On Monday, the almost 170 boats signed up for the 2018 Baja Ha-Ha fleet will officially kick off the Mexico cruising season as they gather off Shelter Island for start of the 25th annual Baja Ha-Ha. To make it officially official, we’ll have officials from Mexico Tourism aboard the starting boat organized by Ken Franke of the Sportfishing Association of California. San Diego’s official America’s Cup starter gun is used to signal the fleet, while fireboats spray their hoses, and a mariachi band fires up the starters who traditionally attend the parade in the costumes they wore at the previous day’s kick-off party.
If you have access to a boat and are looking for a good reason not to go to work Monday morning, you can join the San Diego fireboats, the sportfishing boat Dolphin and other local sailors who join in the send-off. Boats gather off Shelter Island around 9:30 a.m. then head to the west end outside the police dock for the official (but laid back) 10 a.m. starting sequence. After all, this is a rally and not a race, so starting with your sails down, your costumes on and a whenever-you-feel-like-crossing-the-imaginary-starting-line attitude is just fine.
If you’ve ever had an itch to head south to Mexico with the Baja Ha-Ha and you’re in San Diego on Monday, a brief morning on the bay may be just the inspiration you need to sign up next year. Either way, it’s great fun, and we hope to see you there on Monday morning at 10 a.m. off Shelter Island.