Will Pyewacket run out of breeze?

Rich Roberts on the Vallarta race

Monday February 17th 2003, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
Is Pyewacket headed for a parking lot? It's fast becoming apparent that the slowest part of Del Rey Yacht Club's 17th biennial race to Puerto Vallarta is going to be the last, from Baja California across the Gulf of California to the Mexican mainland.

Since leaving Cabo San Lucas Sunday, the forerunners who started first have sailed into winds of only 6 knots and their speeds have dropped accordingly. Worse, with a southeast heading to Puerto Vallarta and the wind direction now slightly forward from west of southwest at 210 degrees, it's unlikely that the boats are flying spinnakers.

Pyewacket, Roy Disney's Reichel/Pugh 75 that started last, was just past Magdalena Bay three-fourths of the way down Baja at Monday's 9 a.m. roll call and still averaging 10 knots for the race, a half-knot faster than Joss's record pace in 1985. But the overall leaders of the fleet - the Santa Cruz 50s Bay Wolf and Horizon - logged only 154 and 163 miles, respectively, in the previous 24 hours.

Behind them, the two PHFR A class competitors that started a day later - Locomotion, an Andrews 45, and Sorcery, a Mull 82 - were closing to within view, but their average speeds were down to 8.2.

"It's rare not to have less wind after Cabo," said Alan Andrews, who designed Winslow Lincoln's three-year-old Locomotion. "There's an old saying that races to Mexico start over at the cape."

What often happens is that the fleet crosses from one weather system into another and picks up speed again. The latest projections offered Pyewacket an ETA of Wednesday at 5:41 a.m., while the other four were due Tuesday afternoon and evening, but stronger winds in the first part of the race were factored into those times.

Immediately after the completion of the race, North Sails and the Mexican Sailing Association are sponsoring a new five-day regatta in Banderas Bay called Vallarta Race Week. All Marina del Rey-Puerto Vallarta participants were invited to take part.

Positions at 9 a.m. Feb. 17
PHRF AA (started Feb. 14)
1. Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles YC, 246 miles last 24 hours/451 to go.

PHRF A (started Feb. 13)
1. Locomotion (Andrews 45), Keith Kilpatrick, South Shore YC, 197/282.
2. Sorcery (Mull 82), Jacob Wood, California YC, 198/300.

PHRF B (started Feb. 12)
1. Bay Wolf (S/C 50), Richard Parlette, Cabrillo Beach YC, 154/268.
2. Horizon (S/CD 50M), Jack Taylor, Dana Point YC, 163/272.
3. Atalanta (Tripp 74 ketch), Richard Hedreen, Corinthian YC, Seattle, 173/293.
4. Ghost II (Farr 395), Al Berg, Santa Monica Windjammers, 172/352.
5. Zamazaan (Farr 52C), Charles Weghorn, St. Francis YC, 158/458.
6. Black Knight (Farr 39ML), Phillip Friedman, Del Rey YC, retired.

Started race Feb. 7; started Leg 2 Feb. 13
Leg 1 order of finish on corrected time (includes handicaps and engine time penalties)
1. Between the Sheets (Jeanneau 52.2), Ross Pearlman, Santa Monica Windjammers YC.
2. Gold Digger (N/M 50), David Fell, Seal Beach YC.
3. Misty (Cal 39-2), Harold Alexander, Seal Beach YC.
4. Broadway Babe (C&C 110), Jim Maslon, Del Rey YC.
5. Amazing Grace (Farr 55), Allen Puckett, California YC.
6. Cheyenne (Whiting 49), Alan Blunt/David Fox, California/Santa Cruz YCs.

1. Quamichan (Davidson 44), Sandy Clark, South Coast Corinthian YC.
2. Quest (Davidson 53), Scott/Jean Adam, Del Rey/California YCs.
3. Sunseeker (Tayana 55), Alfred Benaroya, Seattle YC.

1. Principessa (Newport 41S), Gregory Daley, Del Rey YC (retired).
2. Fly'n Bry'n (Catalina 42), Jerry Bryan, American Legion YC.
3. Firelight (Catalina 470T), Patrick Mickle, Dana Point YC.
4. Seaker II (Farr 33), Wes Stone, Cabrillo Beach YC.
5. Valerie K (Columbia 43), Ron Hoskin, Hawaii YC.

NOTE: In Salsa Division, time allowance is computed at end of each leg for distance sailed. Engine use permitted with penalty applied. In Spinnaker class, all boats race with PHRF off-wind course (OWC) rating on all legs. In Non-Spinnaker class, initial "cruising" ratings are adjusted after each leg.

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