This Friday, April 28, 2017 will mark the 70th Newport to Ensenada yacht race run by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA). I stopped counting at 30 on how many of these races I have participated in.
So why do I continue to race year after year? Simple answer, because it is fun. Yes, there are the years that the forecast is dismal with the lack of wind and the thought of not finishing until Sunday afternoon leads to the question “Why do I do this to myself?” But then there are the years when I have finished on Friday night and have completed a 135-mile course in less than 11 hours and I feel like an 8 year old getting off Disneyland’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for the first time.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 24, 2017 – The Newport Ocean Sailing Association is celebrating 70-years of successfully running its iconic Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race in part thanks to relationships built with officials in both namesake cities. Many of those who make sure its smooth sailing at the finish line will be in town this week to celebrate the start of the race.
But before 185-plus fleet hits the start line April 28, the dignitaries will attend several pre-race events, starting with the official Mayor’s Reception April 27.
Mayor Kevin Muldoon will greet the officials that include Marco Antonio Novelo Asuna, the Mayor of Ensenada, the Director of the Port of Ensenada, Ensenada’s Port Captain, the Secretary of Tourism Baja, the Director of Proturismo, the President of Ensenada’s Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Consul General of Tijuana, Naval Commander and a representative of the tourism transportation board.
The reception, now a 40-year tradition will take place at the Ayres Hotel in Costa Mesa at 5 p.m.
“It is an honor to welcome the many dignitaries from Mexico to reaffirm our communities’ longstanding friendship,” Mayor Kevin Muldoon stated. “Newport Beach and Ensenada are both known for their nautical heritage. This annual race has celebrated that tradition for 70 years.”
Hosting an international race, especially such a successful one over 70 years, takes months of behind-the-scenes efforts by organizers who overcome distance, language barriers and numerous changes in local, district and federal policies, procedures, laws and expectations to make sure racers at the start line simply have a fun and competitive experience.
“The cooperation and friendship of the gracious greater Ensenada area leaders are a huge reason for the prosperous continuation of a tradition that brings two nations, many businesses and many people together for one happy occasion,” said NOSA Vice Commodore Daniel Hodge. “Our race is an amazing example of how working together can bring mutual success for not only to N2E racers, but the communities of Newport Beach and Ensenada.
Following the reception, local and visiting dignitaries will attend the Commodore’s Dinner aboard a Hornblower Yacht in Newport Harbor. The group traditionally watches the start of the race before returning to Ensenada in anticipation of the sailors.
The official race week kickoff party occurred today, Sunday, April 23 from noon to 4 p.m., at the city’s new premier waterfront park, Marina Park.
Racers picked up their official race packets and enjoyed steel drum music, the indoor Heineken Beer garden, a swoon over a selection of beautiful N2E trophies, tour a race boat and get nostalgic over a display of Woodies. Marina Park is at 1600 Balboa Blvd., W., Newport Beach.
One hundred and eighty five boats are registered N2E 70 that will see more than 40 classes of boats cross the start line April 28 from 11 a.m. until noon off the Balboa Pier. High-performance maxi’s, catamarans are Maxi’s cross the line last.
For the third year, NOSA will be collecting donations and toys on behalf of a school for autistic children, “Centro de Atención Especializada Para Autistas” (CAEPA). Thanks to the generosity of the sailing community, NOSA doubled its 2015 donation and made a visible difference at the school.
WHAT: Hosted by the Newport Ocean Racing Association, the beloved N2E is an eclectic mix of serious sailors campaigning multi-million dollar yachts racing alongside recreational cruisers.
NEW: A short course from San Diego Bay and the longer offshore Transpac Qualifies route will run at the same time.
Last year, Tom Siebel’s Orion, an ORMA70, broke the 18-year record for best elapsed time. Its sister ship Pheado 3 makes its debut N2E appearance to challenge Mighty Merloe, a MOD60, to see if either can beat the new, staggeringly fast record of 5:17:26.
BACKGROUND: First run in 1948, the N2E has a storied history of mixing professional racers, celebrities and recreational sailors to become a time-honored event for Newport Beach, the City of Ensenada and sailing enthusiasts who come from across the country to compete. More than 40 trophy categories in monohull, multihull and cruising classes give this a race a wide appeal. In recent years, great winds have tested and challenged the skills of crews, many who only sail overnight on this race. Last year’s race saw more than a dozen records fall.
Porter wins impressive record-breaking seventh Melges 24 U.S. National title, Shannon takes home Corinthian top honors. SoCal’s Bruce Ayres Places 4th
April 9, 2017 – Charleston, S.C., U.S. – The final day at of the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC) commenced as originally forecasted – light to almost no breeze. Plenty of sunshine and warmth prevailed, but very little on the wind horizon resulting in an immediate on-shore postponement. PRO Hal Smith kept teams up-to-date on the half-hour, every hour until it was realized that there was no hope for any racing on the final day in Charleston.
That said, the results from Saturday stand as final and Brian Porter on Full Throttle (USA-849) has won his seventh Melges 24 U.S. National Championship title – an accomplishment that has barely been challenged here in the United States. 2016 National Champ Bora Gulari has won the trophy only twice (2011, 2016) – no one yet has come closer to reaching that same number of wins.
Porter was joined by tactician Andy Burdick, his son R.J. Porter and fellow 2013 World Champion crew member Matt Woodworth. While accepting his award, Porter introduced and thanked his team, the Race Committee for their efforts particularly on Friday in the big breeze, and of course, all the restaurants in Charleston.
In second overall, is John Brown’s Blind Squirrel (USA-547), which is quite a stellar achievement as he has been in the fleet for less than two years. Completing the overall podium is Kevin Welch’s Mikey (USA-838).
A huge round of congratulations goes out to KC Shannon on Shaka (USA-801) – a team that has worked so hard to rise to the top of the all-amateur division. Mike Miller, Doug Nickel and Tom Sawchuck sailed as crew. “I’m really in disbelief. I can count on my hand how many races/regattas I’ve ever won,” said Shannon. “This is better than any dream I could come up with in the Melges 24. We’ve taken our lumps over the years, so with this win, we know we are really blessed. We’re looking forward to coming back for more by sailing at Race Week.”
Brent McKenzie’s Ex-Kahn (USA-575), who led the fleet on Friday finished the event in second place, followed by Great Britain’s Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians (GBR-691) in third.
At the prize giving, each crew member of the top three teams in each division took home some amazing Gill Race wear, customized with their insignia. Congrats also to George Haynie Firewater (USA-687) as he won the jib given by Quantum to a ranked Corinthian team.
The 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship was Act 2 of the Quantum World Winter Series (QWWS), and is Stage 1 of the 2017 NorAm Tour. The 2016/17 QWWS wraps up in a couple of weeks at Sperry Race Week. As for the NorAm Tour, things are just getting going. The U.S. Nationals was Stage 1. The second Stage takes place on July 19-22 at the Gorge/Cascade Locks, Ore. – NorAm Championship. The 2017 Canadian Nationals serves as the third and final Stage of the 2017 NorAm Tour. Online registration is currently open for both events.
THE NEXT STEP: BACK TO CHARLESTON AND BEYOND
The next stop on the 2016/17 Quantum World Winter Series is Sperry Charleston Race Week taking place on April 20-23. This spectacular event will welcome another 25 teams back to Charleston. Another regatta to put on your calendar as a must do event post-Charleston is the Southeast Inland Lake Championship on May 5-7. Lake Lanier Sailing Club puts on a great regatta, so don’t miss out on this chance to race in North Georgia. Lake Lanier is home to about a dozen teams.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
The U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USM24CA) is grateful to all the competitors that traveled to Charleston to race at Nationals, also to Event Chairman Randy Draftz, PRO Hal Smith and the entire Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC) for the incredible hospitality, not to mention all the volunteers that gathered to make this Championship the very, very best! The USM24CA would like to further extend many thanks and recognize National Championship sponsors Quantum Sails, the Charleston Yacht Club, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Gill North America, the Charleston Visitors and Convention Bureau, and Goslings Rum. Thank you all for your support!
TOP TEN RESULTS (FINAL – After Six Races, One Discard)
1.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle: 1-4-2-1-1-1 = 6
2.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel; 3-2-7-2-6-3 = 16
3.) Kevin Welch/Jason Rhodes, Mikey; 2-7-5-5-5-4 = 21
4.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 5-1-6-5-18-4-6 = 22
5.) Michael Goldfarb, Warcanoe; 8-5-10-6-2-7 = 28
6.) Peter Duncan, Jigs In Space; 12-6-3-7-21-2 = 30