Vallarta Race: It’s Time for a Tequila Run
Published on February 18th, 2016
The focus for offshore racing turns this week to the 32nd running of the Vallarta Race, a 1000nm course from San Diego, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This biennial event features 21 teams – six boats from Southern California while other boats hail from San Francisco Bay, Hawaii, Texas, Chicago and Mexico.
The owner traveling farthest for the race is Hector Velarde (Andrews 70, Runaway) from Lima, Peru.
Hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, the race commences inside San Diego Bay with Class 3 and 4 boats starting Friday, February 19th at noon. Classes 1 and 2 plus the Class 0 trimaran will start Saturday.
The sizes of the boats are varied, as are the teams sailing them. Seven are 70 feet or larger and the biggest boat entered is the 100-foot maxi Rio100 with a crew of 18. Mighty Merloe, an ORMA 60 Trimaran, is also quite massive spanning 60 feet long by 60 feet wide. The two smallest boats entered are Foil and Flyer, both Farr 40s with five person teams.
Mighty Merloe and Rio100 are projected to finish at the head of the pack and will be looking to challenge the multihull and monohull course records. Mighty Merloe is known to be capable of 45kts and is eyeing the record of 2 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes set in 2014 by Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion. The monohull course record was set in 2010 by Bill Turpin’s R/P 77 Akela, finishing in 3 days, 8 hours, 52 minutes.
The 2014 champion Bob Pethick will not be defending his title, but two-time winner Dennis Pennell sailing his R/P 50 Blue Blazes is looking for his third Vallarta Race win (2006, 2012) in the last 10 years. Wayne Zittel will be taking a team split between coaches and students about the Santa Cruz 50 J World’s Hula Girl. Zittel offers many opportunities year round for novice offshore sailors or just adventure seekers to gain experience to potentially take on an offshore race of their own in the future.
While some teams are experienced Transpac and Pacific Cup teams, for others this is a unique offshore experience. The inaugural California Offshore Race Week plans to offer more opportunities for distance races this year in a three-race series starting late May from San Francisco to San Diego.
Upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta, seven of the boats are planning to compete the following week on Banderas Bay in the MEXORC regatta on February 28 to March 5.
Source: Emily Willhoft, SDYC