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Mag 80 Ripping Off Miles, Scout Spirit Drops Out

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80 was on a breakaway record pace early Saturday morning in Del Rey Yacht Club’s 19th International Yacht Race to Puerto Vallarta, presented by Corum, but David Janes’s rival Scout Spirit apparently was already out of the race for reasons immediately not known.

There had been no direct communication between Scout Spirit and the Del Rey YC organizers since, according to the Flagship tracking system, Scout Spirit left the race course at 4:30 p.m. Friday about 3 1/2 hours after the start and docked somewhere in the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor area.

The tracking system showed the Reichel/Pugh 77 still in that location at 8 a.m. Saturday, while at the same time Magnitude 80 was ripping off the miles at between 15 to 18 knots halfway down the Baja California peninsula opposite Turtle Bay.

Navigator Ernie Richau reported: “It’s 0830 on Saturday morning. Yesterday we started with the wind in the upper teens and from the beam. After getting into the San Pedro Channel we set the code 7 A and took down the #2 jib. Ripping along at 20-plus knots is the only way to start off a race to Mexico. Once past Avalon the code 4 was set and we have been running all night [with] 20 knots of wind from the northwest.”

So Magnitude 80, an Andrews 80, is on a strong pace to break the record for the 1,125-nautical mile course of 4 days 23 hours 14 seconds set by Dick and Camille Daniels’ MacGregor 65, Joss, in 1985.

Joss, a MacGregor 65, averaged 9.5 knots in similar conditions, although Magnitude 80 this time found that it didn’t need to go outside Santa Catalina Island to find more favorable breeze but simply shot down the San Pedro Channel between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland on the rhumb (direct) line to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the peninsula.

Lorenzo Berho’s Raincloud, a smaller J/145 that started two days earlier, was sailing at 8.5 knots 575 nautical miles from the finish at 8 a.m. Saturday, 241 miles ahead of Magnitude 80.

No other up-to-date information on the race was immediately available.

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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