Thanks to the shape of the bay and surrounding land area, Banderas Bay is fortunate to have a very predictable daily thermal wind. We enjoy about 5 hours of good winds per day, from 13:00 to 18:00. The direction of the thermal is generally 220-240 degrees, and speed varies between 4kts at the beginning and end of the thermal period, up to approximately 18 knots at during peak periods.
Between March and June, there is no need to look at the weather reports. Clear skies over the valley and the Sierra Madre mountain range to the east of Puerto Vallarta conduct very consistent thermal conditions over the water. The thermal direction is 240, which is ideal for Banderas Bay, since the mouth opens to the West, allowing open ocean fetch for wind swells and ground swell; often combined. Waves can be "choppy" between 0.5 and 1 meter and cover the long pacific swell which usually averages 15 seconds, since storms are thousands of miles away in the South or North Pacific. The tides range between 0.5 to 1.5 meters for low and high tides. The race courses have minimal geographical influence when sailed in the predominant thermal direction, which is 95% of the days in April/May. It is possible but rare to have a system gradient from the North and often the Thermal will prevail but remain somewhat lighter (10-12 knots). Typically, there are small pressure oscillations, across the course, which allows for very close racing. The wind will usually settle into 240 degrees at around 1:00 pm and stay there until 5 – 6 pm when it will begin to back or veer depending on which side of the bay is cooling down faster or whether there is a strong gradient in the area.
Water Temperature: 86 F/30 C Tides: 0 .5 - 1.8 feet maximum Currents:0.0 - 1.4 Knots maximum at either the race areas and the launching/landing site.
The bay is huge so there is little current in the racing area. The race courses have minimal geographical influence when sailed in the predominant thermal direction, which is 95% of the days in April/May.