An early Easter has Puerto Vallarta filled to the brim with Mexican visitors as well as those from North of the border and Europe. The beaches are packed with happy families setting up for the week with grandma fixing favorite treats under her umbrella, the guys working on a cooler full of Pacifico, and the kids squealing delight as waves wash over their feet and they beat a hasty retreat up the beach...only to dash back and try it again. It's Spring Break in PV, and we all hang out in the quiet of our terraces to let them enjoy the town.

My February travels included a family gathering in Illinois en route to the big Miami boat show. I was a speaker for Strictly Sail Miami and enjoyed the sunshine after the cold and ice of the Midwest. The highlight in Florida was staying with Kate Bedard in her sweet, waterside bungalow. Kate and I became buddies in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, as I passed through on my way home in '96 '97, and we have kept in touch ever since. Her wonderful sparkle and energy made that stop special and this visit a delight. Kate is running the outstanding Junior Program at the Miami Yacht Club and working with young sailors who are certain to be Olympic bound in 2012.

The Miami Yacht Club, one of the oldest clubs in Florida, has been teaching sailing for over 50 years. Their Youth Sailing Foundation, a non-profit program, runs year round, with a peak of several hundred children in the annual Summer Camp. The protected waters of Biscayne Bay are ideal for beginning sailors, and immediate access to the Atlantic Ocean allows racers of all ages to develop their skills and to participate in race classics like The Miami-Nassau race.

Back in PV Shelly and I spent eight super days with sisters Patrice and Pamela on a special program that will see them sailing from Connecticut to Maine with a third sister this summer. No sooner did they fly home than we started our first racing clinic. What a blast!

Dr. Kathy, a Chesapeake area veterinarian, and Sharon and Lucy of Puerto Vallarta, joined Coming About for six days of racing tactics, rules, skills, and strategies from Shelly, followed by three days of racing in the annual Banderas Bay Regatta...the only all-women boat. A last minute change put Southern Cross, my heavy displacement, full keel cruising veteran, on the start line. Full days of racing and evenings joining the festivities made this an event we'll certainly repeat next year...with a racing model this time. Kathy is back home and anxious for the season to begin on the Chesapeake so she can put it all into practice campaigning her Cherubini Raider. Good luck, Kathy. We are waiting for reports on a successful outcome.

I slipped away one evening to meet a terrific bunch of gals from the Women's Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay who had just arrived in the annual Marina del Ray Race to Puerto Vallarta. Sea stories, a few beers, pizza and shooting a little pool made for a good get-acquainted evening.

Shelly always finds the whales, but she has outdone herself this season. First it was an explosion of several whales sounding all together right by Southern Cross, for Patrice and Pamela it was a breech just 20 yards in front of our bow, and during race practice a mama nursing her baby lifted a flipper and waved to us...good luck??

Our various chefs continue to amaze everyone on board with delicious meals...lunches from The Coffee Cup in Maria Vallarta including Cesar Wraps with green salad, from Pastel du Village with beautiful Broccoli Quiches followed by a tray of Petit Fours, Leah's special gourmet meals like Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms while we make our three-day cruise of the bay, and finally our graduation dinners at El Arrayan with Carmen. No bologna and white bread for this group! And diets are best left at home.

Exciting new attractions in PV of note: Ed Hutmacher has injected new life into the little theater space below Santa Barbara on Olas Altas with musical reviews, plays, and his own special production The Mariachi Story. The long-dreamed-of Puerto Vallarta Chamber Orchestra has arrived with their first performance this month. It was worth the wait. Musicians and instruments are emerging to give this group it's own special sound...The Brandenburg with marimba and recorder plus the more expected instruments!! To keep up-to-date with musical events in PV check out our daily music digest via email.

Hope you have a beautiful Spring Break and Easter. I'll see you next month after I've returned from a visit with my daughter Tamara and granddaughter Kira and a trip to Oakland to present a seminar series for Strictly Sail Pacific (April 13 17 in Oakland, CA).

Have fun on the water,

---Pat
 

Future champions from Miami Yacht Club


Fellow authors at Miami Strictly Sail


Patrice and Pamela raise the pole


Shelly, Sharon, Dr. Kathy, and Lucy end of a race day


Liz and Susan off to rescue Chuckie


Punta Mita sunset set on our cruise<


Graduation dinner for Liz at Carmen's El Arrayan
 

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