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PV Race Day Five - Lighter air tightens competition on the course

by Casey Allocco 9 Mar 21:25 PDT 5-13 March 2020
2020 Puerto Vallarta Race © Miguel Naranjo

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 more information.

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.

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