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SDYC's 35th Puerto Vallarta Race continues the tradition

by Casey Allocco 5 Dec 2019 07:52 PST 5-13 March 2020
Puerto Vallarta Race © San Diego Yacht Club

Tradition is a staple element in San Diego Yacht Club's Puerto Vallarta Race, and the 35th running in 2020 will have many shining examples of tradition. Fleet starts will be held on March 5, 6 and 7. Some of the fastest boats and most experienced ocean sailors will race the 1,000nm course from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The winners of the last three PV Races (Disney/Pyewacket, Schulze/Horizon, Pethick/Bretwalda3) are registered for the 2020 race and are eager to win another trophy. Sailors who have sailed in the race dozens of times will be back for the latest competition. Wayne Zittel and Roy Disney who have been leading teams in this event going back over 20 years are ready for the next challenge.

A truly unique story is that of the Brockmann family and their latest entry in the Puerto Vallarta Race. After racing on the Reichel Pugh 52 Vincitore in the last three PV Races (include two wins in Division 1), Erik Brockmann will begin a new journey where the PV Race is just the first step.

Viva Mexico, a VOR 65 skippered by Erik Brockmann, will be making their racing debut during the 2020 Puerto Vallarta Race as part of their campaign to compete in the 2021 Ocean Race. Brockmann's goal is to bring Mexico back into The Ocean Race almost 50 years after Mexican boat Sayula II competed and won the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74.

Among the crew we will see co-owners Ricardo Brockmann, Lorenzo Berho and Yon Belausteguigoitia with his sons Ander and Danel who have all been competing in the PV Race during the past decade in the Vincitore and Peligroso Racing programs. Also involved in supporting the Viva Mexico project is San Diego Yacht Club's Malin Burnham.

Erik Brockmann shared his family's history with the PV Race:

"My grandfather did a couple of the San Diego to Acapulco races more than 50 years ago so that is when it all started. Then for many years we only did Mexorc and saw the boats coming down to race in PV. In 2010 I did my first PV Race and have not missed one since then, two onboard Peligroso and the last 3 races with my father and brother on Vincitore. Probably my favorite offshore race as there are usually great downwind conditions combined with many tactical decisions. I've been lucky to win Division 1 in four of the five PV Races. Doing the PV Race and Mexorc back to back has become for my family our favorite two weeks of sailing as you really get some of the best sailing offshore and inshore!"

Another Volvo ocean racing boat will be a featured entry in the 2020 PV Race. Roy Disney and the always competitive Pyewacket team will be racing their Volvo 70, as the defending champions of the PV Race. In 2020 they will sail with many of the regular Pyewacket crew such as Ben Mitchell, Gary Weisman, Scott Easom, Robbie Haines, and will add some experienced Volvo 70 crew such as Rob Greenhalgh, Mark Towill and Robbie Kane.

We asked Roy Disney a few questions about the new Pyewacket:

Did you accomplish everything set out in the Andrews 68 Pyewacket, just ready for a new challenge?

"Basically yes. We have had great luck with that boat and feel she is very special, hence the reason I do not want to sell her. Our plan for the V-70 is to sail her next year and do the upcoming Tahiti Race. Additionally, we'll sail the Islands Race, Puerto Vallarta Race, Ensenada Race, Long Point and Little Ensenada. Maybe even the Hot Rum Series next year."

How did you decide on this boat, and have you made any modifications to it?

"I wanted a different boat, and we were told to look carefully at the Volvo 70 from Australia called BlackJack. The prior owner did everything to the boat that anyone would do to a boat that will be sailing in light, SoCal conditions. Taller mast, deep keel, longer sprit, much lighter than the standard V-70. So this intrigued me and I decided to purchase it. We will see how she goes and the Puerto Vallarta Race is her first offshore race in SoCal and Mexico. The goal was to sail a potentially more exciting boat than the Andrews 70. And to go really fast."

The First to Finish honor that has been claimed by trimarans for the last 4 races may very well go back to the speediest of monohulls as the event has no trimarans currently registered. Recent First to Finish boats are Mighty Merloe (2018, 2016), Orion (2014) and LoeReal (2012). Pyewacket, Viva Mexico and Steve Meheen's Botin 80 Cabron will be the favorites at this honor for 2020 based on current entries.

While fleets have yet to be determined, groups are starting to form as entries continue to come in, including two competitive west coast Hobie 33s (Bill Hardesty's Sizzle and Kyle Vanderspek's Aloha) and a growing number of the always competitive Santa Cruz 50 and 52s who have been a staple of just about every west coast offshore race this decade.

The J/125s had an epic run at the 2019 Transpac Race, taking 4 of the top 5 overall finish positions, and Mark Surber (Snoopy) is ready to continue on that success.

"PV is our favorite event! Great offshore sailing with tricky coastal effects, a challenging Cabo rounding and champagne sailing across the Sea of Cortez. Foulies, breeze, sunshine, then shorts. Even better, MEXORC follows as a fantastic in-shore event. Both should definitely be on your bucket list! In 2018, we and Timeshaver were in sight the whole way to PV, then continued our fun during MEXORC. Great times! Maybe we'll get a few more 125s this year? Jason? Zach? Tom? Stan? Up for a jaunt down the coast?"

John Miller will serve as host of a Safety at Sea Seminar at San Diego Yacht Club on January 25-26, 2020 and will also be racing his Beneteau 48 Tropic Thunder in another PV Race. Registration for the Safety at Sea Seminar is currently open at sailaweighllc.com/shop-orderbymenu-order. Other courses on the west coast can be found at via US Sailing.

Once the race is complete, awards will be held at the Westin Puerto Vallarta on Friday, March 13th.

Registration for the race is open, and the deadline to register without a late fee is January 10th. San Diego Yacht Club invites offshore racers from the west coast, Mexico and beyond to join the adventure and come sail to the Mexican Riviera next Spring. Marina Vallarta with their brand new docks will welcome the fleet of race boats to Puerto Vallarta. The Westin Puerto Vallarta has discounted room deals, and Alaska Airlines is offering discounted fares for participants and family members. Visit pvrace.com/travel for more information.

San Diego Yacht Club is proud to partner with Ullman Sails Puerto Vallarta, North Sails, Penta Tequila and Rigworks for the 2020 PV Race.

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