by Rich Roberts
A powerhouse lineup of 40 boats is set for Balboa Yacht Club's biennial race from Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas starting March 28 and 29.
Mag 80 will be racing to Cabo for another record
'We have a rock star fleet,' said A.G. Kading, the delighted event chairman. 'There's going to be great competition from top to bottom.'
The entries include Dennis Conner's Farr 60, Stars & Stripes and 13 boats that sailed the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii last summer, led by Doug Baker's Magnitude 80, first overall in Division 1 on corrected handicap time, and Tom Garnier's J/125, Reinrag2, first overall among all 73 boats.
Jim Madden's high-tech Stark Raving Mad, Bob Lane's Medicine Man and Mike Campbell and Dale Williams' Peligroso join Magnitude 80 in the Maxi class. Although Mag 80 blew away the record in last month's San Diego to Vallarta race, finishing at Punta Mita on the edge of Banderas Bay, it couldn't hold off the smaller Peligroso for overall honors, and Stark Raving Mad was in the hunt until sailing into a wind hole past the tip of Baja California.
The smaller boats, including Reinrag2 in Class B, will start the 800-nautical mile race to the tip of Baja California, Mexico on Friday, the larger ones a day later. The starts will be at noon.
2008 Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas Race sponsors
For spectators' advantage, the starting line will be set directly off the end of the Balboa Pier in front of the Original Ruby's restaurant.
As usual, Baker has his sights set on a record. Mag 80 finished first in the 2006 inaugural CDM-Cabo race in 22 minutes less than three days, an average speed of 11.1 knots.
The boat was launched in 2004 with a canting keel, retractable dagger board and sail drive, pivoting bow pole and other technical advancements. It also owns the fastest times for Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta, the Coastal Cup from San Francisco down the coast to Santa Barbara and the Newport to Cabo race sailed over the same course as this race.
Since Mag 80 has seldom had a similar rival in a race, records have been its most notable success.
'That's why we're out there,' Baker said. 'There's always a chance to get one if you have the right conditions, while the [handicap] ratings are always the luck of the draw.'
Unlike some rivals, Mag 80 hasn't had a serious breakdown. The boat is checked thoroughly before and after every race. 'It's preventive maintenance---fix it before it breaks,' Baker said. 'We've been able to finish every race.'
A sendoff party promising 'Mexican buffet, cheap drinks and good company' is scheduled March 27 at Balboa YC.
Trophies will be presented April 4 at the Tesoro Los Cabos, one of the event's two host hotels along with the luxury Pueblo Bonito Pacifica.
This is Balboa YC's second spring race to Cabo, alternating the last four years with neighbor Newport Harbor YC's event that in 2005 ended a decade-long hiatus of races from Orange County to Cabo San Lucas.
The race is being conducted under PHRF, ORR and IRC handicap systems.
2008 Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas Race
Full entry list and other information: http://www.balboayachtclub.com
Each boat also will be tracked by iBoat http://www.iboattrack.com/racetracking.html , which has provided satellite positioning on the Internet for last year's Long Beach-to-Cabo race, the 2006 Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii and several East Coast races to Bermuda and elsewhere since 2005.