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May 8, 2024

Registration for 30th Annual Baja Ha-Ha Starts at Noon Tomorrow

This is it, folks! A milestone year. The annual Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally is setting off on its 30th voyage in November, and you’re invited. Registrations open at noon tomorrow, Thursday, May 9. Apart from being able to say, “I was the first!” a good reason to sign up right on opening is that the early birds get the berths.

Docking in Cabo is limited — it’s a popular place. The slips in Cabo will be assigned in the order in which boats sign up. However, the Ha-Ha’s Poobah urges you not to sign up until you are certain that you’ll be able to make the trip, “because ENTRY FEES ARE NONREFUNDABLE.” You also need to read and accept the Safety Statement before entering your name for the rally.

Once you’re past the formalities, it’s all “go and get ready.” Some people already have their boat set up for cruising; others need to make some upgrades or additions. Whatever it is, you’ll have until the November 3 mandatory skipper check-in and meeting to get yourself, your boat, and your crew organized and down to San Diego for the official start on November 4.

Speaking of crew … we usually hold the Latitude 38 Baja Ha-Ha Fall Crew List Party in September. But we know many sailors like to get “crewed-up” well in advance of that time. If you want to join a boat or need crew for your trip to Mexico, sign up and check listings on the Latitude 38 Crew List page. Dozens of sailors have met and forged lasting friendships, sailing partnerships, and even blissful relationships through the crew list.

But back to the Ha-Ha itself. Why go? Because it’s fun! You’ll be sailing in company with dozens of boats, partying ashore, and for some, continuing on your cruising journey for many months afterward.

Baja Ha-Ha Turtle Bay boats at anchor
The Turtle Bay anchorage provides superb protection, good holding, and flat water, and could easily hold 1,000 boats.
© 2024 Baja Ha-Ha

It’s also a good opportunity for first-timers (whether that’s to Mexico or cruising itself) to take the leap. The Baja Ha-Ha organizers are really good at giving you the information you need to give you the best chance at a comfortable, successful voyage. Tons of information will be imparted in the lead-up, and a Mexico Cruising Seminar usually takes place during the aforementioned Fall Crew List Party. We even publish a First Timer’s Guide — here’s a link to last year’s guide.

You can also find more information on our Heading South page, and if you keep scrolling, you’ll come across stories that will give you a glimpse of life as a Ha-Ha sailor.

Oh, and if you want to go but … “kids.” Kids make up a good number of the Ha-Ha participants. This cruisers rally really is for everyone.

Usually there are 15 to 20 kids in a Ha-Ha, and there are special events for them.
© 2024 Baja Ha-Ha

But don’t just take our word for it; sign up and see for yourself. Mark your calendar, set your clock, charge up your computer or tablet, and hit that button at 12 p.m. tomorrow. Here’s the link: Baja Ha-Ha 2024

Good Jibes #141: Emily Zugnoni on Teaching Kids and Adults to Sail

This week’s host, John Arndt, is joined by Emily Zugnoni to chat about her transition from sailing passenger to sailing instructor. Emily is the program director at Alameda Community Sailing Center (ACSC), winner of US Sailing’s 2023 Outstanding Community Sailing Program Award.

Emily shares what she loves about being a sailing instructor.
© 2024 Emily Zugnoni

Hear the differences in teaching kids and adults how to sail, what makes sailing so much fun, the perks of having a sailing mentor, the races she’s most enjoyed, and the time she had to cut her hair while sailing.

This episode covers everything from teaching sailing to beer can races. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • How old are the kids Emily teaches?
  • Does she like dinghy sailing or keelboat sailing better?
  • What are the ACSC sailing programs?
  • Where are they located?
  • How many kids have participated in them?
  • Are the kids or adults more afraid on the water?
  • What holds people back from sailing?
  • Short Tacks: Where’s Emily’s dream place to sail?

Learn more at and on Instagram and Facebook @SailAlameda.

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

Bay Area Yacht Clubs Develop Speaker Series Collaboration

There are lots of good reasons to join a yacht club. These include a great community of sailors, organized racing, cruising, parties, entertainment, education and reciprocal privileges with other yacht clubs. There’s collaboration and competition among the clubs, which can both be fun.

A new collaborative effort is underway between San Francisco Yacht Club’s Matthew Sessions and the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Wednesday Yachting Luncheon MC, Ron Young, who are reaching out to other Bay Area clubs to bring in more out-of-town speakers. Toward that end, commodores and speaker-series chairs from Richmond YC, Corinthian YC, St. Francis YC, San Francisco YC and Sausalito YC gathered aboard Ron Young’s powerboat, Forever Young, to discuss sharing speakers so those from farther away can give more than one presentation while in the Bay Area.

Speaker Series
A yacht club speakers bureau is forming. From left to right: Brooke Perkins, Christine Mumford, David Kiachko, Chris Perkins, Patti Bott, Gary Uren, Ron Young, Kathy Montoya, Gary Jobson, Shelly Willard, Randall Rasicot, Matthew Sessions.
© 2024 StFYC

The group also gathered to honor sailing legend Gary Jobson, who was in town to speak at the St. Francis Yacht Club Wednesday Yachting Luncheon about the upcoming America’s Cup. Jobson, an amateur historian, shared stories from his famous life on the water, including winning the America’s Cup and the 1979 Fastnet Race with Ted Turner, being twice named Collegiate Sailor of the Year, his award-winning career in broadcast journalism, serving as the president of US Sailing, and authoring 23 books and producing over 2,000 TV shows on all aspects of sailing.

Matthew Sessions said, “We’ve got great collaboration going now between RYC, CYC, StFYC, SFYC, and SYC to share Speaker Series leads. Speakers are more interested to come from out of town if they can speak at multiple clubs on the same visit. I now have a list of my speaker series counterparts from about 10 Bay Area yacht clubs. I welcome anyone leading their club speaker series to email me and introduce themselves.” You can email Matthew here.

Looking for a new sailboat? Find a boat or sell your boat by listing it in our Classy Classifieds here.

Explore the San Rafael Waterfront and Find a Copy of Latitude 38

When trying to launch a campaign describing the pleasures of reading print, I found myself without the current issue of Latitude 38 that I was trying so hard to espouse. After working at Latitude for seven years, I’ve never requested home delivery of the mag. And I wanted the tactile satisfaction of holding the magazine in my hands, dammit. No amount of online access would do. I wanted to flip rather than click, to fold rather than scroll.

So I was on a mission to find a copy of Latitude 38 on the San Rafael waterfront.

San Rafael Creek is a rich waterfront full of interesting nooks and crannies, as well as fresh copies of Latitude 38.
© 2024 Google Earth
Latitude distributors abound in the Canal.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude

San Quentin Village, where I live, is just a stone’s throw from the San Rafael Creek watercourse. (The land around the creek is referred to as the “Canal.”) Over the years, I have written dozens of ‘Lectronic Latitudes and magazine stories about sailing in San Rafael, sailing my boat, the Columbia Challenger Esprit, and even riding my bike along Bayside trails. In less than 15 minutes I can ride to the heart of San Rafael’s working waterfront, where no fewer than a dozen marine businesses carry Latitude 38.

After years of living here, riding into town has become a trip down memory lane, but I always find something new on this city’s shores.

The entrance to San Rafael Creek as seen in March 2018. This boat went aground several times over the course of a few days in the then-shallow channel. Thanks to tireless lobbying from folks like Nadine Ahollinger of Helmut’s Marine, the creek was finally dredged after 20 years, starting in 2022.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Dredging San Rafael Creek continued into January of this year.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim Henry

Entering from the Bay and motoring down the long, long channel, past East and West Marin Island and past Loch Lomond (I used to walk the mile-plus loop around the jetty there), the start of the Canal is a cruise through the suburbs. There are a few McMansions where the Bay is still in view, but once inside the creek, the houses are usually one story and relatively modest. Almost every house has a dock, and most docks have a boat. I used to think that one of the “downsides” of having my boat at Lowrie Yacht Harbor was the long commute back and forth to the Bay, but it was always wonderful to transit through suburbia. Houses on the south shore eventually give way to boxy apartment buildings, making up the Canal proper — a very Latino neighborhood with friendly people and good food.

From shore, the Canal itself is kind of hidden. Riding up to Helmut’s Marine Service, which carries Latitude 38, you see boats on land and maybe a few masts in the background long before you see water. Follow the shore around the bend, and you’re at San Rafael Yacht Harbor, which also carries the mag. Over several weekends this spring, I found the yard busy with people working on boats. Cross the Canal, and there’s the 121-year-old, 104-ft Active, along with a host of other boats. It’s the saltiest corner of San Rafael and a funky, slightly dilapidated — but endlessly charming — maritime museum.

Terrapin Crossing, the Phil-Lesh-of-the-Grateful-Dead-owned restaurant and venue on the south side of the Canal, did not survive the pandemic. I docked my boat there a few times and grabbed lunch and dinner in a true boat-in dining experience. The basin here — technically the “Municipal Yacht Harbor” — is home to San Rafael High School’s sailing PE program, which has been getting kids onto the water for school credit since the 1970s.

High school kids have some fun on a Laser near San Rafael’s Montecito Plaza. For whatever reason, the mall has its back to the water. There are no shoreside cafés here, only a commercial back alley.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim Henry

Farther down the north shore of the Canal is 101 Surf Sports, the aforementioned Lowrie’s, Rubicon Yachts, and Waterway Marine, all places that carry the mag. (Even the San Rafael Whole Foods has the magazine, despite our talking sh*t about Amazon.)

I could gush and express my endless Latitude Gratitude for this off-the-beaten-path waterfront that I’ve covered for seven years. Sometimes I wish I’d been a diesel mechanic and a writer, rather than solely the low-paying latter, but I still feel a kinship to people working in the marine trades: We’re all trying to make our living doing what we love and living a salty life.

Thank you for reading Latitude 38, and for your patronage at the businesses mentioned and the hundreds not mentioned. Supporting our advertisers directly translates into supporting Latitude 38. Please consider a subscription, donation, buying our swag, or handing a copy of Latitude to a friend.

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