Skip to content

Who’s Heading South in the Baja Ha-Ha? Part 4

As the 2023 Baja Ha-Ha kickoff draws nearer, we’re constantly fascinated by the variety of people who have signed up for this 29th cruising rally to Mexico. Here are some more sailors who will be among the fleet next month.

Trinity — Spencer 1330 (W)

Sue and Gary Stephens
Bainbridge Island, WA (2003)

Baja Ha-Ha
Who’s who of the Greg, Gary, Suzanne and Sue crew?
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

Sue is a retired legal assistant, while Gary, 69, is a retired diver. In addition to both doing the 2003 Ha-Ha, they “unofficially” did the 1993 “Some Like It Hot” rally, a loosely semi-organized precursor to the Ha-Ha.

The Stephens’ two crew will be friends Suzanne and Greg, 65, Fults, who did the 2003 Ha-Ha with their three kids aboard their Newport Beach-based Beneteau 444 Lemuria. After becoming fast friends with Sue, Suzanne and Greg are returning for another Ha-Ha, sans children, to help Sue and Gary sail south. Also along for the ride is Sammy, Gary and Sue’s two-year-old kitty.

Gary and Sue have lived aboard sailboats for the last 36 years. After buying their first fixer-upper, Niord, a Traveller 32, they promptly moved aboard to spend the next six years getting her ready to go cruising. They started with the 1993 “Some Like It Hot” rally and continued into a two-year Mexico and South Pacific cruise. Their second cruise was in 2003 aboard the Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 Pegasus, with 7-year-old daughter Amy. It started with the Ha-Ha and included time in the Marshall Islands and even Midway.

Sue and Gary plan to spend winters aboard in Mexico and summers RV-ing the western states. Gary is anxious to get back to warm-water diving, which is his passion. He’s always looking for diving companions, and notes he has a compressor aboard.

Trinity, launched in 1976, will be one of the older boats in the Ha-Ha. The Poobah is a big fan of properly maintained older boats. He wonders if the Stephens have read The Wrecker, by Robert Louis Stevenson. It takes place in Paris, Edinburgh, England, San Francisco, Sausalito, Sydney, Hawaii — and Midway, the atoll they’ve already visited. It’s not the easiest book to read, but it’s the Poobah’s all-time favorite.

Seabiscuit — Watson 48 PB

William Blumlein and Debbie Lyman
Yuma, AZ / Oregon (2019)

Debbie and Bill have great hats for the southbound cruising rally/
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

William, 67, is a retired glazier, while spouse Debbie is a retired printer. Their crew will be Mike Levesque, 58, retired from construction, and Tiffany Levesque, an active flight attendant.

“I have been sailing and boatin’ for 40 years,” says William, “on four boats I’ve owned and on friends’ boats. Dan Brenny, Mike Levesque and I did the 2019 Ha-Ha aboard my Hylas 44 Scout. Debbie and I have owned Seabiscuit, our 2006 steel-hulled powerboat, for six months. The most unusual thing about her is that I haven’t been able to find her sails yet.

“My dream,” says William, “would be sailing off the Philippines and Thailand on a crewed sailing yacht with Fletcher Christian and Bob Seger, living on seven-layer chocolate raspberry cake and beer, hoping to bump into Jimmy B, and helping him go see the lizard. Life is awesome!”

William’s longest passage to date has been three days.

William and Debbie’s boat may or may not be named after the champion thoroughbred racehorse in the United States in the 1940s, when horse racing was the most popular sport in the country. Although Seabiscuit was small in stature, he beat the 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral by four lengths in a two-horse special at Pimlico. The unlikely champion was a symbol of hope to many Americans coming out of the Great Depression.

Grace — Catalina 36 (W)

David and Jennifer Lane
Oxnard / Tom’s Place

This is one very active family!
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

David, 51, is self-employed. Jennifer is an acupuncturist. Their son Kekoa, 15, is a left-handed student of life.

“Ours is a very active family as we’re into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, and skateboarding. David is a certified mountain guide and has a storied history of guiding technical rock climbing on El Cap and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Jen has won Jiu-Jitsu competitions against competition 25 years her junior! Kekoa is a competitive junior big-mountain freeskier.

“Our family has been sailing together for seven years,” the Lanes report. “The captain has a convoluted history of sailing and boating as a kid growing up on the Chesapeake Bay. He decided sailing would be a great family activity, so we are now on our fourth boat, having worked our way up from a 13-ft Capri on Crowley Lake in the eastern Sierra.

“We’ve had Grace for three years now. While we’ve never done a Ha-Ha, in 2017 David crewed on a boat from Ensenada to La Paz. After the Ha-Ha we plan on exploring a bit in the Sea and then heading over to La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta on the mainland for the winter.

“Our dream destination is the South Pacific, and in our dreams, we’d do it with something like a Kraken 50 or maybe a cat like an HH44.”

You want to know what the family’s favorite motto is? “You don’t know until you know.”

You can learn more about the 29th cruisers rally to Mexico here.

Leave a Comment