Vallarta Race: Full On in the Full Moon

Published on February 20th, 2016

The 32nd running of the Vallarta Race, a 1000nm course from San Diego, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, began with staggered starts on February 19 and 20 for the 21-boat field. Peter Isler on the Santa Cruz 70 Holua files this report at 1600 after starting in the second group…

It didn’t look too good with glassy water all the way out the channel an hour before the start – but the wind started fingering in just in time and by our 11:55 start we had 8-10 knots out of the SW… perfect conditions for a jib reach out San Diego Bay in a strong ebb tide. (This race is well timed with a full moon).

Grand Illusion (SC70) and Holua were side by side at the favored pin end – but the turbo’d Runaway (ex Cheval, Andrews 70) had legs on us and rolled both of us by the time we were clear of Point Loma. The wind slowly built and we had the A2 up sailing hotter than VMG almost straight down the rhumb line.

All our class is in close proximity sailing about 135 TWA in 12-15 knots of wind. Beautiful sunny skies and slowly building swell. After starting 20 minutes after us, the Super Maxi Rio 100 came flying by us about 2 hours after the start looking smart with her Fractional Zero and staysail combination… they now are barely visible on the horizon ahead of us.

Mighty Merloe (ORMA60) ripped down the coast well inshore of the monohulls … the next couple of days should be great conditions for them.

Aboard Holua the routine at sea will get set more comfortable over the next 24 hours. The big issue right now is the lack of an internet connection and navigator Adrienne Cahalan is working hard to get our aged Fleet 33 device working so we can download weather files. If unsuccessful, tactics will be like the old days – keep the bow pointed at the mark.

We already passed a big pod of dolphins going for fish and a few migrating gray whales have spouted hello as we sailed past.

We expect the wind to build and lift us in the next 12 or so hours, so until then we are trying to keep the weight on the high side and the boat going fast.

Race websiteEntry listTrackingTwitter

Background: The 32nd running of the Vallarta Race hosts 21 teams competing on the 1000nm course from San Diego, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The biennial event in 2016 has staggered starts with Division 3 and 4 starting February 19 with Division 0, 1, and 2 starting February 20.

The fleet consists of six boats from Southern California while other boats hail from San Francisco Bay, Hawaii, Texas, Chicago, Mexico, and Peru.

The multihull race record of 02:08:33 was set in 2014 by Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion. The monohull race record of 03:08:52 was set in 2010 by Bill Turpin’s R/P 77 Akela.

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.

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