We now bring you Part 2 of a sneak peek into some Baja Ha-Ha profiles. Click here for Part 1.
Counting Stars — Whitby 42
Denis Heinrichs and Rosario Passos
Port Moody, British Columbia
Denis, 55, is a computer programmer, while spouse Rosario is an instructional designer.
Their crew will be Jennifer Handley and Campbell Good, 67 — a very experienced wife-and-husband team. Jennifer and Campbell sailed their boat Camdeboo to the South Pacific in 2006 with their two daughters, a niece, a nephew, and Jennifer’s brother. By the time Camdeboo returned to Victoria in 2011 she had visited 14 countries, had 25,000 miles under her keel, and had welcomed 27 people aboard as crew.
“My wife Rosario and I have been sailing for about 15 years,” reports Denis. “Our first boat was a Catalina 27. Our Whitby 42 ketch is a slow but solid and comfortable Brewer design from 1980. These days, she’s a bit unusual because she has two masts. Two are better than one, right?
“We’ve done quite a refit on Counting Stars over the last eight years; we re-wired and re-plumbed her. This spring we redid the standing rigging, installed mast pulpits, built and installed a watermaker, and added a Hydrovane self-steering system. We did all the work ourselves, although we did get advice from experts.
“Six years ago, we crewed on a friend’s boat from La Paz to the Galápagos. Even though it took 21 days, we are still friends.
“We’ve had our offshore dream for most of our 15 years of sailing. Our crew for the Ha-Ha have been our inspiration for sailing offshore, as they have sailed the South Pacific with their family. They are our sailing heroes. This will be our first Ha-Ha, and we’re really excited. When it’s over, we plan to enjoy the Sea of Cortez for several years.
“Our favorite quote is: ‘Live your dreams, don’t dream your life.'”
Empty Space — Seawind 1160 Lite Cat
Salt Lake City, UT
Hank, 69, is a retired tech consultant. His core crew will be his son, also named Hank, 39, who is an engineer, and Hank the second’s son, Hank, 4, a student of life and a construction equipment expert. “We call the young one Henry,” says Hank the elder, “because it gets confusing when everybody has the same name. I will be looking for additional crew, but they can’t be named Hank.
“I backed into sailing,” says Hank the elder. “At age 22 I needed just a half credit to graduate and get my first degree, so I took a sailing class. I’ll never forget the first time I pulled in the mainsheet on that little Sabot. OMG! I’ve never looked back. The Caribbean, Greece, Belize, Mexico, San Francisco, the Channel Islands and San Diego, I’ve sailed at all of them. But my favorite thus far is the remote and beautiful Great Salt Lake. There’s lots of one-design and PHRF racing on the lake, too!”
To show you how imaginative tech consultants can be, Hank the elder has owned five boats, the last three of them all named Empty Space. Never say never. “I swore I would never buy a new boat,” reports Hank the elder, “but that’s exactly what I did. A brand-new Seawind 1160 Lite cat. She’s so cute and a real sweetheart.
“My son Hank has sailed most of the destinations listed above and loves PHRF and one-design racing as well. This will be our first Ha-Ha. My longest passage so far has been Seattle to San Francisco. After the Ha-Ha, I plan to cruise the Sea of Cortez and mainland Mexico.
“My favorite quote is ‘Eat dessert first.’ My favorite dessert is chocolate.”
Endless Summer — Catalina 42 MkII
Dave and Michelle Opheim
Dave, 57, a vet of the 1999 Ha-Ha on the Lagoon 37 cat Aida, is a retired Network Engineer; Michelle is retired from the Dentistry Field. Their crew includes Manny Rubio, 61, Max Perez, 58, and Jim Schulz, 56, as well as Bosun, their 5-year-old black cat.
Dave’s dad taught him how to sail when he was 8, so let’s just say it’s been a long time. Michelle’s parents introduced her to boat life at age 1, and she has been sailing with Dave since 2006. That was the year they met at a yacht club in Marin County. They then moved across the SF Bay and have been Oakland Yacht Club members for ~7 years.
They’ve owned their Catalina 42 MKII Endless Summer for “13 Wonderful Years,” and it is the last boat they’ll ever need. They love her!!! Previously, Dave owned a Catalina 27 and an O’Day 27 that he raced in the Bay.
“Our plans are to cruise the mainland and southern Mexico in the winter, then head back north into the Sea of Cortez in the spring. The boat will spend the summer on the hard in the extreme northern Sea at Puerto Peñasco until we return the following fall. We intend to cruise the Sea of Cortez for a number of years or until it’s no longer fun, as we’ve been dreaming about it for a long time. But like most sailors’ plans, ours are written in sand at low tide.
“When it comes to desserts, it’s hard to pass up a good bread pudding à la mode, especially with raisins.” When it comes to ice cream, Dave says “There’s no reason to ruin a perfectly smooth vanilla ice cream by adding nuts etc…”
Dave is such a common name that he goes by “Dave O,” so Michelle naturally goes by “Michelle O.”
Advantage — Catalina 320
Glen and Sandra Doersam
Glen, 63, is a retired city employee, while Sandra Lee-Doersam is a senior project manager. The two will doublehand. Wait, this just in! They’ll be joined by daughter Joanna, 21, a student on semester break.
“My wife and I come from totally different backgrounds,” Glen reports. “Originally from New York City, Sandra is a techie project manager now stationed in San Diego after a 25-year detour to Silicon Valley. Her latest project is Advantage and the Baja Ha-Ha. She is tenacious when it comes to a project and does not rest until it is complete. She is my first and best mate.
“I was born into the Navy at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. I boarded my first ship at age 4, where my dad was a Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate. Right out of high school, I went back to the sea. I spent seven years in the Navy sailing all over the Western Pacific, with a small stint in the Caribbean. I am not a know-it-all as I’m still learning the sailing ropes. But I do know how to stand watches, work long hours, and get planes off the pointy end of an aircraft carrier.
“When I left the Navy, I didn’t leave the sea too far behind. I met my Sandra in San Diego, and we moved up to the Bay Area. I worked for the City of Oakland for 22 years, where I stood long watches under stressful conditions and flew jet helicopters for five years.
“Sandra and I learned to sail dodging container ships coming in and out of the Oakland Estuary. We also had to learn to deal with the tricky winds and tides while sailing through the Golden Gate. We moved back to San Diego seven years ago, and two years ago bought our first boat, Advantage, a vet of the 2018 Ha-Ha.
“My favorite quote is from another Bay Area refugee here in San Diego: ‘Bay Area sailors know how to tack; Southern California sailors know how to anchor.’
“We’ve done some overnights in our 12 years of sailing, but no long passages yet. We consider ourselves to be rookies looking forward to a good challenge. And what is life without a good, calculated challenge? We are open to possibilities after the Ha-Ha: return on the Bash, maybe a Puddle Jump, or maybe Hawaii.
“My dream is to boldly take our 320 to where no 320 has gone before — Tahiti. I love the sea, as nothing else can treat you with such kindness, then slap the crap out of you for disrespecting her.”