SD – Puerto Vallarta Race Should Be On “Must-Do” List for West Coast Distance Racers

Race Chairman Stephen Malowney and Race Veteran Gary Weisman Discuss the 2014 PV Race
Article Courtesy of San Diego North Sails ENews

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.

“I can’t remember racing in more ‘champagne’ sailing conditions than during this race,” said PV Race veteran and former North Sails president Gary Weisman. “The water was perfectly flat and at night, the sun would set and we’d see the quick green flash before about two hours of darkness. Then the skies would turn into a full Milky Way and you could see an unimaginable amount of stars. It was almost surreal,” Weisman said.

Twenty-three boats entered the 2014 PV Race with the smaller boats starting on Friday, March 14 and the larger boats on Saturday, March 15. Race Chairman Stephen Malowney, who was managing his second PV Race, was happy with the end result and hopes to continue growing the race for years to come. “I enjoy working with the committee members to organize and facilitate the race,” Malowney explained. “The parties, starts and finishes were a lot of fun for me since I didn’t get the chance to race this year.” The fleet for this year’s event nearly doubled from 2012 and Malowney would like to continue the momentum. “We’d love to increase participation and sponsorship and perhaps add a cruising class for 2016. Since the PV Race is a feeder for the highly popular MEXORC regatta, we worked closely with MEXORC organizers on the dates of both events in addition to hotel selection, marina, and sponsorship,” Malowney explained.

Tom Siebel’s Multi One Design (MOD 70) Orion (left), powered by a complete North Sails inventory, was first to finish this year and broke the record previously held by Steve Fossett and team onboard Lakota in 1998. “I was quite surprised the record was broken this year because the wind conditions were not that strong during the race,” said Malowney. “I believe that the record could easily be beaten again in 2016 and in subsequent races given stronger winds,” he said. (Click here to read Orion debrief:

Although staggered start times inevitably favor one fleet over another due to fluctuating weather patterns, starting all the boats on the same day for the PV Race would present a variety of problems for the larger/faster boats. “I don’t think we could do a single start day because the faster boats would have to wait extra days in Mexico for the smaller boats to finish and it would cause problems trying to schedule the awards dinner,” Malowney explained. “It was a frustrating race for those of us on Pyewacket (North Sails-powered Andrews 68 owned by Roy Disney) because it seemed like we kept sailing into more wind holes than anyone else,” Weisman explained. “We’d get going for a bit and then basically park for hours on end. It felt like we were going down the coast with a black cloud over our heads. But we decided to sail closer to the Cape (Cabo San Lucas) than the other boats and we were able to open up a 30-40 mile lead over Grand Illusion, which paid dividends in the end. We ended up 1st in class, 1st to finish from the Saturday starters and 5th overall which we were happy about.”

North Sails proudly sponsored the Puerto Vallarta race by supplying the first to finish awards for both the monohulls (Pyewacket) and multihulls (Orion). “North Sails helped publicize this year’s event by talking to customers and advertising in the local lofts which resulted in more boats,” Malowney explained. “The SDYC will be publishing dates for the 2016 event very soon and we will create and send out promotional material in advance so hopefully people can plan ahead and join the fun,” Malowney concluded.

“I thought this year’s race was well organized and having the multihulls racing with us was great,” Weisman added. “It was fun to watch them on the race tracker because while we were plugging along at 10 or 11 knots, they were sailing way outside doing 29 knots. They’re so fast it’s ridiculous.” Although Weisman and the Pyewacket team, including America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Torben Grael, were mildly disappointed with the lack of wind, there’s no doubt at least Weisman will be back for the 2016 race. “The racing expectation has changed for me a bit,” Weisman explained. “Although I am still competitive and want to race the boat fast, I was also really enjoying our surroundings more than ever. Counting experiences like this is almost the most important part of racing for me now. Thanks to the Pyewacket team for a great race and I look forward to returning in 2016,” Weisman concluded.