Swiftsure III, the Nelson-Marek 68 sloop with John Reynolds as skipper, took an early lead Saturday at the start of Los Angeles Yacht Club's 860-mile race to Cabo San Lucas via Guadalupe Island. Swiftsure III is flying the burgee of the host club.
In pursuit a few minutes after the noon start were Citius, a Santa Cruz-70 skippered by John Messenger of LAYC, and Winterhawk, a Custom-68 sailed by owner Harold Day of Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. It was a ragged start in a light (8-knot) northwest breeze that had several yachts over the line early.
Both Swiftsure III and Citius are seeking first-to-finish honors as well as the new Kenneth Watts Perpetual trophy for the best corrected time in the International Offshore Rule Class A division. Winterhawk is an IOR-B entry.
The fleet is composed of 16 IOR boats and 24 Performance Handicap Racing Fleet ratings.
At least a dozen boats in each division are capable of finishing first. With fair winds, preferably from the north-northwest, the lead boats should start arriving at the finish line off the tip of Baja California Wednesday afternoon.
Unlike other Cabo San Lucas races (from Long Beach in the fall of odd-numbered years and from Newport Beach in March), the LAYC race will take the fleet around Guadalupe Island as a mark of the course.