Thirty-two boats have committed to the 2022 San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race, making this edition of the biennial event the largest since 2000. A staggered start schedule begins March 10 if needed, with additional starts on March 11 and 12.
Race Co-Chair Ben Mitchell, who will be onboard Roy Disney’s Pyewacket 70, looks forward to adventure. “The sunrise on the open ocean, the sunsets, and not knowing what the night skies will bring can all add up to an amazing experience.”
Tom Holthus, who won overall in 2020 sailing with Bill Hardesty on a Hobie 33, has entered his Botin 56 BadPak. “We will go with nine crew, a lot of the same crew that did Transpac last July and we are working hard on making sure the boat and crew are ready for the March start.”
The 1000 nm course begins with an offwind slide down Baja California, but strategy and luck are needed to make the turn at the tip toward Puerto Vallarta.
“The biggest challenges of the race are going to be rounding Cabo San Lucas and the finish,” said Holthus. “Both challenges are impacted in a significant way based on the time of day you encounter them.
“The afternoon can be fine, however, it always seems we round Cabo or finish in the middle of the night or early morning and you can drift for hours – that is never fun! Boats can win or lose the race if the crew does not remain focused during this difficult period.”
Hardesty concurs with Holthus. “Keep it simple, stay close to rhumb line, and study the transition off of Cabo. Understand the differences between the night winds and daytime winds.”
Two year’s ago mid-race, sailors and their crews were faced with growing concerns as COVID-19 spread and the United States limited travel. Boats finished the racing, and enjoyed a true Mexican celebration – probably the last for quite some time – and made their way safely back to the homeland.
While able to host the race and travel internationally this year, it is not without precaution. Regulations in Mexico recommend that all participating crew members be prepared to show proof of vaccination upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta.