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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!