Baja Ha-Ha 2005

The crew

Race start
Leg 1

Our spinnaker

Yellow Tail

Beach Party
Turtle Bay

Bahia Santa Maria
from the summit

Rum tasting
Bahia Santa Maria

Ashore for lunch
Bahia Santa Maria

Beginning of Leg 3

Linda on Leg 3

Land's End
Cabo San Lucas

Second Place

ATVs on the Baja beaches

Well, we had a pretty uneventful October. We completed some more work on the boat to prepare for the Baja Ha Ha. We also made a quick trip to Albuquerque and then went to North Carolina to see Drue at the University of North Carolina. We took Brie and her husband Tim out for a day sail in the bay, we got together with old friends Marilyn and Bill Bateman, and we looked up Priscilla and John McKay whom we met in Alaska this past summer.

On October 28 Dwight and Karen Dorsey flew in to be part of our crew, and on October 30 we attended a costume party for the participants of the Baja Ha Ha. That evening we hoisted the dinghy onto the deck and prepared the boat for off-shore sailing. The morning of October 31 at 11 a.m. we crossed the start line just outside of San Diego Bay. There was a brisk wind, and we had a great sail for the first 30 hours, but then wind died way down so we finally started our engine. We caught a beautiful 40-pound yellow tail tuna and later saw a shark feeding near a patch of kelp. We fixed some tuna for lunch, and it was amazingly good. 

We arrived in Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortuga) at 9:30 in morning on November 3. Turtle Bay is a beautiful bay with a small town. We took our dinghy ashore to buy some diesel, and this turned into an adventure. First, we had to get the dinghy to the pier, then the boat boys helped us tie up. We then had to climb up a steel ladder to the top of the pier and place our jerry jugs in line to be filled. We had some time to kill so we went to the beach for a cerveza (beer) and talked with some of the other crews. When our jugs were filled, we took them back to the boat, and we picked up Dwight and Karen so that we could go ashore to have dinner in town.

The next day we went to the beach for a pot luck, games, and exploring. We played some volley ball, ate some lunch, and went for a walk along the beautiful beach. It was a gorgeous day, and we met some more of the people on other crews.

November 5 began Leg 2. The winds were light so we had a rolling start. Boats were allowed to motor up to 5 knots for the first hour, and then we were strictly under sail. Again we started off with pretty good wind, but the next day it died out in the afternoon so we were back to motoring.  We had encounters with several cruise ships during the night toward the end of this leg, and Steve had to call one on the radio to ask exactly what its intention was. The ship responded so we had no problem. We have found the cruise ships to be very friendly and accommodating. The good news is that at night you can see a cruise ship coming for miles because they are lit up like a casino in Las Vegas.

We arrived at Bahia Santa Maria at 5:30 a.m. on November 7. We were pretty tired from standing watches, so we all slept for a few hours that morning. We just hung out on the boat for the rest of the day cleaning up and washing down the decks. The next morning we went to shore so that Steve and Dwight could hike to the top of the hill, and Karen and I wanted to look for shells on the beach. When we were coming in, the dinghy got pitched again so we all got wet. Once we were on shore, a path through the surf became quite obvious, and we didn't have any more trouble after that. 

The guys made it up and back in about an hour and a half so we headed back to the boat to get ready for the afternoon lunch on the beach. Before that, however, there was a rum tasting party at "Profligate," which is the boat for the organizers of the race. Pussers Rum contributed the rum, and we had a choice of grog, a painkiller, or a shot. Afterward they were giving away cups, and I wanted some for the boat. When they threw some our way, I asked Steve to get them (meaning bring the dinghy around); however, Steve simply dove in for the cups in order to grab them before they sank. For that feat, Steve received an official Pussers Rum flag. We were quite pleased about that.

Around 1 o'clock in the afternoon we went ashore to have lunch. This is a very, very small place with just a few families, but they were cooking lobster, shrimp, fish, pinto beans, and rice. They had been working for about 12 hours preparing all the food, and it was absolutely delicious. There was even a band. Afterward we returned to the boat to get her ready to leave.

On November 9 we got up at 5 a.m. and got ready to go. The last leg of the race began at 6 a.m., and we had nice winds. We began to put our spinnaker up (a light air sail) but discovered a tear in it, so we sailed wing-on-wing with the jib poled out.  Steve and Dwight had the fishing line out and around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, a large marlin took the lure and bit right through the 300 test line. Steve lost the fish (we wouldn't have been able to get it aboard anyway) and his favorite lure.

We sailed the whole last leg of the race and crossed the finish line at 1:17 p.m. on November 10. The last 5 miles were the worst as the wind died, and it was everything we could do to keep the boat moving.  After we crossed the finish line, we started to motor in order to anchor by dark. We continued in to Cabo San Lucas and anchored the boat off the beach at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Dwight and Karen had a room at Bahia Condos so we all went there to shower (oh, the wonder of unlimited water!) and dress for dinner. After dinner we went to Squid Row for a cerveza, but we didn't last very long. We were all pretty tired from the overnight sail.

The next day there was a party on the beach at Mangoes. We had lunch and relaxed for the afternoon. The weather was hot, but the water was the perfect temperature.

Saturday evening the awards banquet was held down at the marina. The captain and first mate were called up by divisions and the ribbons were handed out. We were surprised and thrilled to learn that we took 2nd in the Enchilada division. Karen and Dwight were great crew and made things aboard a whole lot easier.

We spent 3 additional days in Cabo. Dwight and Karen rented ATVs before so we decided to do that one afternoon. We rode in a bus to a place about 20 minutes outside of Cabo. We then got our ATVs and the group took off. The ride to the beach was difficult because of all the ruts in the paths. Once we got to the beach, however, it was much more fun. We rode up and down the beach and up and over the sand dunes. It was a hot day, but we all had a good time.

We left Cabo San Lucas headed for Mazatlan on Tuesday, November 15 around 9:45 in the evening. This trip will be covered in the next posting around December 1.