Log Books






Cruising Life

Press Clippings


Cruising Tech


Cruising Plans











Leaving San Diego

October 29, 2000

We’ve had the pleasure of living in balmy San Diego (sun! palm trees!) for the entire month of October, except for a weeklong trip back home, but time is running out. Raven will be part of the Baja Baja map (14K) Ha-Ha rally fleet departing on October 31st, so we, along with all the other cruisers, are frantically preparing for the biggest adventure so far in our cruising lives. Happily, Paul and Michelle arrived in San Diego yesterday and will be with us for the entire rally. We’re three months and 1,500 miles from home, and the fun is just beginning.

The harbor is crammed to the gills with cruising sailboats, only a fraction of which are among the 130-boat Ha-Ha fleet. All month, we’ve been watching the boats stream in. Estimates are from 400 to 1,000 US boats heading south to Mexico this winter! No marina slips to be found, no moorings left, so the latecomers have to anchor out in the harbor. We are very lucky to have scored a slip in the beautiful Kona Kai Marina, with full access to the adjacent hotel’s facilities (restaurant, spa, internet access). And, we’ve also signed up to dock Raven here next summer while we’re back in Tacoma for Paul & Michelle’s wedding.

Job list and provisioning

Signe is, of course, responsible for provisioning, and she has taken on the boat's waterline as a personal challenge. Sinking the red boot top (stripe at the waterline) is her current goal. By the evidence, she is quite firm in her belief that they don't actually sell food in Mexico. She’s even made me pull up the floorboards to find a place for 60 liters of extra water! The latest rumor running through the fleet is that canned tomatoes and soft toilet paper can’t be found in Mexico. We expect tomorrow’s newspaper headline to be: “Cruisers Raid Safeway, Clean Out Tomatoes & TP!”

The job lists are long, and everyone on a boat is working at a frenzied pace. The major dilemma for all the boats is: Should we bring it? ‘It’ could be TP or a spare water pump for the engine or a vacuum food bagger. The morning cruiser net on the VHF radio has check-ins of all the boats, then we pass along information for each other (‘Where can I get a head gasket for my Honda outboard?’ ‘Who can help me get my radio email working?’ ‘Where’s the cheapest diesel fuel?’) Then “Buy-Sell-Trade” for an hour. ‘Anybody want to buy a small Yamaha outboard? Needs work.’ I figure that each part we carry (hundreds; I had to put them into a computer database to track them all) is a good luck charm: if we carry the part, the original won’t go bad.

Baja has lots of sport fishing for tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, and even marlin, so Raven is going to take a serious crack at trolling for a few good fish. Signe says I outdid myself in the fishing tackle department — big, beefy rods and reels, big lures, etc., etc. — and that each fish will be worth about $150. I say her estimate is missing a zero! (And then what do we do after we’ve caught that 40 pound tuna? Sushi for 150? – S.)

Signe recruits a crew member (76K)After a day spent getting Mexican visas and fishing licenses (yes, it took most of the day!), we took one ‘day off’ and went to the wonderful San Diego Zoo. Best we’ve ever seen. Spent five hours there and only saw a quarter of it. Signe even found us a new crew member (see photo) who will be especially good on those foredeck jobs. ‘Deck ape’ is a standard crew position in sailboat racing, so now we have one, too!

Tijuana border traffic (60K)Another day, we made the trek through the mess at the border into Tijuana to get our Mexican ham radio licenses. It was unexpectedly easy with a good taxi driver, and a pair of giggly Mexican ladies in the Secretaria de Communicaciones y Transportes who spoke little Ingles but knew exactly why we were there. Ten minutes and we were off to the gringo shopping district on the Avenida de la Revolución. Big mistake. Touts for everything from tacos to leather jackets accosting us all along the route. The best pitch we heard: “Come and buy something you don’t need!”

Marvelous Mark rides the rig (17K)Good buddy Mark Lindeman from Gig Harbor flew down to put on our new jib halyard swivel, and handle some other technical problems. Mark is a terrific rigger and fun to have aboard as a guest. So with a jib again for the first time since mid-September, we took a test sail off Point Loma in light breezes, bright sunlight, and a six-foot ocean swell. We were doing 6 knots in 8 knots of wind and feeling pretty good about our performance. Can’t wait for the Ha-Ha!

Yamaha gets striped (61K)As an anti-theft technique, Signe painted garish red stripes on both our outboard motors. I nearly had a heart attack watching my beautiful motors being defaced, but now admit it doesn’t look as bad as I had feared (is that called ‘damning with faint praise’?). One looks a bit like the Princeton Tigers football helmet Paul used to wear!

Baja Ha-Ha cruiser rally

The big Baja Ha-Ha rally leaves from San Diego at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, October 31st. We’ll reach Cabo San Lucas, 750 miles away, on November 9th with two rest-and-party stops along the way. At least 120 boats will be in the fleet, so you’d think that the Ha-Ha’s departure would empty the marinas of San Diego, but we’re only a small part of the total heading south this year. You might also think Raven would be one of the largest and fastest boats in the Ha-Ha fleet, but you’d be wrong. They start with a 94-foot sloop(!), and there are two 60-to-70 foot catamarans, plus a couple of monohull raceboats longer and faster than we are. We’ll be doing well to be in the top twenty finishers, but hey, who cares?! We’re cruising!

Witches of the Ha-Ha (37K)Ha-Ha enthusiast (47K)To give you an idea of the ‘tone’ of the Ha-Ha, the main pre-start event is a Halloween party, with Raven's Quidditch Team (45K) costumes required. All four of us are going as the Raven Quidditch team, complete with shirts, brooms (Signe’s is a Nimbus 2000, of course), and wizard hats made by Signe and Michelle. Haven’t read Laughing Ha-Ha-ers (56K) the Harry Potter books? You’re missing a lot of fun.

  Jesters of 'North Road' (32K)      Ha-Ha Snowmen (38K)

For news on Raven and the Baja Ha-Ha, check out the Latitude 38 sailing magazine — the main sponsor — website at www.latitude38.com. Either: 1) use the ‘Get your Ha-Ha here” chili pepper link; or 2) try ‘Lectronic Latitude’ (upper right corner) to see the latest news and photos. Look for Raven’s blue, green, and red spinnaker.

While here, we met up again with our Canadian friends from the well-organized Bluewater Cruising Association. A few are in the Ha-Ha, but most are sailing south independently to avoid the crush. We had dinner with a bunch of them at the San Diego Yacht Club (yacht clubs have a nice custom of welcoming each other’s members). We had a bit too much of a good time, so next time we’ll have to use a different name!

Where is Raven now?

From now on, try http://winlink.findu.com/k7jt on your web browser. K7JT is my amateur radio call sign, and that website will give you some maps showing where Raven is located. Note how old the position report is, though, before you start to worry; sometimes it takes a long time for the computer to update our latitude and longitude.

Our next report will be from Cabo San Lucas.

Wish us luck!

Warm regards . . . Jan

Previous log    Next log


                                                                              Home | Log Books | Photos | Videos | Raven | Crew

                                                                          Cruising Life | Press Clippings | ChartsCruising Tech | FAQ