International Winners and the Quest for VMG
Take Center Stage at N2E 72
ENSENADA, Mexico., April 28, 2019 – The International aspect of the 72nd annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race took on a whole new meaning today when Alive, Australian-based the Reichel Pugh 66, took home the NOSA Trophy for overall best elapsed time, the Amigo an Trophy awarded to a first-time skipper and the Lahaina Yacht Club Trophy for best elapsed time all PHRF. Luke Watkins, who accepted the hardware on behalf of skipper Duncan Hine and boat owner Phil Turner, also carved out a chunk of the race board; likely to be the only TSA approved-souvenir of the race.
Adding to the international element, the crew were a mix of Australians and New Zealanders with a Dutch navigator and an Italian bowman.
“It was a great race – light winds – but we managed to find a few holes and had a strong finish,” said Watkins. “We are happy to have stayed in front of the TP 52’s.”
Having won the classic 2018 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race this past December, it appears the boat, sailing for the Derwent Sailing Squadron in Tasmania, has a history of strong finishes.
David Nelson’s ID35 Kite 35 made another strong showing, stealthily returning to the podium this year to collect the USA Secretary of Navy Trophy ULDB-C for the third time in six years. Representing the Royal Lake of the Woods Yacht Club in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, Nelson said: “the race was tricky as heck, but we just looked to sail the shortest possible course, going just outside the Coronado’s for a bit, then jibed into shore and staying left.”
“VMG all the way and just drive,” proclaimed his navigator. “Teamwork was on point and we had a lot of fun,” Nelson said of his six-man crew, that included his son.
For many, this lighter-winds race, finding VMG (Velocity Made Good) was the difference between winning or ending up experiencing VNDG (Velocity No Dang Good) instead.
VMG, for those who do not speak sailor, is all about finding the heading that moves the boat fastest toward the finish line.
How to do that is made easier with today’s new instrumentation, but there’s more to consider depending on the individual characteristics of one’s boat.
“You know what you want to do, whether or not you can do it is another story,” said Nelson,
Stepping up for the Newport Beach and US-based competitors was Vesper, one the TP 52’ s that Alive managed to stay ahead of, which absolutely nailed VMG.
The Tommy Bahama Trophy for the Best Overall Corrected Time, the President of USA Trophy for Best Corrected – All PHRF, the President of Mexico Trophy for Best Corrected – Maxi Class and the Jack Bailee Trophy for Best Corrected Newport Beach Club will now be gracing the trophy case of the spectacular new Newport Harbor Yacht Club, no TSA clearance or international shipping required.
Skipper David Team credited his navigator Chad Hough for making the right calls. “At one time it looked bad, but we stayed outside and stuck with the strategy,” said Team.
Although this might have been the team’s first N2E on Vesper, the crew sails a lot together and they practice a lot together, said crew Paul Marshall. Many of the crew started sailing with junior programs and started racing with their Dads. Having also won First in Class at Long Beach Race week last year, the experience and the teamwork seems to be paying off.
Jim Bailey’s Destroyer, another TP 52, placed second in the Maxi-Class and contributed to NHYC’s win of the Spirit of Ensenada Trophy for the yacht club for having the most winners, at five.
Adding a touch of international flair, was Terri Manock’s all-female entry on Pole Dancer. Her crewmembers were originally Irish, Canadian, and a New Zealander although only one Idaho resident flew in to help the women not only win the Caroline Starr Trophy for Best Corrected All Female Crew, but the Carlos Avila Escoto Best Corrected J120. “We stayed out of the fray and got a good start;” said Manock. “It was a long race, but had a wonderful group of ladies to sail with.”
Robert Knox of Seahorse, a Beneteau 49 and his rugby crew won the Secretary of Foreign Relations – Mexico Trophy for Best Elapsed Time – Cruz. The former Australian teammates caught the sailing bug when they moved to Southern California. After not doing well in their first boat, Merlin, they moved up and found success. The men picked up the same trophy last year.
BCYC’s own Dan Rosen, sailing the B32 Problem Child, once again lived up to its name, being a problem for anyone who dares enter in the double-handed category, winning the Volvo Best Corrected – Double Handed Trophy for the eighth race in a row. Rosen sailed this year with Peter Heck, a respected local sailor with a lot of experience winning on Maxi-class boats.
Also returning to the podium was Joe Markee of Ohana. The 55 Swede moved up classes this year to PHRF-B and takes home the Cliff Chapman Best Corrected -PHRF B Trophy to San Diego Yacht Club. “We had to figure out how far out to be to find the sweet spot for the boat to catch the breeze early,” said Markee. The older yet lean family cruiser does better in downwind conditions, but they clearly made the most of the available winds.
Cheerio II did not catch good winds until the final stretch.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” said skipper Dick McNish about crossing the finish at a little over 10 knots in an 88-year-old-boat designed to handle only 6! “The spinnaker was up; it was wild; we rushed to get it down,” after crossing the finish late Saturday afternoon. 91-year old McNish and his eight-man crew will once again take the Ensenada Chamber of Commerce Trophy Best Corrected PHFR E back to Corinthian Pacific Yacht Club where preparation will soon be underway for the 42nd Annual McNish Classic Yacht Race.
Andy Schwenk, of northwest rigging, a marine outfitter in Anacortes, WA, flew in to sail the race on Staghound. Although the boat did not do as well as it has in previous years when asked about dealing with lighter winds, Schwenk said there was nothing to complain about; “We are so blessed to be able to do this.”
At a NOSA luncheon, Saturday, Jared Gutierrez, International Press spokesperson for Mayor Marco A. Novelo Osuna also spoke about being grateful.
“It all started with an idea; today is about being grateful for all the history and the work that those before us have done (to make the race successful) and being grateful for simply having the opportunity to be a part of this event, and being grateful for the opportunities the future holds and our abilities to take action,” said Gutierrez.
No matter the wind.