Thursday, November 16, 2017

Baja Ha-Ha Wrap-Up

I wrote a blog post for each of the three legs of the Baja Ha-Ha, but I don’t feel I wrapped up my reporting for that journey properly. It was a really enjoyable trip. Nothing broke on the boat, nobody was injured and no harsh words were spoken, a winning trifecta that in my experience is rarely achieved when sailing. It was fun to sail a monohull again, a good experience to serve as crew vs. captain, and Gary and Eric were great company.

I asked each of them to recount the best part of the trip for them, their biggest mistake and to summarize it all in one word.

For Gary, the best part of the trip was the 10 hours spinnaker run on Leg 2 and how well the boat worked. “We could have used more wind, but the spinnaker runs were worth waiting for.” He enjoyed the camaraderie of the crew. He also has “great respect for Dinty Moore”, the brand of prepared meals we ate for dinner almost every night. Gary’s biggest mistake was flubbing the set up for the  second spinnaker hoist, which was quickly resolved but didn’t look good.

Eric enjoyed the wildlife most. He liked the huge pod of spinner dolphins that surrounded the boat one afternoon and the half dozen of dolphins that played in our bow wave for an hour one night. He really enjoyed the show put on by the pelicans, seals and dolphins one morning while we were anchored in Bahia Tortuga and some local fishermen were netting sardines; all the animals wanted a piece of that action and it was surprising there were any sardines left in the net. “National Geographic stuff,” Eric called it. Eric also took honors for highest boat speed, surfing at 10 knots one night on a glorious broad reach. He also played a serious game of beach volleyball, not doubt emboldened by the tequila shots served at half time.  None of us could think of a significant mistake that Eric made, although he did lose his flip flops coming back to the boat after the party at Bahia Santa Maria and dropped a piece of his electric razor overboard. 

I enjoyed just taking each moment as it came, whether sailing or on land, with no expectations. I just let events unfold as they did and navigated them the best I could at the time. I think I sailed the boat really well, dialed in my spinnaker trimming, piloted skillfully into anchorages and taught Gary a useful thing or two about his chartplotter.  The three of us worked well together as a team, with little drama and few words spoken. I also enjoyed the dolphins, as I always do.  My biggest mistake was leaving the autopilot set to track the wind at the end of my watch instead of keeping a constant heading. As the wind blowed in all direction as it died for the night, the autopilot started turning the boat in circles, much to Eric’s surprise and displeasure.

I’m very grateful to Gary for inviting me to crew on Mustique and glad to have another Ha-Ha under my belt.

After this experience I’m thinking that I will look for more opportunities to crew on other peoples’ boats. It would broaden my sailing experience and I like the idea of sailing in different locations around the world on different boats.

Eric and Gary. The trip started of cold in northern Baja.

Sunset on the sail to Bahia Tortugas.

Bahia Tortugas Beach Party 2015...
...and in 2017.

Bahia Tortugas

The captain and crew of Mustique at Bahia Santa Maria with the Ha-Ha fleet in the background.

Eric and Gary on one of our spinnaker runs in much warmer weather than at the start.

After 11 days at sea...
...and all cleaned up.