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August 3, 2022

The Baja Ha-Ha Far From Sea Level

In normal years most Baja Ha-Ha activities take place at sea level. However, this year, one Baja Ha-Ha sailor went the other direction. Multiple-Baja Ha-Ha vet Chris Maher decided to take the event in the other direction when he took his 2022 Baja Ha-Ha burgee 14,505 feet up to the top of Mount Whitney.

Chris Maher Mt. Whitney
Chris Maher carried the 2022 Baja Ha-Ha burgee to the top of Mount Whitney.
© 2022 Chris Maher

Chris, owner of the Olson 34 Keaka from Encinal Yacht Club, will be sailing the Jeanneau 45 No Worries as entry number 25 in the 2022 Baja Ha-Ha. So by the fall you should be seeing Chris back at sea level to join the rest of the almost 100 Baja Ha-Ha entries already signed up for this year’s rally from San Diego to Cabo.

If you’re still on the fence about whether to join this year’s event, bear in mind that three months from now the warm, sunny weather you’re currently enjoying in the Northern Hemisphere will have made way for the cooler, somewhat cloudier conditions of fall heading into winter. Where would you rather be, under the clouds or in the sunshine?

If you’re signed up for the Baja Ha-Ha, you’ll be sailing south, likely in conditions like those in the photo.
© 2022

What will you have to look forward to?

  1. The R&R stop at Turtle Bay.
  2. The world-famous Cruisers versus Mexican Kids Baseball Game.
  3. The Turtle Bay Beach Party at the edge of the badlands of Mexico.
  4. 240 more miles of almost-certain downwind sailing to Bahia Santa Maria.
  5. Beachcombing, hill-climbing, surfing, and more socializing at BSM.
  6. The surreal live-music lunch and dance party overlooking the pristine bay.
  7. 175 more downwind miles in what’s almost always sweet and easy tropical sailing.
  8. Cheated Death Again dance party and popcorn throw at Squid Roe.
  9. Beach Party with the world-famous From Here to Eternity kissing contest.
  10. Awards Party, where all boats are winners.

If you think this sounds better than anything else you’ve got planned, sign up here for the Ha-Ha today — join the fleet and become part of Ha-Ha history.


Good Jibes With Glenn Isaacson: Learning To Sail Through Trial and Error

This week on Good Jibes, host Moe Roddy chats with Glenn Isaacson about how he learned to sail at the age of 10, through a lot of trial and error. Glenn races the Carl Schumacher-designed 40-ft daysailer Q on San Francisco Bay.

Good Jibes Glenn & Gaby Isaacson
At minute 21:58 find out what makes Q so fast.
© 2022 Glenn Isaacson

Hear about Glenn’s sailing adventures all over the world, about setting a record in his Express 37, the story behind Q, about designing a boat for older sailors, and his passions outside of sailing.

This episode covers everything from learning to sail to sailing the world. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Would Glenn go to Cape Cod in the summers?
  • Did he ever practice law?
  • What brought him out to California?
  • How many times were he and Gaby class champions?
  • How did Q come about?
  • What did they invent for Q?
  • Is Glenn more of a racer or a cruiser?
  • Short Tacks: Where’s his favorite place in the world to sail?

Learn more here:

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!


New Whale Alert App; Marine Flare Collection Events

Thar She Blows: Whale Alert App

Humpback whale in Avila By
This humpback whale, breaching in Avila Bay off San Luis Obispo County, no doubt delighted the photographer who captured its image.
© 2022 Ronnie Goyette

Racers, cruisers, fishermen and other boaters, and whale watchers can download a free Whale Alert app. The easy-to-use app uses NOAA charts. It allows you to instantly report whale sightings and navigate heavily trafficked whale-alert areas. The data from reported sightings helps save whales by alerting rescue teams to injured or entangled whale locations and reducing ship strikes. We would add that it can help keep small craft safe from unintentional encounters in which the vessel can sometimes be the loser. See

Flare Collection Events in Southern California

Flare Collection in Dana Point

In an unrelated press release from the same organization, California’s Boating Clean and Green program, we’re advised of a free marine flare collection event in Dana Point.

  • When: Saturday, August 27, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Dana Point Harbor, 34555 Casitas Place, Dana Point
  • Details: Bring unwanted or expired marine flares and smoke signals. When you arrive, staff will retrieve items directly from your vehicle’s trunk. Orange County Waste & Recycling will also welcome walk-up disposal near the restrooms by the marina. OC Health Care Agency will be onsite promoting their free bilge pad exchange program. Participants will receive free boater kits and flare discount coupons courtesy of California State Parks and California Coastal Commission.
  • Accepted: Handheld flares, aerial flares and smoke signals.
  • Not accepted: Electronic flares, military flares, any other hazardous waste such as paint, oil, e-waste or batteries.

Los Angeles County Flare Collection

The Port of Los Angeles also invites boaters to safely dispose of unused or used marine flares.

  • When: Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Newmarks Yacht Centre, 761 Peninsula Road, Wilmington
  • This is a drive-through event. Place marine flares in your trunk.
  • Eligibility: Proof of residence, business or boat berth must be in Los Angeles County.
  • Accepted: Handheld flares, aerial flares and smoke signals.
  • Not accepted: Electronic flares or electronics, military-type flares, any other hazardous waste such as paint, batteries and oil.
  • Perks: E-flare and West Marine coupons will be available while supplies last. Free California Boater Kit vouchers are available to all.
  • Preregistration is required for the L.A. event. Register here.

Jack van Ommen Plans To Launch ‘Fleetwood III’

In February 2022, Jack van Ommen experienced what he called his third and last shipwreck. Van Ommen was sailing aboard Fleetwood II, his second Naja 30 — a plywood, triple-chined kit boat — when he hit a reef off the coast of Cuba. Three months later, van Ommen found a boat that would become his new home and means of continuing his circumnavigations.

“It is official, meet Fleetwood III,”  van Ommen wrote on his blog after seeing his new vessel on May 4. “It was love at nearly first sight.”

Fleetwood sailboat at dock
Not just any vessel could wear the title of Fleetwood. Van Ommen’s next boat had to be built of wood.
© 2022 Jack van Ommen

The newest iteration of Fleetwood, while not a Naja, is still a wooden kit boat. Fleetwood III is a 30-ft Waarschip. Her size and performance are similar the Naja 30’s, but there are several differences. She is six inches wider, with a lot more storage and sleeping berths. She is of a clinker hull construction and was professionally assembled by the Waarschip yard. “In 1980, same year as my first Fleetwood,” van Ommen wrote. She also has a “nice” 3-burner gas galley stove, a Webasto heater, swim ladder, a TV, and a mast-top TV antenna: “The first TV for me since I dumped my last one in 1998.”

“In my prejudiced opinion, wood has a longer lifespan than fiberglass, when kept in epoxy and two-part primer and paint,” van Ommen writes.
© 2022 Jack Van Ommen

Although van Ommen is certainly happy to have his new sailboat (“We have been getting acquainted and she’s a keeper”) he says she’ll be a piece of work for a while. Initially this “work” appeared to consist mostly of cleaning the interior, sanding, revarnishing, etc. Recently, however, the boat has divulged some unfortunate damage.

The first discovery was “a liquid intrusion from below and a major project. At a rate of a gallon an hour. Where the drive shaft exits the hull, the backing block has deteriorated and the two bolts are corroded.”

One down, more to go …
© 2022 Jack Van Ommen

The bolt holes were repaired, but there was more. “I have discovered a few other items that I wished I’d discovered on my first inspection.” The wiring was a mess. “There appear to be twice the number for the items served. Not every black wire is a ground, and vice versa. No diagrams left to solve the rat’s nest puzzle.”

But more concerning was the rot found in the Waarschip’s hull, which, when inspected, turned out to be much larger than it first appeared. “… it turned out that it had penetrated all around this area and when I sanded the antifouling and primer in the area I could see the moisture, and it ended up in a good size patch to be removed of about 10 x 10 inches.”

Roelof Niezen, the owner of Waarschip, showed van Ommen the proper way to repair the damage. It will take him longer to do it himself, but also reduce his costs to around a quarter of what a yard would charge.
© 2022 Jack Van Ommen

Additionally, van Ommen has found several spots of rot beneath the keel and on the port side. Also, whereas the advertisement had indicated the boat was epoxy-coated, van Ommen was unable to find any areas where this was the case and believes an epoxy finish would have avoided the disaster he is now faced with.

However, in his usual can-do fashion, the octogenarian sailor didn’t rely on hearsay to determine the future of his new boat. Instead he paid for professional advice. “He works in what used to be the facility that built thousands of these and different size Waarschip kits. I was relieved that it can be properly fixed, I have become fond of this boat,” he wrote on July 24.

The additional repairs mean that van Ommen’s plan to set sail again this summer will not be realized. But the writing is on the wall: Fleetwood III will be launched and the well-loved sailor will continue his voyaging. One interesting mention to note is that of a meeting with Richard Spindler, founder and former publisher of Latitude 38 and Grand Poobah of the Baja Ha-Ha, and Richard’s wife, Doña de Mallorca. The couple happened to be in Arsenal Marina in Paris when van Ommen was temporarily stranded in the midst of what he called a “flight from hell.” The trio met up and spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening together before van Ommen continued his journey, this time by train.

Sailagram: A Snapshot of July Sailing

It is hard to believe it is already August! Before we dive into the last full month of summer, we want to share with you all the photos submitted for our July Sailagram feed. It looks like a lot of you are getting out and enjoying time on the water. 

Getting people to get out and go sailing is why we do what we do. Keep on sailing and sending your snapshots to [email protected].