CORONA DEL MAR, Calif.- It took about a day for the fastest boats to overcome the 24-hour head start by some of the slowest-rated boats in Balboa Yacht Club’s biennial race from Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas.
About halfway through the 800-nautical mile race early Sunday afternoon Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80, an Andrews 80 from Long Beach, moved well inshore of Jim Madden’s Reichel/Pugh 66 Stark Raving Mad III and was virtually on the transom of the Nauti Chicas all-woman team sailing Predator, a J/35 half their size further handicapped by a shredded spinnaker (see E-mails from the sea below).
Mag 80 was clocking 13.4 knots to Predator’s 7.1, according to iBoat tracking’s bi-hourly report at noon PDT.
Earlier, Mag 80’s navigator, Ernie Richau, reported: “It has been an interesting night. Lots of cloud cover, a little rain and cool temps. The sailing has been somewhat challenging as the wind has been changing direction by 50 degrees and the wind speed is up and down between 7 and 18 knots. At 9 a.m. Sunday the weather now looks to have steadied into a more typical Cabo race and we are running on port gybe with the code 2a spinnaker up. We hope to even see a little sun this afternoon.”
Mag 80’s record for the course is 2 days 13 hours 26 minutes 58 seconds. It must finish by 1:26 a.m. PDT Tuesday to lower that, but the prospect was questionable at the moment.
Two boats have dropped out—Tom Holthus’ Bad Pak on Saturday with a steering problem and George Minardos’ Aeolos, a Beneteau 44.7 Class C boat from Santa Monica that broke its boom late Saturday night.
“Please report to the race committee that as of 22:00 3/29 we are out of the race due to a broken boom,” Minardos e-mailed to race officials. Our position as of 23:00 is 28 52′N / 116 42′ W. All crew are safe, we are low on fuel and are sailing to Turtle Bay.”
Also, a Class A competitor lost time after crossing tacks with a fish. It’s OK, an Andrews 50 from Covina entered by Tres Gordos Sailing LLC, struck an unknown species with its keel and needed 30 minutes to back down and remove it. It’s OK did not report what it had for dinner Saturday night.
Neither Mag 80 nor Stark Raving Mad III may catch some of the other Friday starters. As of mid-day Sunday, there was a fierce four-boat battle going on in Class B.
Tom Garnier’s Reinrag2 was still projected as the only boat that would finish before midnight Monday, although the J/125 from Portland, Ore. had more miles to go (344) than Tim Beatty’s Perry 56, Stealth Chicken (345), or Jack Taylor’s Santa Cruz 50, Horizon (337) and was about even with another SC 50, Jim Morgan’s Fortaleza.
Reinrag2 also was currently first overall in the fleet on corrected handicap time, poised to win that honor as it did in last summer’s Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii, with the Santa Cruz 50s hanging tight.
Highlights of the starts will be shown on KDOC-TV’s Daybreak OC weekday morning news show from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. starting Monday.
The finish line is off the beach in front of the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel, a location also known as Cabo Falso, just before boats would turn the corner at the tip of the peninsula into Cabo San Lucas.
Besides the usual Southern California standard PHRF and international ORR handicap systems, this race also will score the a dozen competitors on the evolving IRC method.
E-mails from the sea
Nauti Chicas, Predator (Saturday): “We have been going like gangbusters at lots of 10 kts speed in 20 kts wind. But our computer got a little wet and flaky so we let it dry out for and it seems to be working (this is a test). We are all doing swell – ha ha - in 10 foot crossing seas this whole trip, as much as 70 miles offshore at on point.
(Sunday) “Well, it’s been a crazy day/night. If you saw our detailed track on iBoat you may have noticed a big loop we did around midnight. It wasn’t a man overboard, or retrieving our favorite hat, but we blew up to shreds our strongest spinnaker in our inventory while running deep in 25 kts. Of course, some of it was our fault, as we were running quarterly swells in vertigo-inducing pitch darkness and had just a couple of round-ups which puts a lot of stress on the thing. So, anyway, we got all 3 corners of the sail on deck, saved the gear and let the kite go out for burial at sea. That and a new headsail up and a jibe all in less than an hour. You could imagine all hands on deck, tethers on, flashlights and knives at the ready. That was a first for any of us I think.”
Peter Bretschger, Adios (Saturday): “Team Adios had a spectacular night last night. With up to 30 kts of breeze and 16 kts of boat speed, we had a blast doing almost 188 miles on the first 24 hrs. We think we’ve done well to date sitting in the middle of our fleet position-wise, with most of them owing us time. The boat has been flawless so far with long smooth runs of 10+ kts regularly occurring. Not much sea life so far, probably going too fast. Sunburn is the main concern now as the skies have cleared. Looking forward to Cabo!
Glenn Highland, Bien Roulée (Saturday): Remained an E Ticket ride all day off of Mexico — plenty of wind, big rough seas, some jibes in 25 knots to get your attention along the way. Bien Roulée continues to hold her own from what we could tell in the morning positions. She is kicking up a wake that looks like a Volvo boat in the Southern Ocean! Eating has not been that important . . . sleep has been the focus — and we have another long night tonight. Some clouds, some blue skies, but lots of wind and waves.
(Sunday) Conditions have moderated . . . wind and seas down. Still nice sailing but you can now carry on a conversation in the cockpit without having to yell to get over the sea noise. Very civilized. Last night was pitch black . . . clouds to start with no moon until 2 a.m. — as dark as you can imagine. Some ships around but no racers sighted.
(positions on corrected handicap time at 1 p.m. PDT Sunday)
Started Saturday, March 29
1. Peligroso (Dencho/Kernan 68), Mike Campbell/Dale Williams, Long Beach, 543 miles to go.
2. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Pico Rivera, Calif., 552.
3. Stark Raving Mad (Reichel/Pugh 60), Jim Madden, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 543.
4. Magnitude 80 (Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach, 521.
1. Pendragon IV (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Long Beach, 563.
2. Holua (Santa Cruz 70), Brack Duker, Pasadena, 558.
3. It’s OK (Andrews 50), Tres Gordos Sailing LLC, Covina, Calif., 571.
4. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), Patrick O’Brien, Venice, Calif., 564.
5. Stars & Stripes (Farr 60), Dennis Conner, San Diego, 571.
6. Westerly (Santa Cruz 70), Tom Hogan, Newport Beach, 566.
Started Friday, March 28
CLASS B (10 boats)—1. Reinrag2 (J/125), Thomas Garnier, Portland, Ore., 344.
CLASS C (10 boats)—1. Katrina (Swan 53), Damon Guizot, Seward, Alaska, 420.
CLASS D (7 boats)—1. Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Vance and PK Edwards, Ventura, Calif., 445.
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