by Rich Roberts
Who would be better than Andy Rose to offer wisdom on how to sail the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race?
Lexus Newport to Enenada Yacht Race 2012
Competitors and other interested parties will hear it all at the pre-race Yachtsmen's Luncheon Wednesday, April 25, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, 720 W. Bay Ave. on the Balboa Peninsula. Tickets are $15.
The starting sequence for the race starts Friday, April 27, at 11 a.m. with the Cruising classes, followed at noon by all others. Starts will be at 10-minute intervals.
Rose has raced to the Mexican resort town on various boats in nearly half of the previous 64 races, the first when he was 15 years old.
Now co-owner of It's OK, a high-performance Andrews 50, with Lew Beery and Tom Purcell--- a.k.a. Tres Gordos Sailing LLC---Rose can't remember exactly how many of the races he has done, but he will say this: 'No two are exactly alike.
'You see a lot of conditions that you sometimes wouldn't get unless it was a longer race. It's fun sailing after dark. If the race doesn't have some very light squirrely stuff in the night we don't do very well. We're the smallest boat in the maxi class so we need something weird to happen and, happily, it happens at night. Last year we were fortunate to do the right thing and we ended up within a few lengths of the boats that had been four or five miles ahead of us at sundown.'
Rose, 61, also has sailed as watch captain/tactician on successful Transpacific Yacht Races, a couple of Sydney-Hobarts and a victorious Transatlantic race, plus an America's Cup on one of Alan Bond's early unsuccessful forays to Newport, R.I. in 1977.
What he likes about the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is that 'it's a very challenging race.' Although it's only 125 nautical miles from the Balboa Pier to the new finish line off the new race headquarters at the Hotel Coral and Marina, it presents important strategic decisions, along with unsurpassed pre- and post-race fun.
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Rose will discuss three points in the race that are key: whether to go offshore at the start or stick to the coast; whether to go inside or outside the Coronado Islands at the border, and when to jibe to the finish inside Todos Santos Bay, where races have been won and lost in the tricky breeze.
'I don't think anyone can tell you they know all the ins and outs,' Rose said. 'None of us do. But there are some things we look for and try to act accordingly.'
However it goes, Rose said, 'You get to a fun place at the end with the town filled up with people who have just raced down.'
Some of the boats, anxious to return home, don't dock after finishing but just head for home---'turn and burn,' it's called.
'That'll be part of my talk,' Rose said. 'We stay until Monday morning because we love Ensenada and we always have a great time. The shoreside stuff for us is just as much fun as the race.'
For those not racing and wanting to join in the festivities in Ensenada, round-trip bus service will be available from Newport Beach, Dana Point and San Diego.
Newport to Ensenada website