MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—After a crisis was resolved in the Salsa Division of Del Rey Yacht Club’s 19th International Yacht Race to Puerto Vallarta, presented by Corum—Barking Spider 3′s giant inflated Corona bottle broke loose in Turtle Bay—the Racing Division boats will get under way Wednesday and Friday, following their sendoff party Tuesday night.
With an optimistic weather outlook, the stage is set for an assault on the race’s 22-year-old record by Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80. The Long Beach entry, an Alan Andrews design, had the fastest elapsed time in 2005, completing the 1,125-nautical mile run in 5 days 6 hours 59 minutes 56 seconds, but that was eight hours slower than the record of 4:23:00:14 set by Richard and Camille Daniels’ MacGregor 65, Joss, in 1985 in considerably different conditions.
Also in the hunt will be David Janes’s Scout Spirit from Newport Beach. The Reichel/Pugh 77 followed Magnitude 80 by about 9 1/2 hours in 2005—close enough to claim overall honors on corrected handicap time.
The current outlook is for favorable northwest winds, like Joss had in ’85, ideal for spinnaker running straight down the track. Also, the Sailing Instructions have been changed this year to allow Racing Division boats to go outside Santa Catalina Island and reach the fast lane sooner, as Joss did in ’85.
Magnitude 80 and Scout Spirit will start Friday at 1 p.m. Lorenzo Berho’s Raincloud, a J/145 from Puerto Vallarta, will start Wednesday at 1 as the lone PHRF B entry, following the withdrawals this week of the smallest boats, the Antrim 27 E.T. and the Synergy 1000 Sapphire.
Meanwhile, skipper David Kory’s e-mails from Barking Spider 3 continue to capture the essence of the Salsa Division competition: some serious racing mixed with good fun. After leading the fleet into Turtle Bay late Monday night, Kory wrote:
“[I had] just motored our dinghy over to the [escort vessel] Divergent, turning in my official skipper’s log to the race committee, when I heard a call come over the VHF radio, ‘Barking Spider calling for David! Barking Spider calling for David! We need you to rescue the Corona bottle!’ I looked out the window and, to my horror, I spotted our [inflated] 6-foot tall Corona bottle, a mascot of sorts and quite popular with the locals, that had blown free of its tether on our mast in the gusty local winds and was now surfing crazily across the bay at about 4 knots, wild and free.
“I leapt from the committee boat back into the dinghy, started the outboard motor on the first pull with one hand while untying the mooring line with the other, and was revving the engine and planing across the bay in chase of our Corona, all in the blink of an eye. I caught up with it and on the second pass I captured it like a hotshot cowboy roping a lame steer at the national rodeo. Whew! Saved the day. It’s a rough life here in Mexico.
“It was also a day to meet many of the crew of some of the other vessels, whom I had been talking to and competing against the last several days during the race. A lot of good people doing this race, including some very experienced and serious racers, who seemed not entirely pleased that I finished first. They were on stripped-down race boats, so I made sure to innocently work my kayak and dinghy and outboard and granite countertops in the galley and amateur crew into our conversation, just to make them feel better…nyah nyah nyah!
“I also spent a little time on the escort boat Divergent, and what a great bunch of folks they are. Very conscientious about taking care of the fleet, good spirit and hospitality, and very generous as well. Having the escort boat is a great idea for a race like this, and they are doing the job right.
“Mostly it was a relaxing day for all, catching up on sleep and real food, and exploring the dusty little villa here. More of the same for [Tuesday], then the awards in the evening. Wednesday morning starts the next race leg, and we’ll be ready.”
Official results of the first Salsa leg to Cedros Island, a complex process involving engine use time and boat handicap ratings, were still being computed late Tuesday.
Awards will be presented at separate banquets in Puerto Vallarta March 2 and 3. Corum, the lead sponsor, will present the Admiral’s Cup Trophy 41 watch to the winner of each class within each division. The timepiece with a 41mm stainless steel case and nautical pennants instead of numerals to indicate the hours was introduced by Corum before the 2005 race.
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