Keith K-Mag Magnussen gets ready to crush it to Cabo…

time 1The 2015 Newport to Cabo Race is almost here and the excitement is reaching fever pitch. The long list of entries displays the growing popularity of mid distance racing. Almost every kind of boat is represented and every kind of sailor. Most will go unnoticed on the websites and forums but it is important to remember that all the sailors are experiencing similar scenarios while thriving in the offshore environment.

Only lacking from the list of boats are the new canting keel monsters that will grace the startling of Transpac. Would it be interesting if they changed the barn door rule to include those boats like they did once before? Drama to come? Well, one can only hope.

Anyways back to present day and away from day dreaming…

So there are some big boats racing on their own, a big old trimaran that will surely demolish some sort of elapsed record and some slick catamarans. There is also a big group of boats that make up the race so let us start there.

Hobie 33 in PHRF called “Bazinga” and owned by Steve Campos is family run and adventure seeking program. They are from Arizona and are looking foreword to their first race in preparation for a Hawaii race. They have been working hard, practicing and will be racing on one of the all time great boats, the H33. What a cool platform to introduce people to surfing down waves in open ocean scenarios. Unfortunately the 30-40 foot ULDB boats seem to be a bit sparse in this one. Remember when Mad Max did the race? Overall winner in 2005! Yes people you can do it too so get your 30 foot somethings out of the barn and make it happen.

PHRF this year is home to some classic yachts and racer/cruiser boats that are embracing the offshore racing challenge. They will be racing in style, eating well and pushing their respective boats to the limit. Second Wind and Between the Sheets are two great examples of well sailed and experienced offshore racing programs. Should be a good tight fleet.

ORR sets off on Saturday and this is what everyone will be looking at. The SC-50 and 52’s have been lobbying for a class and the West Coast 70 fleet is also in that boat. What are the class breaks you ask? Not posted yet. That is ok with me because we are all ORR so we all essentially race each other anyways. Plus I think I know what they will be.

time 2Let us talk about my boat for a second. The J-125 “Timeshaver” is my ride and one of my favorite boats and teams. Owner, Viggo Torbensen, has spared no expense. With some help from Ropeye our boat is outfitted with the latest Gucci stuff. Single point soft pad eye attachments that are light, recessed and strong are all over the boat. Erik Shampain and Eastwind Offshore Sailing have helped with rigging systems which include a new floating #3 jib lead (Thanks to the J-125 Hamachi for inspiring that one), custom Genoa Staysail attachment point on the mast, new runner system and too much other stuff to mention. Also involved is a brand new spinnaker inventory from Ullman Sails. We have been working hard to optimize the inventory and feel that we are about there.

Viggo has done more than we asked for and even though we are scrambling a bit we will be there. It is always the last 10% that takes 60% of the time, or something like that. Hopefully we can match pace with the well sailed Rogers 46 that seems to pop up and win like it is easy. Well sailed boat and one to look out for.

What does the weather look like? Talked to the Hippie yesterday, and while we are a ways out, he was uncommonly optimistic. He is racing with his son Erik and new owner on the SC-50 Horizon, one of my main nemesis (in a super nice and friendly way) over the years. New owner but similar team will mean these guys will still be in it to win it.

Regardless of what happens, this time next week we will be sailing somewhere off the coast of Baja towards warmer weather and hopefully good surf.