Cruising to Cabo on the Baja Ha-Ha

Words by Heidi Benson

Found in the 2024 Spring Issue

How many boaters do you know that dream of going cruising but never actually get around to it? It’s not as simple as just cutting the dock lines and heading to sea! There’s boat prep, life prep and for many, the biggest roadblock is fear of the unknown and anxiety of doing it alone.

For 29 years, the Baja Ha-Ha has inspired thousands of boaters to “Cruise to the Cape” in an annual rally from San Diego, California to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Some turn around and bash back north to the states after the two-week cruise, but many use it as a jumping point to continue up the Sea of Cortez or head over to the Mexican mainland, and beyond. 

The brainchild of Richard Spindler, founder and former owner of San Francisco Bay Area sailing magazine, Latitude 38, the Ha-Ha sets a start date after the Mexican hurricane season in the fall. There’s a small non-refundable entry fee per boat so there’s skin in the game right away. Included in the fee are invitations to the pre-rally crew parties in Northern and Southern California to connect skippers with those looking for rides, a rally burgee and other swag, and access to a Facebook group to ask questions and share knowledge. 

But the best part of the Ha-Ha is being part of a large flotilla covering approximately 800 nautical miles in three legs over two weeks, with rest-stops and beach parties along the route. It has formed life-long friendships and created marriages and babies. This is a rally, not a race. The organizers don’t make a lot of rules, other than asking all boats to report their position daily via long-distance two-way communication when at sea and participating in the net when in port. You can use your engine whenever you like or sail the entire way, choose a coastal or off-shore course, and decide to attend shore parties or relax on board…..

              Baja Ha-Ha

 

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