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SIGHTINGS ala wai — cont’d rina in California. And, when he lived aboard at first class marinas in Mexico and New Zealand, he paid only the slip fee, with nothing extra for living aboard. One assumes that the dramatic increase in liveaboard fees at the state-owned and -run Ala Wai is to keep the marina maintained. But according to Reg White, who has lived aboard in the Ala Wai for more than 20 years, that's not the case at all. He told Latitude that, according to audited reports, the Ala Wai, as poorly maintained and run as it's been, had an operating surplus of about $1.5 million a year in the early and mid '00s. Despite this, hundreds of slips in the Ala Wai and at Ke’ehi were allowed to fall into such disrepair that they had to be condemned! The 'profits' from the Ala Wai had been grabbed by the state and used for other purposes, such as creating hiking trails. White says that in '09, according to the state's unaudited figures, the Ala Wai had an operating surplus of $990,000 — and that was with 218 berths being out of commission in the middle of June. Had those berths been usable — and there has been a long list of people waiting to get slips there for years — they would have added another $400,000 or so to the surplus. Nobody asked us, of course, but even given the generally poor condition of much of the Ala Wai, and its utterly and inexplicably charmless surroundings, we think its unique location alone makes the slips — not including liveaboard rights — worth well in excess of $6/ft/month. While we know our readers in Hawaii will scream bloody murder, we think $10/ft/month sounds about right. Plus maybe $500 more a month for the first liveaboard. So if you live aboard a 55-footer, it's going to cost you $1,000 a month. That would mean the Ala Wai would show a surplus of close to $2.5 million, which could be used to bring many of the berths up to standard, and plant some trees and other vegetation, in general getting the Ala Wai's sorry-ass act together. There's just one problem. According to White, the Department of Land and Natural Resources says the basic slip fees can't be raised more than 5% per year. And since 85% of the slips can't be used for living aboard, they are trying to raise a similar amount of money by really sticking it to the liveaboards, who represent, by law, a paltry 15% of the marina tenants. We've said it for 25 years: it's in the best interest of mariners, the citizens of Hawaii, and the State of Hawaii itself, if the state got out of the marina business, which they've been bungling for decades. — richard

ha-ha online registration to begin Seventeen years ago, a loosely organized fleet of 39 sailboats headed south from San Diego in late October, bound for Cabo San Lucas. Little did their crews know at the time that the low-key, 750-mile migration would become a much-anticipated annual tradition, and the second largest cruising rally in the world: the Baja Ha-Ha. All told, more than 2,000 Ha-Ha boats have made the run to the Cape thus far, with more than 7,000 crew aboard. Tallied together, they’ve sailed more than 1.5 million miles! Enough to circumnavigate via the tropics 60 times. With the Ha-Ha 17 starting date — October 25 — less than six months away, the Rally Committee has recently come out of hibernation and has been furiously gearing up for a new onslaught of entries. Online registration will begin Monday, May 3 around noon at www. baja-haha.com. And as always, those who sign up early will have the best chance of getting a slip when the fleet arrives at Cabo. But before you get caught up in the sign-up frenzy, let us repeat our annual mantra: If your boat was not built, equipped and maintained for offshore sailing; or if you would not be willing to make the trip on your own, please do not sign up. Even though the route continued on outside column of next sightings page Page 90 •

Latitude 38

• May, 2010

abby blog noted. Abby has truly achieved an amazing accomplishment, though we still think her parents’ allowing her to leave in the first place was “foolish and irresponsible.” To our way of thinking, it’s as reckless as allowing a 13-year-old to climb Mt. Everest. Ridiculous, you say? Well, apparently in these never-say-no-to-your-child days it’s about to happen — Big Bear’s Jordan Romero, 13, will make an attempt on that famous peak this month. But considering that more than 3,000 people have climbed Everest in the last 56 years, while only 250 have solo circumnavigated in twice that time, his odds of succeeding are much better than Abby’s were. Of course, that’s likely cold comfort to her right now.

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Latitude 38 May 2010  

The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 May 2010  

The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.