Puerto Vallarta Race 2022

As the competitors in the 2022 Puerto Vallarta Race continue south in what is being reported as “great sailing conditions,” it is worth taking a moment to look at how this game has played out in the past.

To start, Rio100 owns the elapsed time record set in 2016 at 3 ds, 5 hrs, 42 min, 43 sec. Both Rio100 and Pyewacket 70 have been rolling through the fleet like they’re in a car chase.

The trackers are currently projecting both of them to finish ahead of the record, with Pyewacket 70 edging out Rio100 by about an hour, and knocking a little more than 4 hours off the Elapsed Time Record. In fact, there could be as many as five Class 1 boats and even Fast Exit in Class 2 breaking the tape in record time. Race Time 18:02:42 on Tuesday is the time to beat to be on that podium.

Puerto Vallarta Race 2022 - photo © Mark Albertazzi
Puerto Vallarta Race 2022 – photo © Mark Albertazzi

Describing the basic PV race track at the competitors weather and safety brief each morning, Pyewacket 70’s renowned Navigator/Author/Marine University Educator Peter Isler framed it this way: Three legs (310nm, 440nm, and 270nm respectively) separated by three roughly 15 degree left turns. The first leg is about getting clear of any coastal eddy and into the offshore winds from the W/NW. The Pleasant Depart. The second leg is about VMC – getting down the course and balancing temptation to go offshore for more wind vs turning left to follow those gentle 15 degree turns to the finish and winding up stuck in a light wind bay along the coast. And finally, leg three, known as ‘the restart,’ which begins at Cabo San Lucas and runs to the finish line at Punta Mita. The infamous “wind shadow” cast by the landmass of the Baja Peninsula lingers there and can detain the leaders as the back of the fleet roars up to their transom. The “shadow” could be a light patch just a few miles from shore, or it could be a glass off across the entrance to the Sea of Cortez. Sailors can get stuck there for precious hours or even a day or more trying to poke through. Risk averse sailors plan to just end around, and sail cautious extra miles around the shadow but that could take similar amounts of time. It is a race from here to the finish for sure.

The winds driving the last three days of champagne sailing are forecast to start breaking up especially around Cabo, and the boat speeds in the teens will be a fond memory. In 2020, Pyewacket 70’s first PV Race, they passed 27 miles south of Cabo, and had already passed the last Thursday starter prior to reaching Cabo (yb.tl/sdpv2020). This year, as Pyewacket 70 rolls up on the final left turn at Cabo, they are nearly 90 miles offshore and the Thursday point-boat White Cloud is still just ahead. Kudos to White Cloud for their tactics and boat speed and postponing the catch.

Besides Pyewacket 70, the other two fastest boats in the fleet (Rio100 and Hollywood Down Under) are currently setting up on different lines for their approach to Cabo (measured perpendicular to their track to the coast (Rio 50 miles, Hollywood 25 miles). While Hollywood Down Under’s approach might seem risky as their first PV Race with an international crew and new Australian owner Ray Roberts, they were savvy to recruit Erik Brockmann, veteran MX racer and skipper of Volvo 65 Viva Mexico. Erik will bring his years of experience on this specific race course. You can bet they have a well reasoned plan. Be sure to check the trackers as they tell the tale.

Puerto Vallarta Race 2022 - photo © Mark Albertazzi
Puerto Vallarta Race 2022 – photo © Mark Albertazzi

Roy Disney, Pyewacket 70, Volvo 70 Modified:

“Happy that Gary Weisman came out of retirement to sail this race – kind of like the GOAT. Smooth sailing on the Pyewacket. Moon is getting bigger, Venus is almost blinding after moonset, Southern Cross starting to peak above the horizon as we sail south.”

Wayne Zittel, J World’s Hula Girl, Santa Cruz 52:

“Still pretty nice out here. Massive pod of dolphins around us at this very moment. And the fantastic sailing days just keep coming. In fact, the sailing is so ideal on this one, the crew hasn’t even mentioned stopping in Cabo for a quick Margarita. That might be a first for me.”

Nathalie Criou, Envolee, Figaro 2:

“Another nice morning off of the Baja. Yesterday was very quiet and lighter winds through the night there was no wildlife and no excitement through the night. When the sun rose it illuminated a brilliantly fast luck duck bearing down on our position. They were fun to watch, but unfortunately weren’t in our sight long.”

John Raymont, Fast Exit II, Ker 51:

“Took our licks early. The young guy on the boat was worried about our Thursday finish time and was hiding the Donner Party cookbook but is feeling better now. Looking for the big restart. All good otherwise.”

Follow the race tracker showing boat positions at 1-hour intervals with a 4-hour competitive delay at yb.tl/sdpv2022.

Monday 0800 Standings Report available here.

by San Diego Yacht Club

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