Ideal Conditions for Ha-Ha Leg One

Here comes the sun. . . One of the coolest things about sailing in the 750-mile Ha-Ha rally is experiencing little ‘gifts’ from Mother Nature, such as splendid sunrises and sunsets — not to mention night skies salted with a gazillion brilliant stars. 

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While sailing past Cedros Island this morning, the Baja Ha-Ha XIII Rally Committee checked in to report that conditions have been splendid since shortly after the Monday-morning start: steady winds of 15-22 knots from the NW or N, which drove the disparate fleet toward its first rest stop — at the fishing village of Bahia Tortugas — at an unusually fast pace. "It’s been the fastest first leg I can remember," said the event’s Grand Poobah, who has done all but the second Ha-Ha.

Marcela Celorio took a break from her duties as Consul General of San Diego’s Mexican embassy Monday, to salute the departing fleet with a blast from San Diego YC’s historic America’s Cup shotgun. She and other government dignitaries were thrilled to observe the departing fleet, and welcome them into Mexican waters.

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Among this year’s participants was David Addleman of the Monterey-based SC50 named X, which he bought in Malaysia. After sailing more than 6,000 miles to get home to California — much of it upwind — David reports that he and his girlfriend, whom he met in Palau, are absolutely thrilled with the ideal downwind conditions. That said, X lost a lower portside shroud yesterday, causing her crew to sail only on starboard jibe until they can effect a jury rig.

Also reported via the daily radio net, Matt Miller’s Long Beach-based Ericson 29 Vital Spark broke her boom and tore at least one sail, but is continuing south.

Elsewhere within the fleet, there have been few breakdowns reported and little onboard drama, although the liferaft broke loose from Chris Perkins’ Hylas 56 Manuela during the night, and is probably adrift — fully deployed — somewhere north of Cedros. (US Coast Guard and Mexican Navy have been informed.)

Although the fishing generally gets better farther down the course, some boats are already reporting catching tuna and mahi — and having fresh sushi shortly afterward. 

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Most of the fleet — which has swelled to around 150 boats thanks to the addition of many Ensenada starters — should arrive in Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay) by tonight or tomorrow morning. 

At noon tomorrow, the fleet will shake loose their sealegs during the annual ‘Ha-Ha Rules’ baseball game, where every batter gets as many pitches as it takes to get a hit, and fielding errors are rampant. There’ll be a beach party on Friday, followed by the start of Leg Two on Saturday morning at 8. Stay tuned for further updates. 

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Romayne and Cameron Riddell, in what the well-dressed cruising kids apparently wore back in the day.  © 2016 Emily Riddell We love the accompanying photos that were sent to us by Cameron Riddell of Los Angeles.
Guess what city in Baja is welcoming the Ha-Ha fleet once the event is over?  Cat ‘n About
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC "On the evening of October 24, officials in La Paz unveiled the new ‘La Paz’ sign on the malecon," report Rob and Linda Jones, who left Puget Sound long ago aboard their Gemini 3000 catamaran.