Vallarta Race: Busy down Baja coast
Published on March 5th, 2018
(March 5, 2018) – The competitors in the San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race are halfway down the 1000 nm course, with compression now occurring after three days of staggered starts. As the faster teams reel in the earlier starters, all the sailors have their eyes open for the abundance of commercial traffic coming in the opposite direction up the Baja peninsula.
Heeding Peter Isler’s passionate reminder of Safety Fundamentals at the skippers briefings “always monitor VHF 16”, this morning Pyewacket (Andrews 70, Roy Disney) provided a relay for Good Call’s (J/65, Tom Barker) 0600 report not 10 min after a request by RC over email. And Prospector (Mills 68, Larry Landry, Paul McDowell, David Siwicki) is wrestling with satellite coverage, oddly only in the morning, and unable to access email but using their Sat phone to call in each morning.
Tropic Thunder (Beneteau 46, John Miller) is living-email free… but texting old school from the Sat phone in short bursts. Remember that? (scrolling through alphabet via phone buttons where “Roll Call” is spelled ‘777, 666, 555, 555, 222, 2, 555,555’, etc.)
As amazing as all the technology is to enhance race communications, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Is it a loose connection or a corroded antenna fitting? Maybe it’s just a satellite that isn’t quite up in the sky high enough to lock on to, or is it some software menu item you haven’t checked, or a ‘subscription thing’?. Thus Safety Fundamental #2. Have a Plan B… and a Plan C and expect to use them all.
By example – It’s a good thing when you can use the word ‘accident’ qualified afterwards with the word ‘fortunate’. There have been two accidents reported so far on the race course and both of them, while unfortunate, have had solid responses (fortunate) from trained medical persons (plan B – a nurse and an EMT on board). See below for a note from Stark Raving Mad’s crew Drew Friedes regarding his unlucky injury with the ‘fortunate’ Plan C outcome.
“I’m doing well. Had [my finger] operated on at UCSD trauma sat at 1am thanks to Andy Rasdal’s connections. Everyone from San Diego Yacht Club has been amazing. Enrique helped with transportation in Mexico. That was the most difficult part — getting back from 300 miles down track in Mexico.
“I lost the very end of my fourth finger on my left hand. About half way down the nail. It was a freak accident with my hand getting caught in the main sheet block. Fortunately we had an EMT racing with us, Tony Pierce. He was awesome taking care of me. In typical Jim Madden (owner/skipper Stark Raving Mad VII) fashion, we were prepared.
“I will be fine. I just feel bad that SRM had to drop out. We were positioned to win. The team and Jim worked so hard to prepare for the race.”
Here are the reports today from the fleet:
Horizon (Santa Cruz 50, John Shulze) – 0640
“We have seen Lucky Duck for most of the race. They won’t go away… The main effect of seeing them is in sail selection and amount of risk we take. We are always trying to position ourselves for next shift regardless if it happens or not. Also to not allow them to make any large gains. We finally put them over the horizon today but on the tracker it looks like are jibes are still synchronized.”
Lucky Duck (Santa Cruz 52, Dave MacEwen) – 0620
“YB Tracking reports are a constant interest, if only to see how the rest of the fleet is doing. We are in constant contact with Horizon, so the four hour delay is irrelevant.
“Last night’s trick on the helm, 9 to 10 PM, end of our watch was marvelous, nay superb, nay epic. The moon, just risen, behind light clouds, created a wide highway of light, just off the bow. The moonlight glinted off moderate swells, showing their form, hiding any hint of menace. The breeze, developed to 20 knots, was very comfortable for the A2, the one with the giant duck logo.
“The breeze direction, not steady, was only modestly challenging. The helm, oh so responsive in the Duck’s new configuration. So then, position the Lucky Duck on the face of the swell, and let it happen. Intuit what to do at the bottom and connect with the next swell. Repeat deliriously, endlessly, happily.”
Chim Chim (Gunboat 62, John Gallagher) – 0500
“I brought up YB in our comments of the report. We have found ourselves to be somewhat near Mr. Bill (Andrews 70, David Happ) for most the race. When we get within 10 miles of them, they show up on AIS. We have ours transmitting as well. Last night we gybed out as they continued on, and they crossed ahead by about a mile, so we had visual contact for about 1/2 hour. We also had a brief conversation with them yesterday early evening, exchanging greetings. We assume that now they are pole back and headed down wind.”
Tropic Thunder (Beneteau 46, John Miller) – 0622
“Multiple AIS (non-reporting) targets seen last night and today on chart plotter and water; assuming that the fleet has caught up and blowing by us. All puns intended.”
Medicine Man (Andrews 63, Bob Lane) – 0615
“Steady winds of 23-26 with gusts of 31 and washing machine seas. Precise calculations of waves made the gybes easier. Beautiful morning!”
Bretwalda3 (Rogers 46, Bob Pethick)
“Skies clear, great day of sailing yesterday! Covered over 300 NM. Top speed 24.5 kts.”
Cabernet Sky (Beneteau 48, Charles Buckner)
“Exciting night rolling thru sustained 25 kts winds in 20’+ seas. A turn at the helm tested one’s mettle. In true ‘Corinthian spirit’, crew appreciated having dined already on chicken Tikka Masala over basmati rice, paired with a ration of Oregon Pinot Noir. All aboard doing well.”
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.