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November 16, 2022

It Was Smooth Sailing on the Baja Ha-Ha

The 28th Baja Ha-Ha fleet is dispersing across Mexico (though one participant took their tracker home to Boise), with many now in La Paz getting ready for this Sunday’s La Paz Beach Party at La Costa restaurant, and others off to Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. We’re sharing some of the photos from this year’s event, and would encourage any 2022 participants to send their favorite photos to [email protected].

Sail MS Zac Singer
Zac Singer and the Sail MS crew aboard the Andrews 56 Encore revel in northerly breezes taking them south.
© 2022 Ofir-Aricha

Rodney Pimental of the Cal 40 Azure sent a note saying, “The 2022 Ha-Ha did not disappoint. Other than the first leg, which was very light, we sailed the rest of the way. We really enjoyed the full moon and amazing sunrises and sunsets. Both Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria were spectacular. Turtle Bay was really amazing, with thousands of pelicans and seals swarming the back bay before the beach party. Now we are setting our sights on Puerto Vallarta and destinations beyond.”

Rodney Pimental sent in a photo of this fine yellowfin tuna, landed by Pacific Cup Navigator Award winner Ted Floyd aboard the Pacific Cup-winning Cal 40 Azure.
© 2022 Rodney Pimental
Nick Sands’ Sabre 40-2 Escapade and Joe Heinzmann’s Swan 55 Swan Fun, both San Francisco Bay boats that were probably never this close while sailing the Bay, were buddy boating down the coast.
© 2022 Ofir Aricha
Freedom 36 Evening Sky
Ofir Aricha found Joe and Jen Ruddy’s Freedom 36 Evening Sky enjoying the run down the Baja Peninsula.
© 2022 Ofir Aricha
Laura Parent
Laura Parent, sailing on David Bennett and Amy Herrick’s Alameda-based Santa Cruz 52 Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, sent this photo of the many pelicans in Turtle Bay this year. With the strong dollar, these are likely the biggest bills you’ll see in Mexico.
© 2022 Laura Parent
Westsail 42 Way Mari
Lena Fluharty caught this shot of Jim Picerno’s Westsail 42 Way Mari from Union City during another magical evening of the Baja Ha-Ha.
© 2022 Lena Fluharty

The magic of the Ha-Ha has passed, but for most of the participants, the magic of Mexico is just beginning. Another reminder: If you have shots of this year’s Baja Ha-Ha, send them to [email protected]. If you don’t have any shots from this year, you should plan to join next year to get some shots of your own.

Good Jibes #66: Close Calls on the Water With Ryan Foland and Dustin Dye

Welcome back to Latitude 38’s podcast, Good Jibes! In this podcast, we bring you the world of sailing through the eyes of the West Coast sailor. Each week, you’ll hear stories and tips on cruising, racing and just plain sailing. This week, host Ryan Foland is joined by Dustin Dye to chat about all sorts of first experiences at sea. Dustin is the co-founder and CEO of Botcopy, and is a diehard fan of being on the water.

Dustin Dye at helm
What’s the story behind Dustin’s finding a “whole new meaning of a boom?”
© 2022 Ryan Foland

Hear how sailing on lakes differs from sailing on oceans, how to become more confident as a sailor, be honest with yourself, and learn to tie different knots, and about some literal good jibes. This episode covers everything from stress to fun on the water. Here’s a small sample:

  • Where did Dustin learn to sail?
  • What kind of boats did he start on?
  • Why does he enjoy sailing?
  • If Dustin had a boat, what kind of boat would it be?
  • How was his racing experience with Ryan?
  • Is Dustin more of a racer or a cruiser?
  • What knots can he tie?
  • How did the close calls inspire him?

Learn more about Dustin at

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!

An Update on Jack van Ommen as ‘Fleetwood lll’ Nears Completion

When we last heard from Jack van Ommen, he was in the throes of making major repairs to the hull of his new boat, Fleetwood lll — a 30-ft Waarschip. She is a clinker hull, professionally assembled by the Waarschip yard in 1980. She has more storage and sleeping berths, a three-burner gas galley stove, a Webasto heater, swim ladder, TV, and a mast-top TV antenna. Unfortunately she also came with a good deal of rot in her hull, as described in our previous story about van Ommen last August.

Jack van Ommen's Fleetwood lll hull damage
One of the areas of rot resulted in a 10-in x 10-in hole that needed to be repaired.
© 2022 Jack Van Ommen

In October, van Ommen wrote of his problems with the boat, and with his ability to stay in the Netherlands. Despite its being the country in which he grew up, he is currently allowed only a 90-day stay. The octogenarian sailor was due to arrive back in the US this week, with plans to return to his “native homeland” in the spring and complete repairs on Fleetwood lll. That is, if he is allowed to return. “My application for a residence permit, so far, has not had a response from the authorities,” van Ommen writes.

While the repairs have been challenging, he has had assistance from veteran amateur wooden boat builder Robert Skagen. Skagen is a 30-year member at the Amsterdam Yacht Club (where Fleetwood lll is on the hard), and is skilled in the operation of the fork lift, travel lift, crane, and all the shop equipment. “Without him I would not have had access to the many clamps we needed to glue the joints.”

Along with providing his machine operating skills, Skagen was able to help van Ommen (pictured) devise ways in which the lapstrake planking could be suitably repaired.
© 2022 Jack van Ommen

Van Ommen says his next challenge is to recover his expenses from the seller, who, by previous accounts, knowingly misrepresented the condition of the boat. The boat was advertised as being epoxy-coated, but the rot found in the hull, beneath the keel and on the port side indicates otherwise. “If it comes to a court case, the judge might not have much compassion for the fact that I could have sailed away and gotten into serious distress, possibly fatal,” van Ommen writes.

When van Ommen met his Fleetwood III earlier this year, on May 4, he said, “It was love at nearly first sight.” We certainly hope everything conspires for a good outcome, and that the romance will blossom.

You can read the details of van Ommen’s boat repairs and other updates on his blog.

Carnage and Glory in the Route du Rhum

The first two finishers have arrived in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in the 12th edition of the prestigious Route du Rhum singlehanded transatlantic race. The most anticipated battle in this race — that of the maxi trimarans — has been decided. Charles Caudrelier and Maxi Edmond de Rothschild scored a wire-to-wire victory and a margin of 3 hours, 15 minutes over second-place François Gabart on SVR Lazartigue. Caudrelier’s winning time was 6 days, 19 hours, 47 minutes, 15 seconds for the 3,543-mile course, setting a new record.

Gitana 17 trimaran
We won’t apologize for sharing photos of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the first-launched and most evolved of this new breed of foiling maxi-trimarans.
© 2022 Pilpre Arnaud

Prolonging their winning streak, Caudrelier and the Gitana sailing team have continued to cement their place at the top of the sailing world. Making this victory even more impressive, it’s the first major singlehanded race for Caudrelier. The Frenchman was previously most famous for winning the Volvo Ocean Race as a skipper and a crew before taking command of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in doublehanded and now singlehanded configuration. Thomas Coville and Sodebo Ultim 3 are due to be next into Guadeloupe.

Carnage Along the Course

Behind the top handful of maxi-trimarans that can eat up the Atlantic in less than a week, the bulk of the fleet is still on course with many miles left to be sailed. Conditions have moderated significantly for those who are now in the trade winds, but many sailors never managed to escape the challenging conditions present in the first few days of the race. While crossing the second cold front and leading the Ocean 50 division, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus capsized his trimaran Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP.

Among other notable carnage in the fleet, Damien Seguin’s IMOCA 60 Groupe Apicil was struck by a cargo ship and dismasted. Louis Burton’s IMOCA 60 Bureau Vallée 3 also dismasted while in ninth place. The most dramatic failure thus far was that of Fabrice Amedeo, whose boat suffered an explosion onboard and then sank. All of the affected skippers are reported to be safe.

Art & Fenetre
The most dramatic story in this race thus far is the water-ballast tank damage and leaking on Nexans – Art & Fenêtres, which resulted in a full battery blackout and no more electronics. While sailing toward Portugal, the boat exploded and sank. The skipper, Fabrice Amedeo, is safe but understandably devastated.
© 2022 Fabrice Amedeo

IMOCA Division

In the IMOCA division, Charlie Dalin on Apivia has continued to control the race since the beginning, though he has failed to truly pull away after a dominant start. Behind Dalin, a pack of six IMOCAs remain in contention for a podium position.

Justine Mettraux
Swiss sailor Justine Mettraux working on her IMOCA 60 In seventh place, Justine is currently the top female sailor in the fleet. She’s proven to be incredibly quick in her newly acquired IMOCA 60, formerly known as Charal.
© 2022 Alexis Courcoux / Teamwork

The Multi 50 trimarans have provided some of the closest racing thus far. Quentin Vlamynck’s Arkema is leading, though the bulk of the fleet is not far behind.

Class 40 Division

The huge fleet of Class 40s have unsurprisingly seen the most parity. The podium is separated by less than 10 miles. Bay Area native Alex Mehran is still sailing an amazing race on his Class 40 Polka Dot. He currently lies in 14th place.

Multi-time Vendée Globe veteran Jean-Pierre Dick leads the Rhum Mono division, with the legendary Catherine Chabaud in second place. Gilles Beukenhout leads the Rhum Multi division over Roland Jourdain.

Only two boats in the massive Route du Rhum fleet have finished. Most still have more than half the course to sail. Stay tuned to Latitude 38 as the rest of the fleet closes in on the finish in Guadeloupe.

Good Reads from the L38 Book Store
Jack London sailed the Bay in the late 1800s as part of the local Fish Patrol with a mission of preventing overfishing. Despite these early, failed attempts to save the vibrant ecosystem, the tide appears to be slowly turning as some species return.