Monday, April 1, 2013

J/Teams Hope For Cabo Breeze

J/160 sailing under spinnaker on Cabo San Lucas Race (Newport Beach, California)- As one sailor described it, "When it comes to offshore distance racing, the prominent California races do a few things right: they are mostly in solid downwind conditions, they are mostly in warm weather, and they most certainly finish in desirable locations. The odd numbered years are the best, with the 800 mile Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) race in March providing a good tune-up for the 2,225 mile Los Angeles to Honolulu Transpac race in July."

But Mother Nature makes few guarantees and the 30 boat fleet that began the Cabo race (March 22-23) are clearly feeling cheated. It was a beautiful day for the PHRF Start off Newport Beach. 75 Degrees, blues skies, and 8 knots of Southwest breeze. The fleet got off to a great start and headed south to Cabo.  The PHRF fleet encountered light and variable winds their first night offshore as they entered Mexican waters. Most of the fleet remained near rhumbline.  However, the next day the wind conditions had not improved.

J/125 Timeshaver sailing on Newport Cabo RaceThus far the race has been mostly upwind, and mostly in light winds. So bad were the conditions during the first 30 hours that three boats retired, including the two J/125s, TIMESHAVER's Viggo Torbensen of Dana Point YC and WEST COAST WARRIOR's Greg Constable from Nanaimo YC.  Who can blame them, they'd gone less than 100nm in under 30 hrs!

The leaders favored the inshore route as they exited California and 24 hours into the race, with some of the fleet abreast of the warmer Baja peninsula and the island of Todos Santos abeam, the fleet was expecting slightly better though not great wind conditions.  To date, the further south the teams have progressed, the steadier the breezes have become. And, as a result it looks like the "big boats" will have their day in the sun and on the podium.

While their fast and furious J brethren have punted, the J/160 INNOCENT MERRIMENT sailed by Myron Lyon has been hanging in tough as nails and are leading the PHRF Division boat-for-boat.  As things are progressing, especially since it's a reaching machine, IM should go faster and faster relative to their competition.  So, there's still a good chance INNOCENT MERRIMENT can not only pull off a finish by Saturday, but perhaps even win her class!  Fingers-crossed and our best wishes to Myron and crew!
For race-tracking and more Cabo Race sailing information