December 15, 2008

Acapulco Racers Prefer Champagne!


Acapulco, MexicoThe last race of the season for the competitors at Acapulco Yacht Club is the "Champagne Race” to Puerto Marquez bay. This year’s race had a showdown with the leaders in each class trying to wrap up their class victories and the overall fleet victory. The overall fleet scoring is new this year and has really added a prestigious claim to victory when won. Going into the Champagne race, the Farr 40 “Flojito y Coperando” held a slight lead over the N/M 46 “China Cloud”, the Concordia 47 “Ruahatu” and the classic Peterson 40 “Piet Hiem”.

Acapulco Yacht Club’s race committee ran this year’s race with a “pursuit” format where the handicapped times for each boat is issued at the start. The slowest handicapped boat starts first with all the faster boats starting at their time intervals after the first boat is already on the race course! The J-105 “Hurakan” started first and the speedy “Wasabi” started last. The race overall winner is the first boat across the finish line in Puerto Marquez!

Farr 40 "Flojito y Coperando"

I raced on the Altolaguirre Family’s J-120 “Tate-i”. We had made a good showing at the October Regatta and had a great crew practice on Friday before the Champagne race; we had high hopes for finishing well in the Champagne Race. The wind was at about 8 knots from the southwest at the start. The racers all crossed the start time on queue without much trouble, the race was on! Leading at the first ocean windward bouy was “Hurakan” followed closely by the N/M 40 “Iemanja” and the Beneteau 42s7 “Iorana” and then “Tate-i”. The second leg was to a leeward ocean bouy with “Hurakan” just ahead of “Tate-i”. Closing fast where the bigger boats from Class A and B. Leading the pack of big boats were the Peterson/Custom 50 “Kayue” and “Flojito y Coperando”. The third leg was upwind on basically one tack to the top entrance of the Boca Chica Channel where you hoisted spinnakers again and headed down the channel and over to Puerto Marquez. “Kayue” had taken the lead with “Tate-i”, “Hurakan”, “Iemanja”, “Bandido” and “Velocity” all getting to the top of the channel with in 30 seconds of each other. It was very tight racing!

Gybing down the channel is very tactical and a lot can be gained and lost if gybing too late or too soon for the best wind and/or current. “Tate-i” sailed a perfect course down the channel and held off “China Cloud” and “Velocity” who were making a charge, but they made an extra gybe or two to round black rock at the bottom of the channel.

Tate-i's new Ullman Sails code 2A RUN spinnaker

The beam reach over to Puerto Marquez is where the big fast boats poured it on! “Kayue” stretched their lead to about 4 minutes and “China Cloud”, “Wasabi”, “Flojito y Coperando” and “Ruahatu” all were compressing into the finish line with “Tate-i” right in the middle of them! The season fleet overall championship hinged on “Flojito y Coperando” not placing more than one boat/place behind “China Cloud” if “China Cloud” crossed ahead of “Flojito y Coperando”. Finishing all within about 1 minute span was “China Cloud”, “Wasabi”, “Flojito y Coperando”, Tate-i” and “Ruahatu”. It was very close racing! “Flojito y Coperando” won the overall fleet first place with a tie on points with China Cloud, but moved ahead with more first place finishes as the tie-breaker. Congratulations to “Flojito y Coperando” for sailing a great 2008!

What makes the Champagne Race truly a great race is the after race fiesta and celebration boat raft up just off Pinchilingi beach in Puerto Marquez bay. The yacht club sends down support boats to hand out champagne and food while the races swim, talk and party. On the raft up, it is lot of fun to visit all the boats and crews to talk about sailing, family and life. Congratulations to the whole Acapulco fleet on a wonderful year with terrific racing and good friendship and camaraderie.

written by Bruce Cooper / Ullman Sails Newport Beach

-click here- Champagne Regatta Photos

Servicing Acapulco for Ullman Sails is:

Bruce Cooper (owner) – Ullman Sails Newport Beach

John Bennett – Ullman Sails Newport Beach

Chuck Skewes – Ullman Sails San Diego

Tomas Span – Ullman Sails Acapulco – Servicios Maritimos