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San Diego Connects Sailors to the Sea

San Diego sailors have it good. Last Monday’s magnificent start to the Baja Ha-Ha was just a taste of what’s to love about the San Diego sailing community. We were quickly spoiled by three days of warm, sunny breezes accompanied by the Sunday Baja Ha-Ha kick-off party, the Monday start of the rally, and a Tuesday tour of friends on the waterfront. It was a sailing, chamber-of-commerce display of welcoming hospitality. We posted the story of the start last week and now have a few photos from the landside tour.

Shelter Island Sculpture
Under the full moon, the sculpture leading to Shelter Island lets you know there is a sailing community here.
© 2023 John

As in all big cities, there are many neighborhoods, most of which we don’t explore. There’s too much to see and do along the waterfront. The bad news for boaters, and good news for marina operators, is that most of the marinas are full with wailing (waiting) lists. You can find spots, but it’s not easy. Driving onto Shelter Island past the sculpture and water fountain leaves no doubt that you’re entering sailing territory. Boatyards, yacht brokers, sailmakers, chandlers, canvas shops, marinas and numerous other marine businesses are clustered along this busy marine hub.

Jennings House
The Jennings House, built in 1886, is the oldest house in Point Loma and a delicious breakfast café where you can pick up the latest issue of Latitude 38.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Just off the island are many more marine businesses, eateries and places to pick up Latitude 38. We stopped by Downwind Marine, which had its last few copies of the October issue while awaiting the November issue. We had breakfast at the always-good Jennings House on Rosecrans, where owner Cathy showed us one of the last three copies she had out for patrons. It was somewhere around here that in 1834, Richard Henry Dana and crew dragged cowhides ashore from the Pilgrim as told in his book Two Years Before the Mast.

Starfish casting
The curbs in Intrepid Landing are decorated with castings of sea life.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Walking the waterfront, we found many more details, including the castings on the curb above and our visit to San Diego Marine Exchange, where they were all out of the October issue, so we had to hand them a few from our morning “paper route” to take this photo. They also were open at 7 a.m. so we could get air horns for the Monday Ha-Ha start.

San Diego Marine Exchange
The crew at San Diego Marine Exchange has your back. If it’s boating, they have it — including Latitude 38.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Just down the waterfront from Shelter Island is the major hub of San Diego sailing, the San Diego Yacht Club. On Sunday evening they were celebrating a successful, third-in-a-row win in the Lipton Cup, against eleven other clubs racing in J/105s. It was skipper Tyler Sinks’ sixth victory at the helm. Full results here. The entryway to the club is marked by the sculpture below of a young sailor on a Sabot. You couldn’t get a better start to a sailing life.

Sabot bronze
This bronze Sabot sits outside the San Diego Yacht Club.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Down the waterfront, on the way to the city center, you come to Harbor Island, which is also a very short hop and skip from the airport. We boarded our Baja Ha-Ha committee boat from Harbor Island, where West Coast Multihulls hosted us from their Safe Harbor Sunroad base aboard their Bali 4.3 catamaran. We also stopped by to see Eric Leslie at Harbor Island West and grab an iced tea at the deli, where they also distribute Latitude 38.

Harbor Island West Deli
If you pull into Harbor Island West you can pick up a magazine at the harbormaster’s office, California Yacht Sales, Ullman Sails, or Harbor Sailboats, and maybe even add a six-pack at their corner deli.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We’ll have some more on the Lipton Cup and the San Diego waterfront in an upcoming newsletter. It’s always a pleasure to visit and always 10 degrees warmer! If you’re headed to Mexico behind the Baja Ha-Ha and looking for a place to do some last-minute outfitting or to pick up a copy of the latest Latitude 38, do not sail right by San Diego. You can find the businesses that can help and also give you a Latitude 38 in San Diego right here (no uploading, downloading, synching required).

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