NEW CALEDONIA - My friend Don Tiffin, builder of Sabbatical and a sailor of much renown, may be pinned down in a tiny harbor on Noumea aboard his Tayana 42 sailboat, while a hurricane gets ready to kick the snot out of the place.
Don was supposed to leave that area weeks ago for the safety of Australia where he was ready to dock his boat and fly to the U.S. to help us with the haulout of Sabbatical in a couple of weeks. Don has helped us with the two previous haulouts and we have been looking forward to his company on this one too. Sabbatical Chief Engineer Scott 'Scotty' Noble is hoping Don beats the odds and comes in too, so Scotty can do a mind meld and learn everything about the ship before we all take off in a couple of years and head back to where they really know how to make a margarita.
Some problems with rigging kept Don at the dock and even if they get fixed, it looks now like he may have to ride out a whopper of a storm with a couple of anchors out in the harbor. Being at the dock might not be the best option.
But just as I read about his travails, I noticed that there is a storm brewing off the coast of Mexico, only a week before the 160-boat fleet of the Baja HaHa sailboat race is set to take off from San Diego. It's the same race we did in 2002 and hope to do again before I get too old to hoist a margarita.
The hurricane season officially ends in Mexico Nov. 1, but the hurricanes have a bad habit of not checking their calendars carefully. In the 1980s, Cabo San Lucas was devastated by a hurricane in December, beaching a number of boats and wreaking havoc with the tiny town. Now the place is a small city and instead of a few boats, there are hundreds of yachts in the marina and after the HaHa arrives, easily 50-100 more at anchor and exposed to the weather.
Here's the tracking map for the tropical storm in Mexico.
Let's hope that Paul doesn't have a brother lurking out in the Pacific.