2021 Optimist North American Championship

May 31st through June 4th the Banderas Bay will play host to the 2021 Optimist North American Championship (OPTINAM).

The event is a youth sailing competition at the international level, with 113 children from 12 countries competing.

OPTINAM 2021

Optimist is a class of small sailboat/dinghy specifically designed for children ages 7-15, and it’s the type of boat that most sailors first learn to sail. In fact, 99% of sailors in the world have learned to sail on this type of boat. It’s a highly regulated class, because protecting the safety of the children is the number one priority. A child sails alone in an Optimist, unlike larger sailboats that require a crew, so safety measures are paramount.

The competition is open to youth ages 11-15 who have already qualified at their local and national levels. These children are among the best young sailors in the world.

The competitors have come from Argentina, Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA, and the Virgin Islands.

“The kids are dedicated,” said Linda Green, chairperson of this year’s event. “By the time they get to an international championship they have put in a lot of work.”

Five Days of Races

There will be races each day, Monday through Friday, starting at 1:00pm off the coast of Bucerias. The boats head out on the water between noon and 12:30 to prepare to hit the starting line at 1:00.

The 113 boats will be split into two fleets, with 60 boats in the first fleet and 53 boats in the second fleet.

The two fleets will start the race 15 minutes apart. That means 60 boats start the race at the same time, each jockeying for position, trying to cross the starting line before the other boats. Then the same for the second start, 53 boats jockeying for position, each hitting the starting line at full speed and sailing away towards the first mark of the racecourse.

They will sail a trapezoid-shaped course, which is created by placing inflatable buoys in the water to mark the corners of the trapezoid. The boats sail to each mark, along the four sides of the trapezoid shape, and finish where they started.

They will sail the same course Monday and Tuesday, and they will sail two to three races each day. Scoring is based on accumulating points based on what position each boat finishes in each day.

Wednesday is team racing day. The boats will team up into groups of four boats from each country. Each team will try to block the other teams with maneuvers. The top three countries will be awarded medals for team racing on awards day.

Thursday and Friday are individual races. At the end of the day on Friday the scores are tallied, and the winners will be declared and posted on the event’s website. There will be an awards ceremony, with 35 trophies and 40 medals presented to the top competitors.

Preparation

The kids have several days of preparation before the races begin. They measure the sail, the boom, and the spars on their boats, and they weigh their boats. They also have practice races the week before the official race begins.

Communication

With competitors coming from 12 countries, it’s important to decide which language to use for communication. English is the official language of the event, and even though many of the competitors are from Spanish speaking countries, at least 85% of them are able to speak some level of English. Event organizers are bilingual in English and Spanish, as well.

Continuing Through COVID-19

“We were expecting 150 kids, but because of COVID, and the financial impact COVID has had on some of the families, we are hosting 113 kids this year,” said Linda Green, chairperson for this year’s OPTINAM.

“They’re all here in Vallarta now, and they are all excited. It’s an accomplishment to qualify to be at a North American Championship. They have not been able to compete internationally for over a year since COVID started. IODA usually has 7 international championships each year, but they were only able to have one in 2020 – the European championship in Slovenia. The kids are excited to be here and to see their friends in the class. We’re working hard to make this event a success for the kids after being shut down for so many months. We appreciate the effort, time, patience, and interest the parents have shown.”

Aging Out

To compete at the international level, the minimum age is 11 years old, and the maximum age to sail in an Optimist is 15 years old. After age 15, sailors enter another class. So this year’s competition is particular exciting for the 15 year olds, because it’s the last year they’ll be sailing in a boat they’ve potentially been for 8 years – half of their lives. 

Vallarta Yacht Club

OPTINAM is hosted by Vallarta Yacht Club at Paradise Village. The club put in a bid two years ago with the North American body of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), and through voting, IODA chose Vallarta Yacht Club and Banderas Bay as the venue for this year’s competition.

“The Vallarta Yacht Club encourages youth sailors,” Linda Green said. “That’s why we bid to host OPTINAM this year. We have a very active junior sailor program at Vallarta Yacht Club, with 33 kids who are mostly from local Mexican families, and we also have a few kids from expat families. In our Junior Sailing Club we have Optimist class, as well as Lasers, C420, and Hobie 16’s, which are more geared to adult sailing. We’re teaching the children to sail, and we’re teaching them leadership skills. It’s an opportunity for them to develop lifelong skills and responsibility.”

“We welcome sponsors, and anyone who would like to financially support a child in our Junior Sailors Program. We feel that everyone who wants to learn to sail should be able to.”

For more information about OPTINAM 2021, please contact Linda Green.

For more information about Vallarta Yacht Club’s Junior Sailors Program contact Bart Goodall. 

Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride

The paradisiac city of Puerto Vallarta will add rainbow colors to its tropical scenery this upcoming week to celebrate Gay Pride. The luscious variety found in Vallarta does not only include flora and fauna, but it also extends to its inhabitants.  Puerto Vallarta holds a mixture of people from all walks of life, ethnicity, nationalities, economic status as well as sexual preference. Nowadays, the LGTBQ+ community also gets support from the local government. This year you can observe the rainbow flag at City Hall. 

Puerto Vallarta has seen the LGTBQ+ community settle down on their beaches since the 80s becoming in 2017 the first city in Mexico given the Gay Travel Approved. A year earlier, the Zona Romantica received the award for the Gayhood of the Year. Every month of May since 2013, Puerto Vallarta celebrates Gay Pride offering a wide arrange of events for the occasion.

This year due to the restriction to host massive events, Gay Pride is spread out in events ranging from Bear Party Bus, camping,  LGBTQ+ film festivals, theatre to private beach parties.  

Events start from May 24 to May 31. They are hosted by SETAC, a nonprofit organization focusing on offering comprehensive and integrated health services for LGBTQ+ community, Pink and Proud, Beardise, Act2PV, and many more. 

Monday, May 24th 

  • Wings for the LGTBQ+. Opening ceremony of Nuestro Orgullo (Our Pride) at Los Muertos pier at 10:00 am. Music will be perform by Alas de Canto ( singing wings) School, where the gay flag will be raised. 
  • You can enjoy Steven Retches sensual dancing and live vocals at his show “Stevie Hart” at Act2PV, 9:30 pm.

Tuesday, May 25th 

  • Rustic Campament. An excellent opportunity to spend time with the LGTBQ+ community while surrounded by nature. This will take place at Rancho mi Buelo. 
  • Mama Tits show at ACT2PV at 9:30 pm 

Wednesday, May 26th 

  • Cocktail Party for women only at Elixir mixology bar by Pink and Proud.
  • Chemex. Talk about the risk of certain drugs known in the community.
  • Pink Dinner – Pride Kick-Off, honoring drag sensation Shangela at Te Top @ Almar, 7:30 pm.
  • Pink Dinner After Party, with Bianca del Rio, Shangela, Effie Passero at the new One Six One bar at 10:00 pm. 

Thursday, May 27th

  • Bingo with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, full of laughter and prizes and maybe some spanking, at Hamburger Mary’s Puerto Vallarta, 4:00 pm.
  • Womxn-Only Secret Dinner Party organized by Pink and Proud in a secret location, 6:30 pm.
  • A night for LGTBQ+ Short Films at Biblioteca Los Mangos, 8:00 pm
  • Hedda Lettuce with an exceptional pride performance of “Tossed Salad 2” at Act2PV, 9:30 pm.
  • A  jockstrap competition comes to Industry Night Club & Wet Dreams present: Strapped night, Best buns contest. May the hottest buns win! 7:00pm 
  • Gala México Queer, enjoy an evening of traditional Mexican folklore with the talented singer Diamante Negro (Alex Cueva) at Casa Cupula, 8:00pm. 
  • House Nation Party – Vallarta Pride at One Six One, 8 pm.
  • Bear Party Bus, the kickoff of Bearpride, Ride a double-decker bus through Vallarta while sipping cocktails and dancing to DJ Matt Consola frisky tunes, 10:00 pm.

Friday, May 28th 

  • Bears get together at Frisky Friday, come and savor a zesty margarita at Casa Cupula pool while dancing to local and international DJs and live performances and Gogo bears from 2 pm to 10 pm. Remember, clothing is optional. 
  • Come by the Health Fair for the LGTBQ+ community host by SETAC at the Lazaro Cardenas Park, also known for its beautiful tile work by local artist Natasha Moraga, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
  • Conyuges Documentary Film Event, learn about the first three gay couples from Jalisco who legally married in the federal district in 2010, at Blue Chairs, 5:30 pm.
  • Fireflies Night/ Honoring Life, an outdoor celebration with Mariachi bands, candles, and fire dancers at Amaria Villas from 8pm to 2am.
  • Womxn-Only Pool & Sunset Villa Party. Spend a great evening in this spectacular villa located only 20 minutes from downtown Vallarta. Chill at the pool with live DJ music, engage in a raicilla tasting or take a mixology class. Amaria Villa, from 2 pm to 12 am.
  • Laugh the evening away with Karma La Perra at her show, “Keeping Up with Karma,” from belly dancing to incredible costumes at Act2PV, 9:30 pm.

Saturday, May 29th 

  • Join yoga teacher Victor Rodriguez at Yoga En Comunidad. Come to Oscar’s lavish garden in front of the Cuale River and ocean for a yoga practice that will engage your body, mind, and spirit, bringing you closer to the community, 9:00 am.
  • Casa Cupula host Exhibitionist Party, for all bears and friends. Dance to talented national and international DJs while chilling at the pool. Get delighted with the international start Rocco Steel performance and Gogo Bears, from 2 pm to 10 pm.   
  • Beach Party with an exceptional performance of Crystal Waters at Mantamar Beach Club Beach, 7:00 pm.
  • Assist a pyramid scheme conference by “Dragtor” Aurora L. Vallarta where she will present her newest product line, “Mexican Jill Pawer” created to achieve a “healthier sexuality”. This cabaret show will entertain you from beginning to end. Don’t forget to bring some friends, you may reach diamond member status!. Act2PV, 8:00 pm.

Sunday, May 30th 

  • Get a side of fun with your eggs at Hotel Mercurio Drag Brunch, from 10 am to 2 pm. After brunch, stay for Beers, Boys and Burgers’ relaunching, 4 pm to 7:00 pm.
  • Make it to the Beach T-Dance at Mantamar Beach Club Beach, it will be a surprise performance, and fireworks start at 3:00 pm.
  • What a better way to end up Gay Pride celebrations than at a party in the exclusive and private Bearadise Beach? Come to La Fiesta Cachonada from 2 pm to 10 pm. Boats will be waiting at Los Muertos pier at 2 pm. 
  • Womxn-Only Closing Cocktail Party, at Elixir Mixology Bar, from 7:00 pm until late. 
  • Red Dress Party: United against HIV. Dress in red to create awareness about HIV. It can be a dress or a swimsuit, your choice. Amaria Villa, 8:00 pm to 2:00 am. 

Monday, May 31st

  • “Donation Day” with Krispy Kreme. Support the LGTBQ+ community at the Krispy Kreme bake sale to collect money for organizations like DOW, AC, Santa Barbara Rehab Clinic, San Juan Shelter, and SETAC, which work help those in need. SETAC Versalles, from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Closing Event: “Supermana, Help Me”, renowned performer and activist “La Supermana” will offer a politically incorrect conference on how to be happy even if you don’t want to, at The Palm, 6pm.  

You have plenty of options where to choose from this Vallarta Gay Pride. Enjoy and be safe!

Rainy Season in Puerto Vallarta

The rainy season in Puerto Vallarta is approximately June 15 – October 15.

Early this morning (May 14) at about 5:30am we had our first significant rain of the season which lasted about 15 minutes. It’s not much, but it’s the first measurable rain we’ve had in quite some time, as we are reaching the end of the dry season.

This first rain is our first indicator that rainy season is coming, and locals are excited about it! With the weather heating up now, it was nice to wake up to the sound of rain this morning, bringing with it cooler air and a nice fresh smell.

Spring in Puerto Vallarta

Spring is the most awaited season of the year. We look forward to the end of the winter slumber and are ready to welcome the new season with open arms. The beginning of spring is marked and celebrated over the world by many cultures in various ways. 

In India, the Holi festival or festival of love is celebrated by people dancing in clouds of color. Thailand celebrates spring with a giant water fight where Buddhist monks, tourists, and everyone willing to unleash their inner child is welcome to participate. Here in Mexico, we celebrate the spring equinox by dressing in white and visiting the pyramids in various states.  

Colorful Puerto Vallarta

The flora diversity when visiting Puerto Vallarta in spring will amaze you, an explosion of color everywhere. We are blessed by abundant vegetation here at Banderas Bay. 

In springtime, you can delight in nature at its best, flowers blooming; the first rains fill the riverbanks of the Cuale River that runs through El Caloso and Old Town, and small fruits in trees waiting to ripen. It certainly feels like an enchanted land, and it’s here for your enjoyment. Puerto Vallarta possesses a wide variety of trees and plants, such as:

Jacaranda Tree

The majestic purple flower jacaranda tree, now considered a native Mexican tree, was a gift by the Japanese imperial gardener Tatsugoro Matsumoto. Mr. Matsumoto was a landscape architect that arrived in Mexico in 1896 by the disposition of the Japanese emperor. 

He was the first Japanese immigrant that came to Mexico. And because of his outstanding landscaping work, he was commissioned to design the forest and gardens around the Chapultepec castle. Later, in 1920 the then-president Alvaro Obregon requested Mr. Matsumoto to plant Jacaranda trees in the main avenues of Mexico City. The Jacaranda tree was brought from Brazil and rapidly spread through the city and other parts of the country like Puerto Vallarta. You can enjoy their extravagant flowers blooming in spring. 

Primavera Tree

The primavera tree is an early spring bloomer, therefore its name. Native to South America, it can grow up to 100 feet in the rainforest. The pink and yellow primavera tree flowers grow in clusters of one to three inches, which attract bees, hummingbirds, and bats. They make an ideal tree for tropical gardens because they have no insect pests. Here in Vallarta, we can marvel at their beauty present everywhere in springtime. From the streets in the Romantic Zone to the neighborhoods of Versalles and the Marina. The primavera tree greet us with its welcoming message that spring is finally here.

An Impressive and Delicious Flora 

The port of Vallarta is home to 14 different types of palm trees, including the coconut palm, which has culinary, cosmetic, and construction applications, and let’s not forgets the delicious and refreshing coconut water to quench your thirst in those hot summer days. If you are in the Romantic Zone, try this little spot Called Cocos Fescos Don Ramon at Aquiles Serdan corner with Ignacio L.Vallarta, coconuts are always sweet and chill. 

In spring, Puerto Vallarta is cover by lively violet, orange, red,  white, and yellow Buganvilias. This can grow technically everywhere. You can find them hanging over walls, fences, and in pots. 

If you wonder about that bitter-sweet beverage that Mexicans drink a lot called Agua de Jamaica.  Well, it is made out of dried hibiscus flowers. They are a standard part of the Vallarta landscape. The trumpet-like hibiscus has up to five large petals and comes in all shades of red, purple, white, orange, or purple. 

While walking around Puerto Vallarta in springtime, you can encounter trees bearing delicious fruits like bananas, avocado, starfruit, guanabana, and mangoes. Be careful not to get hit by a falling mango when passing by. It has happened before.