Thursday, May 11, 2017

J/125 TIMESHAVER Tops Newport to Ensenada Race

J/125 sailing off Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach, CA)- The days when you could be on the water in Newport Beach for the start of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, then drive south in time to see the first boats finish is officially over.

Two years in a row now, heavy afternoon southbound traffic following the start, then backups at the border plus a pit stop for insurance and gas have hindered the timely arrival of photographers and volunteers. “Who would have thought a sailboat could make it to Ensenada faster than a car,” questioned Jr. Staff Commodore Dave Shockley.

The 70th edition had 187 entries for the iconic contest on April 28 that attracted serious sailors, weekend racers and recreational cruisers, all vying for one of more than 45 trophies.

J/120 Pole Dancer sailing off Newport BeachDespite Friday (Apr 28) starting with a wind advisory for the Huntington Beach area, winds dissipated as boats converged on the start at 10:30 a.m. By 12:30 p.m. and the final start, big swells remained but wind had slowed to between just 6-8 knots.

However, it was so windy later that day in Ensenada, the Port Captain closed the harbor to outgoing traffic. But winds in Ensenada did little for the rest of the fleet, many of which were caught in doldrums 60 nm to the north near San Diego. The option to drop out of the race proved too tempting for 40 boats.  “Spotty winds – this is sailboat racing,” said Commodore Tom Kennedy.

Besides the two big trimarans that ripped down the course in a mere five hours, the wind shut off, making the race a washing machine that eliminated a third of the fleet. For those that stuck it out, the teams that had made it further south and offshore got hit by up to 35 kt winds hard on the nose.  “It was tricky, very tricky,” said Benny Mitchell, navigator on Roy Disney’s 70 footer PYEWACKET.

The awards ceremony was particularly enjoyable for one J/Boat owner! To the roar of the crowd behind him, cheering and chanting “D-P-Y-C” (the Dana Point YC once again claimed honors for the most entries (18) and the most winners from a club), Viggo Torbensen and his J/125 TIMESHAVER crew picked up the Governor of California Trophy.  Not only did they take home hardware for the Best Corrected Time PHRF A win, they placed second in the new category of Best Elapsed Time- PHRF A.

“The last six hours were incredibly difficult,” said Torbensen said. “The ocean was like a washboard. We finished upwind in 23 knots of breeze!  We’ve never done that before on this race!!”

Also sailing PHRF A was Paul Margis’ beautiful J/160 INDIGO, taking 7th on a very comfortable ride down to Ensenada!

J/124 sailing Newport EnsenadaClass bragging rights for PHRF C almost always comes down to a recurring battle between the top J/120s.  However, this year, the light airs did in a few teams that elected to drop out.  Persevering until the bitter end and finishing in 5th place was Rudy Hasl’s HASL FREE.

In PHRF D, another J/crew that was determined to finish was rewarded with silverware, taking 3rd was Seth Hall’s gorgeous navy-blue J/124 MARISOL.

Meanwhile, in PHRF F class, it was Juan Lois’ one-design configured J/105 ROCINANTE that took the silver while another classmate, Mark Weinberger’s J/33 PRIMA, took 6th place.

Finally, in PHRF I class, taking 3rd was Scott McKenney’s pretty little J/32 BETTY!  They actually sailed quite an amazing race, beating a lot of 40-footers across the line!

“N2E is always an adventure; it’s different every year,” said NOSA Vice Commodore Daniel Hodge. “Yet we are truly pleased when racers tell us that it's always a fabulous event for everyone.”

The Newport Ocean Sailing Association, hosts of the race, are grateful for all those who persevered the elements; for its valued cruisers, some of whom reported wallowing in lulls for more than 14 hours and those who made judgment calls to float less and enjoy Ensenada more.  For more Newport to Ensenada Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.