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23 February 2005, 09:30 am
As Wind Blows, Pyewacket Out With Mast Problem
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Puerto Vallarta Race
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Just as wind conditions turned hopeful, Pyewacket's pursuit of the record in Del Rey Yacht Club's 18th biennial Corum International Yacht Race to Puerto Vallarta ended abruptly Tuesday morning because of a problem with its mast.
Navigator Stan HONEY reported by satellite phone: 'We had a problem with the top of the mast and we're dropping out.'

Apparently, a crack in the top section of the carbon fiber rig was discovered during a routine daily inspection at 10:20 PST about 20 miles west of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja California.

About an hour and a half earlier Roy DISNEY'S maxZ86, sailing its first race on the West Coast after campaigns in the Caribbean and Europe, had reported its best day of the race-238 nautical miles at 9.9 knots.

When the problem developed conditions were even better: a following 12-knot northwest breeze that had Pyewacket flying at 15 knots under spinnaker.

With about 27 hours remaining to sail 325 miles to the finish, Pyewacket had a shot at the record of 4 days 23 hours 0 minutes 14 seconds set by the MacGregor 65 Joss in 1985.

'You never know what's out in front,' Honey said, 'but we had a chance.'

At the time the breeze was even blowing well through the finish line in front of the Westin Hotel and Resort deep in Banderas Bay, suggesting that Pyewacket might roll all the way in. Instead, Pyewacket dropped its sails and was motoring into Cabo San Lucas. 'The mast is still in the boat,' Honey said. 'We don't need any assistance at all.'

Pyewacket's exit, following the voluntary withdrawal of Randall PITTMAN'S Dubois 90, Genuine Risk, two days before the start, left the race's line honors in the grasp of Doug BAKER'S Magnitude 80, which was 30 miles behind Pyewacket at Tuesday morning's roll call. If the good winds continued, it was conceivable that the record could fall to the Andrews 80 from Long Beach, but it would have to finish by noon Wednesday.

Pyewacket and Magnitude 80 had passed the two closely dueling Transpac 52s-Karl KWOK'S Beau Geste, Hong Kong, and Mark JONES and Dick WATTS'S Flash, San Francisco-that started a day earlier and were still only a mile apart after two-thirds of the 1,125-nautical mile race.

At the front of the Racing Division with 294 and 301 miles to go were the Santa Cruz 50s that started two days earlier. Kirk WILSON'S Bay Wolf, San Pedro, had a seven-mile lead over Don ADAMS and Rick PALMER'S Chicken Little, Marina del Rey.

A third S/C 50, Jack TAYLOR'S Horizon, Dana Point, Calif., dropped out Tuesday undamaged but out of contention. Horizon sailed itself out of the race by going farther offshore Baja into lighter winds than its rivals.

But the first boat into Puerto Vallarta stood to be the Salsa Division leader, Bob and Kathy PATTERSON'S J/46, Lark, from Marina del Rey. The Salsas started five to seven days ahead of the racers, made three stops and were allowed to motor when the winds died out.

Also, two of the Santa Cruz 50s at the front of the race-Kirk WILSON'S Bay Wolf and Don ADAMS and Rick PALMER'S Chicken Little-had found breeze closer to Cabo San Lucas and were averaging 6.5 knots.

Daily position reports, including latitude and longitude, and standings are posted at

Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF)
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