Vallarta Race: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Published on March 4th, 2018
(March 4, 2018) – After the third and final day of starts yesterday, everyone is on the course for the 34th running of the San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race, and judging from 0600 comments from the boats, most are having a classic race to Mexico.
Winds are generally from aft of the shrouds, sea states are moderate and ‘pushy’, and the temperature is rising. One boat, Jim Madden’s Stark Raving Mad, less so. SRM retired yesterday morning with an injury to crew member Drew Freides’ finger. The boat diverted to San Quintin and Freides was driven back to San Diego for medical treatment. SRM is proceeding back to San Diego.
For those out on the race course… Marjorie, Tracy Obert’s unique and beautiful BBY Custom 59 is making the most of the weather, and still leading the bulk of the parade by over 100 miles, and 60 miles ahead of the next boat in his class, John Miller’s Beneteau 46 Tropic Thunder. However, the second group of starters from March 2 led by Dennis Pennels R/P 50 Blue Blazes and John Shulze’s Santa Cruz 52 Horizon are bearing down.
Yesterday’s starters are still pretty tightly bunched with Rio100 (BW100, Manouch Moshayedi) legging out a little and Chim Chim (Gunboat 62, John Gallagher) sailing hot angles but pacing the Pac52 and TP52s. Mighty Merloe (Orma 60, HL Enloe) will not disappoint, and is winding it up as this is written. Up to 80+ miles off the coast and speeds approaching 30 kts. When you watch them on the tracker, and you see long straight lines, you can guess they are well into the ‘E-ticket’ zone.
J World’s Cazan (DK46, Wayne Zittel) on being the slow boat in their class of the second group:
“Peter Isler said at the weather briefing for our starting day, ‘Well, you guys got the short straw.’ He was referring to the fact that the class that started on day one was experiencing great conditions, and the fact that it was looking pretty good for the day three starters. Our day was anticipated to be light, and shifty and variable. So we were pleased when the sea-breeze managed to push in for a bit, enough to get us out of SD Bay and heading south on a beautiful afternoon. We went from the #1 Jib to the Jib Top, and late at night we were actually able to get the 3A spinnaker up.
“So things were looking ok… as expected, the bigger and faster boats were pulling away a bit, but we were happy with things. But, of course, that’s when IT happened… the ‘light and variable’ conditions that we knew were in wait for us played its hand. We stopped. We drifted. We dropped our spinnaker and put up our windseeker. And we still drifted. Occasionally we would get a touch of breeze, a little bit to work and play with and get us inching south, but then it would be gone again… at one point, I think our boatspeed read 0.00 for over 90 minutes straight.
“Ok, that’s enough of the bad news. Now the good stuff (and there is plenty of it): The moon out here is fantastic. It’s a wonderfully clear night and we are making tracks south in a strange, light, but fairly stable, SW breeze. The boat is sailing and working great. Cazan really is a nice boat to sail, and we were really pleased with her speed in the reachy conditions we had when exiting SD Bay. And finally (and most importantly, I would venture to say), the team is getting along great. As is typical of our J/World training programs, we have a couple of repeat clients, but most of the crew are new this time around.”
Medicine Man (Andrews 63, Bob Lane) reported reporting on yesterday’s sailing: “Fun gnarly day with changes in conditions and sails. Saw glorious sun, rain and unpredicted high winds. All crew tired, but happy. Splendid home made breakfast burritos!”
Tropic Thunder (Beneteau 46, John Miller) set their top speed of the race early this morning just over 13 knots, then 2 hours later reported they blew out their A2 at 0425, leaving them with no usable kites left.
By the afternoon today, the Santa Cruz 52 Lucky Duck was reporting their position just past Cedros Point with wind 18 to 20 knots from 310 degrees along with a 2 to 4 foot swell. “Perfect A2 weather… this is why we are here!”
March 3 Dinner Roll Call:
• Good Call (J/65, Tom Barker): Beef Tenderloin Filets from Siesels went over well
• Rio100, (BW100, Manouch Moshayedi): Seafood paella
• Fractions (1D35 Turbo): Lasagna
• Cabernet Sky (Beneteau 48, Charles Buckner): Barbera d’ Asti was already open, paired nicely with penne pasta with mild Italian sausage in a fresh marinara sauce and parmesan sprinkle, next to a green salad dressed in a pink lemon vinegarette.
• Marjorie (BBY Custom 59, Tracy Obert): As this is our 4th day I was trying to recall what we have left from our most basic provisions. We’ve already enjoyed the fresh seared ahi salad shortly after the start on Thursday followed by whole roast chicken & root vegetables for our first dinner. I know it won’t be the braised and roasted bone-in pork butt with a medley of root vegetables we had on day two. The following night we had a whole cooked turkey complete with dressing and a fruit & cabbage salad. Naturally, I thought tonight we might enjoy turkey soup as we had the pork soup for lunch following the bone in pork. However, the chef has informed me that tonight we’ll be enjoying a standing rib roast with sauteed kale and baby aspargus. We’ll keep you informed but for now I have to wrap up our report as our freshly baked, breakfast of quiche and biscuits are coming out of the oven
• Horizon: Beef Stroganoff
• Derivative: Dinner last night was caesar salad, followed by cage-free pork risotto, and Ian’s home baked brownies.
Note: The tracker is on a four hour delay.
Background: The 34th running of the San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race has 28 entrants competing on the 1000nm course from San Diego, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The biennial event in 2018 has staggered starts on March 1 (Div 7), 2 (Div 4/5/6), and 3 (Div 0/1/3).
Through the history of the race, the destination has changed over the 65 years, from Acapulco, to Manzanillo, Mazatlan and now Puerto Vallarta. Starting in San Diego Bay off of Shelter Island, the course proceeds 1,000 miles passing Baja California, and finishes off of Punta Mita in beautiful Banderas Bay, Mexico.
The multihull race record of 02:08:33 was set in 2014 by Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion. The monohull race record of 03:05:41 was set by Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio100 in 2016.
At the conclusion of the race, sailors, family and friends relax and enjoy the very best the Mexican Rivera has to offer. Many also stay for fantastic inshore buoy and random leg racing around Banderas Bay at MEXORC 2018 which starts on March 10.