Mexico Dispatch

Two J24 Fleet 17 crews compete in North American Championships / Copa Mexico-Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
Thirty-seven crews representing Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Peru, Germany, Italy, Monaco, and Sweden competed for honors in the J24 North American Championship / Copa Mexico, March 18-21, 2014. The event was hosted at La Marina Riviera Nayarit de La Cruz on beautiful Banderas Bay, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Nine races were run over the 4 days of the event. The United States’ Mike Ingham on Digger and Tony Parker on Bangor Packet took the top spots. Two crews from San Francisco J24 fleet 17 represented Northern California, with Randall Rasicot’s Flight finishing 30th overall and 21st for the North America’s Championship while Val Lulevich’s Shut Up and Drive finished 16th overall and broke into the top 10 with a 9th place showing for the Championship.
The natural setting of Banderas Bay is beautiful, and no wonder it is considered one of the prime sailing destinations in the world. A marine protected area, the Bay is a breeding ground for humpback whales, which were congregating in the Bay in preparation for their migration north. Whales regularly surfacing among the boats on race course added some unusual majesty to the competition. The fleet 17 crews, used to often windy, and cool weather of San Francisco Bay, were delighted by the warm and mild racing conditions typical of Banderas. Weather patterns were consistent throughout the week, with temperatures in the low 80’s and breezes between 5-16 kts. A typical day saw calm morning blowing from Punta Mita, and then backing to the south while increasing steadily into the afternoon. With three races scheduled for each day, crews most competitive in either light winds or heavy winds were both able to find advantages throughout the day, keeping the racing tight.
Conditions weren’t always typical. Winds gusting near 18kts in the afternoon on days 2 and 3 allowed the San Francisco crews to shine. A number of substantial wind shifts throughout the week also kept the race committee busy resetting the weather marks between legs. A notoriously large shift in race 5 shook up the point spread as boats that rounded the leeward mark late in the 1st leg were surprised with a tidy gain heading to the new weather mark. Shut Up and Drive moved from back of the fleet to a remarkable 13th place finish because of this particular adjustment.

Many highlights of the week occurred off the race course, as competitors enjoyed the hospitality of the Marina Riviera and many sponsors. Tim Healey of North Sails provided an informative post-race debriefing on his techniques for trimming and tuning up for each day’s conditions, along with free beer. Competitors were treated to a lavish welcome party with buffet and cocktails at the Marival Resort on Sunday before the racing began.
Hearty post-race meals were provided by Jaguar of Guadalajara and Volaris Airlines at La Marina Riviera yacht club. La Marina also hosted a wonderful beach-front awards ceremony, complete with a feast and live entertainment that kept some crews dancing all night. The Brazilian teams may have stolen the show, as boats returning on day 3 were greeted at the docks by samba dancers and caipirinhas, followed by food, live music, and carnival games.
The crew of Flight includes skipper Randall Rasicot, Melissa Litwicki, Jessica Ludy, Michelle George and Jasper and Robin Van Vliet. The crew of Shut Up and Drive includes skipper Val Lulevich, co-owner Zane Starkewolf, James McConaghie, Alex Schultink and Vince Benvin.

Complete race results can be found at http://j24mex.com/nac2014_copamexico/race-
results.html

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