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Have You Signed Up for the 28th Baja Ha-Ha?

You may be asking, “Why should I sign up for this year’s Baja Ha-Ha?” If so, here are some good reasons …

In addition to 750 miles of almost-certain downwind sailing, there are seven social events: the Costume Kick-Off Party; the Turtle Bay Cruisers versus Local Kids Bazeball Game; the Turtle Bay Beach Party; the Bahia Santa Maria Beach Party with live rock ‘n’ roll; the Cheated Death Again celebration at Squid Roe in Cabo; the Beach Party and Here to Eternity Kissing Contest in Cabo; and the Awards Ceremony in Cabo. You can participate as much or as little as you want in each of them.

As great as the sailing and socializing are, what are two of the biggest reasons people cite for being glad they did the Ha-Ha? 1) Making lifelong sailing friends. And 2) having a firm deadline for actually leaving the dock.

As of this week, there were 79 paid entries. While several of the boats are less than a year old, at least one of them, John Calkins’ Marina del Rey-based Dufour 520 Sea Fox, isn’t even finished yet.

But there are six “oldies but goodies” from the 1960s and 1970s: Antares, Jeff Houseman’s 1977 San Rafael-based Rafiki 37, one of two boats with a transom-hung rudder; OutRun, Shane Engelman’s 1975 Berkeley-based Ericson 35C, the other boat with a transom-hung rudder; Sea Escape, Jack and Kim Mead’s 1974 Richmond-based Yorktown 39, which may or may not be the Yorktown 39 that already did a circumnavigation; and Teaser, Kirk Utter’s 1972 Seattle-based Cal 33.

baja ha-ha boat in Mexico
There are so many beautiful anchorages, you might have trouble choosing where to drop the hook!
© 2022 Baja Ha-Ha

And from the 1960s, Azure, Rodney and Jane Pimentel’s much-traveled 1966 Alameda-based Cal 40. The oldest and only wood boat signed up so far is Han Verstraete’s Alameda-based S&S 45 Valiant, which was launched in 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the year Marilyn Monroe died, and the year the Beatles released Love Me Do, their first single.

Speaking of the ’60s and ’70s, that’s the age of the majority of skippers and many of the crew in this year’s Ha-Ha. Forever young, baby. Speaking of babies, there are something like 10 “kids” who are already signed up to sail in this year’s Ha-Ha.

There are a number of skippers who will be doing the Ha-Ha for the second or third time, but the one the Poobah finds the most fascinating is Kevin Rooney and his Santa Cruz-based Santa Cruz 40 Kokopelli.

While Bill Lee certainly didn’t design the ultralight Santa Cruz 40 as a cruising boat, that’s the way Rooney has used her. After retiring, he did the 2004 Ha-Ha, then cruised Central America and through the Panama Canal over to Cartagena, Colombia. Next, he headed north to do the East Coast and wintered over in Montauk before taking the Hudson River up to the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Kokopelli was shipped back to Santa Cruz from Chicago.

After a Transpac and two years of cruising the Salish Sea, Kevin Rooney and Rachel Spencer will do the Ha-Ha, spend two years in the Sea of Cortez, and either return home or continue on to Florida. Kokopelli, the un-cruising cruising boat.

No matter what kind of boat you have or how old she is, the Grand Poobah invites you to join Baja Ha-Ha XXVIII, the 750-mile cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with stops in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.

The event starts on October 31 and registration is open. Click here for the Notice of Rally and here to sign up.


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