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Banderas Bay Regatta Turns 30 in Perfect Conditions

Banderas Bay offered up perfect conditions for all three days (plus a practice day and five fiestas) at the 30th Banderas Bay Regatta last week. Vallarta Yacht Club, next door to the Paradise Village Resort and Marina in Riviera Nayarit, hosts the event for cruisers to get them to try racing — but it’s a can’t-miss regatta for some pretty serious racers too.

Trimming aboard J/133
Mark (aka Fish) trims the kite aboard Mike Seth’s North Flathead (Montana) YC -flagged J/133 Lost Dragon during practice on Wednesday.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

A Few Faces in the Crowd

While we were there for the regatta, we ran into many old friends from the Bay Area and beyond, and made new ones. It’s literally an international regatta (Regata Internacional Bahía de Banderas). The sailors hail from the US, Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Mark and Patty Thompson at Vallarta YC
Among old friends we had fun running into were Mark and Patty Thompson from Corinthian YC in Tiburon. They came south with the Baja Ha-Ha in 2018, then spent a couple of years in La Paz.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Azure crew at the awards banquet
Hailing from Encinal YC in Alameda, here’s the crew of Azure, which sailed south with the Baja Ha-Ha last year. Left to right: Jamie Rosman, Patrick Treacy, Thaddeus and Candice Wozniak, Rodney Pimentel and Ted Floyd. Rodney has owned the 1966 Cal 40 for 19 years and has raced her to Hawaii six times. This month, he’s just back from Zihuatanejo.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Patsy Verhoeven and Randy Hough
Vallarta YC commodore Randy Hough presented Patsy “La Reina del Mar” Verhoeven with a new trophy in memory of event founder Terry O’Rourke and in recognition of the BBR attitude. Patsy brings her Gulfstar 50 Talion down from La Paz every year for the regatta. Then she returns Talion to La Paz. Then she goes up to San Diego to assistant-manage and co-lead the Baja Ha-Ha.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Vallarta YC turns 21 this year (just old enough to order a margarita in its own cantina). So it’s actually younger than the regatta it hosts. And BBR is just one of many first-class events, including world championships, that the club puts on. Dick Markie, harbormaster at Paradise Village, says they run 90 days’ worth of racing each year. (It’s mostly dinghies during the summer. The snow birds start to fly north in mid-April.) The afternoon beer can season runs January through March.

Those Perfect Banderas Bay Conditions?

Hobie 16 with red sails
It’s an inclusive regatta. Here’s the smallest boat in the fleet, a Hobie 16, Bart Goodell’s Copiar. The Hobie dismasted on practice day Wednesday, but kept the rig intact for actual racing to win the Multihull Division and the Pantera Award in memory of cruiser Bob Smith.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Those perfect winter conditions? Air temperature hitting highs in the low to mid-80s, water temperature similar to that of the swimming pools, and an afternoon breeze you can set your clock by. During the week of the regatta, the westerly ranged from mid-teens to low 20s. On the bigger-breeze days, whitecaps frothed up, but we didn’t get the steep chop that can be so unpleasant on San Francisco Bay. Banderas Bay more closely resembles Monterey Bay, with a wide-open mouth and headlands spaced far apart to the north (Punta Mita) and south (Yelapa), with Puerto Vallarta right in the middle.

There was a lot of texture to the water on Wednesday. Pictured here is Valerie Bucholtz’s Beneteau 36.7 First Jazzy2, a local boat.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Olas Lindas
By the final day of racing, Saturday, the water had smoothed out and the breeze backed down into the mid-teens. This is Linda Sweet’s Hanse 44 Olas Lindas, another local boat.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more on the racing, including photos of the division winners, in the April issue of Latitude 38, coming out on March 31. In the meantime, surf on over to


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Springing Forward
Yes, it's still raining, and yes, the snow is still falling, but eventually, the weather will catch up with the season and we'll start to see more sunny days and higher temperatures (we hope).