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ha-ha — cont’d. know this veteran racer will be battling all the big boats for line honors. But forget the extremes; the overwhelming number of entries are racer/cruisers in the 36- to 47-ft range, with Catalina having made 13 of them. We haven’t calculated the average age of the boats entered, but in years past it’s been about 15 to 17 years. The sailboats built in Southern California and Taiwan in the ‘60s and ‘70s have proven to be very durable, so there will be some classic plastics pushing 40 years of age. There are lots of reasons to enter the Ha-Ha. The discounts on goods and services in California and Mexico more than make up for the entry fee, which at just $350 is unusually low for such a rally. There is the bountiful bag full of swag each boat gets. In addition, there are the benefits of the daily professional weather forecasts, the roll calls, and ‘safety in numbers’. But if you ask the returnees — and there will be lots of them this year — what they like most about the Ha-Ha is the people they meet. Do one Ha-Ha and you can end up with friends and sailing opportunities to last you a lifetime. The Ha-Ha is a heckuva good The Ha-Ha is open to boats that were way to lose the gloom. designed, built, and have been maintained for open-ocean sailing. There must be at least two crew with overnight sailing and navigation experience. And don’t kid yourself — while the downwind sail to the Cape is usually a relatively easy one, you always have to be ready for whatever the Pacific might want to dish out. For information on how to enter, and to see a current list of entries, visit To get on the Crew List, hit the ‘Crew List’ button at We’re totally into the concept of the endless summer, so Latitude’s 63-ft cat Profligate will be the mothership for the 13th year, with the publisher of Latitude serving as the Grand Poobah, Latitude Managing Editor ‘Banjo’ Andy Turpin serving as the Assistant Poobah, and Doña ‘Don’t Mess With Me’ de Mallorca as the Head of Security. God knows there’s been enough gloom recently, so if you’re not into whining, we hope you can join us for some hot sailing fun under the Mexican winter sun. — richard

mob mentality People fall off boats all the time, especially racing boats. Most are recovered quickly with little more lost than a few places in the standings. But not always. For most of the sailing demographic, MOB — ‘man overboard’ — is one of the most dreaded scenarios, right up there with fire or sinking. We have run many articles over the years detailing the tragic consequences of some of those incidents; occasional articles about near-miraculous rescues; and countless ‘how to’ articles about the best ways recover overboard crew. We were surprised to realize recently that in all that coverage, we have given only tacit attention to the other end of the MOB pole — the person who was actually in the water. So now we want to do that, and we need your help. We’re asking anyone who’s ever fallen off a boat (and obviously lived to tell the tale) to write a short summary of what the experience was like. At some point in the future, we’ll compile the accounts into a feature. To ‘prime the pump,’ so to speak, here are quickie summaries of the top three most fantastic overboard stories involving sailboats and West Coast sailors that we’ve come across in the last 30 years or so. (Plus the added bonus of a particularly continued on outside column of next sightings page Page 82 •

Latitude 38

• August, 2009

cuauhtemoc Cuauhtemoc was built in Bilbao, Spain, in 1982, the last of several sisterships, including Colombia's Gloria, Ecuador's Guayas, and Venezuela's Simon Bolivar. Since being commissioned, she has logged more than 400,000 sea miles visiting ports throughout the world. The gleaming white ship was named for the last Aztec emperor, who was imprisoned and

If you’ve got a fear of heights, the Mexican Navy is not for you. The ‘Port Salute’ (spread) is one of the grandest traditions among cadet training vessels. It’s a test of both bravery and balance.

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Latitude 38 August 2009  

The August 2009 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 August 2009  

The August 2009 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.