(March 16, 2014) – 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.
The first retiree came quickly, with Brack Duker’s Santa Cruz 70 Holua losing their prop within the first hour of sailing on Saturday. The remaining 22 teams extended offshore on offwind angles, gybing back toward layline at about 160 nm down the track.
The two multihulls, MOD70 Orion and IMOCA 60 Mighty Merloe, have now passed all the Friday starters, both posting speeds today in the 20 knot range. In general, wind strength appears to be better for the Friday starters, which lead the Saturday group by roughly 200 miles.
“So far the 2014 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race has been pretty much textbook,” observed Wayne Zittel onboard the Santa Cruz 50 J World’s Hula Girl. “We started on Friday in a nice westerly, close reaching past Point Loma and into the Pacific. Before we had gotten to the Coronado Islands we were in the Code 0, then shortly thereafter the first spinnaker came up. We carried the 2A into the night, and wow, what a night. Steady 12-14 knots and a nearly full moon lit up the slightly cloudy sky. As we work south, the sky gets clearer and the water bluer.”
The tracker shows teams trading gybes along the Baja peninsula. “The winds have been steady enough but shifty,” notes Karen Jewell onboard the Santa Cruz 50 Deception. “At night, we have plenty of moonlight to keep the spinnaker in check and the stars and Pacific White Sided Dolphins keep us company. But there is way too much kelp out here.”