by Rich Roberts
The 60-foot Stars and Stripes catamaran the late Steve Fossett sailed in 1998 is no longer the only boat to finish before sundown in what is now the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, and Howard Enloe's Loe Real came breathlessly close to the record Friday evening.
Loe Real only the 2nd boat ever to finish before sundown - 2013 Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race
Loe Real, a Jeanneau 60, completed the 126 nautical miles from Newport Beach to this Baja California resort city in seven hours three minutes 51 seconds, only 17 minutes 21 seconds shy of Fossett's mark of 6:46:30.
The sun dropped below the horizon about 19 minutes later, making Loe Real only the second boat to finish any of the 66 races in daylight.
Four years ago in another notably windy race Loe Real finished first overall in 8:45:03.
More of the 204 boats that started the race were expected to finish during the night, some seeking the monohull record of 10 hours 37 minutes 50 seconds set by Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 in 2009.