The first race of Vallarta Cup 2017 kicked off on Saturday on a typical January day in Banderas Bay - light winds and clear skies. The race committee on S/V Cadenza delayed the race a few minutes to make sure there was sufficient wind for a start and to give the last few competitors sufficient time to get to the starting area, calling first warning at 12:36. The course selected was a 13 mile mainly-reaching route which would take the 10 boats to La Cruz, then an upwind leg northwest along the northern coast of the bay, and then downwind to finish as the daily thermal built in the afternoon.
All boats started well in a southerly 6 knot breeze, with higher winds expected as the boats picked up the daily thermal off Bucerias and along the north coast. Due to the nature of the course, the race committee called for a reaching start, and a couple of competitors even managed to fly spinnakers across the start line. All competitors were delighted to see Merle McAsse's 11 year-old son Matero helming the family's Beneteau 38 Kinta Anea across the start line. Olas Lindas, with VYC honorary member Mike Danielson aboard as tactician, set their 'chute shortly after start, as did many competitors. A few boats struggled with sail set, but ultimately headed off to La Cruz in the building breeze. Rush Faville's J80 'Shiva' had a great start, carrying a new black spnniaker over the start line and all the way to La Cruz. Rush stayed with the leaders through most of the race, showing everyone that small boats are very competitive in a reaching race. Of course, it didn't hurt that Shiva had Wayne Zittle, owner of J/World Performance Sailing, onboard to advise!
The first boat to finish, Olas Lindas, completed the course in a mere 1 hour 42 minutes, averaging a spectacular 7.6 knots around the course. This was with wind speeds that never exceeded 10 knots throughout the course. Olas finished a full 7 minutes and 42 seconds ahead of the next boat, Fred Roswold's Serindipity 43 'Wings'. Fred crossed the finish line flying his huge new spinnaker, which the race committee knicknamed 'The Womper'. By 3pm all boats had completed the course.
Matero McAsse, in addition to helping helm the family boat, also achieved another goal that was set for the racers: the boat to spot the most whales during the race. Matero spotted 4 whales, and two dolphins to boot! He will be awarded a prize at the final trophy ceremony, as well as an honory Banderas Bay Naturalist badge.
The Vallarta Cup racers joined VYC members and guests at the VYC clubhouse for the event after party. Local band "The Remedy" provided the dance music. Chef Israel didn't dissapoint, creating his famous hamburgers for the attendees.
The group of racers was broken into two classes after results were returned. Olas Lindas was first in Class A, Shiva first in Class B.
Saturday, January 14 will be the next in this four-race series. Boats can sign up for any or all races in the Vallarta Cup Series. Sign-up is here.
Event photographer John Pounder has made his photos available for viewing online, and for purchase in higher resolution. Those photos are available here.