Baja Ha Ha vs Baja Bash – One Journey, Two Directions
Sailing is currently one of the world’s fastest growing hobbies. Every year at the end of October there is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a journey with other people who have the same interest. Sailors are invited to take part in a boat rally from San Diego, California to Cabo San Lucas, México. The event first began in 1994, and has gradually built up momentum due to the ease of signing up and making friends within the boating community. The 750 mile journey has had in excess of 10,000 participants since its inception, and continues to grow each year.
The Baja Ha Ha is a family event, and sailors of all ages can enjoy in the festivities. Organisers’ main aim is to ensure that everyone arrives safely in Cabo San Lucas, enjoying the journey along the way. Any boat that is over 27 feet and has been designed for ocean sailing, and is being properly maintained, is welcome to join. Participants will need to sign-up in advance and single-handing is not allowed. Each boat will need to have at least two crew members with overnight offshore experience, who are in good health and physical condition. Organisers do recommend four or more members per boat, due to the speed and intensity of the journey. Typical sailing conditions along the way are light-to-moderate following winds, and small-to-moderate seas. Weather forecasts are also passed along by roll call each morning, to ensure that participants know the conditions they will be sailing in.
The rally normally begins with a Costume Kick-off Party in San Diego, and there are at least two beach parties along the way. These take place in Turtle Bay, a lovable little fishing village where sailors can enjoy some time venturing out, and Bahia Santa Maria, a secluded spot which only attracts visitors during the boats expected stop. Rests periods are timed so that even those on boats that are lagging behind will spend at least a day and a half on shore. The crew will also need to be self-sufficient for the entire length of the journey.
Even though Baja Ha Ha refers to the rally, Baja Bash refers to the route that is taken from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego. Even though the return journey is more difficult that the rally, participants normally have few incidents as the seas are calmest in November and December. The voyage back to San Diego can take between 10 and 14 days, depending on the boat’s speed and whether or not there are stops. Cruisers also take this route during April and May, to trade in California, and many face turbulent weather conditions, spending long periods resting at the halfway point of Turtle Bay.