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March 5, 2008

Perfect Weather for Vallarta Race Week

Five of the 19 boats in the MEXORC fleet have at it in ideal conditions during the second of two races on Tuesday.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After what’s generally considered to have been a surprisingly cool winter cruising season in Mexico, somebody flipped on the switch labeled Perfect Weather for Vallarta Race Week. The new and improved Race Week, which runs through Saturday, consists of the Parade of Boats, the Governor’s Cup, the week-long MEXORC for the hot racing boats from California and Mexico, the three-day Banderas Bay Regatta for cruising boats, and the U.S. versus Mexico match race in modern America’s Cup boats.

Looking particularly hot was Akela – leader of the wolfpack – owned by Bill Turpin and David Janes, the latter of Newport Beach. Although built in ’97, she’s been re-turbo’d with the addition of a sprit, five feet to the mast, and two feet to the keel. After four races, she had three bullets and a second in class.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Halfway into the week, the weather has been glorious. The skies have been blue, the temperatures in the mid-80s, but most importantly, the wind has been blowing 12 to 20 knots for the races.

For example, in yesterday’s Bahias Las Caletas Race — a 26-miler that saw the fleet race upwind from Paradise Marina to Punta Mita, then down to the jungle-lined shore of Las Caletas — Bill Turpin, the Silicon Valley-based co-owner of Akela, reports they covered the course in about two hours. Breaking out the calculator, we determined that the R/P 75/77 (ex- Zephyrus IV, Bright Star, and Scout Spirit) averaged about 13 knots for the entire course. "We were always at 15 knots on the downwind leg," said crewman Pete Heck.

Brightened by the success of Akela in the early going, Bill Turpin, seen here, and co-owner David Janes, hope to do the St. Francis Big Boat Series this fall.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As it was, that was only good for third overall in a fleet of 19 boats which, thanks to a good rating system and uniformly fine sailing, finished within 17 minutes of each other. Top honors went to Morpheus, Jim Gregory’s Richmond-based
Schumacher 50,  which appeared to us to have had a superb upwind leg. To show how well Dan Nolan’s tweaked rating system worked, each of the first three boats in the pursuit race were from a different division.

With five more races to go, Jim Gregory, who topped the 19-boat fleet in the 26-miler with his Morpheus, digs into the energy food at the post-race buffet.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although today is a lay day, there will be a featured United States versus Mexico match race in recent vintage America’s Cup boats provided by Vallarta Adventures. Spectators will be able to view the action from the third floor Sky Bar at the new Nayarit Riviera Marina at La Cruz.

When the cruising boats start racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta tomorrow, they can expect the MEXORC-like conditions to continue.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As for the cruising boats, the action starts for them tomorrow with the first of three ‘nothing serious’ races. The MEXORC fleet will resume racing until Saturday, with the last of their nine races. All in all, the action is just heating up, with more MEXORC races, the Banderas Bay Regatta, the whales, the big rays, and so much more.

West Oz Dismasted in Clipper Race

A failed cap shroud terminal has dismasted the Clipper Round the World Race boat According to reports from race organizeers, the 81-ft rig buckled in half some 700 miles east of Yokohama, Japan, while the boat sailed under spinnaker in 10- to 15-knot winds. Neither the boat nor crew were injured according to a message relayed to organizers by skipper Martin Silk.

Crew aboard clear the wreckage of their broken spar.

Clipper Round the World Race
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Nobody was hit by the mast or rigging," Silk said. "We have now detached the rigging and cleared the lines and although darkness has stopped us from continuing to jury rig at this stage, we will continue at first light.”

The boat had been lying safely in the sixth spot overall, within striking distance of a podium finish in Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s pay-to-play event. While the crew effect a jury rig, organizers are working to source a new rig to step when she ultimately reaches Honolulu. In order to keep up with the race’s tight schedule, she’ll have to do some motorsailing along the way and the organizers are looking at the Midway Islands as a possible refueling stop. We hope there’s some extra change on board — we imagine diesel isn’t cheap there these days. Add that to the extra $500 for deploying the spill-containment boom and they’re going to need every penny!

40 Years of Barefoot Fun

If you’re lucky enough to be sailing around the Northern Caribbean next week, you won’t want to miss a special celebration (March 14 & 15) on the tiny island of Jost Van Dyke.

In the northern Caribbean, the name Foxy’s has been synonymous with frivolous fun for four decades.

© Les Anderson

It was 40 years ago this month that the young and mischeivous Foxy Callwood opened a thatch-roofed beach bar within stumbling distance of the Great Harbour anchorage. The Virgin Islands’ yachting scene was in its infancy back then, and Foxy’s Tamarind Bar quickly became a prime party destination.

In the four decades since, Foxy — a guitar-playing crooner notorious for making up politically incorrect tunes on the spot — has made friends with sailors from all over the world, and his bar/restaurant has earned international acclaim. In fact, Time Magazine once listed Foxy’s as one of the top three places worldwide to spend New Year’s Eve.

One of the Caribbean’s most famous characters, Foxy Callwood has a special gift for political incorrectness!

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The 40th anniversary celebration will undoubtedly be a fête to remember, as several generations of sailors swap tall tales over the din of live calypso and reggae. Speaking of swapping tales, if you have a particularly entertaining memory from a visit to Foxy’s, we’d love to hear it. Then again, once you’ve been "Josted," as the locals say, memories sometimes become a bit cloudy.

"‘Lectronic readers might be interested to learn that it appears that there may be some limited monthly or seasonal availability for east moorings in Monterey for boats from 25 to 50 feet this season," advises Scott Pryor of the Monterey Harbor Office. Monthly
Saturday’s breeze caught more than a few boats on the wrong side of a jibe demonstrated here by Steve Klein’s Express 27 Magic.
Here at Latitude 38 we’re clipping in our seatbelts and strapping on our editing helmets as we begin to work on our April issue — timed with the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show.