Vallarta Race: Getting the fiesta started

Published on March 6th, 2018

(March 6, 2018) – H.L Enloe and his assembled crew of Steve Calder, Jay Davis, Thierry Fouchier, Nitish (Nat) Iyengar, Artie Means, Franck Profitt, and Will Suto stepped onboard the ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe with little more than their passports for the 2018 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race.

What more do you need when you go for a 1000 nm sail down the Baja California coastline on your way to shattering the race record by nearly five hours? They crossed the finish line yesterday at 16:18:21 for an elapsed time of 02:03:48 (21.8 avg speed), arriving in time to enjoy happy hour, dinner, and last call. The trifecta!

With the tracker on a four hour delay, compounded by technical issues today, and in the absence of Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio100 updating their fan page, it is a guesstimate they will be the next to finish sometime tonight but likely too late to improve on the course record they set in 2016 of 03:05:41, which would require an arrival today by 17:51 (PST).

As for the other 25 boats in the race, here’s Wayne Zittel’s report from the DK46 Cazan:

We are most of the way down the Baja coastline and we’ve seen a bit of everything in the past 48 hours. Sunday night (Mar 4) brought breezes stronger than forecast, with long periods of steady 25 and peaking at a hair shy of 30 knots.

Cazan loved the conditions, with multiple boatspeed spikes over 18 knots. When the moon would slip out from between the clouds, the shimmering ocean would light up and the sense of speed would really kick in.

The breeze started to lighten by Monday morning, and by midday we were down to about 12-14 knots. We knew this was coming and have a plan for it. We are on an outside track and hoping to make up some distance as we head for the cape when the winds lighten even more. It might get a bit unstable inshore of us, and we are hoping for an opportunity or two. We might be the slow boat in our fleet, but we are relentless.

Not much wildlife so far… we had a school of dolphin paying around us earlier today. Some flying fish, with one making an unlucky unscheduled landing on our deck. Later Patrick saw the DARPA Robot Shark (or had been in the sun too long and was hallucinating).

Monday night’s dinner was a favorite among the crew so far, freeze dried Chicken Fajitas. We all felt it was amazingly good when you consider what it is: chicken, which was grilled to perfection in an industrial kitchen, then vacated of all the succulent juices and stored in a plastic bag for an indefinite time. It was finally re-constituted with slightly-plastic-tasting hot water from our tanks, and soaked in a small igloo cooler until served. Delicious.

As of Tuesday morning, we’ve been sailing in a nice 12-15 knots, so given the extreme calm, then wild rides, of the past couple of nights, the easy goin’ pace is certainly welcome. I think I might just have to go join them out there…. good sailing, good company.

Event informationRace detailsEntry listTrackerPhotos

Note: The race 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.

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