A Day in the Life of the Ha-Ha

Light wind has the fleet mostly motorsailing on the first leg of the exodus to Cabo San Lucas.

Mark Pillsbury

Light wind has the fleet mostly motor-sailing on the first leg of the exodus to Cabo San Lucas.

My East Coast notion of the Baja Ha-Ha being a laid-back jaunt down the Pacific coast proved to be just that on our first day at sea in the 24th annual running of this rally to the Sea of Cortez.

The 12-knot breeze that sent us skittering off the starting line in San Diego slowly gave out to a whisper over the course of the afternoon. Cloudy skies kept the temperature moderate and a drizzle that threatened us all morning held off as we sailed past the urban sprawl of Tijuana on a course that kept us a couple of miles off the coast and away from any obstacles or kelp.

The big challenge for the afternoon was untangling the 200 feet of parachute cord that Skipper Steve brought for fishing line. Once we had it wrapped around a re-purposed plastic toolbox, we attached a strand of monofilament and trailed a lure behind. As luck would have it, a good-sized bonito decided to join us for dinner. For the record, Kurt’s fresh fish tacos are a heck of a way to start a trip.

With four of us aboard, Skipper Steve decided on a two-hour watch schedule. It promised easy work, with lots of rest. By the end of my 1700-1900 stint, the wind petered out and an hour later, we rolled in the jib and switched to motorboat mode. The Seawind 1190 Meriweather is outfit with a pair of 25-horsepower Hondas. All night (and it looks like most of today and possibly tonight) we alternated motors, two hours on port, two hour on starboard. So far, with a breeze under 6 knots, we’ve kept a steady 5- to 6-knot pace, while burning a little less than a gallon of gas an hour.

With a promise of sun in the morning forecast, but no breeze in the near future, our main activities today may be stopping for a swim and praying that another bonito wants to dine with us this evening. Our position is just off Cabo San Quintin, Mexico. We have 193 nautical miles until we’ve earned a beer on the beach at Bahia Tortugas, the first rest-and-party stop on our way to Cabo San Lucas. Life, as they say, is good.

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