64th Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race - What's harder to win: an America's Cup or the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race?
Dennis Conner mulled over the question Sunday when it was confirmed that his Farr 60, Stars and Stripes, had scored a hat trick triple victory in the 64th N2E: first monohull to finish, first in the Maxi class and first in the entire fleet on corrected handicap time. The latter won him the race's biggest prize---the President of USA Trophy---based on how well boats are sailed to their rated potential.
'I am wondering how many times a boat was first to finish, first in class and first overall,' Conner mused. 'I have been first to finish three times but never won overall at the same time.'
The only boat that finished ahead of Stars and Stripes early Saturday morning was Bill Gibbs's multihull Afterburner, truly a different breed of cat that finished 79 1/2 minutes ahead on real time but nearly two hours behind on handicap time in one of the slower Ensenada races.
It wasn't at all like 2009, when Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 set the monohull record of 10 hours 37 minutes 50 seconds and all the other boats finished by four o'clock Saturday afternoon. This time a bunch hadn't finished by the 11 a.m. cutoff time Sunday.
All told, 175 boats entered, 167 started and 112 finished. The last was John Granahan's Cal 39-2, Knot A Clew, from Oceanside Yacht Club, competing in PHRF E class.
Newport to Ensenada - © Jack Daniels
There were a handful of bigger monohulls with faster ratings than Stars and Stripes, which rated minus-63 seconds per mile.
Conner, sailing in his 32nd N2E, said, 'S and S is not quite as fast in the prevailing conditions as the bigger boats. After the start the boats sorted out as you might expect based on the ratings. [Lorenzo Berho's Kernan 70] Peligroso and [Bob Lane's Andrews 63] Medicine Man were about six miles ahead at the Coronado Islands.
'S and S was the first boat to jibe to port and got a nice header going to the LNG Plant at the entrance to [Todos Santos] bay. This enabled her to catch up with the boats ahead. At this point there was 18 miles to go. It took 10 hours to finish, so you can see it was stop and go. The guys on S and S did a great job beating the faster boats to the finish and were very excited about being first to finish, first to finish, first in class and first overall.'
Conner apologized for missing Sunday's award ceremony.
'Please thank the committee on my behalf as I cannot attend the prize giving,' he said. 'It is Opening Day at the SDYC and, as a rear commodore, I have to attend.'
Others made the awards event after two nights at sea. Richard Mulvania of the Balboa YC sailed his heavy 63-foot Golden Skye in PHRF-F with his family and friends. His 32nd N2E was a 44-hour trip. 'It wasn't our race,' he said. 'We don't do well with the wind on our nose or straight back.'
The light to moderate breeze was NNW, virtually along the rhumb line, and after turning left into Todos Santos Bay it was a grinding ordeal of 60-degree upwind tacks at one or two knots.
'It was better in 2002,' Mulvania said. 'That was a rush all the way down. We won our class.'
It was the 30th N2E for Daydream, a Pearson 323 entered by Stewart Wright and Doug Pahnke of Bahia Corinthian YC in Cruz Class Spinnaker B. They weren't just in it for the 32 1/2-hour ride.
'We've been known to cheat by not allowing our crew for have any alcoholic beverages during the race,' Wright said. 'We started winning when we optimized crew and got some good sails.'
This wasn't their year but, like most of their peers, there's always next year.
First 10 finishers
Golden Skye skipper Richard Mulvania (red shirt) and family crew finished their 32nd N2E early Sunday - Newport to Ensenada - © Jack Daniels
1. Afterburner (Tennant Bladerunner 52), Bill Gibbs, Pierpont Bay Yacht Club, elapsed time 17 hours 8 minutes 53 seconds, corrected time 22:33:05.
2. Stars and Stripes (Farr 60), Dennis Conner, San Diego YC, ET 18:28:25, CT 20:40:11.
3. Alchemy (Dencho 70), Per Peterson, Oceanside YC, ET 19:20:23, CT 22:16:05.
4. Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach YC, ET 19:24:13, CT 22:51:17.
5. Peligroso (Kernan 70), Lorenz Berho, Mexico City, ET 19:45:33, CT 24:02:49.
6. It's OK (Andrews 50), Tres Gordos LLC, ET 19:48:09, CT 21:47:23.
7. Taxi Dancer (Reichel/Pugh 68), Dick Compton/Jim Yabsley/Tom Parker, Santa Barbara YC, ET 20:28:13, CT 23:23:55.
8. Relentless (Santa Cruz 52T), Durant/Shew, Long Beach YC, ET 20:55:19, CT 21:45:31.
9. Stealth Chicken (Perry 56), Tim Beatty, ET 20:58:25, CT 22:07:27.
10. Piranha (Farr 40), David Voss, California YC, ET 21:05:45, CT 21:18:18.
The race is sponsored by the City of Newport Beach, Pirates Lair, the Log, Mount Gay Rum, Vessel Assist, SAILING Spoken Here, West Marine, Marriott Newport Beach Hotel and Spa, Visit Newport Beach, Hornblower Cruises and Events, North Sails and Ruby's Diner.
Scorers Toni Baiunco (red cap) and Patty Cook bring scoreboard up to date - Newport to Ensenada - Rich Roberts?nid=82553
Newport to Ensenada - © Jack Daniels
Newport to Ensenada
Stewart Wright and Doug Pahnke below their flags marking 29 previous N2Es - Newport to Ensenada - Rich Roberts?nid=82553