More than 150 Sailboats Compete in Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race

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Sailboats in the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race set sail from the Balboa Pier / photo by Jim Collins

More than 100 boats of all sizes set sail off the coast of Newport Beach on April 23, heading south of the border in the 73rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.

The Newport Ocean Sailing Association, organizers of the historic Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, were forced to cancel last year’s race due to the pandemic, but this year’s race was able to take place (albeit with a few modifications) thanks to the reduction of COVID restrictions and the assistance of the Mexican Navy, which helped with arriving yachts so sailors could safely disembark and enjoy Ensenada.

According to race officials, nearly 120 boats set sail from the Balboa Pier to make the 125-mile trek to Ensenada, while 40 boats set out for a course around the Coronado Islands on the extended San Diego course. Another 20 boats took a sprint course to Dana Point.

Spectators on the Balboa Pier watch the start of the race / photo by Jim Collins

With an elapsed time of 11:21:00 and a corrected time of 14:23:27, Jerry Fiat’s Farrier 32 SRX was the big winner of the 73rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, taking home five trophies for best ORCA A along with the President of NOSA Best Corrected – Orca, Alice Pursell Best Elapsed – Orca, Tommy Bahama Best Corrected – Overall, Stein-Cross Best Corrected – Trimaran.

The win also garnered Alamitos Bay Yacht Club the trophy for the most wins for a club.

According to information provided by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, Fiat and navigator Pete Melvin veered offshore when the breeze dropped, hoping to catch more wind for a close or beam reach from north of the island into the finish. They were in pursuit of the fabled Pyewacket yacht, but could not make up the time.

Roy Disney’s Volvo 70 turbo-charged Pyewacket and its core crew have reportedly sailed together for many years, and their combined efforts ensured their boat would not be caught. Pyewacket got a fast start in better than average Newport Beach winds, and sailed down the California Coast averaging more than 12 knots per hour.

The technologically advanced boat came within 12 minutes and 13 seconds of breaking the monohull record on a course that race organizers said was void of record-breaking conditions.

With an elapsed time of 09:47:21 and corrected time of 16:08:39, Pyewacket claimed three top trophies; NOSA Best Elapsed – Overall, Lahaina Yacht Club Best Elapsed – All PHRF, and Orr Best Corrected – Orr for San Diego Yacht Club.

Sailboats make their way down the coast to Ensenada in the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race / photo by Jim Collins

Balboa Yacht Club’s Andy Rose and the It’s OK team were awarded the Governor of California trophy for best-corrected Ultra-Light aboard the Andrews 50.

Steve Sellinger’s Triumph, a Santa Cruz 52, was another big winner, taking home the  President Of USA Best Corrected and Jack Bailee Best Corrected – Newport Beach Club trophy. A crew spokesperson credited the navigator for a great job of keeping them in the breeze. The Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s crew of 10 have been racing for five years.

Dan Rossen and partner Richard Whitley aboard Problem Child won the Volvo Best Corrected – Double Handed trophy. The BCYC team has now won nine times in a row.

The 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.”

Current elapsed-time records were established in 2016 when Tom Siebel’s Orion, a MOD70 broke an 18-year old record with a time of 5:17:26, while skipper Steve Maheen sailed Aszhou, a 63-foot Reichel Pugh to the monohull record of 9:35:34 on his first N2E.

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.

Visit www.nosa.org for more information, and a complete list of N2E winning boats.

Sailboats make their way down the coast to Ensenada in the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race / photo by Jim Collins
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