at the Latitude booth of the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show Thursday through Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.

If you’re thinking about doing this year’s Baja Ha-Ha — November  3-16 — Mitch can answer most of your questions. And if you stump him, he has a direct line to the Grand Poobah of the Ha-Ha, who is currently cruising in the Caribbean and couldn’t make it back for the Boat Show.

If you know where this yacht club is, stop by the Latitude booth and tell Mitch.
© 2019 Bow Tied

The Baja Ha-Ha is the 750-mile cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with R&R stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. Over 10,000 sailors have done the Ha-Ha on 3,000 boats in the first 25 years. Complete info on the Ha-Ha can be found at Signups will be accepted starting at noon on May 8.

Is There Surfing, as Well as Sailing, on the Baja Ha-Ha?

Yes, there is. At least if there is a swell running.

The best spot is during the stop at Bahia Santa Maria, a stop that, by popular demand, is being extended by another day for this year’s 26th annual Baja Ha-Ha.

It’s a well-known point break that has gone off about half the time the Ha-Ha fleet has been in residence.

An unknown surfer slides into a totally fun-looking right in Bahia Santa Maria.
© 2019 Richard Spindler

The other spot is on the bar into the mangroves, or just to the right of the mangroves. Sometimes it’s a gentle break ideal for beginners. Other times there is also a steaming right — that ultimately is going to overtake you. Fun while it lasts.

There is also surfing at San Diego, of course, including a ‘secret’ break only accessible by dinghy just inside Pt. Loma.

And there are also surf spots between Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Los Cabos.

Clean conditions at a well-known point break in Baja California, circa 2006.
© 2019 Richard Spindler

Aprés the Ha-Ha, there is great surf at Mazatlan, San Blas, Sayulita, Punta Mita and other spots in Banderas Bay, Tenanacita Bay, and more as you continue south. So yes, by all means bring your stick or stick(s). And if you’re a beginner, pick up a cheap board at Costco.

Winds of Change at the Boat Show

Will there be a new age of sail? In the April issue of Latitude 38, we take a look at the modest but promising proliferation of wind-assisted commercial ships around the world. This weekend, two advocates of “windships” will be speaking at the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show. We’ll give you the details at the end of this article.

Here in the Bay Area, Wind+Wing Technologies (WWT) has been pushing for wind-assisted ferries for over a decade. Founded by Adventure Cat Sailing Charters president Jay Gardner, WWT is also working on modular container wings that can be placed on large commercial vessels.

Jay Gardner at the helm of the WWT “demonstrator” last year.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

In 2008, Adventure Cat partnered with the State of California and Morrelli & Melvin Design for a study called Feasibility for a Wind-Assisted Ferry for San Francisco Bay. The study — which led to the creation of two “demonstrators” —  found that ferries could realize a 40% decrease in fuel consumption and an annual savings of $100,000 per vessel. When combined with electric-hybrid motors, WWT says that wind assist can be a perfect fit for certain Bay Area ferry routes.

The Wind+Wing Technologies demonstrator as seen recently in Vallejo with a “new skin” for the wing. On a Reynolds 33 cat, the demonstrator’s wing is 39-ft tall, 11-ft at the base, offering 367 square feet of sail.
© 2019 Wind+Wing Technologies

“What if we built vessels that were route specific and engineered for a specific purpose?” asked Charlie Bogue, the director of market development and strategy for WWT, who will be speaking at the Boat Show. “Depending on the route, it’s entirely possible to develop a zero-emmission catamaran ferry that holds the same amount of passengers [as a ferry currently in use] and goes the necessary speeds — right now.”

The Blue and Gold Fleet is entertaining this 400-person, Morrelli & Melvin designed ferry for the Bay Area.
© 2019 Morrelli & Melvin Design

Great, right? So, where are all of the wind-assisted ferries on the Bay?  WWT says that they’re hoping to deliver such a vessel in the next year.

The story of windships is also a story of will. It takes a will to believe that humankind needs to make changes in the energy we use. Embracing technological innovations involves some degree of bold risk taking — and moving away from cheap fuel. It also takes a will and desire for mariners to use new technologies once they’re installed.

A company called SkySails designed a kite that was flown off the bow of ships. In 2008, six SkySail kite systems were installed on large freighters, but none of those systems are currently in operation — due in part to a lack of money in the shipping industry for forward-thinking technologies.

A no-longer-in-use SkySails kite flies off a commercial ship.
© 2019 SkySails

But there’s another factor, according to Sven Klingenberg, the co-founder and head of sales and marketing at SkySails Yachts GmbH. “When using the kites, you had to consider the mindset of the captain and the shipping company. They needed to be sailors or environmentally minded. The human factor was a decisive thing. If they are strictly like a truck driver bringing freight from A to B and have no passion for sailing or kiting, that was the number one blocking factor. There was no time to play around with these things.” (Click here to see video of the kites in action.)

Klingenberg also said that not long ago, an IT company developed a system to monitor fuel consumption on commercial freighters, much of which hinged on the “trim” of the vessel, or the distribution of fuel and load through the ships. “With the ‘system’ monitoring proper trim, we can already save 10% on fuel consumption and a few million dollars a year.”

But Klingenberg said that the innovation was not well received by mariners, some of whom felt that detailed analysis of a ship’s performance was highlighting flaws in their seafaring decisions. “Some of the captains said, ‘You’re telling me that I’m doing my job wrong;’ they just hated it. They don’t want to be controlled.”

At present, only a tiny handful of ships have some kind of wind-assist options, which include the nearly 100-year-old Flettner rotor technology, wings and foils, and other innovations.

Flettner rotors at the stern of the German cargo ship E-Ship 1.   First installed on ships in 1925, Flettner rotors use “the Magnus effect” to provide forward thrust.
© 2019 wikipedia

“It’s an exciting time,” said Gavin Allwright, the secretary for the International Windship Association, who will also be speaking at the Boat Show. “We’re hoping to appeal to young mariners to come into the shipping industry, which needs to make some changes.”

On Saturday, April 6, from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., Charlie Bogue will be presenting the seminar, “Wind-Assist Technology for Zero-Emmision Ferry Transportation” at the Craneway Seminar Pavillion. And on Sunday, April 7, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., Gavin Allwright will be presenting “Winds of Change — The Growing Wind Propulsion Tech Trend in the Commercial Shipping Sector,” also at the Craneway Seminar Pavillion.

We’d like to know what you think about windships, especially if you’re a professional mariner. Please comment below, or email us here, and please be sure to include your Boat Name, Make, and Port of Call.

Delta Doo Dah Open for Business

A Delta Doo Dah fleet recidivist, the Bristol Channel Cutter Odyssey sails downwind/upstream past Benicia.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris


This is the year that Delta Doo Dah “turns it up to 11,” and you could be part of it. We opened registration for the loose-knit cruising rally yesterday, but, on Thursday, we invited ‘beta testers’ from last year’s fleet to bang on our registration form. Some of their comments:

“The form works fine; very simple single-page interface. It handled our different mailing and billing addresses just fine, which is typically the problem on most of these types of forms; good job. Looking forward to cruising with you this summer. We had planned to be in the Delta the first two weeks of June, so the Doo Dah Ditch Run on June 1 is perfect.”

“You might want to update your ‘gender’ field to include ‘other’ as it seems more and more folks are transcending the binary male/female-only model.” We’d thought about that, but weren’t sure if it was time yet. Since someone else said it, it must be time.

Men racing dinghies
Sailing dinghies are among the fun water toys cruisers bring along.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / LaDonna

Registration is free, but we really want everyone to preorder a burgee and fly it to identify their boats as fleet members. We also have long-sleeve cotton shirts in men’s and ladies’ sizes available to preorder. Sign up at

downtown Isleton
DIY itineraries might include visits to historic destinations like Isleton’s Main Street.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Delta Doo Dah Events

You’re free to plan your own Delta Doo Dah itinerary, but we also offer several official events thanks to our hosting sponsors:

We always look forward to Owl Harbor’s parties.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll preview each of the May-August events as the season advances. In the meantime, you’ll find details on our itinerary page. Hope to see you upriver this summer!

Because of continued ensnarement in environmental litigation, skyrocketing costs of waterfront real estate, and dogged declining participation in both the sport and lifestyle of sailing, a group of lawmakers has quietly been discussing an outright ban on recreational boating in San Francisco Bay.
Race After Work
If you're new to racing, beer cans are a great place to start. Pick a series that's convenient geographically, but also consider the race's culture. Some are more competitive than others; some have series scoring; some have daily prizes; some have overall awards.