If you are one of the many sailors making plans to participate in this fall’s Baja Ha-Ha XXVI — more than 10,000 sailors on over 3,000 boats have preceded you in the last 25 years — please note that the event will start a week later than in recent years. The Ha-Ha Costume Kick-Off Party will be on November 3, and the awards ceremony will be on November 16.
The Ha-Ha, of course, is the annual cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with R&R stops at funky Turtle Bay and pristine Bahia Santa Maria. The event is open to boats over 27-feet in length that were designed, built and have been maintained for open ocean sailing. Last year, 149 boats and 551 sailors participated, keeping its place as the largest long-distance sailing event on the West Coast.
There are two excellent reasons that the event will start later than in previous years. First, to avoid any conflicts with several fishing tournaments in Cabo that greatly reduce the number of available slips in the marina. By starting on November 3, we’ll arrive after all the tournaments have ended for the season.
Second, given the vagaries of climate change, the later start date further reduces the already very slight chance of a tropical storm threatening the Ha-Ha. For the record, even when the Ha-Ha started two weeks earlier, as it did for the first 20-some years, there was never a tropical storm to cross the Ha-Ha path. But the later date gives an even greater buffer.
The November 3-16 dates also work out well because Thanksgiving is so much later in the month — November 28 — than in most years.
A second significant change is that the fleet will now spend an extra day at Bahia Santa Maria, always the fleet favorite, and one less day in Cabo. Spending an extra day in BSM will mean participants can have a more leisurely perspective on the 240-mile second leg.
The schedule will also allow for some flexibility. For example, boats that signed up late but absolutely have to get a slip in Cabo might elect to leave Bahia Santa Maria one day early to get a slip for one day only in Cabo. But don’t worry, we’ll still have the big, silly party at Squid Roe and the world famous From Here to Eternity Kissing Contest.
The Grand Poobah, who will be leading the Baja Ha-Ha for the 26th year in a row, encourages you to participate to make lots of new friends, for safety in numbers, and for just plain old fun. If you have any doubts about whether being part of a Ha-Ha is a good thing, the Poobah suggests you ask folks who have done one or more.
The detailed Notice of the Rally will be available in April, and registration will open on May 8. More information can be found at www.baja-haha.com. “Oh, and 500 issues? I don’t know what to say!”