Story & Photography by David Lewis Taylor
Banderas Bay is legendary for its great beauty, and the people in the many tourist enclaves located on this stunning coast are equally regarded for the warmth and hospitality they extend to visitors. With every trip I make to Puerto Vallarta I discover more to enjoy, filling me with desire to stay. To be out on the Bay amid the world-class Regatta Internacional Bahia De Banderas was to see and live Vallarta in a new way.
All seemed tranquil as we journeyed in the bay north towards Rivera Nayarit. Framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains, the spectacular sails embraced the ocean breeze while dolphins accompanied us out to sea. We sailed from the Nuevo Vallarta Marina with the regatta cruisers, and boats of all kinds, to a marked course for the day's race. We were soon captivated by the grace, speed, and agility at which the magnificent cruisers faced the challenges of sailing the expansive course with sharp turns and directional changes. At times we were close enough to see the sailing teams at work navigating the course. The adrenalin rush was contagious, as were the nightly happy hour cocktail parties where we were able to meet crewmembers and their families and sailing enthusiast from around the world. Nuevo Vallarta Marina was abuzz with activities by day and the lively celebrations in the evenings filled the bars and restaurants that surround the marina.
The Banderas Bay Regatta is a non-profit event hosted by the Vallarta Yacht Club. For over 20 years this event, one of the largest cruising Regattas in the world, brings a unique excitement to the area. The closing award ceremony was held outdoors at the beautiful Paradise Village Resort in Nuevo Vallarta. The festive evening included a feast and an exceptional show by groups of traditional Mexican dancers and singers. For the racers the week was filled with early calls and rigorous sailing, and the closing awards banquet brought celebration and pride to the crews at each table. The award winners enjoyed their moment in the spotlight accompanied by the applause from the crowd - and then, for many, the evening was just getting started.