Who moves West Coast cruisers? Call Spindler + Kessler
Richard Spindler of San Francisco created the Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally, now in its 23rd year. Bruce Kessler of Marina del Rey organized the FUBAR Odyssey, now known as the CUBAR. Thanks to these two, more than 10,000 U.S. West Coast boaters have made the mythical “dream cruise” down to the tropics – specifically, to Mexico – because they participated in one of these loosely organized cruising groups.
“When we first started sailing down Baja,” said Spindler, founder of the publication Latitude 48, “nobody could have imagined, least of all me, that it would evolve
into the major boating event that it’s become. We called it the Ha-Ha because it
was just for fun.” Each fall, a fleet of 150
to 200 cruising sailboats departs from
San Diego and heads south, stopping to
anchor at protected bays along the Pacific
side of the Baja peninsula, with a finale
party at Cabo San Lucas. “Mexico is the
big draw,” he continued. “The wealth of
beautiful anchorages, the miles of pristine beaches, and the margaritas! Really,
it’s the Mexican people who’ve made
the Baja Ha-Ha a success. They’re very
welcoming to visitors.”
Former Hollywood director and racecar
driver Bruce Kessler started the FUBAR
(Fleet Underway to Baja Rally) for
the same reason, pleasure cruising in
company, except he created it to meet
the needs of 30 to 50 coastal-cruising
powerboats. In 2007, he and the Del Rey
Yacht Club organized the first semiannual powerboat cruise that headed 900
miles south along the Baja peninsula to
La Paz, Mexico.
“The toughest part for smaller powerboats is finding fuel when
and where they need it on Baja’s rugged coast,” said Kessler. “We
arrange diesel in advance, so short-legged boats can refuel along
the route.” The name was changed in 2014 to CUBAR, for Cruise
Underway to Baja Rally. The San Diego Yacht Club, which took
over organizing and hosting the event, is sponsoring the fall 2017
cruise, slated to start in early November, with exact dates yet to be
established. cubar.sdyc.org — PAT RAINS
’Tis the season for a
haunted submarine tour
For the third year, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc will welcome Halloween with its Haunted
Sub & Pub event. On October 28 and 29,
7 to 11 p.m., visitors can be led on a haunted submarine experience aboard USS
Cobia, the museum’s fully restored World
War II submarine.
“It’s just a fun, unique ‘haunted house’
experience,” says Karen Duvalle,
submarine curator for the museum.
Tours of Cobia are conducted seven
days a week throughout the year, allowing
visitors to see the bunks where men slept
above torpedoes, learn why most of the
crew showered with their clothes on, and
hear why submariners were the best-fed
members of the military.
For the Haunted Sub tours, the claus-
trophobic spaces on the submarine are
accented with spooky lighting, while muse-
um staff has fun surprising their visitors.
The museum advises the tour may not
be suitable for children under 10, but after
the tour, adults can hang out in the muse-
um’s Sub Pub and enjoy some Halloween-
themed refreshments at a cash bar.
or call (920) 684-0218. — R.A.
Happy anniversary, Coast Guard Auxiliary
In June, the Coast Guard’s all-volunteer service, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, celebrated 77
years of service. Made up of more than 28,000 uniformed civilian volunteers, the auxiliary
provides trained crews to augment the Coast Guard and enhance the safety and security
of our nation’s ports, waterways, and coastal regions. It also plays a role in the lives of
recreational boaters. Over the last five years, auxiliarists have performed 583,500 vessel-safety checks, taught 320,000 hours of boating-safety courses, conducted 809,000 hours
of public outreach, gave 2 million hours of administrative support, rescued $157 million in
property, and saved 785 lives while assisting 11,000 others. — R.A.
The Baja Ha-Ha
com) is scheduled
for October 30 to