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Baja Ha-Ha Parade & Start

It’s a rare Baja Ha-Ha start when San Diego doesn’t serve up the sun the Mexico-bound cruisers are seeking on their southern migration, and this year was no exception. Clear skies, warm air and brilliant sunshine lit up cruisers who we suspect partied all night, since they crossed the starting line wearing the same costumes they’d worn at the kick-off party the day before.

The Tzortzis family’s Lagoon 470 Family Circus, out of San Francisco, parades out of San Diego Bay with the 21st Baja Ha-Ha.

© Ralph Pace

Amazingly, folks who just hours before were carefully stowing eggs and fresh veggies also managed to pull together an eclectic array of costumes. Shopping list: two dozen eggs, 12 tomatoes, green hair, cat costume, etc.

Yes, we have lots of bananas. The captain and crew of Profligate apparently are not superstitious.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Paperwork and other logistical details have dominated a lot of this year’s cruising conversation, but Alejandro Santander of Mexico Tourism was on hand to assure cruisers that all would go smoothly for the season ahead.

For most of the Ha-Ha’s history the event slipped in and out of San Diego without creating too much of a public stir, but a few years ago, with local leadership from Ken Franke of the Sportfishing Association of California and Sharon Cloward of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, a more celebratory and organized departure parade was created, bringing news media, dignitaries, and Mexican officials, including Remedios Gomez, Consul General of Mexico, who wanted to wish all cruisers a great trip to Mexico and noted that, despite Hurricane Odile, "The Baja Ha-Ha sends an important message that Cabo is ready and able to welcome all the cruisers and other tourists to enjoy the upcoming tourism season."

The starting gun was fired from aboard Jason Coz’s 85-ft sportfishing vessel Dolphin, which also hosted the news media and VIPs.

© 2014 Ralph Pace

The only thing missing for Monday’s start was wind, but since it’s a cruising rally and fuel tanks are full, who cares? The America’s Cup starting gun fired off four warnings and then the final blast to send the mothership, Profligate, and Patsy Verhoeven’s Gulfstar 50 Talion, an eight-time Ha-Ha veteran, across the starting line first.

Patsy Verhoeven and her all-female crew wave goodbye.

© 2014 Ralph Pace

Continue on for an update on the progress of Leg 1, phoned in from Profligate this morning.

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A GoPro selfie from current VOR leader Team Brunel. © 2014 Stefan Coppers / Team Brunel/Volvo Ocean Race The great thing about one-design racing is that the competition is tight – once you’re in the lead you know that no other boat is physically faster.
Day 3 of the 21st Baja Ha-Ha dawned with patchy clouds, as the 131-boat fleet approached Turtle Bay, 360 miles south of San Diego.