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December 20, 2017

Spirited Banderas Bay Blast

Last week’s Banderas Bay Blast generated almost 40,000 pesos in donations for school lunches and supplies for kids who need assistance. The racing was spirited, even though the hype was that it was a “non-serious” regatta. There were 26 boats entered and racing on the first day, Tuesday, in three classes: the heavy cruisers and under 36 feet, the “plastic fantastics” over 36 feet, and the light racer-cruisers that rated under 90 PHRF.

Lee Pryor’s J/120 Sirocco in racing trim.

© Mike Fratantoro

The Tuesday course included a 1.6-mile upwind leg followed by an 8-mile reach to the Nuevo Vallarta jibe mark and then the finish at Marina Riviera Nayarit. Sirocco led the fleet at the jibe mark and was first to finish the 14-mile race.

The Wednesday race was to Punta de Mita anchorage, length about 9 miles. Unfortunately, the approaching weather system and cloud cover canceled the regular thermal conditions, which caused most of the fleet to begin motoring to the finish. Dinner was waiting! To everyone’s surprise, an 18-knot northwest wind lasted long enough to allow boats to resume racing and finish under white sails. The after-race party included the initiation ceremony for members of the Punta Mita Yacht and Surf Club. The entry fees go to the fundraising effort. To be a voting member, one must subject their rear end to be pleasantly assaulted by the vivacious commodore’s carbon-fiber paddle.

The Thursday race was a reverse start at the Punta de Mita anchorage, with the 12-mile leg to the Nuevo Vallarta race buoy. Local knowledge paid off to head east along the beach rather than go out to the middle of Banderas Bay. If you started on a port jibe, you were with the early finishers. If you started and continued on a starboard jibe, it was slow going. The after-race party was hosted by Vallarta Yacht Club, with free slips compliments of Paradise Village Marina.

Post-race festivities at Vallarta Yacht Club

© Andy Barrow

Straws Suck

It’s a well-used comment but still so appropriate. Like most single-use plastic items (water bottles, etc.) straws literally and truly suck. We are reminded too often when we get a drink and kick ourselves for forgetting to say "skip the straw."

The point was made again with a new video from Sailors for the Sea with a guest appearance from Ian Walker, winner of the last Volvo Ocean race with Abu Dhabi. Beyond winning the race, Ian, and all of the last Volvo Ocean Race participants, came home overwhelmed by the plastics in the ocean. Enough so that, for the 2017/2018 edition, the entire event has made the environmental effort and message much more significant, and individual teams such as Sailors for the Sea partner Vestas 11th Hour Racing and, obviously, Turn the Tides on Plastics have made it central to their campaign.

Volvo winner Ian Walker speaks up for the seas with #skipthestraw.  

© 2017 Sailors for the Sea

This past weekend we were lucky enough to crew for Jamis MacNiven, owner of Buck’s of Woodside, aboard his Swedish made Delta 40 motoryacht Valkyrie for the Farallon Patrol, in which members provide volunteer transportation services for Farallon Islands researchers and their needed supplies. One takeaway was the incredible beauty of the islands and wildlife preserved in their natural state. Another, after talking with researchers, was the fragility of the ecosystem. Despite local success, there’s a long way to go to create a sustainable planet. 

The Farallon Islands are magnificent on a brilliant December day. You can read more about our Farallon Islands trip in the January issue of Latitude 38, coming out on December 29. 

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We know sailors everywhere are on board with helping sustain the seas and helping prevent single-use plastics, such as the 500 million straws used every day in the US, from ever entering the ocean. However, like the bartender in the video, it would help me and all of us remember to skip it if straws were offered at the yacht club by request rather than supplied automatically.

The Farallon Patrol carries food and other supplies to the solar-powered island in reusable plastic containers.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sailors for the Sea was founded to connect sailors to the mission. Videos such as this help get the message out, plus partnerships with events such as the America’s Cup and Summer Sailstice help to support both sailing and sustainability. Remember #skipthestraw.

François Gabart finishes a speedy solo lap of the planet. © 2017 Macif Course au Large Yesterday afternoon, after 42 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes at sea, 34-year-old sailor François Gabart shattered the solo round-the-world record, knocking nearly six and a half days off countryman Thomas Coville’s already impressive record from last year aboard Sodebo Ultim’.
Well, since you asked for readers’ observations about this windy weekend, here’s one sailor’s perspective: Saturday approached its boisterous expectations, although the wind wasn’t particularly noteworthy for SF Bay; its strength was less than on a typical summer afternoon.