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April 3, 2023

Spring Means the Return of Beer Can Racing

While proofing the calendar for the April issue we always welcome seeing the return of all the Beer Can Series starting up for the summer. Sign up for a series near you and you’ll be inspired to sail your boat at least once a week from now until September.

CYC Friday Night Beer Can Races
This was the first Corinthian Friday Night Beer Can Race last year. The upcoming Friday is looking so 2023!
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

From Sequoia Yacht Club in the South Bay, where you’ll find an energetic one-design fleet of Open 5.70s, to Benicia Yacht Club toward the Delta, you can find a fleet that fits your fancy on the right night of the week for you. Or, if you’re really committed, you could race almost every night of the week.

Mastering the art of Beer Can Racing is helpful in mastering the art of sailing.

If you haven’t signed up for a series in a while this could be your year. As many people know, owning a sailboat is one thing; sailing it might be another. Signing up for Beer Can Racing could just be the motivation you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of the sailing part of ownership. You can find all the Northern California Beer Can Race series listed here.

“The 2017 Ha-Ha Was the Best Two Weeks of Our Lives!”

We don’t just see former Ha-Ha participants in the VIP seats outside Oubli in St. Barth, we also see them during Sunday-Fundays from on the hook with ‘ti Profligate at Colombier.

Late yesterday afternoon a couple came close by in a high-powered powerboat and yelled, “Remember us? We’re Randall and Lennie Smith from the 2017 Ha-Ha with the Leopard 48 catamaran Happy Together!”

To be honest it took me a minute, but then I did remember them. She’s a big-time general contractor and he’s a really big flooring contractor, both working out of Delray Beach, Florida. They were so fun-loving and happy together in the Ha-Ha that we created a special “Happy Together” award for them.

This is from their bio in the Ha-Ha “Meet the Fleet” guide:

“I’ve been reading Latitude 38 since my childhood in the Bay Area, and the Ha-Ha sounds like a lot of fun,” reports Randall. “After the Ha-Ha we’ll sail back thru the Panama Canal, and a little more than a year from now we’ll take delivery of Leopard 50 hull #1 and do a circumnavigation.”

The couple, who had owned their Leopard 48 and sailed her all around Florida, the Caribbean, and the north coast of South America, and had brought her through the Canal and up to San Diego to do the Ha-Ha, indeed followed through with their plan to acquire the first Leopard 50 cat.

Given COVID and all that, we’re not sure they did the circumnavigation, though.

And given the hot rod Contender they’d chartered for the afternoon in St. Barth, it crossed my mind that maybe they’d gone over to the dark side with a larger motoryacht. Nope.

Ha-Ha sailors on powerboat
Randall and Lennie Smith have happy memories of the 2017 Baja Ha-Ha.
© 2023 Richard Spindler

“We’re having a big custom catamaran built in South Africa,” they hollered to me. “Once we take delivery we’ll spend a year aboard her cruising the Caribbean.”

And who knows? Maybe they’ll even do another Baja Ha-Ha.

For the record, registration for the 2023 Baja Ha-Ha begins on May 9. The event itself is October 30 to November 12. For all you know, it could be the happiest two weeks of your life, too.

See the rally notice here, and bookmark the sign-up page here.

Picturing Zihuatanejo Sailfest’s Eye-Catching Surrounds

The Zihuatanejo Sailfest occurs each February in the city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It is a time when cruisers come together and raise money in support of local children’s education. Latitude 38 reader and cruiser Kirk Wagner, of S/V Freedom Kirkland, sent us a few photos that he took while participating in the annual two-week-long festivities. Our intention is not to make everyone jealous, but the photos show some of the region’s beauty, and we just had to share.

White sand and palm trees, anyone?
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
Zihuatanejo photos
It’s a wonderful feeling when the first footprints you see are the ones you made upon landing ashore…
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
Beautiful, pristine anchorages are everywhere.
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
Vivid sails upon a vivid, blue sea.
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
Peak-hour traffic in Mexico.
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
There’s only one thing left to do after a long day of cruising around Zihuatanejo…
© 2023 Kirk Wagner
Cheers, Kirk. Thanks for the picturesque interlude.
© 2023 Kirk Wagner

Changes to Eastern North Pacific Offshore Forecast Zones and Web Interface

The National Hurricane Center has made changes to its Pacific offshore forecast zones, and has issued the following statement:

The Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch of the National Hurricane Center is pleased to announce our Revised Eastern North Pacific Offshore Forecast Zones and Web Interface.

The Pacific offshore waters of Mexico are an active area for weather, with frequent hurricanes during the summer and fall. In addition, there are strong gap wind events in the Gulf of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, primarily during the winter and spring.

Three of the previous offshore zones were too large to adequately describe the variety of weather mariners experience in these zones. This revision remedies this problem and provides more concise wording in NHC/TAFB [National Hurricane Center/Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch] offshore zone text forecasts.

Pacific Offshore forecast image
Improved forecasting zones have been implemented.
© 2023

A video has been developed that describes the motivation and the details for the changes to the Offshore Zones. For specifics about the new zone configurations, please see the Service Change Notice.

This is good information if you’re heading offshore, and if you’re planning on signing up for the 2023 Baja Ha-Ha on May 9.

The Bay Area Waterfront
As a means to eliminate several ongoing problems requiring high-level community compromise, a group of East Bay city governments has indicated that they're open to "filling" or effectively paving over the bustling waterway bisecting Alameda and Oakland.