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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"Every artist was once an amateur." -- Emerson

Banderas Bay Regatta 2012
@ Where`s Cherie?     Apr 08 2012 - 09:23 PST
greg writes: After a multi-year absence, Cherie and I returned to Puerto Vallarta to meet old friends and compete in one of our favorite sailing events, the Banderas Bay Regatta. When we arrived we really felt our favorite place to sail had 'grown up'..

Banderas Bay & the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club have become a world-class sailing venue – hosting several international regattas this year, including MEXORC, WesMex (dingys), J24 worlds, the Pan-American games, and our favorite, the Banderas Bay Regatta. Banderas Bay has ideal sailing conditions in the winter; warm water, a reliable and steady sea-breeze that provides 12-17 knots of wind each afternoon, flat water due to the shape of the bay and islands that block large ocean swells, and lots of good on-shore facilities including three large marinas, and a great yacht club.

WESMEX RACE COMITTEE

Before the Regatta we volunteered to help with the WesMex regatta, a dingy sailing event that's used to select the Mexican Olympic sailing team. We learned a tremendous amount about what how much work goes on behind the scenes to put on a successful regatta. I worked on the 'pin boat', and our responsibilities were to adjust the alignment of the start & finish lines, and move the downwind marks to ensure the marks were aligned perpendicular to the wind. This is so that no one side of the line is too heavily favored. Cherie also helped on the Race Committee boat, which is responsible for managing the races, providing all the starting signals, and recording each competitor’s finishing order.

During the event we got to spend a lot of time with Paul Ulibarri, an International Race Officer for the last four Olympics, and it was great to learn about race management and swap stories with a guy who'd been involved with running regattas for the last forty years.

BANDERAS BAY REGATTA

For the Banderas Bay Regatta we raced with old friends Jim & Jamie Casey aboard Cupatillo... The name Cupatillo has a brief but distinguished history. We were racing on the boat Jim & Jamie used to own – Tomatillo. But recently sold it and the new owner changed the name to Cupcake. We combined the old and new names of the boat to create Cupatillo, which we hoped would strike more fear into our competitor's hearts than Cupcake. Ivan, a J24 sailor from Idaho also joined us. Jim's friend Bartz, a very experienced San Francisco Bay racer, raced with us and brought friends to round out the rest of the crew.

Cherie and I were responsible for foredeck, under the guidance of Ivan. We had 10 successful spinnaker sets and douses, in light and heavy air, and used multiple spinnakers two of the three days. There were times I wondered if the chute would come out straight after re-rigging it in the V-berth. But the golden rule of spinnakers held true – as long as you keep all the lines attached, or (very carefully) attach the lines to the exact same locations on the new spinnaker while keeping the corners isolated, the chute will set without being twisted.

The first day we had an excellent start, hitting the start line within seconds of the gun, and with clear air and on a port tack. It was a heavy-air day and we managed to stay ahead of the rest of the pack by sailing well in heavy air and performing all of our maneuvers without serious snafu's. Many of the boats in our fleet ran into problems with their gear or spinnakers in the heavy wind.

The second day served to pop our deflated egos, as we got a bad start when a few boats didn't yield right-of-way properly the line. We felt like we were playing catch-up throughout the race, and on a reaching leg we experimented with flying a chute which didn't pay off for us. We ended the race in fifth place (out of nine boats).

The final day half of our crew was feeling badly from something they ate (or drank?) the night before, and after our previous day's performance the pressure was on for us to do well. We felt like Rocky Balboa, on the verge of the final showdown, we needed to perform at our best to take the trophy.

The competition in our division was extremely tight. We figured that we needed to place highest out of the rest of our competition, and one boat, Talion, would need to place two places behind us if we were to take first place. Everything had to go right for our final race – and with the pressure on the crew worked together as a finely-tuned machine, everybody gave their all, and we managed to place second, ahead of all the boats we needed to beat. Our division was so close that we actually tied in points with two other boats for first, the tie-breaker was that we finished the last race ahead of the other two boats. It was great feeling to overcome the adversity of our second race, and taking home the gold.

CHARLIE & CATHY'S END OF SEASON PARTY

We spent the last part of our trip to Puerto Vallarta catching up with our friends Charlie and Cathy. We sailed with them around Banderas Bay in 2008 on their Beneteau 461 Chére. They continued through the Panama Canal and cruised all over the Caribbean before selling their boat in Annapolis. They own a condo in Puerto Vallarta and put us up for our visit to Vallarta.

Banderas Bay Regatta is the grand finale to the sailing season and to celebrate the new friends and adventures of the season Cathy put on an end-of-season cocktail party. Titled the “seven C's” party it was a great way for everyone to swap their favorite stories of the season and of the regatta. The party was a smashing success, with everyone having a great time and a perfect way to finish the sailing season.

We were sad to get back on the plane to fly away from Puerto Vallarta, a place where we'd spent so many winters and one of the places around the world we consider 'Home'.

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Cupatillo racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

Cupatillo racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

The local Turtle Conservancy organization incubates and releases turtles to help increase their numbers. This little guy is scrambling for the ocean.

The local Turtle Conservancy organization incubates and releases turtles to help increase their numbers. This little guy is scrambling for the ocean.

Almost there!

Almost there!

Pre-race maneuvering in the Mexorc fleet

Pre-race maneuvering in the Mexorc fleet

Big Mexorc boats like Peligroso need lots of windward ballast, in crew, to sail optimally upwind.

Big Mexorc boats like Peligroso need lots of windward ballast, in crew, to sail optimally upwind.

The Mexorc fleet racing upwind

The Mexorc fleet racing upwind

The laser fleet preparing to start

The laser fleet preparing to start

The gun sounds, starting the race

The gun sounds, starting the race

Rounding one of the leeward gates

Rounding one of the leeward gates

I'm on the pin boat - it's our job to set the start, finish lines, and adjust the leeward gates.

I'm on the pin boat - it's our job to set the start, finish lines, and adjust the leeward gates.

Paul, Jessee, & Vicki on the Race Committee boat

Paul, Jessee, & Vicki on the Race Committee boat

After a hard day of setting marks, we'd often cool off with a cocktail at the Vallarta Yacht Club.

After a hard day of setting marks, we'd often cool off with a cocktail at the Vallarta Yacht Club.

After the races, a logjam at the boat-ramp, getting all the competitors' dingys out of the water.

After the races, a logjam at the boat-ramp, getting all the competitors' dingys out of the water.

A beautiful sunset in Puerto Vallarta!

A beautiful sunset in Puerto Vallarta!

International Race Officer Paul experiences the culture and customs of Mexico - including it's transportation safety standards.

International Race Officer Paul experiences the culture and customs of Mexico - including it's transportation safety standards.

A great sail downwind under the yellow Spinnaker

A great sail downwind under the yellow Spinnaker

Reaching with the Chute (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

Reaching with the Chute (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

Jim steers us to victory!

Jim steers us to victory!

Cupatillo heads upwind (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

Cupatillo heads upwind (photo by Debra Adams on Murar's Dream)

Jamie trimming the Chute while Bartz calls tactics

Jamie trimming the Chute while Bartz calls tactics

The crew of Cupatillo for the 2012 Banderas Bay Regatta

The crew of Cupatillo for the 2012 Banderas Bay Regatta

Ivan trimming the Spinnaker

Ivan trimming the Spinnaker

Dustin & Camellia's daughter Sasha, here with Cherie.

Dustin & Camellia's daughter Sasha, here with Cherie.

Sasha with grandparents Mike & Silvia

Sasha with grandparents Mike & Silvia

We have lunch with Cathy & Charlie at their favorite taco stand

We have lunch with Cathy & Charlie at their favorite taco stand

Silvia & Michael with the pinata backdrop at the 7-C's cocktail party

Silvia & Michael with the pinata backdrop at the 7-C's cocktail party

We crewed with Mike to Banderas Bay in 2007 - he fell in love with the place and has made La Cruz his home!

We crewed with Mike to Banderas Bay in 2007 - he fell in love with the place and has made La Cruz his home!

Charlie surrounded by pinatas.

Charlie surrounded by pinatas.

Cathy next to her first-class Hors d'oeuvre table at the 7-C's cocktail party

Cathy next to her first-class Hors d'oeuvre table at the 7-C's cocktail party

Cherie can't help but play with her food - even if its Charlie's amazing Eggs Benedict breakfast

Cherie can't help but play with her food - even if its Charlie's amazing Eggs Benedict breakfast

The beautiful 'backyard' at Charlie & Cathy's Puerto Vallarta home.

The beautiful 'backyard' at Charlie & Cathy's Puerto Vallarta home.


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