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2020 PV Race: To Sizzle And Not To Fizzle

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  • 2020 PV Race: To Sizzle And Not To Fizzle

    San Diego Yacht Club has been hosting the Puerto Vallarta Race to the Mexican mainland since 1953, making this year the 35th running of this west coast classic. Twenty-nine boats are competing in 6 classes in this edition of the PV Race with starts on Thursday, March 5 (Class 6), Friday, March 6 (Classes 3, 4, 5) and Saturday, March 7, 2020 (Classes 1 and 2). The destination is 1012 nm away in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

    The festivities began on Wednesday with a kick off reception for Class 6 boats who started the race today. The main event Wednesday was a media event for the Mexican Ocean Racing Team, presenting their plan to race in the 2021-2022 Ocean Race with their VO65 Viva Mexico. SDYC presented skipper Erik Brockmann and the boat ownership group their support in this effort. Viva Mexico will start the race on Saturday in Class 1.

    Weather conditions for the Thursday start were ideal. With full sun, and no clouds, the winds were 12-15 kts from 290 making for a powerful reach along Point Loma and their 3 mile exit of San Diego Bay into the Pacific Ocean. One thousand and nine miles to go. All five of the Thursday starters in Class 6 consists of 5 boats under 40 feet. While all the boats approached the line at the same time, there was a respectable and conservative amount of space between the boats and the line at the start signal as there is no logic in mistakenly being over the line a second or two early in a 1000+ nm race.

    Bill Hardesty of San Diego Yacht Club, a past Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and World Champion in multiple one design classes is sailing his Hobie 33 Sizzle in his first Puerto Vallarta Race. Hardesty has sailed recent offshore races with Tom Holthus aboard the Pac52 BadPak, and now turns to the Hobie 33 bringing Holthus along as a crewmember for this PV Race.

    Another Class 6 starter is Mark Ashmore’s Cal 40 Nalu V which has been taken apart and rebuilt with everything but the fiberglass and is ready to race to PV. They had a disappointing Tranpac Race last summer, retiring on Day 2 after unknown location of ingress of water was unmanageable. The team is excited to take the boat south, and will cruise across to Tahiti in April after the PV Race.

    Boats will be scored using the ORR (Offshore Racing Rule) formula which provides a custom Puerto Vallarta Race handicap TCF (time correction factor). That number is multiplied by the boats elapsed time across the course to give the final corrected time for scoring (the larger the rating #, the faster the boat).

    Each boat will carry a YB Tracking race tracker, allowing spectators to follow along with the race online here. The boat’s location, heading and speed are updated hourly, and are displayed with a 4 hour delay to keep the competitors from knowing exactly where or how fast their competitions is going at that moment.

    Each morning prior to the starts, SDYC hosts a competitor briefing for boats starting on that day. Thursday’s briefing featured an course weather analysis from legendary navigator Peter Isler who shared his knowledge and experience of the PV Race course with a room full of first time PV Race competitors. Isler focused on key principles of west coast downwind sailing like “sail away from bays and into points” referring to the strategic approaches to typical wind behaviors around geographic features. A key topic of interest was the challenging rounding of the southern tip of Baja. The debate is whether to round close to shore or stay 40+ miles to the south to avoid a wind shadow, and what time of day you are making your approach to this iconic landmark. The wrong choice can park a boat for many hours and erase days of effort to create a race winning lead. On the other hand, high risk moves like sailing along the beach can result in progress like a desperate game winning end-zone touchdown.

    Day 2 of San Diego Yacht Club’s 35th Puerto Vallarta Race started with a review of the race tracker to check on the progress of the Class 6 boats who started on Thursday. Over the first 18 hours of the race, Bill Hardesty’s Hobie 33 Sizzle led the pack, cutting over 150 miles off the course with an average of 8.5kts boat speed over course.

    Aboard the Cal 40 Nalu V, the crew loved the start delivered to them on Thursday. “Great start to the race! Much windier than expected – only one roundup! Excellent ‘skippers lasagna’ for dinner. Champagne sailing all the way.”

    At the skippers meeting for Friday starters, there was a tinge of jealously in the air after seeing the starting conditions from Thursday. Once the race trackers were retrieved, the teams spread out down the docks at SDYC for final preparations for the starts scheduled for 12:00 (Class 5), 12:10 (Class 4), and 12:20 (Class 3). SDYC presented a send off party on Shelter Islands (to be repeated on Saturday, March 7th as well) to watch the starts with drinks in hand.

    The largest Class of the 2020 race is Class 5 with 7 boats in a wide range of styles. From luxury race accommodations aboard Farr 85 Sapphire Knight and Hylas 70 Runaway, to smaller race boats like the Farr 40 Wild Thing and DK46 Cazan. (Take a tour of Sapphire Knight: Rob Vandervort, navigator aboard Dan Gribble’s Tripp 56 Brigadoon is looking forward to his first PV race. In addition to the strategy of a new course for Vandervort, he mentioned dodging whales as the other concern to be noted. After PV, Brigadoon will sail around the Sea of Cortez in cruising mode.

    Class 4 is the Santa Cruz 50/52 Class, who continue to draw a quality turnout at every west coast offshore race over recent years, include 6 in this year’s PV Race. The focus in this class has to start with John Shulze’ Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. They are coming off an overall win in February’s Islands Race, 7th overall in the 2019 Transpac, and an overall win in the 2016 PV Race amongst other successes.

    While Horizon brings loads of PV Race experience, Heather Furey and the Santa Cruz 52 Blond Fury are geared up for their first race to PV this year. The 2019 Transpac Race was Furey’s first long-distance offshore race, and she’s excited to continue the sport in this competitive yet fun Santa Cruz class. They’ll be joined by George Bailey’s Santa Cruz 52 Hokahey who have a boat full of first timer PV racers as well.

    And in the final start for Friday, three boats will have a rematch from their competition at the last Transpac Race where they raced in THE class of the event, Division 3 that produced the top 5 overall boats in the deep 83 boat race. Third overall at Transpac was Bob Pethick’s Rogers 46 Bretwalda3, and 4th overall was Mark Surber’s J/125 Snoopy. They’ll be joined by Ivan Batanov’s SOTO 40 Zero Gravity as the three boat Class 3 for the PV Race. Pethick brought Bretwalda3 to the west coast from Detroit in recent years, always around the top of the leaderboards and will be sailing with a mixed crew of Michigan and California sailors.

    On Day 3 of San Diego Yacht Club’s 2020 Puerto Vallarta Race, 21 of 29 boats had spent at least one night on the course. As of 0600 Saturday, Class 6 boats from the Thursday start had come to the vicinity of Cedros Island which is 275 miles down the course. The leader the first group has been Bill Hardesty’s Hobie 33 Sizzle since the opening moments of the race, and their lead had extended to 15 miles over the nearest boat 1D35 Such Fast, and as much as 55 miles over Cal 40 Nalu V. Sizzle appears to have maintained a consistent 6-8kts of speed throughout the night.

    Looking back up the course at the 3 Classes of Friday starters there is a second grouping of 16 boats. As might be expected by the wide variety of boats in the class, Class 5 split up with many different paths, while the Santa Cruz 50/52 class hung tight together. Horizon and Triumph were the 0600 leaders in Class 4 in site of each other no doubt within a mile or two much of the way. Rogers 46 Bretwalda3 made the most distance down the course from the Friday starting group. Multiple reports of shifty overnight conditions made for busy crews keeping up with the sail changes.

    Brigadoon reports: “The evening was full of 20 minute wind cycles lightening from 12 to 4kts as it clocked from 285 to 350 and increasing as high as 14kts as it went back down from 350 to 285. All this while playing tag with [Santa Cruz 52/50s] Triumph and Horizon. This morning it is light and sh!tty with rain seen on the horizon to the west. Need ice cream.”

    At 1200 (Class 2) and 1210 (Class 1), the remaining 8 teams started their races in San Diego Bay with friends and family watching from spectator boats and SDYC’s start line party on Shelter Island. The Class sleds include PV Race veterans Grand Illusion, Mr. Bill, Peligroso and Good Call, along with a new boat to the west coast, Ker 51 Fast Exit II brought over from Europe recently by new owner John Raymont.

    All three teams in Class 1 hoped for optimal race conditions to challenge the monohull course record for San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, set in 2016 by Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio100 at 77.7 hours. The target finish time for Class 1 to challenge the record is 5:52:43 PM Tuesday, but the expected conditions don’t appear to make this record likely to fall this year.

    Ben Mitchell is the 2020 PV Co-Chairman along with his wife Karen Busch. Mitchell is a veteran sailor of the PV Race and many offshore races with the Disney family, and was excited to be a part of the new Pyewacket 70 team, sailing Roy Disney’s VO70. The Pyewacket team are the defending PV Race champions after their overall win on the Andrews 70 version in 2018.

    Rounding out Class 1 is Erik Brockmann’s team aboard the VO65 Viva Mexico. It has been a whirlwind of preparation for the team based out of Acapulco Yacht Club, including their speedy Atlantic crossing this winter, delivery to San Diego from Acapulco, and gearing up for their first race aboard the boat. Some of the crew aboard such as boat owners Ricardo Brockmann and Lorenzo Berho have many PV Races under their belt on sleds Peligroso and Vincetore. The most experienced with the VO65 is Roberto Bermudez de Castro Muñoz, who has sailed multiple Volvo Ocean Races including races aboard the Viva Mexico boat under previous names. His experience will be invaluable to the team as they learn to race the boat with the ultimate goal of competing in The Ocean Race next year. Erik Brockmann shared that in addition to skippering the Viva Mexico boat and leading the team, he’s getting married next month as well!

    Steve Meheen who raced to PV with his RP63 Aszhou in 2016 to a Class 1 win, brings his Botin 80 Cabron to the race this year holding the fastest rating in the fleet. After PV, Cabron will do the Newport to Ensenada Race and is planning to sail the Transpac Tahiti Race this summer.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Compression At Punta San Carlos


    PV Race Day Five - Lighter Air Tightens Competition on the Course

    In any handicap race, time is the measure of performance. An hour is a huge chunk of performance. So keeping track of ‘race time’ is important. One unique challenge for the 2020 PV Race is the time change that occurred in the US Sunday morning. All boats started the race in Pacific Standard Time (PST) which is measured 8 hours behind “coordinated universal time (UTC -8), the US changed to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) 7 hours behind UTC (UTC-7), and PV is on UTC-6 time. Making sure the tracker stays on PST time communicating with the racers in PST time, estimating when boats will arrive at the marina in PV time, and chatting with families back home in US time is a whirlwind. So when looking at estimates of finish times, consider the source and check to make sure you understand what time zone is being referenced.

    Speaking of finishing, Marina Vallarta has been the PV Race destination since 2014. Harbormaster Pablo Fernandez and his team have continually made improvements to the facilities over recent years and optimized the mooring plan for PV Race boats. In past years, racers have been dispersed throughout the marina as slips were available. This year, Pablo has designed the marina to include a large basin area for mega yachts located between A and B dock. The mooring plan for PV2020 will allow the majority of the boats to tie up in this mega yacht area, process customs, immigration, agriculture entrance to Mexico, along with enjoying the special welcome party organized by regatta sponsor Ullman Sails featuring a band with beer and tequila.

    Another unique challenge for these ocean level distance races is the handling of extraordinary boats at the top of the game. Ocean-going racing machines like the Class 1 boats Pyewacket 70, Viva Mexico and Cabron have keel depths over 15’ preventing entrance into the channel leading to the marina. These boats will tie up at the Navy dock outside of the marina and next to the cruise ship terminal. Permission granted by the Mexican Navy for this exercise is always greatly appreciated and allows an excellent solution for these deep draft racers. Caveat - this year, there is one particular crusie ship (newly christened Carnival Panorama) that arrives on Wednesday morning and departs Wednesday evening. Especially as the Panorama departs, the stern thrusters used to keep the stern of the 1060’ ship stationary will pummel the Navy pier. At this writing, there is a good chance the light winds will delay the arrival of these deep draft racers. While there is rarely an upside to delayed arrival, in this case, it has a silver lining by avoiding the inconvenience of vacating their hard-won berth for this departure maneuver.

    On the race course, besides the light air everyone is reporting, the race committee sees the big picture spread of the fleet which is about 200 nm long (Mr. Bill to Sizzle) by 100 nm wide (Triumph to Brigadoon). The ‘catch’, when Saturday starters catch the Friday and Thursday starters has happened a little further north in this 2020 edition of the race due to the light air with boats surely within sight of one another around San Carlos. Just another 150 nm to Cabo San Lucas until the strategic end to the first race challenge. From there, it’s 270 nm to the finish which early forecasts indicate should be a gold medal ride. Fingers crossed.

    Follow the race tracker with hourly position updates (on a 4 hour delay). Visit for photos, videos, articles and more.
    See the daily standings updated each morning on the home page. Monday 0600 Report

    And to hear the story from the race course, here are the comments received Monday from the fleet:

    J/125 Snoopy:
    Everything is well on board, except with stupid internet and xgate. Hmm, same problems I have at work! Maybe too much celebrating Ian Trotter's 50th?

    Tripp 56, Brigadooon:
    Sorry for email delay - changing headsail to accommodate the head-on breeze. Teriyaki Chicken with a Southwest Salad last night was excellent - nothing left. Thanks to Romeo Villareal at Baja Sessions Catering for that great meal.

    Farr 40, Wild Thing:
    Unable to start engine, will attempt restart later today. Battery power low. All else ok.

    Cal 40, Nalu V:
    ​​​​​​​Becalmed for a couple of hours yesterday. Up went our 80's technology blooper and we took off - at 1.5 knots! The wind steadily built overnight and we're moving now. At 4 AM there was a new air mass with a definite tropical flavor to it and more warmth. Excellent smoked salmon Eggs Benedict yesterday - everything is going well.

    J/145, Katara:
    Maximizing progress for the next few hours until the next dead zone. Tweener up and cookin' along.

    Andrews 70, Mr. Bill:
    Light air by Cedros. Barbequed steaks for dinner, beautiful full moon.

    Beneteau Figaro 2, Envolee:
    The hole of death ended at 10pm [Sunday] and we are moving again. Flying fish, dolphins, lots of kelp. Wind!

    Santa Cruz 52, Triumph:
    We believe we were literally in the center of the high - circle of clouds marks the spot. Not entirely proud of it, but definitely memorable to see.

    Hobie 33, Sizzle:
    All good onboard, we found Parker's two gallons of pee that he's been storing is empty water bottles.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      News From The Black Hole

      Posted March 10, 2020
      Race Update from Fast Exit II.

      Hi race fans. We are in the middle early stages of day three counting from the start day at noon. Reaching along with a full main and jib we have so far managed to avoid rain, any real upwind work, well ok a little bit, and any other general discomfort, other than what is normally associated with sailing a high performance carbon race machine with an interior that closely resembles a black hole.

      Saturday came with a bleak forecast. In fact, most everyone at Thursdays send off party agreed that Saturday starters had he short thrift. But, as it turned out it really wasn’t that bad. We got off the line in San Diego Bay in good order and raced pretty evenly out of Point Loma, with all boats successfully avoiding being obliterated by an incoming stealth destroyer. Which we could see. As we reached down the coast, the class one division caught us pretty quickly, but our division raced in fairly close company. We managed to knock off a 215 nm day noon to noon, with the team working hard through various sail changes and combinations to keep the Exit party rolling.

      Sunday came in with whimper. Weather models were downloaded and scrutinized closely. But, did nothing to help sort out the route through numerous pitfalls and light air obstacles. One Grib file in particular, outright lied with generous amounts of freshly brewed locally distributed air along Cedros Island. We fell for it hook line and sinker and paid the price. Now into Monday we are playing a game of catch up.

      The Black hole. The interior of Fast Exit II, is for most parts Carbon black. The bow, where no-one ever wants go is black. The main area with sail handling section the kitchen and the dare I call it living room is mostly black with some white here and there. The bathroom, which really ought to be black is strangely enough white. The aft section with the bedrooms and navigation area, is black. Really, really, black. The sort of aerospace grade black where light just falls into it with no chance of recovery. Sort of like a Black Hole.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Race Log J-145 Katara

        Posted March 10, 2020
        Monday, March 9, 2020, 1600
        Position: 25 24N 113 9W
        Speed: 1? 2?kt
        Distance to go: 510.6 nm
        Weather: Partly cloudy
        Winds: Light and variable, generally less than 4 kts
        Sail Package: Light Medium genoa for now. Would the Tweener be better? Where's the drifter - we're definitely gonna need that bad boy sooner or later

        And so we find ourselves adrift again.

        After the most GORGEOUS day of champagne sailing the merry band of sufferers aboard the good boat KATARA find ourselves again at the mercy of the decaying breeze. We had a great day making good time down the course and we knew this was coming. We spent much of the late morning and early afternoon working ourselves towards the position we felt, given the available weather information, gave us the best shot at a decent showing overnight. The next 12 hours will prove that right or wrong. Based on the 4 hour old standings we have access to it has been a good day for KATARA and we're in a good position with the rest of the fleet.

        We find several of our class friends along similar lines as ours but at what, for the moment, is a great enough distance astern for us to be ahead of the time we owe them. Our two friends on Cazan and Brigadoon, both in our class, have taken what appears to be an unconventional strategy and are currently nearly 100 miles further offshore than we are. There could be some sort of magic out there we're just not seeing, but for now we feel we have our time on them as well.

        We're slowly working our way through Neil and JA's playlists and the jams have greatly helped pass the time. I offered up 80s and 90s country but was told under no uncertain terms would we be playing such nonsense aboard.

        Dinner tonight appears to be turkey meatloaf, potatoes, rolls, and roast corn. So far we haven't had a meal that didn't hit as a favorite with the crew, though the chips, cookies, chocolate, and other snack type items have been hit hard and vast. Vastly superior to freeze dried rations is the consensus (we love you to the moon and back, John! You did with freeze dried what no one else could).

        I'm told KATARA's sister Shazaam! headed to sea today for her delivery down to the Caribbean to participate in STIR and Antigua Sailing week. Our best wishes and thoughts are with them for a pleasant and safe delivery (with more wind than we have!)

        JA's watch came down at 1400 and enjoyed some camaraderie below before setting to bed for some rest before taking over again at 1800. Roger's team is currently manning the watch. There is a lot of tweaking and tuning going on, so I know they're all doing their very best to keep us moving. As I'm writing this it appears the wind has gotten ahold of our playbook because quite literally in the last 3 minutes it's shifted around to smack dab out of the direction we want to go in. Look, I called it above in the synopsis - the Drifter is getting plugged in as I sit here and type. At least we have near 0.0ft seas going for us. The slatting of a becalmed sailboat in rolling seas can drive the most stable of men mad.

        I think it's gonna be a long night...

        Monday, March 9, 2020, 0800
        Position: 26 4.4N 114 3.9W
        Speed: 7.5-9kt
        Distance to go: 568.8 nm
        Weather: Partly cloudy and Chilly
        Winds: WIND!!!! Glorious, GLORIOUS, WINNNND! Variable 060-080 @ 7-10kts
        Sail Package: A1, wait no, Tweener?, Nope, that's not it either. Light Medium Genoa! Yes! That's the one!! Zoom Zoom

        Wind. You glorious, GLORIOUS wind. All yesterday afternoon and much of the evening found Katara attempting to claw her way south in 0-2kts of breeze from what seemed like 600 different directions. At least several helmsmen (looking at you, Neil!) did involuntary 720s as the boat rolled around her keel with no control whatsoever.

        Never to be outdone JA's overnight watch pushed like hell and managed to answer Roger's team's 3.5nm (in four hours...) with a terribly sad, but still more impressive, 7.4nm. Redoubling their efforts Roger and his watch of Sam, Trent, and Louis came back from behind with much strong numbers on the following watch.

        After midnight things improved somewhat and we're now power reaching down the line near 8kts. The forecast is again bleak starting at or near 1100 and lasting again through much of the afternoon and evening.

        I've offered exclusive access to the last box of Oreos for whatever team puts up the best standings today. Those have proven quite popular and here's hoping they're willing to fight for them. Peanuts are the only thing aboard which have been rationed and we've hidden the stash to keep Capt. Roger fed and happy for the remainder of the trip.

        Just before sunset we picked up some kelp on the rudder and Dan and Neil deployed the Kelp stick with deft hands to clear our issues and streamline the water flow again.

        It's still cold. Too cold for the Floridians' taste anyways.

        Morning position report shows us first in class. While that's certainly helped morale we've got a LOT of sailing left to do and we're keeping everyone focused on the prize. We should hit the halfway point mileage wise here later today.

        The cabin is still dry and warm and the sea state, even with heel, makes rest cycles pretty pleasant.

        Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2000
        Position: 27 35N 115 36W
        Speed: 5-7 kts
        Distance to go: 696.7 nm
        Weather: Partly cloudy and chilly
        Winds: Variable 345-005 @ 5-9 kts
        Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker, Spinnaker Staysail. Plugging in the Tweener on its tough luff for probably future deployment

        Good morning shore friends!

        While you were, hopefully, comfortably nestled in bed overnight the watch standers here on Katara were busy. The early evening hours saw pleasant breeze and good conditions as we played our target downwind numbers and tried to get as much south as we possibly good in an attempt to set ourselves up to deal with this area of high pressure currently descending on us. In the middle of the night JA's watch (Neil, Daniel, and Ron) executed a textbook gybe over to pot tack after we watched the wind shift NW to NNW. We are currently off a polar target plan and are now sailing a heading which should see us intercepting the coast by early afternoon in an attempt to capitalize on a potential land breeze this afternoon while there is near 0 wind further offshore due to this High that's sitting over us.

        This is one of the driest races any of us can remember. I don't think we've taken a single wave anywhere on the boat. It's chillier than some of us imagined, and Foul Weather gear is still in use for the wind blocking properties

        Last night's dinner was a hit: Grilled chicken, green peas, and rice. The daily breakfast burritos seem to be a crew favorite - we just finished feeding everyone a couple a piece. Sausage, egg, and cheese.

        JA's watch just came off for some well deserved rest (that 0200-0600 watch is a tough one) and Roger's team (Sam, Trent, and Louis) are now in charge of the boat for the next 4 hours. Roger is on the helm still looking to be having a great time.

        We've sent Trent and Louis to the bow to prepare our Tweener sail for hoist with the anticipation that as this high progresses we will see breeze continue to shift to the right. We've also got a kelp watch set back up as we have seen several clusters come by. The boat is carrying a kelp stick and a flossing line and the first afternoon saw Sam trying to show some of the younger bow guys how they were used. A skill that apparently takes some finesse and practice. I'm sure they'll get it.

        If you're the praying type send up a request to help us avoid the worst of the dead zones associated with this high through this afternoon and in to this evening.

        Saturday, March 7, 2020, 1845
        Position: 29 1N 116 10.7W
        Speed: 5-7 kts
        Distance to go: 783.62 nm
        Weather: Partly cloudy and chilly
        Winds: Variable 280-310 @ 5-9 kts
        Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker, Spinnaker Staysail.

        What a gorgeous day on the water for KATARA. While it was mostly cloudy most of the day, and even a bit chilly, we had an awesome day. The weather gave us slightly more pressure than we were anticipating and we hope we've capitalized on that to get us south as quickly as we can.

        All helmsmen and deck teams seem to be having a great time. I've seen wide grins from Louis and Trent specifically. Another big hit with the crew is the bean bag chair we brought alone for the spinnaker trimmers. In stead of avoiding spin trim duty due to standing or crinking your neck it looks to be one of the more popular postings. We've got a bunch of sails stacked on deck as well which have made for a pretty enjoyable sun bed for those off watch.

        We've done some minor house keeping and line management to make sure we stay on top of everything and we've gotten most of the crew several long uninterrupted sleep sessions.

        All indications point to Roger having a great time. The report I got was that his birthday at sea was a great one.

        The next 36 hours looks less promising. There is an area of high pressure that's being driven by a larger area of low pressure just outside it right on to our race course. As the breeze begins to clock right this evening and in to tomorrow morning we expect to see the velocity die off. We'll be approaching Cedros island sometime in the middle of tonight and will continue to analyze the latest weather files for options after that. Current thinking is that if, as the sun rises, it looks like it's going to be a clear day, we make for the beach and hope to capitalize on any land breeze that develops in the late afternoon. Other than that I think it'll just be a matter of concentration for our deck teams to make sure we keep her moving along best we can in variable conditions.

        In a dramatic divergence from previous races we've had a professional chef pre-prepare all of our meals for the trip and then vacuum seal them. Preparation entails nothing more than a pressure cooker with some water for about 15 minutes to heat them back up. Last night was Beef pot roast, tonight was grilled chicken, rice, and green peas with dinner rolls. Everything has been a huge hit with the team so far. I believe two pastas and a pork meal of some sort are on the remainder of the menu.

        Wish us luck in dealing with this light air zone over the next 36-40 hours. We all hope you're having a great weekend so far - I know we all are

        Friday, March 6, 2020, 1530
        Position: 32 19N 117 9W
        Speed: 8.5-9 kts
        Distance to go: 986.1 nm
        Weather: Sunny & Almost chilly - just gorgeous
        Winds: 8-11 kts
        Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker.

        And we're off! The start today at 1200 PST was light and uneventful. We fetched the edge of the harbor and before we knew it we were cracking off just a few degrees and hoisting the new Tweener Code 0. Trent and Daniel muscled it up and Louis did the hoist. We picked up speed there but it was only an hour before we were seeing the afternoon shift we expected and were calling for the A1 reaching spinnaker.

        Roger appeared to have a great time on the helm for the start and first few hours of the trip (It's his Birthday, btw, for those that done know!).

        Trent is driving right now with Roger and Louis trimming the kite. We've already got several of the Green watch (JA, Neil, Daniel, Ron) below for their first rest session so they're ready to take over at 1800 PST this evening.

        Very very light sea conditions with the breeze fairly light as well. Our current target for the rest of the afternoon is to try and lift off the coast to ensure we don't get stuck in the dead air region near shore overnight We anticipate a gybe sometime in the middle of the night to play back in towards the coast to play with the sea breeze tomorrow afternoon as that builds.

        The boat is clean and dry and everyone is in great spirits so far. Less than 1,000nm to go!
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Pyewacket 70 Steaming Towards The Finish


          Catch of the Day

          In years past, PV Race Committee has typically been coordinating customs clearances and interviewing the first few finishers by Tuesday evening in the race timeline. The 2020 race is going to be one of those years... not so much.

          On the race course, boats are running their polars with the latest grib files to assess their ETA. While each boat makes the most of the conditions they find themselves in, they will be having ‘that discussion’. Balancing a competitive and corinthian effort against room nights and airline departures is a tough equation to balance. There is no time limit for this race, so that’s not a consideration. The OA feels if someone commits the effort to the race, they should be allowed to finish. The awards banquet will proceed as planned, and awards that are mathematically secure will be handed out. It’s not ideal, but these logistics are all but changeable.

          Notice came from the Santa Cruz 52 Trouble Tuesday afternoon that they were retiring, and would make way to PV after a fuel stop in Cabo to prepare for MEXORC starting on Saturday.

          The winds for today have been teasing competitors down the course. For now, boats within 20 miles of the coast will live and die by the thermal winds washing on and off shore like the waves. It appears that the ‘inside’ track this year is now offering only pennies on the dollar for effort. Those that have maintained a steeled commitment to course rhumbline, are making maximum speed to the finish. The players on the outside (100+ miles offshore) and in the back are threatened with some more disheartening beating into a light southeasterly before things look up later today / tomorrow. From their outside position, they have some tough geometry getting around Cabo and heading up another 15 degrees to port to lay the finish at Punta Mita. Watch the angles of boats in the back of the race. If they are pointing at Baja, they are probably tacking... in the light winds. They will need lots of care when they reach the finish. It’s a ‘mental’ kind of rough out there.

          Wednesday should be ‘better’, and the further south the course, the better it will be through Thursday morning. Some models are showing one more ‘beat down’ with light air and an expanded ‘no go’ zone south of Cabo for Thursday midday into evening. That Thursday ‘event’ will be a decider for several boats with respect to the equation we spoke of earlier. Thursday night and all day Friday forecasts promote the breeze of dreams to develop and power those still racing towards the finish.

          The highlight for Tuesday is ‘the catch’. Division 1's Pyewacket 70, Roy Disney’s Volvo 70 has finally overhauled the leader of the Thursday starters in Class 6, Bill Hardesty’s Hobie 33 Sizzle, for the first to finish pole position. In 2018, Rio 100 passed Class 6's Marjorie, a 48’ Beneteau about the same time (mid-day Tuesday) but was half way across the Gulf of California, and 125 miles from the finish at ‘the catch’. Pyewacket 70 has 320+ miles to go, but is pointed right at the finish.

          Elsewhere in Division 1, the scratch boat in the race, Steve Meheens' Botin 80’ Cabron, was bow to bow with Pyewacket 70 for the first 48 hours down the course but needed to do something different. They rolled the dice for an inland track and came up snake eyes. Not a good thing.

          And local MX favorite Viva Mexico, a Volvo 65 skippered by Erik Brockmann hung it way out to sea (100+ nm) and drew even with shorebound Cabron. But she is now trying to stay out of the high pressure band dealing those light southeasterly winds.

          The Tuesday overall race leader is Grand Illusion, who is playing in the middle and keeping their cards close. We don’t hear any commentary from the boat other than the required 0600 position, speed and barometric pressure. That’s what a game face looks like to Race Committee.

          Other class leaders are hard to figure. There are a couple of formulas that take different paths to the finish, and predict a boat’s speed over that course with different amounts of optimism, most showing all of the Class 2 boats ranking in the top 7. We feel like everyone is a winner at this point! See last paragraph below from Katara for the point...

          Follow the race tracker with hourly position updates (on a 4 hour delay). Visit for photos, videos, articles and more.
          See the daily standings updated each morning on the home page.


          The stories direct from the race course:
          Snoopy, J/125
          Tuesday, March 11, 2020, 1400

          Bowman Ben here to give you a brief update to help you "visualize" our strife and perseverance in the face of futility. Since you last heard from Mark on Saturday we've seen less and less wind, forecasts that don't come to fruition (like, at all!) and shifts so wacky they make you second guess your instrumentation.We lost hope of finishing on Wednesday several days ago; we're hoping to make it before the stroke of midnight on Thursday when the boat will surely turn into a pumpkin and Scott's boots turn back into glass flip-flops. Morale is otherwise improved as Ian opened the secret stash of Ginger Lemon Cremes. Everyone rejoiced and it was great. Timmy even changed his underwear.

          Katara, J/145
          Tuesday, March 11, 2020, 1400
          Position: 24 32.5N 112 13.5W
          Speed: Not dang fast enough
          Distance to go: Too much (438.12nm)
          Weather: Gloomy and still too dang cold
          Winds: Who knows? Maybe? Sometimes? Every once in a while it sneaks down to us from East...ish at 2,3,4kts?
          Sail Package: Whatever will carry. The tweener for now. 6 minutes from now... who knows?

          OK. We've had our fun. Jokes over. Someone turn the wind back on...

          The sea life last night was pretty incredible though. We had a whale surface just off the beam and apparently take some interest in us as he swung around and followed us for about 30 minutes. Sam attempted to talk him in to a lift, but apparently his Whale isn't as fluent as he thought it was. Later, several sea lions played around the boat. We tried to lasso them as well and press them in to service but they too were uncooperative. In every race when you start wondering why you're out here something so awesome comes along and reminds you. A good friend of mine emailed us last night thanking me for reminding him why he doesn't do offshore sailing. He must be missing the point, because despite all of it, there's nowhere else we'd rather be. We're a strange bunch, us offshore sailors. Too much salt on the brain?

          Horizon, Santa Cruz 50
          Tuesday, March 11, 2020, 1400

          After a good night of sailing progress, we were again beset by a high pressure cell (no wind zone) that impeded our progress over most of the morning. These slowdowns are frustrating and not typical for this race. There was thicker cloud cover this morning and we could barely see the sun as a dim orb in the clouds above. But the weather is still warm, warm enough to wear our t-shirts and shorts below the haze.

          We can see any of our fleet today, they are all sailing in different parts of the ocean over the horizon. The sea was like glass this morning with no breeze, not even a ripple in the water. You could look down at the water and see yourself looking back! 3 whales came to keep us company. They always announce their arrival by a blast of air out of the breathing hole when they surface. They swim on the surface for a little bit, then start to dive back to the subterranean depths, flipping their tail in the air before they disappear below the surface. We also had a few seals sticking their noses out of the water and looking us over. I always wonder what they are doing more than 30 miles offshore, looking for delectable fish I guess. Dolphins also come to play alongside Horizon at irregular intervals. Brian Bolton, who seems to know the most about fish behavior among our crew, says we can always tell when dolphins are near because the sea bids land and begin picking up the small fish that are being chased to the surface by these playful critters swimming around below.

          We are now about 140 nm from the tip of baja and we are really looking forward to getting there because of the much stronger breeze that we know is blowing on the other side of Cabo San Lucas, in the Bay of California. We expect a fast ride to PV once we cross over the wind shadow at the tip of Baja and head southeast in the direction of Puerto Vallarta. Our MVP for today's report was Brian Bolton, who demonstrated mastery of the bow during many sail changes in the middle of the night, not to mention that his mom baked us a great egg souffle that we ate this morning to cheer ourselves up over the slow sailing conditions! Don't know how can make an egg souffle that is so light and fluffy when it has to go into a frozen pan!

          All systems on the boat are functioning normally and we are looking forward to seeing loved ones, downing a drink, and having our crew dinner on the beach when we reach PV.
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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          • #6


            Sizzle Leads ORR Overall Into Final Leg from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta

            Wednesday 0600 Standings
            1 Sizzle
            2 Bretwalda 3
            3 Good Call
            4 Fast Exit II
            5 Grand Illusion
            Full 0600 Standings Report

            The standings start to come into focus once the boats turn the corner and begin the final leg of the race from Cabo to the finish. There are different ways to look at handicap rated standings on a course like PV. The formula for Distance to Finish (DTF) can be a straight line to finish which may be a straight line over Baja Peninsula, or use a curved DTF that more accurately accounts for the racers path on course. But once the boats are clear of the end of Baja, the math should be the same. It is also important to know if the predictions are using recent boat speed or average velocity made good (VMG) for the whole race. See the standings reports via a spreadsheet set up by SDYC's Greg Stewart to provide the daily morning standings linked on the PV Race home page (Wednesday's Standings).

            As of Wednesday midday, five boats have negotiated the wind shadow under Cabo, including the top 2 boats on the leaderboard, Sizzle and Bretwalda3. They are now enjoying the thermal winds kicking down from the Sea of Cortez and racing hard for the finish line at Punta Mita. The smallest boat in the fleet, Bill Hardesty's Hobie 33 Sizzle currently holds a corrected time advantage of one hour over Bob Pethick's Rogers 46 Bretwalda3. Pethick is a past overall winner of the PV Race back in 2014 when they finished the race in about 4 days, 20 hours.

            The Santa Cruz 50/52 Class 4 has had two of six boats retire in this year's race. Also, Horizon maintains a significant lead, 20 miles in front of their nearest Class competitor Triumph. Triumph is 15 nm off Cabo and Horizon is 30 miles off Cabo. The chips are down on this strategic play. Watch the tracker to see who wins....Assuming the generalizations hold true, that the breeze is better offshore, Horizon is likely to win the class. Then the battle for 2nd is real, with Hana Ho, Blond Fury and Triumph within 1.5 corrected hours of each other. They are spread out all over the course. More chips on the table...

            “The fun starts tonight! Saw dozens of 4ft diameter turtles just lounging out side of Mag Bay.”

            All 5 Class 2 boats continues to rank in the top 10 overall. Peligroso is the farthest along the course and could sail in different conditions than the rest of her competition, allowing for potential gains.

            Erik Brockmann and the Viva Mexico team are sailing their first race aboard their new VO65, and are looking forward to winding it up and letting it run on the final 200+ miles to the finish.

            "We are just off Cabo trying to get past the shadow. The race has been great and has kept us awake all the time as it has definitely been a hard one with many wind transitions. Also learning a lot on the boat in this light air conditions which we know are not ideal for Viva Mexico but working hard to keep her moving! Crew is enjoying the race and now ready for a nice ride to PV from Cabo but all well. Yesterday we had to whales less than 10 meters from the boat so which was great as we were going slow, watching them when you are sailing fast makes you a little nervous".

            Pyewacket 70 is on course to be the first to finish, currently estimated to be at the finish line around 1930 PST, followed by Cabron before sunrise Thursday.

            Stay tuned to the race tracker, and boats are to active AIS when within 25 miles of the finish through their arrival at the dock.

            Follow the race tracker with hourly position updates (on a 4 hour delay). Visit for photos, videos, articles and more.
            See the daily standings updated each morning on the home page. Monday 0600 Report
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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            • #7
              Cabron Takes Line Honors


              Posted March 13, 2020
              Thursday started with a chase with Cabron pursuing Pyewacket 70, erasing what was once a 40 mile lead to come side by side with their Class 1 rival. Just after 0100 PST Thursday, with both teams within boat lengths of each other, they dueled for the line, actually missing the port end on the first pass and both boats scrambling to reverse course and re-round the port end of the virtual finish line.

              One can only imagine the match race tactics, flying lines and crew work needed to keep these ocean titans moving, in the dark, with close quarter maneuvering. In the end Cabron is the line honors winner of the 2020 PV Race, while Pyewacket 70 wins Class 1 on corrected time including a 1 hour corrected time penalty assessed to Pyewacket as a result of the brawl at the finish. After over a 1,000 miles, the first to finish honors came down to a dial up at the finish and some string theory.

              As for the smallest boat in the fleet, Bill Hardesty's Hobie 33 Sizzle, this year's PV Race was a magical ride. Sizzle was the 5th boat to finish, crossing the line mid-day Thursday and running away with the Class 6 victory. They were able to stay close enough to the hard sailing Bretwalda3 and correct ahead of them by 6.5 hours. Sizzle managed to avoid the blue wall (color code for light air on the race tracker) that stopped Pyewacket Wednesday night.

              The overall win is in Sizzle's sights, but won't be official until a few of the sleds post their race race times Thursday night into Friday. The tape will tell the tale.

              The long ride to the marina from the finish line (20 miles) has brought only 5 boats officially into Puerto Vallarta as of Thursday afternoon, with a parade more coming through all hours of the night and Friday.

              Comments from the Course on Thursday:

              Wind 006@ 5-7 kts, seas 1-2', 20% cloud
              Looking forward to sleeping in a real bed. There is no privacy on a Hobie 33. We know way too much about each other after this past week! Still Sizzling.

              MR BILL

              Wind 340 @ 20 kts, sea 3-4', 100% cloud cover, bar falling @ 1012
              Windy & wild night, fast sailing. We broke starboard spin sheet, used the port sheet temporarily, then sent our bowman, Seth, out in a harness to hook on a new sheet.

              Wind 3.6kts @ 009T, seas 1-2ft, mostly clear skies, bar 1018
              Good night of sailing in moderate breeze. Crossing the Cabo hole now anticipating 10-15kts later this morning

              Wind 348 @ 20.3 kts, seas 2-3', partly cloudy, bar 1011.9 falling slowly
              Finally making strides down the path, and should be home soon! Hope the beer is cold (and has not been drunk yet)!

              ZERO GRAVITY
              Wind 325 @ 18 knots, seas 3 feet, 50 % cloud cover, 1013 mbar pressure
              Blast reaching with a reefed main. Foam the runway, we're coming in!

              Winds: 315-330 at 12-13 kts
              It's so close we can taste it - but we have to PUSH. Nights like last night make all the drifting, all the lack of sleep, all the heat/cold, all the wet soggy nights, and all the physical discomfort disappear. Starts you never knew existed. A near full moon that we got to watch rise that light the night up like daytime. Dozens and dozens of satellites that we watched scream across the sky as they were lit by the now set sun. Just incredible.

              Wind 350 @ 17.0 kts, Sea 2'-3', Cloud cover 30%, bar dropping @ 1021 mb
              Hazy sunrise; clearing. Couple spits of rain passing Cabo San Lucas. Got through the eddy and into the freshening Cortez breeze and aren't looking back. Don't know what the heck it was but everyone liked whatever Romeo Villareal at Baja Sessions Catering & Provisioning prepared for dinner. Morning wake-up call: "One Wild Night" by Bon Jovi.
              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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