Winning is all that counts in most sailboat races, but in Del Rey Yacht Club’s PV09 International Race Series to Puerto Vallarta, presented by CORUM Swiss Timepieces, there also are rewards for good guys, good cooks, good communicators and good fishermen, as well as some pretty good sailors.
At Saturday night’s awards presentation followed by a fiesta with fireworks, the latter included the class winners on overall corrected handicap time: Spinnaker A—Carmagnole, Dan Howard, Del Rey YC, Marina del Rey; Spinnaker B—Barking Spider, David Kory, South Bay Yacht Racing Club, San Francisco; Non-Spinnaker A—Defiance, Peter Noonan, St. Francis YC, San Francisco; Non-Spinnaker B—G-Rated, Sid Lampert, Del Rey YC.
Corum USA President Michael Wunderman presented a $5,000 Corum Admiral’s Cup timepiece to each of the winners, and also to Marshall Wax, who ferried the crew of the event’s “escort vessel” the 286 nautical miles back and forth across the Gulf of California where their 36-foot Winnebago motorhome couldn’t go.
Carmagnole won the first three races in class but faltered to third place on the finale to Puerto Vallarta after losing use of its main sail for 11 hours.
Barking Spider also missed a sweep in Spinnaker B when rough conditions hampered the smallest boat in the fleet.
Kory said later it was “a very bumpy and upwind night out of Cabo San Lucas. The wind eventually clocked around to a beam reach, and we could make good time to Puerto Vallarta. Unfortunately, Rose of Sharon loved the early conditions and got away from us. Jungle Jim also sailed faster and finished in PV before the wind died. By the time we got near the finish line around 8 a.m. [Thursday] morning, the wind had completely died. It took us over an hour to travel the last mile along the beach.”
Nevertheless, it was noteworthy that in the previous Del Rey YC event two years ago Kory sailed the largest boat in the Salsa fleet—a bigger and faster MacGregor 65, also called Barking Spider—and also won overall fleet honors. This time he sailed the smallest boat—a Catalina 36 MK2—and repeated, while posting the lowest corrected time of all 15 starters in all classes.
Barking Spider’s nearest rival in class and fleet scoring was Byron Chamberlain’s Rose of Sharon, less than five hours behind in handicap time. The 51-foot (not including bowsprit) wooden schooner was launched in 1930 but hardly seemed outclassed in performance and certainly not in style.
Jon Conser, one of a few old pals sailing with Chamberlain, said afterward, “I thought all these guys would run away from us.”
But few did, even when the wind died and they used their engines. Rose of Sharon did so minimally through the first two light-wind races, as did Barking Spider, but Conser thought the unique motoring rule—it’s OK to motor when your sailing speed drops below your assigned “Cross-Over” speed—made the multiple race format work.
“We first started motoring off [Santa] Catalina [Island] after we sailed into the leeward hole,” Conser said. “It made sense. The point was to get to Puerto Vallarta, not sit off Catalina.”
There were several special awards, including a Corinthian Trophy for Sportsmanship to sailmaker Bob Kettenhofen, skipper of the Beck 60, Dare, that not only was a runaway first-to-finish in every race but took time on the stopovers to assist troubled rivals—Félicita with a damaged sail and Rhiannon with electrical problem.
Amazing Grace skipper Jim Puckett and Defiance navigator Mike Priest each received a new “Distinguished Service Award” for picking up the fleet communications slack in the unplanned absence of a customary escort vessel.
The “Fastest Ladies” (first to reach Puerto Vallarta) were Nancy Kettenhofen on Dare and Jeanne Dominguez on Transformer.
The “Fastest Cooks on the Slowest Boats” were Marianne Wheeler on Barking Spider and Kerry Rackliffe on Rhiannon.
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