Newport-Ensenada Race Will Look Different in 2012

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Attention all yacht club commodores and sailboat racers – the 65th Annual Newport-to-Ensenada International Yacht Race is coming over the horizon.  This race is known as the largest international yacht race in the world, and years ago had more than 600 boats competing in the various categories.  This year participants need to know that there have been important changes as the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA) directors listened to the feedback from the racers.

Recent years have not been kind to the Newport-to-Ensenada race as in 2011 only 175 boats finished in Mexico, and family and friends have been reluctant to drive across the border.  The big reason is fairly obvious, with the recent uptick in violence from the drug cartels; however, Mexico is still a popular vacation destination.  With sailboat racing participation down across the country due to the economy, NOSA directors could have simply accepted the decline of their race as inevitable.  Instead, they decided to break with their traditions and seek out changes that might revitalize the race.  The racers were asked and polled for new ideas, and the feedback was analyzed to make this year’s changes.

The first change is the new location for the headquarters, at the Hotel Coral just north of of Ensenada.  This is where the awards ceremony will now be held, too, and the Coral is a wonderful resort location that I know very well.  The Coral and Marina can accommodate racing boats, friends and family, and the marina has the only fuel dock for boats.

In the past the event was held in downtown Ensenada with activities, luncheons and dinners throughout the weekend.  Now, the Hotel Coral will serve as a perfect venue and the hotel is very safe for the racers and their guests.  Additionally, there will be free and frequent shuttle service between the Coral and downtown for visitors to enjoy the festive ambiance of both places.

The marina has 353 slips that can accommodate boats from 30 to 65 feet with end ties for boats up to 109 feet.  Boaters and clubs should make their room and suites reservations at the Coral now, and if your club is planning to hang a banner from a room balcony then the maximum size is 82 inches wide by 67 inches tall.

Another major change is the relocation of the finish line to the northern side of Todos Santos Bay, where the Coral is located. Remember, the Coral is not located inside the Port of Ensenada, but along the northern shoreline of the bay.  Also, the new finish line is visible from Hotel Coral, and I know this area very well from years of delivering yachts to the Coral.

The race starts on Friday, April 27, at 11 a.m. for the cruising classes and at noon for all others, and the race course is approximately 125 nautical miles from Newport Beach to Ensenada.  Boaters may register starting Dec. 1, and early birds will pay only $125 through Dec. 31.  After that, the entry fee will be $175 through April 12, and late birds will pay $225 after April 12.

If you have any questions then please contact the NOSA Entry Chair, Tom Madden, at 949-351-9905 or [email protected].  The notice of race and additional information is available at  You can make reservations for the Hotel Coral at 866-302-0066 or email [email protected] or [email protected].  For the marina, you can email [email protected] and be sure to tell Fito that you know me for a preferred slip location.  Lastly, you can see special room and slip rate information under “Hot News” at:

Tip of week is that the United States Coast Guard’s District 11 Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) is online and ready for all boaters to download.  This is an important piece of information that anyone using the waterways should read to keep informed of what is up.  You will know if any navigational lights are not working, construction or dredging operations, special vessel operations, and much more is included in the LNM.

In addition, the 2011 USCG Light List Volume 6 is now available, and includes updates to Local Notice (01-2011) along with the summary of corrections.  Do you have the light list aboard your boat?

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific.  Join Chandler Bell, Craig Carpenter, and me as we talk about “all things boating.”  You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at or

Until next week, Safe Voyages!

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