San Diego, CA (February 17, 2016) - 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.
The 2016 edition of the race will feature 21 yachts from 14 different yacht clubs. Six boats are from Southern California, while other boats hail from the San Francisco Bay, Hawaii, Texas, Chicago and Mexico. The owner traveling farthest for the race is Hector Velarde (Andrews 70, Runaway) from Lima, Peru.
The race starts in San Diego Bay in the vicinity of Shelter Island, with Class 3 and 4 boats starting Friday, February 19th with the first start at noon. Classes 1 and 2 plus the Class 0 trimaran will start Saturday. The festivities begin on Thursday night with the Vallarta Race Kickoff Fiesta at San Diego Yacht Club, where Commodore Doug Werner, friends and family, and members of SDYC will send off the competitors in style.
The sizes of the boats are varied, as are the teams sailing them. Seven are 70 feet or larger and the biggest boat entered is Rio100 which is over 100 feet sailing with a crew of 18. Mighty Merloe, an ORMA 60 Trimaran, is also quite massive spanning 60 feet long by 60 feet wide. The two smallest boats entered are Foil and Flyer, both Farr 40s, with tight crews of 5 on board.
Mighty Merloe and Rio100 are projected to finish at the head of the pack and will be looking to challenge the multihull and monohull course records. Mighty Merloe is known to be capable of 45kts and is eying the record of 2 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes set in 2014 by Tom Siebel’s MOD70 trimaran Orion. The monohull course record was set in 2010 by Bill Turpin’s R/P 77 Akela, finishing in 3 days, 8 hours, 52 minutes.
The 2014 defending champion Bob Pethick is not competing in the event in 2016, but two time winner Dennis Pennell sailing Blue Blazes is looking for his 3rd Vallarta Race win (2006, 2012) in the last 10 years. Wayne Zittel will be taking a team split between coaches and students about the Santa Cruz 50 J World’s Hula Girl, sharing his many years of experience in racing to Mexico with more novice sailors. Zittel offers many opportunities year round for novice offshore sailors or just adventure seekers to gain experience to potentially take on an offshore race of their own in the future.
The Puerto Vallarta race highlights 1,000 nautical miles that include some of the best scenery and fiercest rivalry that California and Mexican waters have to offer. It is no surprise that this appealing race is often viewed as an obligatory event to follow by both race fans and the media.
For most of the competing boats the 1,000 nm Vallarta Race will be their longest offshore race of 2016. While some are experienced Transpac and Pacific Cup teams, for others, this is a unique offshore experience. Grand Illusion, Patches, Peligroso, Vincitore, and Flyer are likely to make the Vallarta Race their only offshore race of the year. While others are eyeing other west coast regional events including the newly established California Offshore Race Week which will feature a three-race series in May and June from San Francisco to San Diego.
Upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta, sailors are invited to stay for the warm weather and beach life on Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta. 7 of the boats will continue racing in the bay the following week in the MEXORC regatta, while others will make the trip home to Acapulco or the US. The Awards ceremony will be held at the Velas Vallarta Resort, in conjunction with the MEXORC kickoff party on Saturday, February 27.
The sailing community, friends and family can follow along with the action throughout the event by tuning in to the tracking website at http://yb.tl/sdpv16. Trackers will update hourly, and will show positions on a 4 hour delay. Updates from SDYC will be published to http://pvrace.com and via Twitter @SDYC1886.
About the Vallarta Race
The Vallarta Race hosted by San Diego Yacht Club is a biennial event. The race starts off San Diego’s Shelter Island and finishes off Punta Mita in beautiful Banderas Bay, Mexico. At the conclusion of the 1,000 mile offshore race, sailors and race fans relax and enjoy the very best the Mexican Rivera has to offer. Many also stay for fantastic inshore buoy and random leg racing around Banderas Bay at MEXORC 2016 which starts on February 28.
Thank You Sponsors
Support of SDYC’s long standing tradition of racing from San Diego to the Mexican mainland is supported by the Mexico Tourism Board, the Satellite Phone Store, El Jimador Tequila, North Sails, Ballast Point Brewing, and Sun Bum.
The San Diego Yacht Club encourages and fosters an environment that helps and continues to produce the best in the world of yachting-related activities. Founded in 1886, SDYC has become a world renown yachting community recognized for its success in bay sailing, ocean racing, cruising, angling, and its world class youth sailing program. SDYC is consistently ranked among the top 5 yacht clubs in the U.S. and is recognized by the Club Leadership Forum as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world.