MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—First the rabbit out of the chute, now come the hounds in Del Rey Yacht Club’s 19th International Yacht Race to Puerto Vallarta, presented by Corum.
Lorenzo Berho’s Raincloud, the only starter in Racing Division B, crossed the line at full speed in 11 knots of western breeze Wednesday, setting a pace for the record seekers—Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80 and David Janes’s Scout Spirit—to follow Friday at 1 p.m. PST.
Magnitude 80, an Andrews 80, owes Raincloud about 45 minutes and Scout Spirit, a Reichel/Pugh 77, about 13 hours in handicap time for the 1,125-nautical mile race. Can the faster boats catch Raincloud with its 48-hour head start?
Berho, whose home port is Puerto Vallarta, was given the option of starting alone Wednesday or with the other two Racing Division A boats Friday. He opted for the former.
“I’d rather be coming to the finish line with Magnitude 80 and Scout Spirit trying to catch me than just following them all the way down to Puerto Vallarta,” he said. “That will make it a much more interesting race.”
Berho may have made the right call. In Wednesday’s surprisingly good conditions, following the Salsa Division starts in excruciatingly light wind last Friday, he has a chance not only to be the first boat to cross the finish line in his hometown but to claim overall victory on corrected handicap time, as well.
The only wrinkle in Berho’s gamble is that Magnitude 80 and Scout Spirit may find even stronger breeze on the coattails of a serious rainstorm forecast to blow through Southern California Thursday night—breeze that the bigger boats hope will chase them past Joss’s 22-year-old record (4 days 23 hours) and breeze that Raincloud (how ironic is that name?) also would have had if it had started Friday.
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