Thanks to the louche nature of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club rally committee and the somewhat languid nature of sailors in Mexico, it’s still unclear how many boats and sailors participated in last weekend’s three-legged, four-partied Banderas Bay Blast for charity. But the number of boats — many of them vets of the last two Ha-Ha’s — is believed to have been north of 30, as the fleet grew each day, with boatowner after boatowner seemingly sucked in by watching others having fun with their boats.
The sailing for the first two days was mostly good on the flat waters of Banderas Bay, but the third day, featuring the 12-mile spinnaker run from Punta Mita to Paradise Marina, was superb. The wind started at about 10 knots, faded during the middle of the course, but then shifted big time and increased for the last five miles, putting almost the entire fleet on a super-tight spinnaker reach to the finish. We on Profligate finished in a tight pack of seven monohulls and multihulls, having about as much fun as you could on a boat.
Who won? Everybody who participated. After all, the sailing was great, the sailors were fun-loving, the event was free, and the Marina Riviera Nayarit gave everyone a free night of berthing when the fleet was in town.
The weather? Let’s put it this way, if someone surprised you by dousing you with a bucket of water, they became a friend for life. Speaking of friends, the whales finally arrived on Banderas Bay and were out in force, but the boats and whales were nice enough to stay clear of each other.
It didn’t hurt that the cost of cruising in Mexico, thanks to the exchange rate, is muy inexpensive if you’re the least bit careful. For example, a very large and fresher-than-fresh ahi dinner with all the trimmings cost just over $8 at the cruiser-loving Bluewater Grill in Punta Mita. If you could even find a piece of ahi that big in the states, it would cost more than $30.
The Blast, which was co-sponsored by the Vallarta YC, was more than just three days of sailing — there was also two days of aprés sailing surfing, festivities at Margaritas and the Bluewater Grill in Punta Mita, a water balloon drop for pizzas at the Marina Riviera Nayarit, the rock ‘n roll revival at Philo’s, and even a post-event motorcycle run up to Sayulita. It was so much fun that most people spent the next two days in their bunks trying to recover.
While the Banderas Bay Blast is no Zihua SailFest, there was still a charity aspect. Over $1,000 was raised, including $500 that was donated on behalf of everyone who participated in this last Ha-Ha. More would have been raised had the Vallarta YC’s big annual fundraiser, the Chili Cook-Off, not been the day after the Blast.
Sound like fun to you? The next such event will be the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club’s Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity in March, shortly before the start of the Banderas Bay Regatta. The ‘P for P’ will be a two-day event, with a sail from the Marina Riviera Nayarit to Punta Mita the first day, and a sail back to La Cruz on the second day.
Need the perfect holiday gift for your favorite sailor but hate standing in line? Check out our chandlery for tons of T-shirts and hats — they make great stocking stuffers!
The British Swan 82 DreamCatcher arrived at the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia this morning, taking line honors in the ARC 2008, the world’s largest cruising rally.
Captain Jarrod Cripps and crew made the 2,700-mile passage from the Canary Islands in just under 14 days, nearly three days slower than the all-time record due to abnormally light winds. As is the tradition for every arrival, the DreamCatcher crew was met with St. Lucian rum punch and a basket of fresh local fruits provided by islanders.
Many boats within the 214-boat fleet are still nearly 1,000 miles back, but organizers hope most will arrive by the end of the week when shoreside festivities will be in full swing. For complete info see the website.