Q: How can two people living in paradise have even more fun?
A: Join the Banderas Bay Splash and Blast Dec. 11- 14, 2012.
Latitude 38, the “premier sailing magazine” from San Francisco, and their editor Richard Spindler, put on the Banderas Bay Splash and Blast every year. 22 sailboats of all shapes and sizes participated in the three days of racing, and many more sailors joined in the fun that started at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta at mid-day Dec 11, and then moved to Marina Riviera Nayarit here in La Cruz for an evening of feasting on gourmet pizzas, dancing to a live rock ‘n roll band from La Cruz, and consuming numerous beverages (including tequila served by two gorgeous young women dressed in maroon cocktail dresses) in the Sky Bar overlooking the Bay.
The next day we were invited to join Craig Shaw and Jane Roy on Camelot, a 54 foot Hunter from Portland, and race the three days of the Banderas Bay Blast.
Despite all the carousing the night before, 22 sailboats lined up outside the Riviera Nayarit Marina entrance, with starts staggered at 10 minute intervals for small, medium and large boats. The approximately twelve mile course was a down bay, across bay, and back regatta. The winner was a 53 foot J Boat built for speed, with a giant spinnaker driving it when wind conditions allow. It’s name is Blue. Camelot didn’t fly the spinnaker Wednesday and still came up with some impressive speed, with sails tweaked by Craig, Nikk and Jane (and sometimes Jan, although I just try to do what I’m told and otherwise stay out of the way).
On the second day of racing the boats jockeyed for position again just outside the Riviera Nayarit Marina entrance, but this time the large boats were far offshore. Puzzled, we finally listened to the VHF and found out the larger boats were starting farther out because the last group contained so many catamarans, which don’t like to tack (change direction, which means changing the sails from one side to the other). Camelot hustled out to the midst of the other boats, and then we were underway to Punta Mita, on the north entrance to the Bay of Banderas, about eight miles away. That morning, it was as cloudy as an Oregon winter day, but considerably warmer, with not a breeze to be found. We assumed that by afternoon the wind would kick up, but no, still almost no wind. So the spinnaker was raised, and Nikk’s job was to monitor it’s shape, to maximize the ability of the wind to drive the spinnaker and thus the boat.
All over the world spinnakers are being designed as works of art and the blast had it’s share. Here is Tahnoo, with a Northwest Coast eagle. Is it Haida or Kwakiutl? (look at the bottom of this blog)
I’ve rarely seen the bay so flat, and the lack of wind finally forced us to motor the last mile to the anchorage near the Punta Mita Yacht Club, where we dined, drank, visited, and got paddled by Debbie, who initiated us into the Punta Mita Yacht Club for 10 pesos and the chance to get paddled by a rake while bending over standing on a restaurant table. All the funds from this and other donations go to provide school supplies for children here. The next morning we dressed up as pirates and after breakfast at the Yacht Club, were treated to the children dancing in traditional costumes. So it was gringos in not-so-traditional pirate gear, and Mexican children looking beautiful in their traditional finery.
Camelot almost won the third day of racing, but was beaten just a mile from the finish at Nuevo Vallarta. We had a chance to take pictures of many gorgeous sailboats we passed as the bow slashed through the water and the sails were tweaked for maximum speed. What speed? Over eight knots much of the time, which is a speed that Balance sees in only perfect conditions. Of course Balance is much smaller, with a sail area that is like a tiny cousin to Camelot. Then it was a dinner at Vallarta Yacht Club in Paradise Village, surrounded by condos, beautiful gardens and plantings, and a ride back to La Cruz to our own little home once more.
Now it’s time to finish this latest blog and head over to Ana Banana’s funky restaurant so Nikk can eat ribs with friends (and I can have fish tacos or a quesadilla). We did shop this morning at the Sunday Market here at the marina, expecting to cook on the boat tonight, but plans change, so we’ll join Craig and Jane to rehash the three days of sailing and find where they go from here, then hopefully cook tomorrow night.
The haze has finally lifted after the strong winds of the past two afternoons, so I’ll leave you with a picture taken from the Sky Bar at the marina, looking over at Nuevo Vallarta.