Just completed the 15th annual Baja Ha Ha, which is a 750mile rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. This years event had 130+ boats heading south at the same time. Some fast some slow, some big some small. Either way, everyone seemed to have a great time coming together for this amazing event. Most of the people heading south are kicking off their cruises to Central America or the South Pacific (if not a circumnavigation or something else). See Latitude 38 - The West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine
for some great articles and photos.
Anyway, this was the longest trip I've taken on my B473. All the stress about systems and tankage is over. Everything but my VHF worked flawlessly. Most surprising was how well the Honda 2000w generator worked. My battery bank was providing 33-36 hrs of juice (loving the Link 20) before needing a recharge. Since we sailed the entire leg 2 and 3 (5 days of sailing), I didn't have (nor want) to run the alternator. Instead, I'd fire up the generator and let 'er rip while under sail (downwind). That little genny was powering my Magnum 100amp charger putting 85-92amps into my bank. I was amazed how quickly my bank recharged. One note is that the little genny would cut out if my hot water heater was on. I was basically pushing it to the limit, but it handled the job.
What an incredible trip. We won our division which consisted of a custom Hunter 50 (not to be confused with production Hunter models), several Catalina 470's, one other B473 and a Beneteau 47.7. We hit a top speed of 14.7knots in a 20kt breeze with 6-9foot seas. We averaged about 10kts. Keep in mind my secret weapon is a symmetrical spinnaker. It was stressful as hell flying this huge chute at all night in 18-20kts of wind, but in hindsight, was fun as hell! My adventurous side is content. Oddly enough, I had set a threshold with the crew that we would douse the symmetrical chute and fly the cruising asymmetrical if the wind hit 25kts. We saw only one gust to 24kts, so we kept going. However, 20kts was consistent.
Lastly, I know you right coasters have cruising and racing rally's from the Nor'East to warmer climates in the south. Aside from the PacCup and Transpac, this is the preeminent event for sailors on the West Coast. Can anyone over there describe your events? Maybe some reciprocals are in order. I am planning to do another Ha Ha, as well as the 2010 PacCup.