The 2020 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race is set to kick off the first week of March. Some of the fastest boats and most experienced ocean sailors will race the 1,000nm course from San Diego, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Racing to the Mexican mainland is a biennial tradition for San Diego Yacht Club going back to 1953.
This 35th edition fleet of competitors will consist of a couple of former globetrotters; Viva Mexico (a Volvo 65, formerly Abu Dhabi, Scallywag) and Pyewacket 70 (a Volvo 70, formerly Telefonica) both owned by SDYC members Lorenzo Berho (partial owner with Ricardo Brockmann) and Roy Disney respectively. These two speedsters look to not only battle each other but also the eighty-foot Cabron owned by SDYC’s Steve Meehen in what is shaping up to be a great race for line honors.
With entries currently at thirty-one teams, the handicap honors will certainly be hotly contested with at least three former handicap winners in the fleet with Bretwelda3, Horizon and Peligroso. In addition to several well-sailed performance boats in the fleet, picking an overall handicap winner is anybody’s guess.
The fleet will be broken up into staggered start dates with the slower boats being sent off first on Thursday, March 5, the next group on Friday, which should be the largest number of starters, and finally, the bigger boats will start the catch-up process on Saturday, March 7.
Competitors will be looking for fresh springtime winds as they leave San Diego to send them down the coast of Baja California for the first part of the race. The second part of the race takes place off Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja and is typically the trickiest part of the race. The strategy on how to pass Cabo San Lucas is always one of great debate on whether to pass close to shore or give it a wide berth, sometimes up to sixty miles.
The final part of the race is crossing the Gulf of California in what is typically excellent sailing until the approach to the finish just outside Banderas Bay. This approach can be met with variable winds and have a big impact on the overall results of the race.
The varying conditions of this race not only make it a challenge and great experience, and it also gives the competitors the chance to take home a trophy for their efforts. The popularity and draw of the Vallarta Race comes from many things: the challenging course, great competition, reliable spring winds, a full moon for the race and a finish in the warm waters of Banderas Bay.