March 13, 2011

Two sailboat races and one tsunami - what a week!

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - The Banderas Bay Regatta is always an exciting time and this year was almost indescribable by the tsunami generated by the horrific earthquake that devastated Japan.

While the world watched events in Japan unfolding, anyone living along the west coast of North and South America made quick plans to deal with serious tidal surges.

Here in Banderas Bay, many boats scrambled out of marinas and took to sea - and deep water - where surges from tidal waves generally pass almost unnoticed.

At Paradise Village Marina, the surge inside the marina was not bad, but the narrow channel entrance roared like a river for an entire day, with the current reversing every 10-15 minutes.

Most of the boats that left the marina ended up spending the night out at anchor or simply staying in motion until the all clear was given the next day to return to port.

Here is a brief video of Paradise Village:

But tsunami or not, the regatta pushed on, canceling one day of racing (of a planned three).

And again this year, Admiral Fox and I were aboard the sailing vessel Lotus, owned by Capt. Clarence and his wife Sheron.

Laura and Joe 
With 60 boats in the regatta, we were placed in a division with 13 others, ending up in 10th place overall. But in the second day of racing, everything clicked (almost everything) and we beat a number of boats that had finished well ahead of us in the first race.

We had a number of other crew members aboard, including Joe and Laura. Joe took some fabulous photos (including the one below) I was steering a lot of the time and did not snap a single photo.

Our proudest moment probably came when we beat a sailboat named Bolero.

Last year, Bolero was the boat to beat and so for this regatta, Captain Clarence made it a goal to stick close to Bolero in both races.

In the first race, Bolero came in ahead of us - but just barely. Then Saturday, in the finale, we beat them quite handily.

Bolero, the boat to beat
Yes, it's true that in the photo here, we are obviously behind Bolero. But by the time we crossed the finish line, we were well ahead of the ship.

Captain Clarence has already declared that the 2012 Banderas Bay Regatta is the Year of the Lotus and, if possible, we will put the band back together for another series of races.

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