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Vitesse473 11-18-2008 10:56 PM

Baja Ha Ha - Do you Easterner's Care?
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.

smackdaddy 11-18-2008 11:17 PM

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Vito - that sounds like an awesome sail, man. I truly envy you. Congratulations on the win! And more importantly - congrats on a killer trip.

How was the trip home?

billyruffn 11-19-2008 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by Vitesse473 (Post 404271)
Just completed the 15th annual Baja Ha Ha, ........ I am planning to do another.......

You didn't tell us what they do between the legs of this "race". Why do they stop? Could your desire to repeat the adventure have anything to do with the beach parties? Tell us something about the booze and bikinis. :D

camaraderie 11-19-2008 12:26 PM

Hey Vitesse....congrats on the finish and the nice trip! Do you plan to head back north? I understand that is more difficult than the downhill run. How long will you stay put in the Sea of Cortez?

Here on the right coast there is of course the annual ICW migration where several thousand boats transit to warm weather at this time of year using the ICW or perhaps a couple of jumps outside. There are several races to bermuda each spring from newport RI and the Chesapeake...and our own Daniel Goldberg organizes a rally to Bermuda in June from the NY area.
The other major distance rally/race is the Caribbean1500 run the first week of November out to around Bermuda and then down to Tortola which takes about 2 weeks. There is also a race out of St. Pete to the Yucatan...Regata del Sol al Sol ...which takes place each late April. That's about all of the long distance ocean events on the east coast that I can think of. I'm sure others will chime in with more.
We will be interested in your further adventures there AND the trip home so keep us posted!

JohnRPollard 11-19-2008 05:01 PM

That sounds like a great race. You prepared well and it paid off. Congratulations!

Most of our long-distance east coast races are off-shore, rather than coastal. But there is a bi-annual Annapolis-Newport race, which serves as a feeder race for the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and Block Island Race Week. It is held opposite years from the bi-annual Newport-Bermuda race.

The Annapolis-Newport Race, from the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) website:


The course heads south for 120 miles from Annapolis to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, then east to the Chesapeake Light and hence northeast to Newport. After navigating the shallows and currents of the Bay, navigators have to decide if they want to sail the rumbline to Newport, go in towards the shore or head further into the Ocean.The record time for the race is held by Carrera, Joseph Dockery's Farr 60 skippered by Chris Larson, which set a new course record in 2001 of 42 hours, 58 minutes, 12 seconds. This broke the previous record set by Chessie Racing, George Collins' Santa Cruz 70, in 1999 at 47 hours and 45 minutes, which in turn had beaten a 12 year old record (53 hours and 31 minutes) of Starlight Express, a ULDB 70.

Vitesse473 11-20-2008 06:01 PM


Originally Posted by camaraderie (Post 404456)
Do you plan to head back north? I understand that is more difficult than the downhill run. How long will you stay put in the Sea of Cortez?

Plan is to keep the boat in La Paz until April so we can do atleast 3 commuter cruises. Two with other couples, and one week for the kids spring break. There is the annual Sea of Cortez race week at the end of April, which I am hoping to attend (slowly hinting to the wifey). After that, I'll sail her back to Cabo where a delivery captain and crew will "Baja Bash" to San Diego. I can't afford 10-15 days off work to knock my teeth out. Once in San Diego, I'll do a couple of long weekend cruises to Catalina Island, and then head up to Santa Barbara where we have family (yes, evacuated from the big blaze, but house was spared). After that, I plan to do the bash around Point Conception on up to San Francisco and then back into the SF Bay delta where she becomes our weekend condo.

To answer the question of why the Ha Ha has stops. Pretty simple really. about 1/4 of the fleet likes the racing aspect, and the rest like to take it slow. It's great to have 3 legs so you can start/finish three times. They give extra weighting to those who sail the entire leg(s). The social aspect along the way just makes it all the more fun. Heading offshore for 2-3 nights at a time is fun and challenging, but it's nice to look forward to all the boats meeting up in one spot for the boat and beach party's. It really allows the crew to rest up and have a good time. It also extends the trip into 10 days, as opposed to 4-5.

Will I do it again. You betcha! Probably not again next year, but certainly the year after. I hope to bring my kids along next time, which will force me to mellow out and go slow(er). The 10 or so kids that attended this one really seemed to have a great time. They also deliver (as we did) school supplies to local Mexican towns that have nothing. That's pretty neat!

Would love to do one of those East Coast events some day. I'd prefer the offshore ones, not the ICW route. Bluewater, fresh breeze and fishing is contagious!

CharlieCobra 11-20-2008 06:04 PM

Vitesse, ya didn't happen to see a Hans Christian 33 named Seahorse in that group did ya? If so, tell Cam to call me.

smackdaddy 11-20-2008 06:23 PM

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Wow - Vite, that sounds like heaven, man. Good times.

Vitesse473 11-20-2008 07:16 PM


Originally Posted by CharlieCobra (Post 405178)
Vitesse, ya didn't happen to see a Hans Christian 33 named Seahorse in that group did ya? If so, tell Cam to call me.

I don't recall hearing that boat name on the morning net. I will check the roster. 180 boats signed up, but only 130 or so made the trip.

EDIT: The roster has a HC 41 named Seahorse owned by none other than Cam Campbell from Sonora, TX. I still don't recall hearing that boat name, but we did have lots of issues with our VHF, so curious if they were there and we missed them.

btw, speaking of VHF, I suspect my cable connector at the mast is the cause for my VHF not working from day 2 onward. Luckily I had a handheld and a sat phone. Just one more reason not to add a mast base connector, or the splitter to run with AIS.

CharlieCobra 11-20-2008 08:52 PM

That's Cam's boat but it's an HC 33 not a 41. Sounds like a typo.

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