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The Splash/Blast/PFPSRFC

December 17, 2014 – Banderas Bay, Mexico

The cruising season officially opened on Banderas Bay on Friday, December 12, with the grand reception by Riviera Nayarit Tourism for cruisers at the chic Eva Mandarina beachfront restaurant and bar in La Cruz. The free t-shirts, food and beverages attracted well over 200 new, old and former cruisers for live music and a bonfire on the beach. The bonfire was for effect only, as it was in the high 70s well into the evening.

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Riviera Nayarit Tourism lit the fire to start the cruising season on mainland Mexico.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sunday the 14th was the start of the three days of Banderas Bay Blast rally-racing. The first ‘race’ from La Cruz to Paradise Marina and back had to be cut short because of a lack of wind. But it was beautiful out there. And the race was followed by the traditional ‘Water Balloon Drop For Pizzas’.

Not having crew didn't stop the skipper of the Union 36 Dazzler from flying his chute in the first leg of the Blast. 

Photo Courtesy Katrina Liana
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The second race from La Cruz to Punta Mita was a beaut, for after light winds in the very early going, it blew up to about 17 knots on the typically flat waters of the Bay. We almost didn’t take our cat Profligate out because of problems with both transmissions, but Jim Milski of the Shionning 49 cat Sea Level played tug with his inflatable to get us out of the marina. And we were happy he did, for despite Profligate’s new hardtop, she sometimes did better than 10 knots to weather in t-shirt-and-shorts conditions. It was about as glorious upwind sailing as we’ve ever enjoyed, and with the most fun crew.

The J/109 Joyride, ex-Ice Nine from Tahoe, and the Schionning 49 Sea Level work the beach at the start of the first race.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

But the real stars of the day were doublehanders Barry and Sylvia Stomp and their totally rebuilt, dark-blue-hulled Hughes 48 yawl Iolani from Sausalito. Although not familiar with the area, the two were the first to tack their boat back to get inside the shift, and thus crossed the finish line first by a comfortable margin.

John and Debbie Rogers, she being the new commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, work their Deerfoot 2-62 Moonshadow to weather against the backdrop of a huge waterfront plot just purchased by Carlos 'Sometimes Richest Man in the World' Slim. Moonshadow is a vet of a 16-year circumnavigation  and going up on a beach in the Tuamotus. That's some history.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ‘racing’ was followed by the ‘initiation’ of new members into the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, with new Commodore Debbie Monie Rogers of the San Diego-based Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow swinging the initiation paddle with skill — and an alarming amount of enthusiasm.

Barry and Sylvia Stomp and their lovely restored S&S 48 Iolani were the standouts of the second race. They sailed fast  and smart.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The final rally race of the Blast was the 12th running of the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity from Punta Mita to Paradise Marina, which was preceeded by a dance performance by local children. Until the last few miles of the ‘race’, when the wind got light and shifty, and the brilliant blue skies were overtaken by some gray, it was a typically fabulous Banderas Bay spinnaker run. The last 'race' was followed by an intimate wrap-up party at the Vallarta YC.

Membership in the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club has its privileges  including a whack on the butt from Commodore Debbie. 

Photo Courtesy Katrina Liana
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As great as the sailing was, the fundraising was even better. All proceeds — and we mean all — will go to the kindergartens in the Punta Mita area, special-needs schools in the area, and some medical programs. Ronnie ‘Tea Lady’, the incarnation of probity, accepts requests for needed materials from the organizations, then buys them herself at the best prices. If only all charities could be half as efficient.

When the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity says it's "for the kids," it means all proceeds, with no expenses, go to the benefit of the kids. This year's biggest contributors? The members of the 2014 Baja Ha-Ha fleet, who chipped in $1,000 . . . even though they didn't know it. Thank you! 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Both Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz and Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta deserve shout-outs for donating overnight berthing to participants. As does Frascotti’s Restaurant at Marina Riviera Nayarit for donating adult beverages.

Velella struggles with a jibe as another boat goes under white sails in the PRFSRFC. Lovely conditions. 

Photo Courtesy Lynn Ringseis
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The only real tragedy of the event is that only 15 of the hundreds of the sailboats in the area participated. Sure, some folks were dealing with repair issues and other distractions, and others were out of town. But to have a boat and miss the chance to sail with — not against — other great folks in some of the most pleasant sailing conditions in the world . . . well, that strikes us as unfortunate. For the clear winners in the event were all who participated. 

Oops, we almost left out the 'water balloon catch for a pizza' competition. It was wet, but it was also warm. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / richard

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

What Are Your Sailing Resolutions?

December 17, 2014 – The West Coast

One of the best things about the coming of the new year is that it symbolizes a new beginning, and thus inspires us to assess our priorities and set personal goals for the coming months. 

If you're as addicted to sailing as we are, your goals may include things like: doing the Party Circuit races, installing new gadgetry, taking an exotic sailing vacation or completing all the half-finished projects that you started in recent years. 

Will this be the year that you'll finally get your act together to do the Great Vallejo Race? Think of all the fun you'll miss if you don't.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In any case, we'd like to hear about your top three sailing goals for 2015, as we're collecting ideas for a Sailing Resolutions article in our January edition. Email here, and if possible, include a couple of medium-resolution photos of yourself and your boat. Happy sailing!

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Modern Sailing

December 17, 2014 – Sausalito, CA

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

December 17, 2014 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Mr. Magoo at an inflatable mark

Steve Madeira's J/120 Mr. Magoo got in the holiday spirit during Saturday's RegattaPRO Winter One Design.

© 2018 Martha Blanchfield /

RegattaPRO's two Winter One Design races on Saturday may have had the best wind of the weekend. "The day provided a nice 6-10 knots throughout," commented RegattaPRO's Jeff Zarwell. The race course was set up to the west of the Olympic Circle, where Berkeley Yacht Club was presiding over their own series.

Cal 20 Fleet

The six Cal 20s all hung in Saturday's BYC race after the wind died. The patience of their crews was rewarded by a special new breeze.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Saturday's BYC Midwinter race started on time in up to 8 knots of breeze. "All went well until around 2:30," reports BYC's Bobbi Tosse. "Then the wind almost died." Some chose to drop out of the race. One of those was Bill O'Connor's Islander 36 Vivace. A start line incident resulted in an injured crew. Vivace immediately returned to Richmond YC, where an ambulance was waiting. "The latest report is that the crew is on the mend after having his toe re-attached," said Bobbi.

Santana 22 Mad Max

Megan Dwyer's Santana 22 Mad Max in Sunday's BYC race, which was completed in time to avoid the looming rain.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For Sunday's BYC race, the wind was even lighter and seemed to come from all different directions. To Bobbi's amazement, after a postponement of two hours and 15 minutes, all 37 boats were still around and the race committee was able to start the five divisions.

Estuary starting mark

Sunday on the Estuary: the J/24 Dire Straits (red hull) racing in the 168-raters division heads downwind from the weather mark while the Santana 20 El Guapo and Ideal 18 Proverbs 21:21 (left) start in PHRF 3.

© 2018 Kristen Soetebier

Island YC held their second Island Days midwinter race on Sunday. The wind on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary was decidedly odd, coming from the 'wrong' direction — the south.

We'll have more on all of the above races, plus the Volvo Ocean Race's Leg 2, in the January issue of Latitude 38.

Alinghi's Extreme 40 cat crashes through a wave

Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe (on leeward ama) takes a wave for the Alinghi team on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series' final act in Sydney, Australia.

© 2018 Mark Lloyd /

After 231 races this year, Alinghi snatched victory in the final act of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, and with it the overall series championship, in 15 knots of wind in Sydney Harbour on Sunday. Why should we care? Santa Cruz native Morgan Larson is the helmsman of Ernesto Bertarelli's Swiss team. "To win the season and the Act on the last day in the conditions we had here is a special moment that’s going to take a long time to sink in," said Larson. The elite-level stadium-racing series is sailed in Extreme 40 catamarans.

- latitude / chris

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