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November 18, 2019

Baja Ha-Ha Ends with Buckets of Rain in Cabo San Lucas

“Woke up this morning to find that the Cabo airport was closed last night at about 6 p.m., and the Port of Cabo is still closed,” the Grand Poobah wrote on his Facebook page this morning. “Lots of Ha-Ha boats are chomping on the bit to get out there and ride the sub 20-knot winds north to La Paz. Ha-Ha folks who have been in Mag[delena] Bay since Wednesday looking at headwinds to get south right now. Situation looks much more promising this afternoon, and less rain.”

It is, without a doubt, the strangest end to the Baja Ha-Ha in 26 years, as tropical storm Raymond made a late-season appearance. “The US National Hurricane Center says the storm could still dump three to five inches of rain on southern parts of the Baja California Peninsula,” The Washington Post reported. “Baja California Sur state’s civil defense department warned of strong rains Sunday from the storm.”

“It almost never rains in Cabo,” the Poobah wrote. “As in 350-plus days a year of sun.

But the Poobah said that “other than a couple of strong gusts on Friday night, the depression that followed TS Raymond was a non-wind event in Cabo proper. Lots of rain though. Profligate will be here for a couple more days, then head up to La Paz.

“Happy cruising season to all with our just-washed boats.”

The Poobah posted this video from Profligate crew member Sabine Suessmann:

And this one of an ill-equipped roof over a tortilla maker.

The Ha-Ha ‘officially’ ended on Saturday, “but the entire fleet remains ‘sheltered in place,'” the Poobah wrote. “The port of Cabo, for example, has been closed for 12 hours and will be closed until at least tomorrow. There are Ha-Ha boats that have been sheltered in place since Wednesday at Man ‘o War Cove in Mag Bay.  Probably going a little stir crazy up there. Other vessels have taken shelter at Puerto Los Cabos, either in berths or anchoring in the harbor. Others have gone on to La Paz.

“This is the first time in over 50 years a tropical depression has crossed the Ha-Ha course at this time of year. We’d prefer that it not happen again.”

@easytosea, participants in this year’s Baja Ha-Ha, posted this photo on their Instagram, but it’s not clear if this was before or after the remnants of Raymond passed through. (Duh, probably before.)
© 2019 K & K

Be sure to grab the December issue of Latitude 38 for a full Baja Ha-Ha recap. (Working title: The Ha-Ha Cap Cap.)

SAWW Encourages Sailors to Attend Meeting in Alameda Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Alameda’s City Council will consider giving the developer of Alameda Marina an extension for the terms of its lease with several businesses. Advocates (such as ourselves) of a working waterfront, complete with sailmakers, riggers and a boatyard, are encouraged to attend the meeting to voice their support.

After delays, construction at the new Alameda Marina is about to proceed on a tight schedule, according to harbormaster Paul Houtz. Several businesses on the property have been given notice to move — in some cases to temporary facilities. Other businesses face an uncertain future. Members of Save Alameda’s Working Waterfront, or SAWW, see this as an opportunity for the council to facilitate the current tenants’ direct move into their new permanent spaces, rather than being asked to move out of their old spaces first.

After 41 years at Alameda Marina, the Hogin Sails loft moved about 100 yards to the old Svendsen Chandlery. It’s not clear where Hogin will end up. Owner Steve McCarthy told us last month that he has his eye on Vallejo.
© 2019 Hogin Sails

“It is also an opportunity to press the council to require the developer to intensify its effort to find and establish a business relationship with a boatyard operator so that we are assured that the developer remains focused on building the boatyard,” read a November 3 email from SAWW. “[We] request that as many sailors as possible, once again, attend this upcoming council meeting to pressure the developer to build a boatyard in Alameda Marina and to preserve the current businesses at that location. It also goes without saying; the developer should be required to keep tenant lease rates realistic in order to allow maritime businesses to flourish at the Alameda Marina.”

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at council chambers on the third floor of Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda.

The Bay in Fog

Last week, reader Vikas Kapur sent us photos from a foggy day of sailing on San Francisco Bay.

California Hornblower
Vikas titled his emailed photo essay “painted ships on painted seas.” (A reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.”)
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

Vikas called it “thick fog but have seen worse.”

Matthew Turner
Coming out of Marina Plaza in the morning, the crew motored past the Matthew Turner.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

On Saturday, November 9, Vikas and his crew took a newish 2013 Beneteau 37 out of Modern Sailing Club in Sausalito for a daysail from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. They motored in the morning, until some light winds came up in the Slot around 1:30 p.m., when they got in some sailing. The GPS reported 22.4 miles for the day and an average speed of 4.1 knots, with a peak speed of 8.5 knots (“likely surfing a wake”).

Fishing boat at new bridge
The journey continued on south of the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge, but rays of sun lit up this fishing boat.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

“A nice day as the fog burned off — although being in fog is cool too.” Vikas had a 10-year-old on board and gave him the wheel. “I told him it’s ‘just like driving a car…'”

Joe and Mike
Joe Columbo, age 10, seen here with his dad Mike, took a turn at the wheel.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
GPS track
The GPS track shows a counterclockwise circumnavigation around the Central Bay: down the Cityfront, around Treasure Island and Angel Island, and through Raccoon Strait.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Sailboats at Angel Island
Sailboats in the sun but also in the wind shadow on the east side of Angel Island. The boat with the red spinnaker is a J/35c.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Dinghy sailing in Richardson Bay
Back in Richardson Bay in the sunny afternoon.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Satellite view
Vikas took the photos on Saturday the 9th, but Saturday the 16th dished up a repeat of the low, dense fog. We captured this image at 8:40 a.m. PST, from the GOES-West satellite. Check out how the fog follows the water into the South Bay and east up through the Delta.
© 2019 NOAA

What Is There to Say, Exactly, About the America’s Cup?

Yesterday on Scuttlebutt, Craig Leweck expressed his reservations about reporting on the America’s Cup. 

I was at a dinner party recently when asked for an America’s Cup update. I stumbled through a response, feeling like the information failed to tantalize, but truth is there is not much tangible information to share.

With the launch of four AC75s, we have learned they do sail, which I guess is noteworthy. When the concept was revealed, it was otherworldly, so proof of concept is a headline. And as each of the four teams presented different approaches to the Rule, it either confirmed there are four ways to skin a cat, or three ways to do it wrong. That reveal will come later.

What my response dwelled mostly on was the fifth team, Stars + Stripes Team USA, whose greatest accomplishment thus far is that I am still talking about them. Among the late entries, they remain, while two others — Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) and DutchSail (NED) — have withdrawn.

Team Stars + Stripes founders Taylor Canfield and Mike Buckley are trying to pull together a scrappy insurgency of an America’s Cup campaign.
© 2019 Stars + Stripes/Matthew Brush

But much like the 2020 USA presidential candidates for the Democratic Party, it is one thing to launch a campaign but quite another to follow through with it.

Is Stars + Stripes Team USA on life support? Hard to know . . . they don’t like answering that question, nor will the Defender or Challenger of Record offer an update. The decision by the Arbitration Panel in March 2019 certainly resuscitated them, but if the goal is to win the America’s Cup, it’s hard to see a pulse.

In the absence of another lifesaving act by the event administration, the first America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) regatta of the 36th America’s Cup cycle, to take place April 23-26, 2020, in Cagliari, Sardinia, should be a put-up-or-shut-up moment . . .

Click here for the full story.

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.
Bay Area Boats
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. 
Events This Weekend
Although it's looking like a fabulous weekend to go sailing at latitude 38° N, we've got a couple of indoors events you might like to attend.
Deadline Is Today
Last call for Classy Classifieds. To get your ad into the December issue, the deadline is today, the 15th, at 5 p.m.