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 2014 edition featured a strong showing of skilled sailors from yacht clubs all over the world. A total of 23 boats entered the five different classes, representing 14 different yacht club.
Sailing in Class 3 out of California Yacht Club, Bretwalda 3, Bob Pethick’s Rogers 46 was the first monohull to finish, and also won the overall first place on correct time for the race.
Among the other class winners were Vincitore, RP52 owned by Ricardo Brockmann of Club de Yates de Acapulco in Class 1, Pyewacket, Andrews 68 owned by Roy P. Disney of Waikiki Yacht Club in Class 2, Velos, Tanton 73 owned by Kjeld Hestehave of San Diego Yacht Club in Class 4. In the multi-hull division, Tom Seibel’s Orion, a MOD 70 out of St. Francis Yacht Club, broke a 16 year record when he was the first to finish in two days, eight hours and 33 minutes, making his average speed 17.7 kts. Many competitors believe Seibel’s current record could be easily broken in 2016 or subsequent years if the racing features even slightly stronger winds than the breezes of 2014.
With 1,000 nautical miles of racing, the Vallarta Race showcases the best that California and Mexican waters have to offer, earning itself the nickname “The Race to Paradise.” Race veteran Gary Weisman reported after the last competition that the racing area seemed almost surreal. “I can’t remember racing in more champagne sailing conditions than during this race,” Weisman said. “The water was perfectly flat. At night the skies would turn into a full Milky Way and you could see an unimaginable amount of stars.”
Competitors and media alike have dubbed this race a “must-do” for any West Coast distance racers, and with world-class competition and idyllic conditions, it’s easy to see the appeal.