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Allen Brothers

Newport Harbor to Cabo San Lucas Drift-A-Thon

by JBoats 31 Mar 2019 07:55 PDT 15-21 March 2019
Good Call takes Line Honors in the 2019 Cabo Race © Joysailing / NHYC Cabo Race

The 20th running of the 800.0nm Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race started with some degree of promise that the weather forecasts would not come to fruition.

The first three fleets of boats started off in decent winds from the WNW that slowly clocked as the fleet sailed south down the Mexican shoreline.

However, the forecasts did, indeed, hold true and the race became somewhat of an anti-climactic event for the late starters. The winds were so light that nearly all of the Saturday starters (the Maxi's and Super Maxi's) dropped out! And, over a third of the rest of the fleet did the same, "turning and burning" under their "iron gennies" to head back to home.

It was still the usual downwind race, with winds fluctuating from the northeast to northwest, as the fleet ever so slowly crawled down the Mexican coastline, gybing on lifts and desperately looking for pressure anywhere!

For the three J/Teams that managed to finish the race, there was no question there were many anxious moments as one after another held either the lead in their division or were hanging on to a podium finish (as forecast by the fleet tracking algorithms).

Those three boats were Scott Grealish's brand new J/121 Blue Flash, Viggo Torbensen's J/125 Timeshaver from Dana Point YC, and Seth Hall's J/124 Marisol from Newport Beach, CA.

In the battle of the 40+ footers, it was Torbensen's J/125 Timeshaver that yet again out-gunned their classmates, working every inch of advantage, every degree of downwind AWA, every perfect sail combination, to finish the race in four days 18 hours 18 minutes to correct out to second in class, missing the ORR 3 Division win by just four hours.

Hanging onto the class lead for the better part of two days was Grealish's brand new, fresh out of the box (two hours!) J/121 Blue Flash. Interspersed with their moments of brilliance were hours of frustration chasing wind streaks for advantage over their erstwhile competitors. As part of their "training mission", their hope was to learn as fast as possible how to guide their new 40-foot missile faster down the track, experimenting with every sail combination possible.

As the smallest boat in the class, they suffered from the same malaise that the Super Maxi's and Maxi's got caught in, little to no wind the further they got down the coast as the frontal system receded away from them. That phenomenon not only forced the biggest baddest boats out of the race, with their speedo's reading "triple naughts" at times, but that also enabled the top boats in ORR 3 Division to continue to extend their lead. In the end, Blue Flash was content with a fifth in class, and gathering an enormous amount of data to help them on their 50th Transpac Race preparations later in the summer.

In ORR 5 Division, Hall's J/124 Marisol took five days nine hours 55 minutes to complete the 800.0nm track to correct out to fourth in class.

Watch YB Tracking of the race here.

More information at

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