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May 14, 2021

The Grand Poobah’s Baja Ha-Ha News Update

The Baja Ha-Ha’s Grand Poobah brings us some updates and insights for those planning to sail south this fall:

The number of paid entries is 104 … and currently holding at that level.

The entries are processed by Assistant Poobah Patsy “La Reina del Mar” Verhoeven of the Gulfstar 50 Talion. Patsy is currently cruising the Sea of Cortez in an area that does not have internet, so she hasn’t processed any of the most recent entries. Look for an update after the 15th.

Talion Patsy Verhoeven
Assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven is currently in the Sea of Cortez, but will sail north so she can sail south again with the Ha-Ha.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude 38

Crew

If you’re looking for crew or to crew, lists are building on the Baja Ha-Ha website. Go down the blue drop-down menu to the tab “Ha-Ha Crew & Boat Lists,” and you’ll find links for “looking for crew” and “looking to crew.”

TIPs

Unlike previous years, when it wasn’t a problem if you didn’t get a Temporary Import Permit until you got to Mexico, you must now have one before entering Mexican waters. It’s easy to get online or in person at Banjercito, just across the border at Otay Mesa, better, or San Ysidro/Tijuana, less good.

If you’re not sure if your boat has a TIP, apply for one online. If the website won’t give you a TIP, your boat already has one. If it belongs to the previous owner, get that changed before sailing into Mexican waters.

Paperwork

The Ha-Ha does not take care of any paperwork for Mexico. TIPs, immigration, customs … all that is the responsibility of each boat owner. In years past, Victor the ship’s agent did that in Cabo for a fee for those who wanted to use the service. Victor has not yet confirmed that he’ll be doing it again this year or what the fee might be. We hope to get an update soon.

Mexican Liability Insurance

This is separate from any hull insurance you might or might not have, but it is required for sailing in Mexico.

Slips in Cabo

Marina Cabo San Lucas saves all their open slips for the Baja Ha-Ha, but they never know how many they’ll have until the day before boats arrive. So there are no guarantees. If you want to be guaranteed a slip, try Puerto Los Cabos, which is 19 miles from Cabo San Lucas at San Jose del Cabo. In years past, a number of Ha-Ha boats have reserved slips. Transportation between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas for Ha-Ha activities is easy and reasonably priced. If you want a slip in Puerto Los Cabos, it’s your responsibility.

Cabo San Lucas
The anchorage at Cabo San Lucas can provide a warm welcome too.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Richard

Start from Ensenada?

There are several advantages to this. The long first leg is 55 miles shorter, and you will already have gotten your paperwork taken care of. Both Cruiseport and Marina Coral would welcome you. However, we highly recommend you make a land trip to San Diego for the Skippers’ Meeting, where you get the Rally Instructions and important information, as well as your Swag Bag, and can be on hand for the Costume Kick-off Party.

If you don’t attend the Skippers’ Meeting, you won’t be an official entry or get your swag until Turtle Bay, at which point you will be fully reinstated.

Todd’s New Magazine Wins Him a Latitude 38 T-Shirt

Todd Brubaker was going about his business last week, being a good upstanding Bay Area citizen collecting the latest Latitude 38 magazine from his local distributor, when he discovered a Golden Ticket inside his issue. The ticket entitled Todd to a free Latitude 38 hat or T-shirt. What did Todd choose?

Todd with Latitude 38
Yes, we realize the photo is blurry, but you’d be jumping with excitement too if you’d just found a Golden Ticket.
© 2021 Todd Brubaker

Todd picked up his Latitude 38 at the Jack London Square fuel dock in Oakland and sent us the photo, along with his request for a Latitude 38 T-shirt, which is now in the mail.

When not cruising the docks in search of his favorite magazine, Todd volunteers and crews on the Presidential Yacht Potomac.

Here’s a not-blurry photo of Todd.

Todd Brubaker
And he’s going to look even better in his new Latitude 38 T-shirt!
© 2021 Todd Brubaker

You can pick up your copy of Latitude 38 at any of our distributors, or to make sure you never miss out, get yourself a subscription and have a copy sent right to your mailbox.

Tour the Newest Beneteau and Lagoon Models at Passage Nautical’s By-Appointment Event

“You’re exclusively invited to take a tour of the world’s number-1 brands. Come see our newest Beneteau and Lagoon models!”

Passage Nautical 'By Appointment' event

No matter what boating journey you are on, we have the right boat to get you on the water. Come join us this Saturday, May 15, 2021, at our exclusive By-Appointment event and check out our beautiful Beneteau and Lagoon boats in stock. Stop dreaming and start living your new boating life now.

The Rediscovery Redux of a Bay Area Waterfront Gem

On a whim a few weeks ago, I stumbled onto a maritime Bohemia in the heart of the Bay Area. Upon arrival, my first thought was, “I can never, ever write about this place — it’s too perfect.” The truth, however, is that everyone already knows about it. Latitude 38 literally wrote about ‘rediscovering’ this place just a few months ago, and we subsequently published your letters describing the many years you’ve visited there. If you click a link a few paragraphs from now, we’ll happily name the spot in question, and we encourage people to visit.

For me, this place checks all of the boxes: It’s a delicate, salty gem tucked into a near-but-far-away-feeling corner of a crowded megalopolis. It’s off the beaten path, funky, artsy, rustic and rough around the edges, and endlessly, impossibly charming. I’ve been to a few other hamlets lining the Bay Area’s shores that have struck a similar nerve. Some residents of those communities — which have high-density development going up all around them — have all but threatened me if I wrote about or even named the places in question, and I’ve always obliged.

And so begins my trail of visual breadcrumbs. For me, this picture encapsulates the vibe of the marina I stumbled upon a few weeks ago — a mix of urban, maritime, and rural (the latter of which is just out of frame).
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

What if my enchantment with a place resonated with enough people that they might go there and love it, too, and they would tell their friends, and suddenly that weekend crowd of upwardly mobile Bay Area families might start to swell, and suddenly that ‘hidden’ gem is no longer hidden, and the place, by many accounts, is “ruined?” What if someone eventually builds condos and a Whole Foods there?

“Am I helping, once again, to kill the things I love?” Anthony Bourdain wrote of his fraught relationship with ‘discovering’ places.

And so I will avoid mentioning the name of this place as a kind of academic exercise in recognizing the vulnerability of such spaces, and to urge visitors, like myself, to respect the community. But let us acknowledge that this ‘exercise’ is absurd on any number of levels.

How rustic and charming can you get?
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

I realize that more than the place itself, I want to describe that intoxicating feeling one gets when going down a road never traveled to a destination floating in the imagination. There is only one first trip somewhere; everything after that is a facsimile. In nearly three years of sailing out of San Rafael, I passed this oasis many, many times. When we published a story about this spot last year, I’d made a mental note to go see it, but had completely forgotten about it until a cold, cloudy Saturday. I’d ridden my bike across the bridge to meet some friends in Point Richmond, and on the way back, came to a crossroads. To the right was an unremarkable, potholed road meandering toward the water. “Oh yeah, [that one place].”

Biking down “the road” on the way to “the spot,” I passed a shuttered factory whose brick architecture was doing an impression of a castle.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

I deliberately fooled myself into thinking that it was just around the next bend, and spent the next half hour zooming downhill and up again, down and up. The empty hills were still green and buzzing with insects, but looked ready to turn brown at any moment. I rode past an abandoned brick factory, boarded-up housing and gated-off roads, and a now-decaying whaling station — home to the last whale-hunting fleet in the United States — which closed just a few years before I was born in 1975. The entire half-hour ride had an abandoned, ghost-town feel. Up, down, up, around a few more corners, and I felt that I’d physically earned the destination at the end of the road. Even those who drive here have paid some sort of dues, trusting their GPS enough to lead them to some treasure at the end of the road.

A bird’s-eye view of a lesser- (but certainly not un-) known Bay Area marina.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

The first human contact I made after my uphill-just-to-get-downhill-again bike ride was a vendor selling cans of beer on ice for $5. Woody, unctuous plumes of smoke swirled around the buildings. (There’s a BBQ place here; I came back to eat the following week, and it was delicious.) There are dirt roads all around the marina, which is small and full of all manner of different craft. There’s a well-manicured neighborhood of houseboats that rivals Sausalito for waterside charm. With the tide exceptionally low due to an approaching full moon, the marina was rimmed with mounds of stinking mud.

The low-tide neighborhood of [name withheld]. Note the people sitting on the roof of the far red building/boat.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Even the charming, brick-building town of Point Richmond, where artisans are well represented, seemed like a stuffy, bustling metropolis compared to this laid-back beachside community. Gardens of succulents lined the path leading to the tip of the breakwater, where the sculpture of a big tree sat. There were artsy touches everywhere.

I waited, but not long, for a moment to try to snap this sculpture sans human beings, but the moment never arose. There are lots of visitors here, in other words.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

On the other side of the marina are empty hills and trails that dead-end at groves of poison oak. Discarded riprap lines the low-tide shores, and there are gated-off junkyards at the end of abandoned railroad tracks. There’s a bit of a Mad Max, post-apocalyptic feel. I found myself continually surprised that any of this could exist symbiotically with booming seaside towns not far away, which have to fight tooth and nail to preserve their tiny working waterfronts. I felt great trepidation, again, about narrating any of this.

Sitting at the edge of the marina and looking west toward my old neighborhood of Loch Lomond in San Rafael. (Sorry, Mom, for putting my feet on the table, and promoting that kind of behavior in Latitude. It’s just the mood I was in.)
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

But if there are parts of the Bay — and society at large — that are so fragile that the mere mention* of such places automatically translates into their doom, then perhaps the conversation should be about that — about the fact that there can be a place universally loved by the public but in constant danger of being swallowed by a kind of development that all of us, at least on the surface, say that we do not want. (*This also assumes that a “mention” by Latitude possesses some kind of power and influence. If that’s the case, then we command everyone to buy a subscription to the magazine and to contribute your hard cash to our own rustic and charming Bay Area institution.)

I should also acknowledge that my version of a “perfect shoreside nook” is highly subjective, and tainted with whatever nostalgia-in-the-present I happened to be feeling on that first day I biked down the dirt road. This entire area was formerly a working waterfront, after all, and its current postindustrial, artsy iteration might look to some — especially those who worked here 50 years ago — like the very gentrification that I’m trying to rail against. “Why do all these goddamn Burning Man people have to weld sculptures everywhere?” someone might reasonably ask.

A few barnlike structures give this end-of-the-road marina an East Coast feel.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Dammit, I think I’ve just defeated my original thesis. Screw it; everyone come here, knock on the doors of the houseboats, and ask the owners if you can take selfies in front of their living rooms. Bring on the Starbucks and high-end microbrews. Where do I put my down payment on a condo?

West Marine US Open Sailing Series Moves to California

US Sailing launched the new West Marine US Open Sailing Series earlier this year. Yacht clubs in Florida hosted events in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Clearwater in January and February. The second half of the 2021 series will get underway next month in San Diego. Regattas in Long Beach and San Francisco will follow.

Upcoming Regattas

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series events in California:

  • June 11-13: San Diego
    Registration will close on Thursday, June 10.
    San Diego YC / Southwestern YC
  • July 9-11: Long Beach
    Registration will close on Saturday, July 10.
    Alamitos Bay YC / Long Beach YC / US Sailing Center Long Beach
  • August 13-15: San Francisco
    Registration will likely open in June.
    St. Francis YC / Treasure Island Sailing Center / San Francisco YC

Invited Classes

In San Diego, the invited classes are Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, I420, 29er and Finn, plus Offshore Doubles.

The Offshore Doubles class is open to monohulls of 26-ft to 36-ft with a current ORA-1 certificate. Boats built to the 6.50 Class Mini rule may enter as well.

Two Laser Radials racing
Laser Radial competition during the West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Florida this winter.
© 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series

In Long Beach the classes are:

  • Olympic Classes: 470, 49er, 49erFX, Finn, Formula Kite, iQFOiL, Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Nacra 17, Offshore Doubles
  • Youth Classes: I420, 29er, Formula Kite, iQFOiL, Laser Radial, Nacra 15
  • Invited Class: Laser 4.7

The Offshore Double class is open to 26-ft to 40-ft boats with a current Southern California PHRF rating of -3 to 126. There must be two people aboard the boat, at least one of whom must be 21. The Notice of Race requires both crew to have previous offshore experience.

Five entries are required to establish a class in each regatta.

About the Series

The West Marine US Open Sailing Series offers an increase in high-quality Olympic-class and one-design racing for American athletes.

US Sailing and the larger community of sailors in the US identified a demand for a racing and training platform based in the US that serves to provide a runway to the Olympic Games. With the 2028 L.A. Games on the distant horizon, US Sailing felt it was essential to establish a consistent and predictable annual cycle for athletes to plan for.

US Sailing can provide more support for sailors at these events through advanced and in-person coaching, training, and data collection. The series is an important part of the training plans for young sailors participating as part of the Olympic Development Program, a US Sailing initiative supported by the AmericaOne Foundation that provides world-class coaching support to promising American youth sailors competing in high-performance classes.

Is It Time to Sell Your Sailboat?

We read a recent newsletter from Don Durant of Club Nautique that stated, “If you’ve been following the news about the impact of COVID 19 on various industries, you’re probably aware that products and services in the outdoor recreation or ‘staycation’ industries have seen a large spike in demand.” We’re sure our readers are well aware of how pandemic market convulsions have benefited some and hurt others, with sailing being one of the fortunate beneficiaries. Our conversations with brokers and new boat dealers up and down the coast share a similar tale — record activity that started in early summer last year and continues today.

That makes our next statement a bit of a public service announcement for our dedicated brokerage advertisers — yes, it is a good time to sell a boat. If you’ve thought about making a change, there are certainly more buyers looking now than there have been in a long time. Brokerage inventory is low, and because of increased demand and last year’s factory slowdowns, shutdowns and supply chain disruptions, many new boat deliveries are stretched out into the future. Brokers will also tell you that it doesn’t mean you’re going to make a killing when you sell. You bought a sailboat for the fun of it, not as an investment property.

Sell your sailboat
All kinds of boats have been selling and getting a second life.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

However, brokers would be more than happy to list your quality used boat. They are all looking for inventory for prospective buyers. If you are looking to sell, we’ll also connect you to the story we wrote a few years ago, Tips on Selling A Boat. A very basic tip is clean it up and get all your old, extra, mildewed gear off the boat.

Is it a good time to buy a boat? We think it’s always a good time to buy a boat. Sure, prices will be less flexible but, as Bob Gorman used to say, “You only get so many summers.” There are many great reasons to own a sailboat, and if you have kids, we think one of the best reasons is that it’s something you can do together as a family. Standing on the sidelines watching your kids play soccer or baseball is not a family activity, and we’re hoping the pandemic year helped remind parents of the value of doing things together. (Yes, it might have had the opposite effect on some!). If you are looking at buying we do have Tips on Buying A Boat.

Sailboats for Sale
Despite the lack of a boat show, many of the dealers have great new boats available or on order. But don’t wait, boat sales remain strong.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Plus tomorrow, Saturday the 15th at 5 p.m., is our Classy Classifieds deadline. If you’re ready to sell, it’s a good time to call one of the Latitude 38 brokers advertising in our current issue, or pop your ad into our Classy Classifieds by the end of the day tomorrow. We bought and sold a boat in the last six months and are now sailing Friday night races and looking forward to another summer of sailing. The best thing, beyond buying, selling, or owning a sailboat, is using your sailboat. We’ll look forward to seeing you on the water.