Perfect Weather for Vallarta Race Week
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Westernaustralia2011.com. 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.
"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.
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.
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.