MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—Del Rey Yacht Club’s biennial International Yacht Race from Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta finishes right off the beach in front of the Regina Westin Hotel & Resort, where most of the racers stay. Now boats will be able to tie up on a new “Vallarta Row” on the other side of the hotel.
How good can it get?
The site just across the street from the main hotel entrance is part of the modernized Opequimar Centro Marino boat yard located along the channel leading into Vallarta Marina. New indoor and outdoor facilities include a yacht club hangout for racers with meal service, flat-screen satellite TV and free use of computers with high-speed Internet connection.
Racers will be offered complimentary guest memberships during their stay in Puerto Vallarta, providing them shoreside access to their boats without the necessity of a water shuttle or a long walk to the marina entrance.
Ron Jacobs, race chairman in 2005, checked out the new complex earlier this year and said, “The idea is to have slips or Med ties right on the channel there to give the racers much easier access to their boats.”
Social events and other amenities at both ends of the 19th and longest enduring race to mainland Mexico (1,125 nautical miles) remain part of the entry package, and by the time they arrive in Puerto Vallarta the racers will have experienced another innovation: a new format for mini-races within the race.
With 21st century satellite technology, the race will incorporate the scope of several other popular races to Mexico. The approximate finishing points of those shorter races will be marked with navigational “crossing lines” along the Baja California coastline and beyond.
At each invisible line, satellite transponders will record each vessel’s date and exact time of crossing. The Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas crossing lines will be set perpendicular to the rhumb line and extend 70 miles offshore so that tactical navigation is not compromised. Without stops or check-ins, the boats’ times will be recorded automatically by signals to shore from the transponders mounted on the stern pulpits.
The segments will be Marina del Rey to Ensenada (159 nautical miles), Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas (669) and Cabo San Lucas to Punta Mita at the entrance to Banderas Bay (280).
From Punta Mita the boats will continue the final 17 miles into the bay to complete the race in front of the Westin Regina within earshot of tourists sipping margaritas amid the palm trees.
Prizes will be awarded in Puerto Vallarta to the boats with the best corrected handicap times between crossing lines, but the segments will not be factored into the overall results.
The traditional trophies and Corum watches will be awarded to the top overall finishers.
While Racing Division boats will not stop, Salsa Division competitors also will have transponders to report the time of their two scheduled stops when a boat crosses the finish line of Leg 1 at the north end of Cedros Island and the finish line of Leg 2 abeam of Cabo San Lazaro.
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