Skip to content
November 24, 2008

What Did You Do This Weekend?

Did you take advantage of this weekend’s lovely weather to go for a daysail?

© 2008 Peter Lyons

While some of us were chained to our desks in an effort to get the December issue to the printers, others were out enjoying a lovely, mild weekend on the water.

At this time of year, sailors take every chance they can to get out on the water. And with light zephyrs and temps in the low-70s, who can blame them?

Our four-legged friends like to get in on the action, too.

© Peter Lyons

Many Bay Area sailors will be traveling out of town for what’s forecast to be a sunny Thanksgiving weekend. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to fight the traffic, plan a little excursion for your family and work off all that pumpkin pie.

Winter sailing on the Bay is fun for the whole family! Can you believe they’re wearing shorts in late November?!

© 2008 Peter Lyons

ARC Starts with a Fleet of 211

At 211 boats, this year’s ARC cruising class fell short of record numbers.

© Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

The 23rd Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the granddaddy of all cruising rallies, started from the Canary Islands over the weekend. A total of 211 yachts, a little off record levels, headed WSW for the finish at 2,700-mile distant St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean. The fleet was greeted with 10 to 15 knots from the northeast, which meant many boats set chutes very early. Traditionally, the best ARC course has been to head almost south to the Cape Verdes to pick up the trades, then head west. But early weather forecasts suggest that rhumbing it may be the way to go. The 211 boats are from 21 different countries.

The Norwegian Beneteau First 31.7 Madonna, the smallest entry in the fleet – and the one with the youngest crew – took the lead at the start.

© Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

Banderas Bay Blast Instructions

Two of the three legs in this year’s Banderas Bay Blast will almost certainly be downwind. It will be hot and the water will be flat. That’s why Capricorn Cat, seen here, will be back again this year.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We hope our readers not in Mexico will excuse our using the last space in today’s ‘Lectronic as a way of getting out the notice of next week’s Banderas Bay Blast, and instructions, to folks currently beyond radio range. Gracias.

Banderas Bay Blast For Cruisers

The Blast will be three days — December 3, 4 & 5 — of Ha-Ha-style sailing fun around beautiful Banderas Bay to help folks have fun with their boats, meet other sailors and raise a little money for charity. Like the wind, the Blast is free.

Entering is easy, just email Richard with your boat name and type, your name, and hailing port. Or just show up for the start of the first leg.

The Blast will be brought to you by the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club and the Vallarta Yacht Club, with support from P.V. Sailing, Nayarit Riviera Marina, Paradise Marina, Philo’s Music Studio and Bar, Margarita Restaurant in Punta Mita, and a bunch of other wonderful businesses and folks.

The only weather leg in the Blast, about six miles from La Cruz to Punta Mita, is flatwater sailing along the north shore of Banderas Bay.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The event will be open to all seaworthy boats over 20 feet. There are four categories depending on your type and size boat. Class A is for monohulls under 34 feet; Class B is for monohulls from 35 to 41 feet; Class C is for monohulls from 42 to 50 feet and for multihulls to 45 feet; Class D is for monohulls over 50 feet and multihulls over 48 feet. If you feel your boat is a bit of a slug, feel free to move up one class category, from C to B, for example. Class E is for powerboats or sailboats that will motor the entire way.

In all three legs, the slower boats will start earlier, in hopes of staying ahead of the faster boats to the finish, while the later starting faster boats will try to catch them. Great idea, no? Surely there will be lots of boats passing other boats, at which time it would be appropriate to hurl good-natured insults — and biodegradable water ballons — and take photographs.

Safety is of utmost concern, so play responsibly. Among other things, that means maintaining generous spacing between boats, don’t run aground, don’t use water balloon launchers, and don’t abuse alcohol.

There shall be two courses on December 3.

  • The Punta Mita course: The starting line will be an imaginary extension of the eastern breakwater of the panga marina all the way across the bay in the general direction of Yelapa. Stay at least 200 yards off the end of the breakwater or you’ll run aground. In fact, stay at least a half mile off the beach until you’re past the first big point to the east, as it’s surprisingly shallow with reefs. You will have finished when you, back in the day when you were a hot pitching prospect for the Giants or Dodgers, would have been able to throw a potato off the beam of your boat and hit an anchored boat. This is known as ‘Master Mariners style racing’ on San Francisco Bay. Note the time you finished for later fun and games, and/or to compare with sailors who are serious about racing.
  • The Nuevo Vallarta course: The starting line will be an imaginary extension of the southernmost breakwater out into the bay. Start between 150 and 250 yards off the end of the breakwater so you don’t run aground. If you don’t know how far 150 to 250 yards is, just guess. You will have finished when you get within ‘potato distance’ — see above — of any boat anchored off La Cruz. Note the time you finished.
If the weather gods smile on the Blast fleet, there will be good waves with great shape just off the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The December 4 Course is from La Cruz to Punta Mita. The starting line will be an imaginary line from the Sky Bar at the marina out to and through the anchored Profligate. You may start on either side of Profligate, but you may not hit Profligate. The finish line is an imaginary extension of the eastern breakwater of the Punta Mita panga marina out into the bay, but stay at least 200 yards offshore of the breakwater so you don’t run aground.

The December 5 Course is from Punta Mita to the Nuevo Vallarta Breakwater. The starting line is between the light tower on the panga breakwater at Punta Mita extending out to and beyond the anchored Profligate. Start to the seaward side of Profligate so you don’t run aground. The finish line is once you’ve come within what you think is 200 yards of any point on the Nuevo Vallarta Breakwater.

Starting Times: For all three legs, Class A boats will start at 1:00 p.m. Class B boats will start at 1:15 p.m. Class C boats will start at 1:30 p.m. Class D boats will start at 1:45 p.m., except for fast multihulls and Profligate, which will start at 2:00 p.m. Yes, those of you with smaller boats will have a good chance to take line honors. Even though all the sailing will be in Nayarit, we will be using Puerto Vallarta time.

Motoring: Whenever your boat’s speed drops below 3.5 knots for more than five minutes, you may motor on the rhumb line at 3.5 knots — until you could sail faster than that for five minutes.

Radio: The Blast Channel will be 68. The committee will come on about 30 minutes before the start each day. However, those starting from Nuevo Vallarta on the first day may not be able to hear. It’s no big deal, just follow the instructions.

Social Activities:
There will be a number of social activities starting the night before the Banderas Bay Blast, and continuing through the day after the sailing. Participate as little or as much as you want and have fun, but always behave responsibly.

  • December 2, starting at 4:30 p.m. — Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club Welcoming Party aboard Profligate on the hook at Banderas Bay. Skippers who meet the strict membership requirements — see Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude — as well as accept a paddle on the ass by Commodore Heather, accept the application of a burnt cork mustache courtesy of past Commodore Eugenie, shake their booty hard for one song on Profligate‘s Admiral’s Walk, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the concept of potlucking, will receive a free Punta Mita Y&S Club Banderas Blast T-shirt. Sorry, there will be no organized dinghy service between shore and Profligate or between other boats and Profligate. You guys are cruisers, you can work it out between yourselves. Although we’re going to play music loud, dance and have a sundowner, remember to respect the host boat and behave responsibily.
  • December 3, after the first leg, Marina Nayarit will arrange festivities to be held at or around the Sky Bar. Want to win 25 gallons of delicious diesel from the Marina Nayarit fuel dock or a big pizza from Philo’s? It’s easy, just be a top finisher in the water balloon drop.
  • After dark, many Blasters will head up to Philo’s for beverages and/or dinner and to listen to and dance to Philo’s band.
  • During the afternoon and evening, Commodores Eugenie and Heather, as well as Doña de Mallorca and Ronnie ‘Tea Lady’, will be accepting contributions for very worthy Banderas Bay charities. We know times are tough, but please give what you can. By the way, the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity has been rescheduled for its original time slot just before the start of the Banderas Bay Regatta in March.
  • December 4 — Immediately after the second leg, there will be surfing at Anclote, a great beginner’s spot. Assuming there are waves, of course.
  • Around 3 or 4 p.m., there will be a meeting of the Punta Mita Y&S at the clubhouse, which 364 days a year pretends to be Margarita’s Restaurant in Punta Mita. Old and new members will be welcomed. Travis of J/World will provide live music, and there will no doubt be more fun with water balloons out on the new breakwater in front of the restaurant. Sorry, but we don’t provide dinghy service to and from shore, although pangas may be available.
  • December 5 — After the last leg, and after everybody has had a chance to put their boats back where they belong — which in some cases will be back at La Cruz — there will be a gathering at the Vallarta YC in Paradise Marina to enjoy Buck Beer and free popcorn, tell lies, and hopefully watch some video of the Blast. Figure on sometime between between 6 and 7 p.m.
  • December 6 — The Vallarta Yacht Club’s 9th Annual Chili Cookoff, their big fundraiser of the year, starts at 4 p.m. in the Vallarta YC parking lot. Proud of your chili? Enter! For details, visit No matter if you compete or just eat, you don’t want to miss this one — it’s a gas.

There shall be no whining at any time.

By participating in the Blast, all skippers, crew and spectators acknowledge that sailing and socializing are inherently dangerous activities, and specifically and fully absolve the organizers and the yacht clubs from all liability. Indeed, to be an official participant, all entries must sign a liability waiver provided by Doña de Mallorca and get an entry number.

The San Francisco Maritime Museum may be closed until next year, but the Park Service still has many free and low-cost activities for the public to enjoy.
Sailing beneath the towering peaks of the Cascade Range, charter trips in the Northwest are a visual feast.