Viva Mexico! The 2016 Puerto Vallarta Race is Underway

San Diego, CA (February 20, 2016) - 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.
Classes 3 and 4 featured Santa Cruz 50s and 52s, a R/P 50, a J/125 and two Farr 40s. The Friday start saw a chamber of commerce day, and a great one to send boats charging south to Puerto Vallarta. Four Class 4 boats and six Class 3 boats started in a perfect westerly breeze with 10-15 knots pressure. Two-time previous PV winner, R/P 50 Blue Blazes, started strong and was among the leaders of the pack- a good sign for skipper Dennis Pennell who is aiming for his third win this year.
As the sun was rising Saturday morning on a slightly overcast day, things were not looking up for the big boats starts. The 10 boats that set sail on Friday took advantage of a consistent breeze, launching them over 200 miles down the course. Most were reporting winds at 15-20 knots. Skipper Wayne Zittel and the team on the J/125 J Worlds Hula Girl provided some commentary on their first day on the water.
“We had a nice start down at the favored pin end of the line, and were able to lead our pack out the Bay. As our fleets cleared the shifty/gusty stretches near Ballast point, the first spinnakers went up, and I do believe our whole fleet were into spins before we reached the ocean, with the exception of Deception who opted for their Code 0.“

“The breeze had filled across the whole course, so our pack of boats all sailed a line shoreward of the Coronado Islands. It can be risky if the winds are not solid, but it is closer to the rhumbline, and yesterday this was clearly the fast call. One by one, boats peeled from their reachers to the runners, and we were off. All afternoon, our fleet drag-raced south. Lucky Duck punched out to an early lead. Horizon was next with us just off their weather hip. We worked had to reel them in, but had a bit of stubborn kelp on the keel that we absolutely could not shake...”
Saturday, February 20, 2016 dawned still and slightly overcast. Things were not looking up for the big boat start. But what a difference 30 minutes can make. As the Race Committee took station in the starting area, winds were calm. By 11:30am, 25 min prior to the start, winds were 6 knots from the south. And at the start, 11 knots from 270!
Class 2 (Sleds) were rail to rail at the pin and quickly out past Point Loma. Class 1 got underway shortly thereafter with Super Maxi Rio100’s speed reaching nearly 23 knots out of the bay. Rio100 amazingly makes its competition look small on the racecourse. Measuring over 100' long and 20' wide, Rio100 is targeting the West Coasts most competitive and challenging races such the SoCal 300 and Transpacs. The crew of 18 on board pushed the Super Maxi out in front of the Class 1 boats moments after the start line and was a 1/4 of a mile in front of the competition as the boats passed Point Loma headed south.
Then, twenty minutes after that, the speedster of the event, (and after watching them sail across the start line, it is apparent why they are sailing even though they are in a class by themselves...literally and figuratively) the ocean going ORMA 60 Trimaran, Mighty Merloe, rocketed across the start line. Within seconds she was flying two hulls, with just her leeward ama in the water. ZOOM is the word that comes to mind. 
Race Committee and the team of SDYC member volunteers are taking the airline shortcut to PV on Sunday and will be on site to greet the sailors. John and Deb Rogers are awaiting the R/C and first finishers aboard the finish boat Moonshadow in Banderas Bay.

Thanks to Peter Isler and North Sails for safety and weather briefings each morning. Isler shared his experience in the capsize and full crew rescue of Rambler during the Fastnet race. SDYC wishes safe and fast travels for the 200+ competitors of the 2016 Vallarta Race.

More updates from SDYC will be live from PV and will be posted on and on Twitter @SDYC1886.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.