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November 15, 2019

Baja Ha-Ha Close to Cabo and a Raucous Conclusion

It’s amazing how fast the Baja Ha-Ha comes and goes every year. One of the largest cruisers’ rallies in the world is heading toward its inevitable and famously boisterous conclusion at the pointy end of Baja California.

There is apparently a bit of weather headed at Mexico, but the Grand Poobah posted the following on his Facebook page about an hour ago:

“Ha-Ha Boats are not in undue danger from the approaching depression — we’ve been monitoring this for days, and when it hits, if it does, all boats will be secure in either Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Los Cabos, La Paz, or Mag Bay. Nothing is expected before late Saturday. All boats should have up-to-the minute weather info from eebmike, windy, and other sources.”

With that said, here’s a brief picture show:

Sunsets are a dime a dozen when cruising in beautiful locales — not that the frequency diminishes the awesomeness.
© 2019 Richard Spindler
Audrey and Garrett Ruhland’s 35-ft Rafiki Thisldu (with the mothership Profligate in the background).
© 2019 thisldu
“This has been the 10th Ha-Ha for Marina and Myron of the San Geronimo-based Swan 44 Mykonos,” the Poobah wrote.
© 2019 Richard Spindler
Taking the long — and wide (and skinny) — view at Bahía Santa Maria.
© 2019 Richard Spindler
“Our anchor was up at dawn to begin the last leg of the #BajaHaha,” wrote Modern Sailing School on their Instagram account. “We had a swell time at Man of War Cove and we’re looking forward to some hot showers and a slip in Cabo.”
© 2019 Modern Sailing School
“My good friend Victor,” the Poobah (on the right) wrote. “For over 20 years, we’ve been hosting Ha-Ha parties for 400 to 500 people at remote Bahia Santa Maria, which is 100 miles from nowhere. Cold beer, fish lunches, and live rock ‘n roll. Surreal.”
© 2019 Richard Spindler
Sometimes, when you’re watching the Ha-Ha from your computer, the sailing can seem like an afterthought.
© 2019 Richard Spindler
“Found a totem to make out with,” wrote @easytosea, who describe themselves as “A Kauai couple #glamping at sea on our floating #tinyhouse S/V Kālewa.” We’ll have more on this couple in the December issue’s Ha-Ha recap.
© 2019 S/V Kālewa
Among the many iconic Ha-Ha shots is the raft-up at the mothership.
© 2019 shiftcolorsab
“We are now pulling into #CaboSanLucas, aka the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula!” wrote Karine Marois on her Instagram account. “I was here in January of this year on a cruise ship, it’s a completely different experience arriving via 34-ft sailboat!”
© 2019 captainkarine

Coast Guard Rescues Man on Homemade Sailboat Off SoCal

Yesterday, the Coast Guard towed a singlehander into port in Southern California after a five-month crossing from Japan in a homemade vessel. The 78-year-old skipper — who reportedly suffered through weeks of light winds — had been reprovisioned several times before finally asking for a tow.

“On October 29, the brother of the mariner notified Coast Guard District 11 command center watchstanders that his brother departed Japan at the end of May and was expected to arrive in San Francisco in late August,” a Coast Guard press release said. “Due to a lack of wind, the man aboard the sailing vessel Mayfly was delayed by two months, depleting his food and water supply.”

Crew from the Coast Guard cutter Robert Ward boards the homemade Mayfly off the coast of California on Thursday.
© 2019 US Coast Guard

The Coast Guard apparently delivered rations to the Mayfly via an “Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessel, the motor vessel Tamesis, to provide rations to the distressed mariner,” the press release said. ” The Tamesis arrived on scene and delivered the rations with no request for additional assistance.” It’s not clear exactly when this was (nor are we entirely clear on the Coast Guard’s use of automated vessels to assist mariners).

Then, on November 4, the Coast Guard said that district watchstanders “received a request for food and water from the mariner who was also experiencing heavy weather approximately 250 nautical miles west of Los Angeles. The motor vessel Umberty diverted and transferred additional rations.”

On Wednesday, watchstanders notified the Coast Guard in Los Angeles/Long Beach that the Mayfly was approximately 85 nautical miles southwest of Point Vicente, was low on supplies, and was requesting a tow. “The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward was diverted from its patrol to tow the homemade vessel towards Oxnard. A Channel Islands Harbor crew on a 45-ft ‘response boat-medium’ took over the tow, and brought the Mayfly to Station Channel Islands Harbor.”

The homemade vessel Mayfly is currently moored at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.
© 2019 US Coast Guard/Petty Officer Second Class Courtney Perea

“‘If this mariner didn’t have a float plan and reliable communications ashore, the outcome of this case could have ended up drastically different,’ said Cmdr. Justin Noggle, the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach chief of response. ‘We are relieved that we were able to provide the much-needed assistance to bring him and his vessel back to shore safely.'”

Did You Ever Sail on the Marin-Based Ship ‘Active’?

Tucked into the bitter end of the San Rafael Canal is what we can only call an unexpected vessel — a pirate-y looking tall ship that’s  a tad out of place against the back alley of the busy Montecito Plaza. We are, of course, referring to Active, the 104-ft LOA wishbone ketch Baltic trader.

In the forthcoming issue of Latitude 38, we’ll report on what’s happening with one of the Bay’s unique vessels. But a story of a boat is best told through the people that have sailed aboard. In that spirit, we are hoping to hear from everyone in the Latitude Nation who has sailed, worked on or been in some way involved with Active.

Active, as seen in San Rafael about two weeks ago.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Active’s name is, at present, a tad ironic, as she doesn’t see much action these days.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
We took a tour of Active about two weeks ago — the inside is what you would expect, a hodgepodge of maritime history and memorabilia.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
We apologize for the blurriness of this photo; it’s one of several displayed credos inside Active.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
One of the many unique features of Active is her wishbone rig. The wishbone is actually very light, and is hoisted to the top of the rig when the main is flying. (It’s not a boom, in other words, but a type of gaff, we think.)
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
That’s Terrapin Crossroads across the water.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

If you have any information on Active, please comment below, or email us here, and please be sure to include your boat name, make and port of call, or just tell us where you’re from.

Readers — We originally called Active a Sea Scout vessel; while Active was once associated with the Boy Scouts of America, she has not worked with the organization for some time. 

YRA Awards and OYC Open House

Although it’s looking like a fabulous weekend to go sailing at latitude 38° N, we’ve got a couple of indoor events you might like to attend.

Oakland Yacht Club Open House

yacht club members
These friendly folks invite you to come check out their yacht club tomorrow.
© 2019 Oakland Yacht Club

The first will be on Saturday. It’s from 4 to 6 p.m., so you could go sailing first, or even cruise in to Alameda. Oakland Yacht Club, in Pacific Marina on the Alameda side of the Estuary, will host an open house. They invite guests to visit their club and learn about the following:

  • Networking with fellow sailors
  • Social events
  • Racing on your own boat or other people’s boats
  • Cruising to new locations around the Bay
  • Slips in their private marina
  • Fine dining with great views

Learn more at or call the club at (510) 522-6868.

YRA Trophy Party

This Sunday, Latitude 38’s publisher, John Arndt, will MC the Yacht Racing Association’s awards presentation. Berkeley YC will host the party from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Latitude’s racing editor will also be on hand to announce the 2019 Queen of the Women’s Circuit. (Now aren’t you just dying to know who it is? You’ll just have to show up to find out.)

Sonata crew ladies
The 2018 Queen of the Women’s Circuit, Alice Shinn was nominated by her crew on the Laser 28 Sonata. Left to right: Susan Simpkin, Queen Alice, Alessandra Nociaro and Susan Sanders at last year’s YRA Trophy Party.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll also be taking photos to include in the next installments of our Season Champions series of features.

Partygoers can munch on appetizers, buy drinks from the bar, pick up their rewards from a well-sailed season, and catch up with buddies from all over the Bay Area. The YRA encourages skippers to bring their crew, but they’d like to know how many people to expect. You can help out by pre-registering online. We hope that, rather than just picking up your own goodies and splitting, you’ll stick around to cheer for the season champions. The presentation should start around 2 p.m.

For more events this weekend, check out our Calendar.

The World Famous L38
Here’s your November Caption Contest(!) This photo was brought to us by Mark Bettis.
Recognition for Excellence in Sailing
Nominations for US Sailing's 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are open to the public. Fans can nominate the sailors they believe turned in the most outstanding performances this year.