(Marina del Rey, CA)- Gil Maguire sailed his J/133 TENACITY singlehanded on the 600 mile Guadalupe Island Race. Here is a good long look at one man's perspective on some shorthanded offshore racing...
"The Guadalupe Island Race is run every other year in late March by the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association, and has both single and doublehanded classes. The race is about 600 miles long and goes from Marina del Rey, past Catalina Island, past San Clemente Island, 300 miles due south to and around Mexico’s Guadalupe Island which is about 125 miles west of the Baja peninsula, and then back, 300 miles uphill, slogging to windward, to the finish line at Catalina Harbor on Catalina Island. Guadalupe Island is about 22 miles long and quite high (4500 feet or so). It is known for its elephant seal colonies and as a breeding ground for great white sharks. Most of the great white footage you see on TV is shot off of Guadalupe’s eastern shore.
The race is mostly outside the protection of the Southern California bight so it can get very windy with gales and very large seas not unusual at this time of the year. So you can have a great run down to the island but a brutal beat back. Unlike the other, longer Mexico races, the Guadalupe Island race requires participants to race back, against the wind and swells. To that extent, it is a more complete test of a boat and its crew’s seamanship skills, requiring vessels and crews to demonstrate their ability to windward as well as their downwind sled capabilities. While the slog back can be uncomfortable, it is tactically and physically challenging and has the advantage of finishing the race at or near one’s home port without the need to feed and house crew in Cabo or Puerto Vallarta, or pay for a delivery crew to get the boat home, often several weeks later.
I tried to do the race singlehanded two years ago in Tenacity, our J/133, but had to drop out when I lost my autopilot and electronics about halfway down to the island. I was looking forward to doing it this year before my advancing age began to take a bigger toll." Read more about Gil's sailing experience on Sailing Anarchy.