Sunday, November 4, 2007

Magnitude takes early lead to Cabo

Five Division II boats crossed the starting line in front of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier Saturday and joined the Division I boat Ruahatu, which started the Long Beach to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race a day earlier. Favored to do well is Doug Baker's record-setting maxi-sled Magnitude 80 which earlier this year broke the 22-year-old record in the Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race by more than 31 hours. But weird weather has plagued this year's ocean races with light and fluky winds in the Newport to Ensenada race and one of the slowest recorded Transpacs to Hawaii ever.
Doug Baker and navigator Ernie Ruahatu talked about the possibilities before Saturday's start.
'Ernie told me we need to finish before 3 p.m. Tuesday to break the record,' Baker sail, smiling. 'But we'll see. If these Santa Anas come up we may get caught in the light air behind it.'Saturday's start in haze and fog saw a typical steady breeze from the southwest at about 9 knots, with predictions of possible Santa Ana winds tonight or Sunday.
Ruahatu, Ricardo Brockmann's Concordia 47, started Friday and as of this morning's report was only making 1.5 knots en route to Cabo. not what Saturday's starters wanted to hear.
- Rick Roberts