CYGNUS MONTANUS III
BAJA HA-HA XIX RECAP —
The gregarious Danes on 'Cygnus Montanus II' provided this evidence that their marlincatching saga was real.
the spartan shelves of the town's modest tiendas; reconnecting with reality at the Internet cafe; hiking the nearby hills; and chilling out at several beachfront watering holes. Although community life here revolves almost entirely around fishing, the townspeople do have another passion: baseball. Believe it or not there are three traveling teams based here, with players age six to adult. Ever since they built a ballpark several years ago, it's been a tradition to play an 'exhibition game' there where all Ha-Ha'ers and local kids have a chance to bat. As always, the rally's Grand Poobah (Latitude's Richard Spindler) presided over the mound, lobbing lazy pitches for hours and giving up roughly 2,000 hits, without a single strikeout. To say the efforts of the Ha-Ha fielders lacked pol-
LATITUDE / ANDY
One of the unanticipated thrills of standing watch at odd hours is occasionally witnessing spectacular sunrises like this one.
ish would be a gross understatement. There were usually at least three errors per hit, but in their defense, only a few had brought gloves. Needless to say, everybody went away smiling. That night many fleet members converged on the town's largest restaurant, the Vera Cruz, where sailing and fishing tales were recounted, dancers practiced their moves in the on-site disco, and apparently many elbows were bent — for the first time ever they ran out of tequila! Weather was splendid the next day for the annual Turtle Bay beach party. In addition to a massive potluck, many fishermen brought in fresh-caught mahi, tuna and wahoo to grill on the communal 'cue, and share with whoever wanted a taste. While some sailors were happy just to kick back on the sand and catch up with friends, many played soccer, volleyball and other beach games on the flat pan left by the receding tide.
eg Two takes the fleet south to remote Bahia Santa Maria, a rhumbline distance of 240 miles. It was slated to start at 8 a.m., although many stragglers hadn't even gotten their hooks up by that hour. Again, wind was almost nonexistent at the appointed hour, so again the Grand Poobah declared a rolling start. It was a liitle spooky, though, that almost immediately a gentle offshore breeze began to build. At 8:05 the rolling start was called off and spinnakers began popping open left, right and center. During the morning hours most crews settled into a lazy routine, playing the light wind as they slowly glided south. But aboard the big Swan Cygnus Montanus there was all sorts of excitement. Twelve miles south of the starting line her crew fought an hour-and-ahalf-long Hemingway-esque battle with a 9-foot marlin before finally bringing the monster aboard for measurement (via a halyard), then setting it free. The breeze held in the 8- to 10-knot range through the morning, then
built into the high teens by late afternoon, yielding spectacular sailing conditions under mostly clear skies. Commanders' Weather reported an odd situation with a weak high to the north of us and a weak low to the south, with messy, hard-to-predict pressure in between — their computer models didn't know what to make of it. At the time it was blowing 30 knots in Cabo as a
"With the moon out and the Milky Way twinkling, last night was magic." result of a "circulation" farther south. But all that was expected to be a faded memory by the time the fleet arrived five days later. The breeze got very light during the wee hours, but by the time of the morning net, it had piped up to the low teens again, putting smiles on the faces of fleet members as they hoisted their spinnakers yet again. During the morning roll call we learned that several boats were having mechanical problems. The Rubber Duckies crew earned good Samaritan points for delaying their start from Turtle Bay to recharge batteries and upgrade wiring on Frank Murphy's San Diego-based Cabo Rico 38 Truant. Ethan Johnson's Seattle-based Catalina 30 Golden Eagle had been delayed in San Diego, but finally caught the fleet in Turtle Bay only to experience engine problems there that would force her to sail the rest of the way to Cabo. But she wasn't alone in that predicament. Paul and Celeste Carpenter's West Coastbased Valiant 40 The Beguine lost the use of her tranny and, as explained earlier, the engine on Rich Pomeroy's Flying Carpet was kaput also. What amplified the challenges he faced, however, was that one of his two crewmen had volunteered to help out the Portlandbased Hans Christian 38 Tillie when one of her crew had to depart suddenly at Turtle Bay due to a family emergency. And Pomeroy's remaining crewman found another ride when he realized that Flying Carpet might get hung up in Turtle Bay awaiting engine repairs. Luckily, though, there was plenty of wind on most of the course for even the engine- and trannyless boats to keep moving. As the water temperature con-
The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.