Vallarta Race: What a Difference a Day Makes

Published on February 23rd, 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. Here’s an update on February 23 by Peter Isler from Division 2 on the Santa Cruz 70 Holua…

What a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours ago we were wrapping up a memorable couple of days of classic downwind “Mexico race” conditions. Sure, the breeze had dropped some and we had up our light air A1 runner, but we still were moving along nicely and locked in battle with the Andrews 70 Pyewacket for boat-for-boat lead in our class.

Now, the only good news I have to report is that I just jumped in for a swim…. the first time I’ve done that in a race in a long long time. As I submit this at 1400, we are 28 miles SSE of Cabo San Lucas and have been slatting for over eight hours. Worse yet, we’ve watched our rival sled sail over the horizon as the transition zone we were sailing through expanded right behind her.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a dramatic example of a “hole” growing around my boat. At 6 AM Pyewacket was about 1/2 a mile a head of us.. now I’ll bet she is over 40 miles ahead. She just made it to the edge of the northerly and started reaching away for Puerto Vallarta… but by the time we got to the point where she caught the wind – there was nothing but a vacuum… that keeps expanding.

With the race tracker delayed by 4 hours we don’t know how bad the damage is, but when you only travel 19 miles in 6 hours it’s bound to hurt on the scorecard later.

Aside from the race, it’s been a delightful day. We’ve seen quite a bit of sea life – as is common when you sail past this area. Sea turtles, whales, and dolphins abound. Just no wind… yet.

Congrats to the ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe team for their 68-hour sprint down the course, finishing this morning, though also pleased our multihull course record on Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion stands for another race. At this rate .. it may take Holua another 2 days and 8 hours (Orion’s race record from two years ago) to sail the 270 remaining miles into PV.. but we are hopeful!

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holua crew

Holua crew with Peter Isler in front. Photo by Bronny Daniels.

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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