Annual Newport to Ensenada Race Results

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Boats set sail off the Balboa Pier in the 2024 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race / photo by Jim Collins

The 76th annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is in the books with sailors enjoying excellent sailing conditions over the three-day event, which started off the Balboa Pier on Friday morning, April 26 and ended in Ensenada, Mexico.

The weather forecasts correctly predicted mostly consistent winds in the high teens to low 20 knots and choppy seas.

Defending ORCA A -class and overall champion Taniwha, a 32-foot Ferrier, pulled into the lead by Dana Point Harbor and crossed into Mexican waters just after 4 p.m.

On approach to Todos Santos Bay before dark, the four-person crew was preparing to jibe, when Mat Bryant slipped, line in hand, and fell off the side of the boat. Bryant reported they may have hit a wave while setting up, and that he tried to hold onto rope but had to let go.

Helmsman Pete Melvin did a quick stop maneuver then tacked to sail over to him. A thrown heaving line helped him back aboard via the low transom.

“The whole thing took about five minutes,” said Bryant. “It was very fortunate to have Pete (renowned yacht designer and multiple race-winner) at the helm. He has great decision-making skills on the water.”

Boats set sail off the Balboa Pier in the 2024 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race / photo by Jim Collins

The highly experienced sailing professional knows the importance of being safety-conscious and runs safety briefings on other boats he sails with.

Taniwha continued racing to claim first to finish with an elapsed time of 10:05:54 but placed second in class to newcomer Bottle Rocket, a Sea Cart 30 in ORCA A. But they still took home two trophies.

Melvin reported this was the fastest N2E he’d ever done.

Jerry Poprawski’s Kaster Pollux was a big winner for Anacapa Yacht Club on his 20th N2E. The Moorings 4300 finished with a corrected time of 12:34:12. On corrected time, three of the four boats in ORCA B finished within 11 minutes of each other, except Some Tuesday, a Lagoon450S, that lost time replacing a shredded spinnaker.

But it was only 2 minutes and 8 seconds over Amanzi, a Lagoon 42 on its inaugural N2E that won Kaster Pollux the Best Corrected ORCA B, President of NOSA Trophy for best corrected ORCA, the Stern Choi Trophy for best-corrected catamaran as well as N2E’s highest honor, the Tommy Bahama Trophy for overall best corrected time.

Making calculated decisions landed John Raymont’s Fast Exit II a modified Ker52 as the first monohull to finish with an elapsed time of 10:24:08. It was a first for the Maxi for many of its crew, who all checked in to the Hotel Coral before midnight.

Navigator Damian Craig said that GRIB files reported more pressure on the inside route, but they decided to lean into the outside; but not too far.

“The goal is to find where the magic is,” said Craig. Finding the magical spot with consistent wind won them the President of Mexico Trophy for Best Corrected time UL Maxi, the Lahaina Yacht Club Trophy for best elapse monohull, and the Jack Bailee trophy for the best corrected of a Newport Beach Yacht Club.

The boat ran at 2.3 knots faster than true wind, said owner Raymont, whose first N2E was in 1983.

Boats set sail off the Balboa Pier in the 2024 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race / photo by Jim Collins

Three boats from Ensenada participated this year but one was the last to finish.

Speaking at a NOSA luncheon Saturday afternoon, the Mayor of Ensenada, Carlos Ibarra, joked that Mexican hospitality was behind the loss; that they stayed in the fleet’s wake to make sure that everyone else got in safe and sound.

The mayor, his wife Gabriella, and daughter also attended the Sunday afternoon for the trophy ceremony at the Hotel Coral and Marina. He presented awards to the racers, alongside NOSA Commodore Phil Herzfeld. “One of the best N2E’s in recent memory,” proclaimed Herzfeld.

The Newport Ocean Sailing Association, organizers of the historic Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, was founded in 1947 to promote ocean racing off Newport Beach. The first 125-nautical mile race sailed on April 23, 1948, into the small fishing village of Ensenada, Mexico. Mrs. Denny Barr claimed the top prize for skippering Mickey, a 46-foot sloop to best overall corrected time.

With an emphasis on camaraderie and competition, the N2E quickly attracted thousands of racers, becoming an event where fun-seeking novices could race alongside celebrities and world-class sailors.

A record 675 boats entered in 1983, earning N2E the title of “World’s Largest International Yacht Race.”

Trophies are awarded in more than 40 classes for the best in ultra-light and maxi-yachts and non-spinnaker and cruising classes, so the race remains inclusive, fun, and competitive for anyone who wants to race.

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