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August 21, 2023

Hilary Brings Flash Floods to Baja and SoCal, but Its Bark Appears Worse Than Its Bite

As the remnants of the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years now evaporate over northern Nevada, people are trying to assess the damage done by the heavy rainfall and flooding from Hilary.

The New York Times said: “Los Angeles Survives Tropical Storm With ‘Minimal Impacts,’ Officials Say,” noting that there have been no reports of deaths or major storm damage in L.A. itself, but that “the impact in other cities is still being assessed.” The Los Angeles Times said, “Hilary Leaves Massive Flooding, Mudslides, Upheaval Across Southern California,” citing that parts of San Bernardino saw mud and debris slides that closed roads.

About 18,000 customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were without power Monday morning, according to the L.A. Times. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said the damage from Hilary was “minor.” (By the way, yesterday there was a 5.1 earthquake centered near Ojai, inland from Ventura; no damage or injuries were reported, but surely an already tense situation was made worse.)

At the moment, Hilary appears to be more annoyance than the potentially “catastrophic” storm with the potential to bring heavy flooding to desert landscapes that are unable to absorb a deluge of water. As residents of Florida and the Gulf and East coasts well know, hurricanes often come with ominous warnings and a media frenzy, then underwhelm the hunkered-down populace.

This screenshot of then Hurricane Hilary, seen here off the coast of Southern Baja California, was captured on Saturday evening.
© 2023

“If that was the hurricane I have to deal with, I could deal with that every year — no problem,” said my cousin, Ed ‘Frondo’ van Os, who lives with his family in San Miguel, just north of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. “It was, like, 25 knots at its worst. We had zero damage at the house and zero damage at the shop, other than losing a couple of days to preparation, and a lot of stress.”

Mexican authorities are assessing the damage Hilary caused in Baja before crossing the border, according to the New York Times. “Nearly 3,000 Mexican Marines were mobilized to provide aid in parts of the Baja California peninsula, the military said Sunday night.” The Times said that the Mexican navy rescued the municipal president of Mulegé and other government and military officials, as well as 13 citizens, from floods.

Winds of up to 85 miles an hour were reported in Cabo San Lucas, and at least one person died in Baja, according to CBS News.

Above: Footage from Mulegé, Baja California, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez.

In a summer of record heat, smoke-filled days in the Midwest and Northeast, and the recent tragedy in Lahaina, Hurricane Hilary was another wild headline among a deluge of unbelievable weather-related headlines. Hilary was not the first over-hyped hurricane and it certainly won’t be the last. This is part of what can make hurricanes so deadly: People live through numerous non-events, over-prepare for storms that fizzle, and eventually become numb to warnings, making them complacent — and vulnerable — when a severe storm does actually deliver.

If you’re in Southern California or Mexico, please tell us about your experience with Hilary.

Oakland Estuary Stakeholder Comment Deadline August 22

A reminder that there are two important meetings of interest to all stakeholders in the Oakland Estuary being held on Wednesday, August 23. See our story from Monday the 14th for information on how you can add your comments by tomorrow, August 22, for the meetings to be held about the Oakland waterfront, anchor-outs and the pedestrian bridge.

You can attend the BCDC meeting on Wednesday on Zoom, or add your input for either meeting, or both, in advance.

Brock de Lappe Oakland Estuary
Add your voice.
© 2023 Brock de Lappe

Pacific Coast Yachting Association Members Rally To Support the Lahaina Yacht Club

Latitude 38 is passing along this message from the following West Coast sailing organizations with their support for the recovery of Lahaina and the Lahaina Yacht Club.

West Coast yachting organizations connect to support Lahaina Yacht Club.
West Coast yachting associations are collaborating to support Lahaina, Lahaina Yacht Club and its members.
© 2023 Pacific Coast Yachting Association

This message is for all, especially our West Coast friends who know all too well the horrendous effects of wind and fire. The commodore of the Lahaina Yacht Club writes:

“Aloha All,

“I am writing this so I can respond to all of those who reached out to us with concern and support. I truly wish I could do this on a more personal 1 to 1 based response but losing the town, club and my own residence I am a bit overwhelmed at this time.

“We in Lahaina and at the LYC feel the love. We appreciate all your inquiries of concern and offerings to help. I know a lot of clubs are organizing fundraisers and other things to assist LYC and that is truly amazing. We are absolutely humbled by the support and efforts to help.”

Lahaina Yacht Club
Lahaina Yacht Club burgee.
© 2023 Lahaina Yacht Club

“We have had a few quick meetings and have set a short action step-up plan to secure a spot to rebuild, set up donation buttons on our website, continue some e-commerce through our ship store and also function best we can as a club (just without a clubhouse). We are working on drafting info regarding these steps and processes to not only our members but our friends and reciprocal clubs. Included will also be a new P.O. Box for physical correspondence.

“Things are happening but our immediate priority has been to take care of our members and employees with housing, unemployment, food, etc. … all other things LYC are right behind that.

“We are truly grateful for all of your support and offerings to help Lahaina Yacht Club and you will be hearing from us soon.

“We hope to see you all back here in Lahaina and at LYC as soon as we rebuild.

“Mahalo,” Dave Schubert

The Pacific Coast Yachtimg Association consists of Pacific International Yachting Association representing clubs from southwest Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association represents clubs in Northern California, and Southern California Yachting Association in Southern California from Morro Bay to San Diego, Arizona, and Mexico. The PCYA is not soliciting donations. We are responding to the many clubs and associations asking what they can do to support the citizens of Lahaina and LYC. Understanding that too many offers from too many directions is not helpful in a crisis, we suggest a course both simple and direct:

Lahaina Yacht Club has made it easy to donate. Simply go to

With the rest of the nation we support the people of Maui as they recover, rebuild and grieve for their losses.


Jim Immer Enjoys ‘Latitude 38’ Crew List Success

The Latitude 38 Fall Crew List Party is right around the corner, and sailors around the Bay are asking each other the most important question: “What are you going to wear?” This may seem like a joke, but here’s the thing — Sausalito is known for its chilly breezes that blow through the fog-covered hills. It may not happen that way on party day (Thursday, September 7, in case you’re wondering), but be prepared. It’s almost guaranteed to be five to 10 degrees cooler than most other parts of the Bay and surrounds. Unless you’re coming from San Francisco, in which case you already know what to do.

But we’ve digressed. We wanted to talk about why people are coming to the Crew List Party, and in that regard, the most important question prospective partygoers are asking is, “Are you looking for crew, or looking for a boat to sail aboard?” The answer to that question doesn’t matter too much, because either way we’ve got you covered. The Crew List Party is the ideal place to meet an “all sorts” bag of sailors who will be happy to chat about their favorite pastime, sport, or weekend activity, and most will be wearing a really cool sticker that will tell you exactly what they’re looking for.

And although it’s not specifically a “party” story, here’s a great example of how Latitude’s crew list works. Jim Immer from El Dorado Hills often races in Richmond Yacht Club’s Wednesday night beer can series. But after expressing a wish to sail even farther, he turned to the Latitude Crew List and ended up joining the Baja Ha-Ha, and doing multiple coastal trips — all aboard other people’s boats.

“Since the time I retired early in 2021, I decided I wanted to do more long-distance sailing. My not-yet-retired wife supported my idea, but not including me buying a boat! So I started with the Latitude 38 Crew List and the Baja Ha-Ha Crew List where I have found great rides and made some good sailing friends. It helped that I had attended sailing schools, done a fair amount of Bay Area racing and some chartering over the years, so had a decent sailing résumé to begin. However, not all boat owners are looking for deep experience but want enthusiastic sailors who are ready to learn and pitch in for whatever needs doing.

“I had a blast on the last two Baja Ha-Ha’s to Mexico, with the last one being a round-trip cruise to Cabo and back up to San Diego. Being willing to crew both directions was key for the owners of Vanadium, a Beneteau 41 about which I wrote an article that was published in the January 2023 edition of Latitude 38. This coming fall I was contacted through the Crew List to do another round-trip Baja Ha-Ha on a plush Jeanneau 54 named FIO. After committing to FIO I heard back from another boat owner with a Jeanneau 44 who I had reached out to via email. Although I can’t do the Ha-Ha with him, I am helping him deliver Salty Dancer from S.F. southward in September, plus have gone out for two lovely daysails in the Bay recently.”

Jim Immer on boat
Who needs a boat when you’ve got the Crew List and Crew List parties?
© 2023 Jim Immer

Do you see how easy it is? And how much fun you can have? And, being at the party gives you the opportunity to meet prospective sailing partners right away.

The Fall Crew List Party is also the Baja Ha-Ha party and cruiser’s seminar. So what do you say? Will we see you there?

If you have a Crew List or Crew List Party story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Send it to [email protected].

Party Details:


We will be holding our annual cruising seminar for our Baja Ha-Ha sailors and cruisers preparing to head south. The seminar will run from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with half an hour of Q&A from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Doors will open for the cruising seminar at 3:30.

Call of the Sea will offer tours of the Matthew Turner for Latitude 38 Fall Crew List Party guests from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


The Fall Crew List Party will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event will be mostly outside, in the Spaulding Marine Center boatyard, with vendor tables set up inside. (This is Sausalito — so please dress in layers!) Casablanca Mediterranean Food Truck will be on hand serving from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Spaulding will be hosting the bar with all proceeds going to benefit their education programs.

There will be vendors to answer your questions about cruising and heading south to Mexico, along with local partners who want to help you get sailing on the Bay. San Francisco Sailing Science Center will set up an entertaining and educational exhibit.

Our crew parties are geared toward helping people find sailing opportunities for cruising, racing, or daysailing. The Fall Crew List Party is ideal for boat owners seeking crew who want to head south to Mexico, or crew who want to do the same. It’s also well suited for folks looking for midwinter race crew or anyone who just wants to sail the Bay.


Admission includes free munchies, entry to door prize raffle, a sailing slide show, and connecting to the most vibrant sailing community in the Bay Area!

Admission to the Fall Crew List Party is $10

Admission to the Mexico Cruising Seminar* is $10

Admission to the Party and Seminar* is $20

*Each skipper and first mate registered for the 2023 Baja Ha-Ha gets free entry to the Fall Crew List Party and Mexico Cruising seminar.

If you are considering joining the 2023 Baja Ha-Ha fleet, sign up before September 1 and get two free tickets to the Crew List Party and Mexico Cruising Seminar.


There is parking around Spaulding. Please do not park at Clipper Yacht Harbor.

Skip the wait at the door and get your tickets online now. We look forward to seeing you all on September 7!

Batten Down the Hatches
The current course of Hurricane Hilary is threatening much of the west coast of Baja with rain and wind impacts to be felt all the way up to Southern California harbors and coastline.