Epilogue, November 11, 2016

Dear Friends—All wonderful things eventually come to an end. Each member of the crew wrote the following segments. From these, we hope that you get a flavor of how much this trip meant to us.

Avghi

What an amazing adventure!  The 3am-6am watches were my favorites. The stars were so close it felt like you could reach out and touch them. Melody and I were on the same watch, and on our first night we saw 7 shooting stars.  As Harmony parts the water with her strong bow, from the cockpit you can see the phosphorescence dancing along-side the boat. So beautiful. Towards the end of the journey, we saw sea turtles, dolphins, flying fish and some kind of fish jumping like a dolphin, but we could not figure out what it was.

I liked to lay on the bow of the boat in the daytime and reach down to touch the waves with my hand. We had one dolphin play at the bow for a while. I was lying there watching him, and he was so close I could almost touch him. He turned and looked up at me. It was a very sweet moment.

Harmony was majestic. She would slice through the ocean and part the seas. She held up very well and needed only a few fixes along the way even though she did take a beating the first two days out.

I would sail anywhere with this crackpot crew, the “Drunken Kitty Cat Pirate” Melody and trusty Captain, “Admiral” Jeannea our very organized purser, “Michael” Mike, Barbara was our Chief Boatswains Mate in charge of food and stores, and “Monkey” was me.

We are 3 hours out from crossing the finish line, it’s a bitter sweet moment…

Barbara—To be added later.

Jeannea

This was not your Grandmother’s trip! But here I am anyway, and I have been delighted to be on board. After the sendoff party in San Diego, we dashed for the start line along with 150 other boats, fog horns blaring. It was incredible to experience.  Our first 2 days out at 50 plus miles from land with gale force winds and large following seas we hand-steered over 56 hours. Truly awesome! We have watched sea turtles paddling by, dolphins and 2 whale spouts along with dozens of boats sailing south. The Grand Poohbah who organizes this amazing race every year gets kudos for communicating with the fleet and offering valuable information about out different ports of call.

Our meals have been yummy and plentiful thanks to our “A-number-one” provisioner, Barbara. Avghi has been trying to teach me spinnaker and gennaker handling but I refused to learn. I stand sedately at the helm and steer while she and Melody jump up and down on the foredeck making them fly. Beautiful to see the kite flying.

Our lone male crew Mike, came equipped with an infrared scope (FLIR). You cannot fathom how comforting it was to me to have him sitting on the bow able to see crab pots etc. as we entered harbors and dropped anchor in the very, very dark.

Harmony has performed beautifully thanks to the rigorous outfitting and countless hours of preparation that our Skipper Melody put into maintaining and upgrading the boat and her systems and has steered the ship and her crew safely and happily for 750 nautical miles. Huzzah!!!!

Michael

As the Scribe for this trip, dear Reader, you have already heard plenty of my observations. But I have to say something about this crew. As the lone guy on the crew, men and women at the Ha Ha parties would sidle up to me and ask, “What’s it like?” My answer was always the same. It was fantastic. I now feel like I have four more sisters in my close family. All of these amazing women know more about sailing than I do, I have learned a tremendous amount from them and I will always be grateful. We have jokingly been talking about sailing down to the Panama Canal and into the Gulf of Mexico. No joke. Call me. I would drop everything and join them.

Melody

Fini! The Baja Ha Ha portion of this great adventure has ended. Our final leg came to the perfect conclusion with a fast sail past Cabo Falso, a tuna fish sandwich, and lots of laughter (and photos of course by my best mate Barbara-oh and she made the tuna salad too).

This was a bucket list trip for me. I could not have achieved this dream without the incredible support of my crew. They tolerated me, cared for me, and even obeyed me when the situation called for it. I could not have done this without every one of them. Each brought a special talent, knowledge, willingness, and maybe a little craziness to round out our merry band. I have deep respect and eternal affection for Jeannea, Avghi, Mike, and a lifelong bond with Barbara that will bring me fond memories of this trip for years to come.

As I reflect on that special thing that brought all of us together to take on this challenge, I’d be remiss if I did not recognize the Women’s Sailing Association’s role in enabling and empowering us to try something outside our usual comfort zones. The Ha Ha fleet is lucky to have among its members several WSA members who have spread humor, help, and expertise across many boats along these many miles. In addition to the Harmony crew we had Jules Miller, Skip Korsgaard, Hans Kosten, Jen Huszcza, Diane Hubner, a long ago member named Margret and our newest member Greg Himes.   We are all a hearty (smelly) bunch…safe and sound in Cabo and stronger because of the friendships we’ve made along the way and our collective desire to empower women through sailing.

Next stop…margaritas.