Hey All –

So it was an eventful day yesterday. In a brief, our J/120 has sunk, but everyone is safe and sound.

The boat was heading south in the Baja-Ha-Ha with two instructors (Eugenie and Barry) and three students on our annual cruise south to our Puerto Vallarta location. They put into Ensenada briefly for some minor repairs (a loose wire in the wiring harness seems to have been the culprit), then headed back out Tuesday morning. You can see their posts below, and they seemed to be aclimating well to shipboard life. I got an email from them in the evening reporting that all was fine and they were making good time. They made the scheduled roll call in the morning at 9am, and all was fine…

Here is what I know from the brief conversations I have had with the crew: about 10am, they came across a pod of whales. Their behavior was described as ‘erratic.’ One or more of the whales struck the boat multiple times, and the boat began taking on water at a rapid pace. It sounds like, not surprisingly, most of the damage was around the rudder. They made an attempt to bail the boat and get a distress call out on SSB, but it was clear very quickly that the boat was a loss. They activated the EPIRB (emergency beacon), boarded the liferaft, and the boat was reportedly gone within 7 minutes of the strike.

I was in contact with the the USCG from the time the EPIRB went off. They did an absolutely stellar job. Within four hours of receiving the initial distress call, they reported that they had safely lifted all five sailors into the helicopter and were returning to San Diego. Eugenie has a bruised hand, but there were no other injuries. I personally am in shock… this is the stuff you read about but you think will never really happen. You can make all the preparations in the world, load boat with experienced sailors, and still have unexpected consequences. A bit humbling, to be sure. We all need to remember that when we go sailing, we really go to sea in every sense.

I know we will get a good debrief from the crew, and we’ll be sure to post more info and some ‘lessons learned,’ but I am tremendously relieved that everyone is safe. All of us here at J World are in deep gratitude to the folks of the USCG. Man, they run a great operation. And my appreciation goes out to Eugenie and Barry for a job well done, and to the crew who ended up with a lot more than they bargained for…

Anyway, that’s the latest report from here… the boat was a great boat. She was hull #9, the ex-Gannett, ex-Crosswave, now known simply as “J World.” She had a very sucessfull racing career on both coasts, and we sailed her some 10,000+ open ocean miles per year – not to mention subjecting her to all the abuses that students can dish out – and she took it in stride.

Anyway, thanks again to all of you out there for the support…

All the best,

Wayne Zittel

Productive Day

Lumpy here, so this will be short…
Turned back last nite for Ensenada. Couple of small problems that we thought would be easy to resolve there, harder later down the track. Loose wires in the alternator wiring harness and minor oil leaks. I discovered that the gooseneck pin was working itself out, too. Good to find that when we did!

Cooked a big breakfast: hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, etc, and were “back on the road” at 11:50, dest. Turtle Bay.

Big swell and building winds expected through the nite. We’ll make up time. All aboard are well and adjusting to the conditions.

We were treated to a show by hundreds of dolphin 17 miles off of Punta La Cuesta Del Gato: jumping and spinning their way up the coast. Pass a few sunfish, too.

Top speed so far, 9 knots by Ray. (Reefed main and jib)

Best to all!

Barry and the crew of J/World.

At 10/28/2009 1:15 AM (utc) our position was 31°16.57’N 116°47.84’W
Our course(COG) was 153T, and our speed was 7.1.
Wind was 19.6.
Wind direction WSW

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Great beginning to the Ha Ha on J/World….

At 10/26/2009 10:36 PM (utc) our position was 32°13.86’N 117°18.97’W
Our course(COG) was 191T, and our speed was 4.9.
Wind was 9.3.

Flying Fish, Catching Fish, Eating Fish….

All aboard are doing great… As I write, we are about 10 NM S of the Coronado Islands. After a light air start, we were kite reaching towards the islands. After enjoying a fresh salad, I hoisted a second kite – my yellow fish kite, not yet named. While flying about 60 ft off the stern, a real fish chomped on the the pink lure we were trailing. FISH ON! Eugenie pulled it aboard, said a bunch of nasty things to it. We sailed through the middle islands and she put the finishing touches on the filets. The wind picked up, we were able to turn south a bit, and time for some fresh Skip Jack sashimi. Judy prepared a wasabi inferno soy sauce!

Wind is lightening… a bit more swell…

Hopefully it will freshen a bit, but doesn’t seem likely at the moment.

Hi to our family and friends from Judy, Mark, Ray, Eugenie and me – The J/World Baja Ha-Ha Crew.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Ha Ha!

Well, the Baja Ha Ha hasn’t officially started, but the fun has.

Friday was boat projects: diagnosing the steaming light, deck light and stern lights that didn’t survive the Nor Cal weather last week and troubleshooting a leaking water tank. We managed to get 2/3 of our provisions taken care of on Saturday. It seems like sooo much stuff, but it will begin to dissapear, and the extras will be a good start for the Cabo to PV leg. We put the battens in the main and loaded the sail and flaked it on the boom. Off to the skippers meeting and one last mini-marathon at Von’s, and we have bread, eggs, fruit, veggies, cookies, crackers, etc. Rental car returned, and finally, the big send-off at West Marine this afternoon.

The boat parade starts at 10am and the gun goes off at 11am for the start of Baja Ha-Ha XVI. Next stop Turtle Bay. The weather forecast calls for a light first 24 hours, with building breeze into the night on Tuesday and significant overnight breeze. Time will tell.

It’s a great group of people aboard “Crosswave,” AKA “J/World.” More on all of us in the next posts, but we’re five: Judy, Mark, Ryan, Eugenie and me.

We’ll try to stay in touch, but that will depend if anyone’s up for typing! We’ll at least post some lat/lon updates along the way. You can copy and paste these on Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, etc. and track us.