We received the following news from Richard Spindler, the Grand Poobah of the Baja Ha-Ha:
“Not being able to do the 750-mile downwind trip to the tropics that I’ve done for 25 out of the last 26 years absolutely breaks my heart. And maybe yours, too.
“But as the Grand Poobah, I’ve decided that the COVID-19 health risks will be too great to hold the event this November. So I have postponed the 27th running until November 1, 2021.
“A major part of every Ha-Ha has been the social events at San Diego, Turtle Bay, Bahia Santa Maria, and Cabo San Lucas. Holding these events for 400-500 people simply isn’t feasible in the COVID environment that’s almost surely going to exist less than two months from now.
“I also had to consider the effect of a very large group of cruisers descending on Baja at once, perhaps a couple of them unwittingly bringing COVID with them. There is no real medical care between Ensenada and Cabo, and transporting an even moderately sick person would be very difficult if not impossible.
“There were going to be logistical hurdles, too. Cabo officials are apparently now requiring health clearances, which could be very time-consuming for a group. In addition, ship’s agent Victor Berreda, our good friend who normally checks in about half the fleet, advises us that he would not be willing to do that this year for a typically large Ha-Ha fleet.
“I had intended to hold off a go/no-go decision for the Ha-Ha until October 2, but I decided to make the decision now to give people a little more certainty and time to make their plans.
“As many of you know, Patsy Verhoeven of the Gulfstar 50 Talion, a vet of 13 Ha-Ha’s and the Assistant Poobah for the last five years, is organizing the Nada Ha-Ha, a group buddy-boating south. I refer you to the Nada Ha-Ha site here for details. Forty boats have already signed up for the free event.” (You can keep up with the Nada Ha-Ha and other southbound cruising at Latitude 38‘s ‘Heading South’ page.)
“While the Grand Poobah has absolutely nothing whatsoever against the Nada Ha-Ha, I want it clear that the Nada Ha-Ha is a completely independent event that is in no way associated with the Baja Ha-Ha.
“If I had a boat on the West Coast, would I still cruise to and around Mexico? I would. To my knowledge, no active cruiser in Mexico has gotten COVID, and at last word, once-closed beaches and islands are opening up in the La Paz and other areas. The Nada Ha-Ha website has the latest information.
“Having been forced to spend much of the last six months in quarantine or semi-quarantine aboard ‘ti Profligate in a remote anchorage in the Caribbean, I can report that both Doña and I absolutely loved it! My kids in L.A. have repeatedly instructed me not to come home. And they love me. So we video chat for about 40 minutes each almost every night. It works for us.
“When I consider the Washington, Oregon, and California winter alternative to cruising to Mexico — cooler temperatures, less sunshine, normal life somewhat upended by COVID, the chance of post-election civil unrest — it would be a no-brainer for me to head south. Viva Mexico!
“But everyone is in a different situation and has to decide for themselves.
“No matter what you do, be safe, and always consider your health and that of others.
“And remember, Baja Ha-Ha XXVII on November 2, 2021.”
As Paul Martson of J/World in Puerto Vallarta wrote on our Facebook page, “Common sense will get you by down here as anywhere. Come see for yourself.”