Baja Ha-Ha XXV 2018 Cruisers Rally
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Baja Ha-Ha XXV


Several folks have asked us if the 25th Anniversary Baja Ha-Ha cruisers' rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas will be having a fleet tracker capability so family and friends can follow the progress of boats in the event over the internet.

Well, we are trying out a fleet tracker app, but only some of the fleet is participating in this beta test for 2018. Click on the map to see.

Tracker app

And, we haven't done that before, because the owner of each boat could easily post their position to Facebook via InReach, Iridium Go!, or several other devices.

The InReach tracker shows Profligate's path
from last year's Ha-Ha and on to Puerto Vallarta

That, of course, just gives the position/progress of a single boat, not the fleet. Since everybody sends their daily position to the Ha-Ha organizers, we know where everybody is, but not the crews of other boats and family and friends back home.

One option has been to follow individual boats or the fleet via the Marine Traffic app, which attempts to track the positions of all AIS type A equipped vessels in the world. You should check it out, as it's a very cool app, similar to flight tracker for airplanes.

But the Marine Traffic system does have a shortcoming, as we learned when we tried to use the app to follow Profligate coming up from Puerto Vallarta six weeks ago. For the first 50 miles or so outside of La Cruz, Profligate's position, speed, and such would regularly be updated on Marine Traffic. But after that, it was only updated periodically, often with many hours in between, until it got close to Turtle Bay and again close to Ensenada.

We couldn't figure out why it worked intermittently until ex-fighter pilot Kenny Knoll, who will be doing the Ha-Ha for the third time this year with his Irwin 65 Jersey Girl, clued us in. He explained that the AIS-A transmission is via VHF only, so it's limited to that 25 to 40-mile range.

If, however, an AIX-A equipped boat is in VHF range of another AIS-A equipped boat, and another and another and another, until one is close enough to be in VHF range of land, that initial boat's position and speed will be reported. It's an incredible relay system.

Given there are so many boats in the Ha-Ha, it's likely that most of the time at least one will be in contact with another within VHF range of shore. So hopefully Marine Traffic will do most, if not all, of the job.

Someone else has suggested we might be able to have a Ha-Ha Facebook page where everyone with an InReach, Iridium Go!, or similar device, could report in. As the Poobah is well over 30, he's weak on the ins and outs of Facebook capabilities, so we don't understand whether this is a realistic possibility or not. Can some young person, maybe 12, advise us on this?


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