by Rich Roberts
Take a deep breath and hold it ... until next April 26. That's when the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race gets underway and competitors will be looking for all the wind they can get.
2011 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race
Entries open Saturday, Dec. 1, for the 66th running of the Newport Ocean Sailing Association's traditional chase from Newport Beach to the Mexican resort town that several hundred boats have struggled to reach in wimpy breeze the last two years. Registration is online.
But boat owners can give themselves a $50 discount by signing up before the end of the year. It isn't Powerball, but more than half of the 210 entries for the 2012 race grabbed it and ran.
Once the race started, Tom Holthus' Bad Pak and Bob Lane's Medicine Man made the most of what wind there was, drifting to the finish in one to two knots of light air early Saturday morning. The big black Bad Pak, an STP 65, was first to finish in an agonizing 19 hours 48 minutes 19 seconds, squeezing across the finish line off Hotel Coral just 12 minutes six seconds ahead of Medicine Man, an Andrews 63---nothing like the 2009 race when brisk breeze blew all the way for Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 to lower the race record to 10:37:50, and everyone else finished before 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon.
But Medicine Man, with a higher handicap rating than Bad Pak, seized the glory of the prestigious President of USA Trophy, plus a two-year lease on a 2013 Lexus GS 350, with the race's best corrected handicap time.
It took one's breath away.
Newport to Ensenada website