Can you say "Cabo, Cabo, Cabo" without laughing and wishing you were packing your sea bag?
Friday and Saturday is the start of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's 2013 Cabo Race, and the fleet is lit up like an Olympic torch. If you think of it, it kind of is, with eight entries coming from the East Coast for this year's Transpac race to Hawaii and using the Cabo race as a tune-up.
There are 31 entries that will headed out to the starting line this weekend, and I have never noticed the positive economic impact this type of race provides to our marine industry. Shipyards from Marina del Rey to San Diego have felt the impact and are counting their profits as the boats head out to sea.
Over this last month, I felt like a kid in a candy store each time I walked the shipyards and the docks at our local yacht clubs. On Wednesday, I was at NHYC and walked past the Santa Cruz 52 Bodacious IV from the Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago. I was left speechless admiring the attention to detail this yacht has received and started calling prospects to come down to the dock and take a look. I later came to find out that local yacht designer Alan Andrews played a big part in this boat's refit. Alan designed a new keel, rudder, larger mast and sail plan, the most interesting bow sprint I have ever seen. While I stood on the dock, my palms began to sweat as I pictured myself on the helm of this baby off Cedros Island in 30 knots of wind asking for the spinnaker sheet to be eased.
For those of you, like myself, who missed this dance and have to be an armchair sailor this next week, the NHYC web page, nhyccaborace.com, will offer hours of entertainment. Make sure you check out the yellow-brick tracking system that will have a two-hour delay and update the boats every 15 minutes; video will be streamed from the club's Facebook page, and you can stay updated with the club's Twitter account.
Boats I will be watching in Class ORR 1 will be the big boats Wizard and Pendragon. The 70-raters will be in ORR 2 and will be a very close race with the top seed going to Grand Illusion. This class is too close to call, which includes Team Disney returning on a new Pyewacket, with six out of 10 teams all loaded up and ready to rock; keep your eyes on this one. In ORR 3, I am going to go with our local champs Horizon, a Santa Cruz 50 from Dana Point. They will have their hands full trying to stay up with Bodacious and Sin Duda!, Santa Cruz 52s in the forecasted light breeze.
In the PHRF fleet, the boat to watch will be John Garrison's Checkmate, with a crew list of Newport Harbor's best that includes Dennis Durgan, Marshall Duffield, Gary Hill and Gordo Johnson. The stories from this boat will be priceless, and they have a very good chance of winning their class. They just have to keep up with a who's-who list from the San Diego Yacht Club's J160 Innocent Merriment.
Race chairman John Fuller is pleased to see the large turnout for this year's event and how all the logistics came together.
"We have been planning this event for over a year and have a wealth of experience on our committee, with many of the past chairmen helping out," John explained. "It's shaping up to be a breeze strategy year," he added, meaning the wind could be light toward the end of the race.
This normally favors the larger boats in each class. "The forecast looked much better today than it did yesterday, and we still have a couple of days before the start," John explained with a positive inflection.
Something tells me boats could be sailing close to Guadalupe Island in the search for more wind — for their sake, I hope not. In a Mexico sailboat race, it's never over till the fat lady sings, and the larger boats could stall out before the finish with the smaller boats bringing in the breeze from behind.
For those of you who are staying at home and get to sleep in a warm bed this week, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club will be holding its Ocean Series No. 5 on Saturday, which I believe will be two windward, leeward races. Make sure you go to my blog site at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com for an update on the Newport High-Point Series.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.