falls hard to Mag 80 by 31 hours
tall, slim apparition of Magnitude 80 emerged from the gloom of
morning it became clear that the dawn of a new era couldn't wait for
later Doug Baker's sleek white maxi-sled crossed the beachfront finish
line of Del Rey Yacht Club's 19th International Yacht Race to
Vallarta, presented by Corum, after sailing the
1,125 nautical miles from Marina del Rey in the record time of 3 days
15 hours 51 minutes 39 seconds. Average speed: 12.8 knots, computed to
the shortest possible course.
Berho's Raincloud far back, Mag 80 will collect a sweep of honors for
first to finish, first in class, first overall on corrected handicap
time, plus the record.
How is it
that after 22 years, the record of 4:23:00:14 fell with such a crash,
by more than 31 hours?
Mag 80 is a
much faster boat than Dick and Camille
Daniels' MacGregor 65, Joss, of 1985, as have been
many others over two decades since. But those others didn't catch this
year's weather conditions, similar to what Joss enjoyed: off the wind
and strong and steady almost all the way.
"The conditions were
great, no doubt about it," Baker said. "Couldn't have asked for
anything better, from start to finish. I've been doing this since '81,
and I've never had a better year for conditions."
It was a rare day on
Santa Monica Bay last Friday when 20 knots of wintry
blasts swept Mag 80 and Scout Spirit off the start line and into the
San Pedro Channel wind tunnel, then down the Baja
California peninsula and across the Gulf of California into the relative calm of the
Baker said, "The routing
said we were going to break the record probably five days before we
left, but you just don't know."
Mag 80 navigator Ernie
Richau said, "Especially in a Mexican race, it's tough for the
forecasters to get the forecast correct because of the influence of
the land, and this time it really was good."
Baja they veered due south outside the rhumb [direct] line, but
otherwise their tactics were simple.
tacks, three jibes," Richau said, along with a minimal number of sail
changes. A reaching asymmetrical spinnaker and a running spinnaker
were up most of the way, before a switch to a masthead jib the last
The top wind
was 24 to 25 knots, same as the boat speed, not "super windy," watch
captain Sam Heck said, "but steady."
A dream race?
"The poor guys that didn't
do this, it's too bad," Baker said. "They missed out."
That number would include
some who had to pick between Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta and the shorter Newport Beach to
Cabo San Lucas race because the latter was scheduled---six months
after Del Rey YC set its
dates---too close in early March for anybody to do both.
"A lot of people would
have liked to do both," Baker said. "I just prefer the longer races."
Besides, he already holds
the record in the other race, set two years ago.
A low count
in Racing Division entries compounded by several pre-race
withdrawals---at least one switching to Newport-Cabo instead---limited
Mag 80's serious starring competition to one boat---David Janes's Reichel/Pugh 77, Scout
Spirit, and that boat was dismasted the first afternoon.
Janes and three of his crew flew into town in time to greet the Mag 80
team from the finish boat.
"We want you
to know we got here first, anyway," Janes joked. "Congratulations on a
Baker said, "As far as the
record goes, what helped us a lot is that we didn't have to think
about any other boats. After Scout Spirit had their problems, we could
sail our own race. We
didn't have to worry about covering anybody. All we were thinking
about was, OK, we gotta get there as fast as we can. That's such a
huge thing not burning up time just trying to stay ahead of somebody
else. Not to take away from what we did, but that was a factor."
Mag 80 sailed two crew
short of its usual 12 because of last-minute personal problems, so
Richau did double duty.
"Ernie is not one of the
big name navigators, but he does one hell of a job," Baker said. "He
works his tail off in preparation and he's also a very good sailor. He
does everything on the boat . . . he can steer, trim."
Richau said, "I spent a
lot of time sailing out of what I call navigator's jail. It's nice to
get on deck."
Richau also praised "the
preparation by Steve Dodd on the boat. Nothing failed. Everything
The rest of the crew,
besides Richau, Dodd and Heck, were watch captain Keith Kilpatrick,
Jimmy Slaughter, Rob Snyders, Mike Van Dyke, Chris Carson, Hogan
Beatie, Bill Worthington and Fred O'Conner.
The record changed hands
but not homes. Baker and Camille
Daniels are both Long Beach YC members.
Baker said, "She said, 'If
anybody is going to beat the record I hope it's you guys. Have fun
doing it.' "
How long does he think he
will hold it?
"At least two years."
fleet, rejoined by the 11th boat, Jim Maslon's Jungle Jim, started its
third and last leg Monday and was expected to reach Puerto Vallarta
Wednesday morning through evening in steady winds.
Awards will be presented
at separate banquets in Puerto Vallarta Saturday and Sunday.
Corum, the lead sponsor, will present the Admiral's Cup Trophy 41
watch to the winner of each class within each division. The timepiece
with a 41mm stainless steel case and nautical pennants instead of
numerals to indicate the hours was introduced by Corum before the 2005
Corum is an independent,
family owned company producing high-quality and prestigious Swiss
watches since 1955. The Admiral watch, along with the complete Corum
line, may be seen at www.corum.ch
reports, boat tracking and more race information at www.pv07.com
positions at 8 a.m. PST Tuesday; handicap ratings in seconds per mile
(started Feb. 23)
(Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach (-165), finished in 3 days 15
hours 51 minutes 39 seconds (avg. speed 12.8 knots), breaks record of
4:23:00:14 by Joss, 1985.
Spirit (Reichel/Pugh 77), David
Janes, Newport Beach (-123).
(started Feb. 21)
(J/145), Lorenzo Berho, Puerto Vallarta (-25), 113 miles to
go (avg. speed 4.7 knots).
Division / Started Feb. 16
Spider 3 (MacGregor 65), David Kory, Concord, Calif. (-24), 157 miles to go.
Grace (Farr 55), Jim Puckett, Pacific Palisades, Calif. (12), 166.
(J/133), Gil Maguire, Marina del Rey (9), 166.
1. Jungle Jim
(Jeanneau 49), Jim Maslon, Marina del Rey (69), 167.
Impulse (Catalina 40), Sean Roll, Riverside, Calif. (102), 181.
3. Voice of
Reason (Ericson 32), Jim McCone/Mike Verla, Lomita, Calif. (180), 187.
(Island Packet 485), Peter Hirsch, Santa Monica, Calif. (114), 159.
(Tayana 48), Jean Rooryck, Woodland Hills, Calif. (78), 170.
(Tayana 52), Hideshige Seki, Tokyo, Japan (87), 181.
4. Far Niente
(Catalina 42), Pat Hearne, Monarch Beach, Calif. (102), 188.
(Jeanneau 43), Hiro Funaoku, Marina del Rey (117), 195.
Del Rey Yacht Club