Puerto Vallarta, MX (March 9, 2018) - It has been five, six or seven days since the 2018 San Diego Yacht Club’s Puerto Vallarta race left San Diego Bay, depending on when you start counting. One thousand rhumbline miles later, the boats are piled into Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta. Sails are being flaked, lines are being dried, along with foul weather gear being given a chance to exhale after some serious work. Every two years a new cast of characters hop on board to head south for fast sailing and warm weather...a Puerto Vallarta Race tradition since 1953.

At midnight we surf waves with whooping shouts, grins, and no spinnaker. Then Orion and the stars of the milky way watch as our frothing bow wave gives way under slacking breeze and flattening seas. Morning brings dolphins, a lazy sea turtle and a fleet that is catching up. Capt. breaks out the A5 (Barney and Beaulah) ... a sail reserved for show not racing and it is game on again.
It's 12:55 PST on Wednesday. Just officially passed 5 days of racing. Looking downwind at the finish, 5 miles away. Unfortunately, our sistership again snuck past us during the night and looks to cross the finish line just ahead (amazing how we watch her all night, then lose sight, then she pops up just in front, plain as day). A bummer to say the least, but to be within 4 miles of your competition after 1000 miles of racing is pretty cool. I calculate we had 6 or 7 lead changes just in the last 2 days. Good times.
Mighty Merloe (Orma 60, HL Enloe) flew across the Sea of Cortez Monday and crossed the finish line to set new multihull and overall record for the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race. The previous record was set in 2014 by Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion, sailing 1209 miles in 56 hr 55 min for the 1000 mile rhumbline course. Mighty Merloe was three hours behind them that year, but suffered from a broken centerboard on one of the hulls, sailing 1160 miles that year. The new 2018 record now stands at 51 hr 58 min set by Mighty Merloe, sailing 1136 miles, for an average speed of 21.8 over the 1000 mile rhumbline course.
Tracker update issue overnight being resolved Tuesday morning. Positions will begin updating throughout the morning, including the manually reported 0600 times direct from the fleets daily roll call. All boats checked in per daily morning check in protocal and all is well with the fleet. Estimating Rio100 as first monohull finisher after dark. YB Tracking issued a statement on the technological explanation for the tracker down time. They have been in contact with SDYC throughout the process and are working to keep the event running smoothly for the competitors and race fans.
Exciting night rolling thru sustained 25 kts winds in 20’+ seas. A turn at the helm tested ones mettle. In true “Corinthian spirit”, crew appreciated having dined already on chicken Tikka Masala over basmati rice, paired with a ration of Oregon Pinot Noir. All aboard doing well.
In San Diego Yacht Club's Puerto Vallarta Race last night, a good portion of the fleet passed the metaphorical 50 yard line… or the "500 miles to go" mark. The combined average of 'Distance to Go' for the fleet is 495 miles. You can witness this compression if you review the YB Tracker. Today, the Saturday starters are approaching the 'catch', and will begin sailing through the Friday starters, who have already overtaken the Thursday boats. Outside of all of that, there is a lot of commercial traffic off the coast of Mexico... not just our intrepid sailors. Visit MarineTraffic.com to witness vessel traffic transmitting AIS world wide. Then zoom in to the race course and you will see the virtual highway used by hundreds of container and tanker ships, likely transiting through the Panama Canal and moving goods up the west coast. It can seem like a vast empty ocean, until you open your digital eyes. Look carefully and you may spot a few of our racers with their AIS-B permanently on. This “B” signal is low-power, and usually only visible for 10-15 miles by other vessels. These positions are relayed automatically by passing commercial vessel with commercial AIS-“A” systems with a much greater range.
Everyone is on the race course… and judging from 0600 comments from the boat, most are having a classic race to Mexico. Winds are generally from aft of the shrouds, sea states are moderate and ‘pushy’, and the temperature is rising. One boat, Jim Madden’s Stark Raving Mad, less so. SRM retired Saturday morning with a reported injury to a crew members finger. The boat diverted to San Quintin and the crew member was driven back to San Diego for prompt doctor’s attention. SRM is proceeding back to San Diego. All reports are good.
Well, we kind of knew this one could hurt a little bit. There were signs. Twenty-four hours into the 2018 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race, and we are feeling the pain. We are headed south in Division 4, a mix of boats from 46 feet (us) to 65. It's a fairly diverse group featuring on one end a J/65 and a Swan 601, and on our end our 'little' DK46, Cazan. Alas, it is not a good year to be the slow boat in the class. Peter Isler said at the weather briefing for our starting day on Friday, "Well, you guys got the short straw." He was referring to the fact that the class that started on Thursday was experiencing great conditions, and the fact that it was looking pretty good for the Saturday starters. Friday was, well, very 'Friday.' It was going to be light, and shifty and variable. So we were pleased when the sea-breeze managed to push in for a bit, enough to get us out of SD Bay and heading south on a beautiful afternoon. We went from the #1 Jib to the Jib Top, and late at night we were actually able to get the 3A spinnaker up. 
Start day was off to poor running when one of the team lost his phone overboard, before we had left the dock. It's in a waterproof case and two of the team immediately jumped into see if they could find it. No joy, one phone down. The start area was inside San Diego Bay. So we had a nice start and headed out of the bay along with the main competition. As the third slowest boat in our class, we were able to hang in with the speedsters until we got out of the bay. In the lighter conditions we struggled a bit, but managed to put up a good fight anyway. Had a nice battle going through the Coronado Islands, and then things went a bit pear shaped. Very light conditions into the early morning on Saturday had us floundering slightly with some weird gybe angles. Sunrise showed a very cool looking but rather sullen sky with a mixture of small rain squalls and heavy looking currus around us, loitering about and threatening some bother. Roll call had us in close company with the leaders and as the day has progressed we have gained better and better pressure. Currently sailing at 10 to 13 knots of boat speed and waiting on a Lasagna dinner. Not too shabby at all.
“It’s going to be Champagne Sailing…” is a phrase that is meant to bring to mind ‘optimal’ sailing conditions. In the case of San Diego Yacht Club's Puerto Vallarta race, it would bring to mind a full moon lighting the seas at night, fresh winds of 12-15 kts aft of the beam, and long ocean swells just large enough to lift the transom and give your boat a little invisible push, followed by a subtle roar of your bow wave peeling past the hull. That was the case for Thursday starters, but as roll call 0600 reports trickled in Saturday morning, it was apparent that the champagne was running low.
For the first roll call of the 2018 Vallarta Race, it was clear that Peter Isler’s weather briefing the morning before had been spot on. “You’re going to have a banner evening with full moon and full breeze…” he advised. Thus this from Marjorie Friday morning: “…Just as Peter promised – bright worm moon, building breeze and great sailing…”, and “…sacrificed 1 spinnaker in 21 knot gybe…”. Cabernet Sky chimed in with “…spin halyard separated just after sunset, fished A3 from under boat…”. And this from Tropic Thunder “…30kt gust took out full symmetrical sail…”!
The Vallarta Race 2018 is officially underway with the first 3 boats getting their start on Thursday. The rest of the teams can be found enjoying beer and tacos along with Mariachis provided by partner Bay City Brewing and Mexico Tourism at the San Diego Yacht Club for the Kick Off Race Party tonight as they gear up for their starts on Friday and Saturday.
By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt My DNA is Southern California, which means adverse sailing conditions are for other people. We get criticized for this, but when the weather for most of the year is predictably preferable, we get used to it. When it does rain, we can’t cope. It’s smart to stay off the roads… accidents happen.
Beginning on March 1st, the 2018 Vallarta Race hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, will include 30 boats, many sailed by some of the most experienced offshore racing teams on the West Coast. Racing from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, this race highlights 1,000 nautical miles that include some of the best scenery and fiercest rivalry that California and Mexican waters have to offer. The 2018 running of the Vallarta Race will be the largest the race has been in many years.
Shirts, hats and more are available for order online from the exclusive provider of PV18 race gear, Pirate's Lair. Order your shirts and add custom team name embroidery if you wish. http://store.pirateslair.com/sdyc-puerto-vallarta-race-2018
In the build up to the 2018 offshore racing season and the Puerto Vallarta Race, San Diego Yacht Club is hosting a 2-Day Saftey at Sea Seminar, presented by John Miller. Event Information: https://sdyc.org/calendar/event/safety-at-sea-course-with-hands-on-training Saturday & Sunday, January 27-28, 2018 If you or your crew are unable to attend this seminar, check the US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar locations for other options up and down the coast: http://www.ussailing.org/education/safety-at-sea/find-a-seminar-near-you/
Anticipation is building for the 2018 Puerto Vallarta Race as race entries begin to roll in. So far, a mix of boats including Santa Cruz 50 and 52s, Pac 52s, TP 52s, and one multihull will be back for the next installment. When checking in with a handful of the race’s past competitors, we discovered what the race means to them, why they register year after year, and for some, how it feels to win the event. Dennis Pennell, skipper of Blue Blazes, will be back in 2018 to attempt a third win. “I have had the good fortune with my Reichel/Pugh 50 Blue Blazes to have been the overall winner in the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta race twice- in 2006 and 2012. In my 60 plus years of racing sailboats those two wins were the highlight of my racing career. I am doing it in 2018 in my 80th year because for me it represents a thousand miles of sheer fun!”
We’re officially one year away from the iconic race from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta which will sail its 33rd installment in March 2018, with its first start on March 2nd. This biennial event features some of the fastest boats and ocean sailors in the sport and continues to provide the rare opportunity to race from the US, beyond Baja, to the Mexican mainland. Many talented sailors from yacht clubs all over the world competed in the 2016 edition, making it a very diverse race. A total of 21 boats raced in five classes, representing 12 different yacht clubs. First entries for the 2018 race include Lani Spund from SDYC in his Santa Cruz 52, Kokopelli2, Tom Holthus from SDYC in his brand new Pac52, Bad Pak, the 2010 Puerto Vallarta race winner Lorenzo Berho from SDYC on his Kernan 70, Peligroso, and Ricardo Brockmann from the Acapulco Yacht Club in his Reichel/Pugh 52, Vincitore.
The 2016 edition of the Vallarta Race was a tale of two races. As sailors reached the dock in Marina Vallarta, their stories emphasized the contrast between the two. The first race is the run from San Diego to Cabo which this year was like none other. The second race involves attempting to avoid the holes and minimize the light air that most boats encountered crossing the Sea of Cortez and approach to PV. While this diversity is expected on any Vallarta Race, the extremes seen in 2016 were unique. Boats like Gordon Leon's Farr 40 Flyer reached 22 knots and were rocking and rolling on the first half, while even the trimaran Mighty Merloe fell victim to the shutdown of breeze on the second half approach to the finish, floating along at 2-3 knots at times.
Congratulations to John Schulze and the crew of Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), overall and Div 3 winners of the 2016 Vallarta Race! Horizon sailed the course in 4 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes, 19 seconds, and corrected out over Roy Disney's Pyewacket (Andrews 70) by nearly 2 hours.
Congratulations to Manouch Moshayedi and the crew of 19 aboard Rio100, who set the monohull course record by completing the Vallarta Race course in 77.7 hours.
Mighty Merloe crossed the finish line in 67.8 hrs (2 days, 19 hr, 49 min, 29 sec). After a 36 hour run unlike any other from San Diego to Cabo, the second half of their journey was an exercise in getting through the lee of Cabo, build speed down the course, and staying on which ever tack (yep - beating is what you get approaching at night) to keep best speed to the finish despite the light north and east winds blowing out of Banderas Bay through the night. The trimaran crew hoped to get across the line overnight, but it was not to be.
That 'new day' we talked about yesterday... it's here, and so begins the second part of the Vallarta Race. So consider that as of Monday, 0900 race time, the fleet is stretched approx. 235 nm along the Baja peninsula, plus another 110 miles if you add Mighty Merloe's lead. She is clearly forecasting the future for the fleet.
With everyone recognizing that HL Enloe's ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe (MM) is fast, it is no surprise that MM was going to ZOOM down the course. But it is still so impressive to track them as they work their way through a fleet that started 24 hours before them, and they are still 160 miles from Cabo at 1700 PST.
All 21 boats have departed San Diego and the adventure to Puerto Vallarta is in motion. We have a pair of Farr 40s one design racing for 1000 miles; we have the 60x60 trimaran machine Mighty Merloe pacing the epic Super Maxi sled Rio100; we have a great collection (Class 3) of Santa Cruz 50s and 52s; we have the great design debate: small quick pole boat (J/125) vs classic offshore R/P 50 Blue Blazes; and we have Class 2, the diverse and always fun to sail sled class. There is a lot going on this week in the Pacific.
Starting February 19, teams will gather in San Diego to start the 2016 Vallarta Race, the 32nd running of the international sailboat race from San Diego Bay to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This biennial event features some of the fastest boats and ocean sailors in the sport and continues to provide the rare opportunity to race from the US, beyond Baja, to the Mexican mainland.
Joe and Laura are once again offering their gear delivery services for Vallarta Race and MEXORC competitors. Find out the pick up dates and locations around Southern California, rates, contact info and more.
Teams are signing up to avoid the upcoming rains brought on by El Nino and preparing for the wind, sunshine, warmth and the margaritas to be enjoyed after another epic ride down the Mexican Coastline and bounce across the Gulf to scenic Puerto Vallarta! Our friends in Mexico are determined to help the San Diego Yacht Club make this a great experience for all the teams and their families.
Race to PV, Stay for MEXORC! Sailors from around the world descend on Puerto Vallarta for the biennial MEXORC regatta on Banderas Bay. Those racing from San Diego in the Vallarta Race fit nicely into this schedule with the awards ceremony for SDYC's regatta taking place the day before MEXORC begins. Join us for both events!
Since its introduction in the late 1980s, the ORMA 60 trimaran has seduced the best sailors in the world, especially the solo-sailing cowboys from France. Capable of sustained speeds few powerboats can match, it’s not the sort of boat one would expect your average 78-year-old Texan to campaign, but then again, owner Howard Enloe isn’t your average Texan.
The iconic race from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta will set sail again in 2016 with the first start on February 19th. The biennial event is a favorite in the sailing community and has continued to draw some of the fastest and fiercest competitors from all over the world, since its origin in 1954. This will be the 32nd installment of the race.
The San Diego Yacht Club biennial Puerto Vallarta Race finished its 32nd edition with great success and positive feedback from race competitors and sponsors alike. Although winds were light for the majority of the race, the weather showcased southern California and Mexico’s near perfect conditions with sunny skies and warm temperatures for the 1,000 NM race from Point Loma to Puerto Vallarta.
Most likely, the history books will show the 2014 San Diego to Vallarta race as not a particularly fast race, but it wasn’t a slow one either. We had two world class trimarans entered, and without a spectacular weather system to hurl them at once in a while speeds, both entries beat the flat out speed record from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta established by Steve Fossett aboard Lakota (size/type) in 1998. Tom Siebels MOD 70 established the new mark of 2 days, 8 hours, 33 mins, 0 sec. Almost 6 hours later, HL Enloe’s Orma 60 limped across the line (broken port foil), also just an hour under Fossetts benchmark time. Renamed ‘Mighty Merloe’, this tri dominated the maxi-trimaran circuit when it was built and was the design basis for the MOD 70.
Bob Pethick, the owner of the Rogers 46 Bretwalda was able to change his travel plans and stay for the Saturday awards ceremony now that there is some glory to be had. Congratulations to Bob and his crew. They correct out to 83.9 hours, 0.2 hours over Fritz Lanzinger’s J/125 Hamachi.
San Diego Yacht Club’s tradition of racing to the Mexican mainland is over 60 years old. This year, the 1,000nm race to Puerto Vallarta produced a new record finish time courtesy of Tom Siebiel’s MOD70 Trimaran Orion, with a finish time of 2 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes (56 hours, 33 minutes).
The 32nd edition of the biennial San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race started off Shelter Island, with Class 3 and 4 leaving on Friday (Mar. 14) and Class 1, 2, and Multihull departing on Saturday (Mar. 15). Both days provided summer-like conditions for the 23 entrants to begin their 1000 mile southerly slide toward beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
San Diego Yacht Club will send Class 3 and Class 4 boats off to Mexico today in the 52nd biennial Vallarta Race. Each boat is equipped with a Yellowbrick race tracker, which will allow spectators to follow along with the race progress, updated hourly. The positions are on a 4 hour delay to keep the boat positions a bit more mysterious to the competitors as they navigate down south.
On the eve of the 1,000 nm southern jaunt down Baja California from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, we take a look at the history of, and the competition, and more specifically, the Nor Cal Boats entered this year and their crews.
Dennis Pennell, sailing with a crew of ten on Blue Blazes, took division and overall honors in the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta 2012 race. Starting on Thursday, March 1, Blue Blazes benefitted from stiff westerly breezes on the first night, with all starters posting impressive first day logs. While the larger class competitors looked on with envy, the Division 3 boats had sustained winds of 25 kts from their starboard quarter, making for a quick run past Ensenada. Blazes obviously capitalized on the early lead, which later proved important when all competitors had a case of ‘the slows’.