hese are the golden years" might as well have been the theme for the 26th annual Baja Ha-Ha — sponsored by the fine people at Latitude 38. For no matter whether the participants were 7 or 77, male or female, there were lots of memorable moments in the Ha-Ha. As Walt and Linda Dreschler of the Everett, Washington, Moody 47 Pellucidar put it, "We had a blast, having to pinch ourselves that we were actually at the start, sailing almost all of leg one and all of leg two, which were much longer distances than we ever sailed before. It was the experience of a lifetime; we had a blast and met cruisers who will be friends for life." There were two new features to this year's Ha-Ha. First, adding a third stop at Man o' War Cove. And second, having to deal with the prospect of the remnants of what once had been Tropical Storm Raymond. In the previous 50 years, no significant storm had ever crossed the Ha-Ha route when the fleet was passing through. Given the uncertainty of what became a depression — and the unfortunate fact that nobody maintains 150 open slips in Cabo just for the arrival of the Ha-Ha — the fleet ended up being fragmented before the start of the third leg. Fifteen boats stayed in Man o' War Cove in the care of much-experienced bluewater cruiser 'Polar Bear David', who was aboard Jim Carter's Catalina 34 Ripple. David has sailed tens of thousands of ocean miles with his Tayana 52, has rounded both horns, and has intimate knowledge of Turtle Bay. Fifty-seven boats, about four times as many as last year, were accommodated by the hard-working staff at Marina Cabo San Lucas, thanks to the
never-ending communication efforts of Assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven on the Gulfstar 50 Talion. Others found shelter in slips at Puerto Los Cabos or anchored inside the waters of that marina's basin. A smaller fourth group hustled the 300 miles around to La Paz. No matter where the boats went, all were sheltered in place well in advance of what was left of the depression. None were hit by more than 20 knots of wind, and most saw much less. All, however, were drenched by torrential rain. Thanks to three of Cabo's annual five days of rain falling on the scheduled days of the third leg of the Ha-Ha, Saturday's prize-giving ceremony had, for the first time in a quarter century, to be cancelled. It so happened that the Profligate crew was eating in Cabo's Mi Casa restaurant, which features both a covered and large alfresco dining area, during the time period the awards ceremony normally would have been held. Torrential rain, driven by gusts in the 30s, suddenly drenched the welldressed alfresco diners, splattering them with bougainvillea flowers. Watching them flee their meals and seats was as good as any slapstick comedy we've ever seen.
total of 121 boats with 464 sailors started the 26th annual, 750-mile Baja Ha-Ha from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with stops at Turtle Bay, Bahia Santa Maria and, for the first time, Man o' War Cove in Mag Bay. Jeff Berry's Bristol 29.9 Whirled Peas was the smallest entry. Stephen Sidaras and Lisa Wallace's Deerfoot 72 Deerfoot II from Austin, Texas, was the largest, because Rick Jakaus's Frers 111 Cyg-
Francesca Rand enjoys one of the many spectacular Paciﬁc sunsets aboard John Sweeney's Chance 55 'Glory'.
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BAJA HA-HA XXVI —
nus Montanus from Stockholm was a last-minute cancellation. The 13 multihulls represented a big drop from 25 last year. The smallest cat was Kyrie, a Prout Snowgoose 37 that has sailed around the world, with the Grieser family, from Juneau, Alaska. The largest cat, not counting the 63ft mothership Profligate, was Ticket to Ride, a sparkling new HH55 Cayman Islands-flagged carbon cat owned by Frank and Mary Grace Stich of Northern California. The single trimaran was Greg and Jeanne Carter's Novato-based homebuilt Farrier 36 Ravenswing. Onehundred boats flew spinnakers or gennakers; 21 were white sails only. The 26th Ha-Ha started with the Last Cheeseburgers in Paradise KickOff Costume Party in the West Marine superstore in San Diego. There were lots of great costumes, but for sightgag humor, none rivaled the oversized masks of Supreme Leader Kim Jongun and President Trump, as worn by Kevin and Katie of the Kauai-based
The December 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.