The 159 boats signed up to sail the 2700 miles across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia in the 2021 ARC Rally awoke to the news yesterday that the island of La Palma, 145 miles to the west, was experiencing its first volcanic eruption in 50 years. 2021 has been a year when event producers have cautiously but steadfastly pursued a return-to-normal sailing world (whatever that will mean) while being continuously buffeted by global headwinds. In fact, the ARC Rally, scheduled to start on November 21, shouldn’t be impacted by the explosion.
The volcano erupted Sunday, and last erupted for about three weeks, almost exactly 50 years ago, in October 1971. According to the New York Times there are about 85,000 residents on the island, and local authorities are evacuating 5,000-10,000 people to keep them out of harm’s way.
As in the Baja Ha-Ha, with 190 boats signed up this year, there has been tremendous demand for boats to go cruising. The ARC Rally and the ARC Plus Rally were both sold out, so they’ve added ARC January to accommodate more cruisers who want to cruise in company across the Atlantic. There are 10 boats from the US in the ARC Rally and eight in the ARC Plus.
Meanwhile, with the weather gods, thankfully, rolling gutter balls in the Atlantic hurricane lanes with tropical storms Peter and Rose, we can only continue to make cruising plans while we keep a weather eye out.
As the start of the 27th Baja Ha-Ha draws ever closer, Ha-Ha veterans are getting excited and reminiscing about their experiences of the iconic rally. Rich Brazil sent us the following story about one of his favorite Ha-Ha memories.
After a rollicking, wind-filled second leg of the 2019 Baja Ha-Ha, it was rewarding to lead a group of first-time Ha-Ha sailboats into the dimly lit Bahia Santa Maria. After all, it was 2 a.m., everyone was exhausted from the two-day sail from Bahia de Tortuga (Turtle Bay), and who wouldn’t want an escort (our fourth Ha-Ha) into their first-time-visited foreign bay? After dropping anchor in the tranquil bay, our amazing crew celebrated with customary tequila shots and beer before falling like flies into our bunks.
The next day we dinghied to the secluded beach, where we stretched our legs, marveled at the magnificent surroundings, and pinched ourselves repeatedly, chanting, “I can’t believe we’re here, I can’t believe we’re here.”
I knew the afternoon/evening rock ‘n’ roll beach party would be the highlight of our stay in Santa Maria, and hailed the local panga driver on channel 16 in plenty of time to get a panga ride to the beach for our crew. The silted channel is best left to the locals, and after a few cervezas, not wise to be attempted after dark.
Once on the bluff overlooking the massive bay, I sauntered over to the band to say hello and was greeted with warm smiles. “Hola, Ricardo!” they chimed — recalling the previous year’s Ha-Ha where I’d sat in on a few songs. “Vinny, mind if I sing again?” I questioned. “No problema, Amigo. Anytime,” he warmly said.
The band instantly got the crowd dancing, and after the first set, I walked forward and asked Vinny to play a blues progression so I could ad-lib a tribute song to the amazing sailors who’d put so much energy, not to mention money, into this fantastic journey. The song came off without a hitch, and everyone joined in on the chorus. It was big fun.
The fourth set started with Hotel California by the Eagles, which drew me to the stage once again to sing this iconic song. The sun was setting; the warm Baja California air filtered past the smiling faces as everyone belted out their best rendition of this famous song. I get goosebumps every time I think about this phenomenal trip.
The Baja Ha-Ha is a life-changing experience because you can check out, but you can never leave.
What’s your best Ha-Ha memory? Or worst …? Tell us at [email protected].
An interesting story crossed our desk this morning — a boat theft. You may wonder what’s so special about that, but boat theft is not something that seems to happen a lot in the Bay Area (although there was that dinghy a little while ago). So are times changing, or did someone just get unlucky?
Jim Considine has kept his ’06 Pursuit 2570 (aka OS-255) at Gashouse Cove since the time of the America’s Cup in 2013. “It’s interesting, the way it happened,” Jim told us. “I was told I’d have to be on a waiting list, and then in the middle of the America’s Cup they gave me a slip.”
Having owned the boat since 2006, Jim would spend time motoring over to Angel Island or other destinations for hiking, and would sometimes motor to a restaurant for dinner. But eventually the wind and the constant parade of sails on San Francisco Bay must have caught his eye, as he began taking classes with Modern Sailing School & Club in Sausalito in 2020, and has now completed ASA 101, 103 and 118.
“I was actually coming back from a sailing class on Sunday and wanted to drop something at the boat.” That’s when Jim discovered his boat, which he had last seen on the previous Tuesday, was missing.
The theft has been reported to the marina management and to the police. Jim has also taken out an ad in Latitude 38‘s Classy Classifieds. Hopefully between that and the investigations, the boat will be recovered. If you have any information, you can email Jim directly at [email protected].
To help everyone stay safe, StFYC required proof of vaccination to enter the clubhouse. You showed your vax card and your photo ID once and received a wristband to wear for the duration. Then you just had to show the wristband and put on your mask each time you entered. The big parties were held outside in the tent on the dirt patch between StFYC and Golden Gate YC.
At the famous Mount Gay Rum Party on Friday night, the sponsor’s rum was flowing and the hosted food-truck supper was as plentiful, diverse and delicious as ever.
The crowds returned to the tent for the awards party on Sunday afternoon.
We’ll have much more in the October issue of Latitude 38.