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May 2, 2022

Baja Ha-Ha XXVIII Registrations Open May 11

It’s official: Baja Ha-Ha XXVIII is set for 2022, and registrations open in just short of 10 days! That’s right, folks. Check your calendar, block out the dates, grab your details, and get ready to sign up on May 11 for the wildest cruising rally on the West Coast, possibly anywhere!

Ha-Ha vets will tell you it’s the best thing they’ve ever done, and many of them come back year after year to join the fleet and sail their way from San Diego, CA, to Cabo San Lucas, MX, among great company and good friends. The 750-mile rally includes stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria, where cruisers drop the hook and mingle for fun events such as the famous cruiser-versus-locals baseball game in Turtle Bay — where nobody can strike out and where women and children are always safe; a live rock ‘n’ roll band at Bahia Santa Maria; a dance-off and popcorn throw at Squid Roe; and the classic “Here to Eternity Kissing Contest” in the surf at Medano Beach. And there’s more!

Baja Ha-Ha 28 image
Ha-Ha sailors make the best anchorage neighbors.
© 2022 Baja Ha-Ha

If you haven’t done a Ha-Ha, and have been wanting to, want no more. Hit the link — — read up on the dates and instructions, and find the sign-up page in preparation for next Wednesday, May 11, when registrations open. The sooner you sign up, the more likely you are to secure a berth at Cabo San Lucas. But even if you miss the dock, there’s plenty of space for anchoring just outside.

Did you know?

  • Over 10,000 sailors have done the Baja Ha-Ha, and most of them have made new lifetime friends.
  • The women have a 16-year winning streak over the men in the tug-o’-war contest.
  • Fishing is a lucrative pastime on the way down to Mexico — dorado, wahoo, yellowtail, mako, and other fish are often on the menu for Ha-Ha sailors. We’re told, “Cedar plugs seem to work well, although others score with homemade lures made of Heineken beer can parts and strands of bungee cord, and other lures.” Plus according to Ha-Ha lore, the top “masterbaiter” in last year’s 27th Ha-Ha caught 165 fish, though most were put back into the ocean.
Ha-Ha fishing
That’s a pretty low food-mile count. What’s better than fresh fish for dinner? … or lunch … or breakfast?
© 2022 Baja Ha-Ha

The 28th Baja Ha-Ha will run from October 31 through November 12, with the kick-off party on October 30. Be there!

What Is That Race to Vallejo Called?

Along with crews from 107 other starters, we found ourselves enjoying the scene at Vallejo Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon. We picked up our skipper’s swag bag from VYC volunteers and found it a notch above those from recent years, with some great goodies — and a puzzle.

Among the info and swag donors, some appeared to be unclear on exactly what they were sponsoring. The nicely produced Visit Vallejo Visitor’s Guide listed among Annual Special Events — Spring, the “Vallejo-San Francisco International Yacht Race.” The bag of Moschetti Artisan Coffee, which we’re looking forward to trying, welcomed us to “Vallejo Yacht Club Big Race.”

brochure and coffee bag
Among the bullet-point events listed above this great aerial photo of a race from years past is “Vallejo to San Francisco International Yacht Race.” The bag of coffee welcomes us to “Vallejo Yacht Club Big Race.”
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Bag, hat, coffee cup
The most important stuff got it right. The Mount Gay Rum hat, the swag bag itself, and the coffee mug all read, “Great Vallejo Race.” It’s not realistic, but we like the graphic design.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The race itself is a two-day up-and-back affair, with Saturday’s race starting in the Berkeley Circle and finishing off the Vallejo waterfront. After a raft-up and party at VYC, most of the fleet races back to San Francisco Bay on Sunday. The race back does not go to San Francisco; rather it finishes off Richmond YC’s seawall. And no border crossings are needed.

Osprey with Ukrainian flag
The Santa Cruz 40 Osprey sailed with a Ukrainian flag. More were on display in the raft-up at VYC.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Saturday’s race was on the weird side. Once done with a short leg to a windward mark, some competitors flew spinnakers, but it was a headstay reach. Others opted for code zeroes, or stuck with jibs. A giant wind hole and sloppy water east of Angel Island slowed progress, until a brisk northerly wind filled south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge — right in the face of the northbound racers. The contrary wind whipped up chop on the flooding current. Some were finally able to set spinnakers at, variously, the Brother Islands, Point San Pablo, or Point Pinole. We heard of wind up to 27 knots. (Did anyone record higher gusts? If so, please comment below.) The race was not scored using downwind ratings.

Rufless and Arsenal, two J/125s, made different headsail choices after the windward mark rounding. Rufless, which finished first on both Saturday and Sunday, carried a huge asymmetrical, while Arsenal deployed a code zero.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Sunday’s race was mellower. This is supposed to be the upwind leg, and it was. The breeze ranged from less than 10 knots to the mid-teens, never getting gnarly or dying completely. A few boats ran aground in Mare Island Strait, which the fleet sailed down at low tide.

Mare Island Strait
On Sunday, some crews tried spinnakers for the reach down Mare Island Strait, with varying degrees of success. All doused before the entrance to San Pablo Bay, where several tacks were needed to make it out through the flooding current.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more, including lots of photos, in the June issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, check out results at

The Clipper Round the World Race to Sail Past San Francisco

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Clipper Round the World Race is back underway. Having recently completed Leg 6 in Seattle, the fleet has now restarted to begin Leg 7 to Panama. The leg is expected to take 25 to 30 days, with teams expected to arrive in Panama May 25-30.

The Clipper Race has restarted. You can follow their tracks down the coast here.
© 2022 Clipper Race

Ten of the 11 teams left Seattle on Saturday, making their way out the Strait of Juan de Fuca and around Cape Flattery to begin the long haul down the West Coast.

Clipper Race
Visit Sanya, China, departing Seattle as they get ready to head to Panama.
© 2022 Jean-Marcus Strole Photography

The 11th boat, Qingdao, having diverted to Japan for repairs earlier in Leg 6, is making progress across the North Pacific. She’s heading for San Francisco and is expected to arrive on May 5. They’ll take three to four days for a crew change before rejoining the rest of the fleet in Leg 7. Three Qingdao Leg 7 race crew, Diane Morrison from Australia, Bridget Pugh from the UK, and Qingdao Ambassador Robert Mark, were in Seattle to see the fleet depart. The trio will fly to San Francisco ahead of Qingdao’s arrival this week.

The rest of the fleet will be giving San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge a wave as they sail past.

Celestial Navigation Remains Reliable When GPS Fails

Where would modern sailors be without GPS? It’s actually possible to find out. Paul Kamen, who has navigated 23 Hawaii races and is one of the few people who has won navigation awards for both Pac Cup (2000) and Transpac (Mark Rudiger trophy, 2019), recently visited the Corinthian Yacht Club to remind everyone they can still find out where they are, even if the entire GPS system is hacked. The only rub is you need to have a sextant and know celestial navigation. His efficient course trims the learning of the basics of celestial navigation down to just one hour and then, as with everything else in life, all you have to do is practice.

Paul Kamen Celestial
Does the large turnout indicate there are plenty of people who still want to learn about celestial navigation or maybe have jitters about the GPS system?
© 2022 Shelly Willard

Not too long ago, traditional celestial navigation required large books with sight reduction tables and some very careful, tedious calculations. Kamen’s one-hour fast track to knowing celestial navigation class got everyone up to speed quickly.

Paul Kamen Celestial
Practicing finding where you are when you know where you are is a good place to start. Everyone started knowing they were at Latitude 38 north.
© 2022 Shelly Willard

Speaker organizer Shelly Willard said, “Precisely at 18:26:33 PDT on April 7, the moon crossed the meridian of 122º 27.33’ west, a perfect setup for a ‘noon sight’ of the moon from the deck of the Corinthian YC.” There were about 35 eager celestial navigation “students” on hand for the hands-on demonstration and practice session.

Paul Kamen Celestial
There’s only so much you can learn in lectures. It’s best to get outside and look at the sun, moon and stars.
© 2022 Shelly Willard

Folks found their dusty old sextants or borrowed a (dusty old) sextant, fiddled with the mirrors and dials, and took sights and compared calculations. The weather cooperated, the moon rose over Angel Island, and some old sailor dogs learned something new.

Paul Kamen Celestial
Paul Kamen, right, looks on as celestial sights are worked out to find out where they are all sitting.
© 2022 Shelly Willard

Computers help with the calculations, but even with the whole GPS system down, you can take sights with one of the original handheld navigation devices, the sextant, to determine your location.

Sign Up and Join the Fun
If you go to register for the 14th annual Delta Doo Dah cruising rally, the first thing you'll notice is that we have a new website,
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This month's magazine covers a host of stories and blasts from the past about sailors and sailboats, along with details of races past and races to come.