Baja Ha-Ha XXV 2018 Cruisers Rally
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As evidence for that claim, I submit the following letter from Steve and Charlotte Baker, who nine years ago were sitting in the hot tub behind their suburban Santa Rosa home wondering if there might not be more to life. I'll let them take it from there.

For the last nine years we've lived aboard our tricked out 1973 Catalina 27 Willful Simplicity, which we like to describe as a 'mini-cruiser', in the Sea of Cortez. Many people tried to tell us it couldn't be done. The only person who encouraged us, and who we used as a guiding light, was Richard Spindler, the founder and then owner and publisher of Latitude 38.

Richard is always supportive of sailors, including those of us who choose to sail and live our lives on small boats. He always had the same advice: "Just be prepared and be safe." Had we listened to the nay-sayers and not Richard, we would have missed out on the nine best years of our lives!

We started our life-changing direction with Richard's Profligate and about 135 other boats in the 2009 Baja Ha-Ha, which is the 750-mile cruiser rally Richard runs each year from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. That 2009 Ha-Ha is generally considered to have been the windiest of the 24 Ha-Ha's to date, but we and our Catalina 27 didn't have any problems.

We feel very fortunate to have made our way to down to Cabo and up into the Sea of Cortez. We saw many beautiful places and enjoyed countless great anchorages. But the absolute best part has been meeting the locals, especially their children, and coming to appreciate their natural way of life. Charlotte and I have learned so much from the people and culture of Baja, and have become better people for it.

I am so fortunate to have had a wife, partner, and best friend to have shared this journey and experience with. For without her, none of it would have been possible. The two of us strongly believe in the universe helping us every step of the way — as long as we are willing to just get out of our own way and accept what the universe offers us. It's amazing what this outlook has done for us.

We have a couple of mottos that we like. One is, "Once you decide why you should do something, as opposed to why you can't do something, big things start to happen." The other is, "Sometimes you’ve gotta make a left turn to make a right turn." I can’t tell you how many times we've found that to be the case — especially when things seem to be going all wrong. In reality, the universe is just lining you up for what you need to get things going the right way. No matter how hard things got at times, one of us just had to say, "It sure beats commuting on 101 to work", and we'd get the perspective we needed.

For the last nine years our home port has more or less been the little fishing village of San Evaritso, about 50 miles north of La Paz by water, or 75 miles by the most beautiful and incredibly bad four-wheel drive road. Over the years we have tried to help in this village as much as we can, and have had enjoyed the support of many, many cruisers in the sea who donating supplies and equipment to the community. Things such as school supplies, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, tools, batteries, solar panels, and especially medications and bandages.

Fortunately, our Catalina 27 can carry far more supplies than anyone would imagine. Indeed, it's so roomy that Charlotte and I are constantly thinking about junk we want to get off the boat. Simplicity is the best.

Charlotte has been very involved with the wonderful children and the school here, and teaches English to the kids — and everybody else who wants to learn. We have been involved in many projects in our village, and the locals have always been at the ready, willing and able to help us at a moments notice. We’ve had a blast! We feel we have gotten way more than we have tried to give. We have also learned to "live in the moment", as these people have taught us, because they do truly live in the moment themselves and don't suffer from life's stresses as many Americans do.

But after nine years, it's time for a change in your lives. We are presently building a little casita here in San Evaristo, with the most unbelievable view of the sea and islands, all the way to the mainland. Well, almost all the way to the mainland. All of the work is being done by local friends. It seems to be the town project, and everybody is excited that we have chosen to live here in San Evaristo. We are humbled. We have bought a good four-wheel drive truck to get to and from La Paz once a month for supplies. 

Because we will be moving ashore, we will be selling Willful Simplicity. We hope somebody will carry on with her, and expand their lives as we have been able to do with ours. We think the Catalina 27 has been the perfect Sea of Cortez cruising boat for us, and is absolutely the biggest bang for the buck. Who would have "thunk it" when we sailed under the Golden Gate at 4 am nine years ago, and turning left heading for what we had no way of knowing the future held for us. We will still be able to enjoy the Sea of Cortez, whether by local fishermen’s pangas, or friends with boats.

We have no regrets on the decisions we've made. We will continue to live our life in the spirit of living a life of "willful simplicity".

Once again, thank you Richard for all of us that you have had a profound affect on because of starting Latitude 38, starting and running the Ha-Ha, and encouraging us with our little boat.

Steve and Charlotte Baker
Willful Simplicity
San Evaristo, Baja California Sur

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