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N2E 74: A year of record winds, wins, and personal bests

by NOSA Communications 26 Apr 06:34 PDT
Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race © Lisa Bronitt Photography

Weather reports for Friday's start of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race accurately predicted windy and wavy conditions and the majority of racers on all three courses took on Mother Nature in an epic showdown; most reporting personal best times, numerous records, and came ashore with tales of blustery sailing adventures.

Although Rio100, a custom Bakewell White and its crew, led by owner Manouch Moshayedi, set a new N2E elapsed time record for a monohull at 7:02:17, six out of seven boats in the Maxi Class clocked in faster than the previous record set in 2016. George Hershman and Mark Coming's Good Energy, a Reichel Pugh 63, sistership to former record-holder Aszhous, arrived second at 8.32.49, shaving 1:02:45 off the old record.

Despite being the only boat to miss the old record (by a mere four minutes) Saga's finish time of 9:39.01 earned the TP52 a trip to the podium to claim PHRF UL-Maxi class honors. With a corrected time of 12:31:13, owner John Brynjolffson, SDYC, also earned the Amigo Trophy for the fasted corrected first-time N2E skipper.

But it was Bill Gibbs Wahoo, whose arrival at 9:23:19; slightly ahead of Fast Exit (9:29:00) and Zephyrus (less than a minute later at 9:29:59) that set multiple personal bests aboard his Schionning GF 1400 Catamaran. Not only did NOSA's Staff Commodore sweep the top three trophies, but he did so for the fifth time.

In 2004, 2010, and 2013 Gibbs and a crew of friends collected the coveted Tommy Bahama Trophy for Best Corrected Overall with Afterburner, a 1987 52-foot Tennant Bladerunner-designed catamaran. He returned to the podium in 2016 after Wahoo's inaugural N2E on the Schionning, which he modestly refers to as a lightweight cruising boat.

"My boat lights up at 20 knots of wind," said Gibbs with a smile. "This was the best wind of my 21 N2E races, by far. But you have to do all the races in order to be there for the special ones like this."

Despite blowing out a spinnaker off San Diego, the crew bested Wahoo's previous record by 90 minutes. He reported that Wahoo got to sail in optimal conditions for much of the race, under 25 knots, TWS sailing downwind.

"Thanks to my great crew without whom this would not have been possible," said Gibbs. The crew later shared photos of the trip, particularly of a lovely charcuterie board lunch at 20 knots.

Sailing back onto the podium Sunday, at the Hotel Coral and Marina, Gibbs also collected the Stern Choy Trophy for Best Corrected - Catamaran, the Alice Pursell Perpetual Trophy for First to Finish Multihull, and the President of NOSA Trophy for Best Corrected Multihull.

With today's wins, Gibbs will have his name etched 31 times onto five N2E trophies.

Standish Fleming's Nereid, a classic 1999 J125, also reported extraordinary conditions; the fastest breeze of any race he's done. "We were 30 miles south of the Coronado Islands before dark! That's unheard of; incredible," he said. Although this was Nereid's first N2E, having only purchased it in 2019, Fleming and the crew have collectively sailed hundreds of N2Es over the years, he said.

But this one was special not only because he took home the President of USA Trophy for Best Corrected - All PHRF, but it was crewmember John Shampain's fourth trip to the podium to claim top honors.

Nereid also took home the City Of Newport Beach for best UL-B class and was part of the Cortez Racing Association that ended Dana Point Yacht Club's decade-plus-long reign of being the yacht club with the most entries.

A fleet of winners!

Dan Rossen Problem Child, a B32, and sole crewmate Richard Whitely did successfully defend their double-handed winning streak and claimed the Volvo Best Corrected Trophy for a 10th straight time.

PHRF A Class winner David Chase of Uhambo said they raised a code zero sail at the start and took off. The 17-time N2E sailor- in two boats - said their race was the fastest ever by far. It was also the first time Uhambo, named for a South African term meaning journey, saw the Coronado Islands in daylight.

In the CRUZ classes, NOSA Director David Normandin sailed home yesterday with a crew of successful sailing friends and all four trophies. Flying a SDYC burgee, the sweep was yet another by Freedom, a Beneteau 55OC, and included the Almon Lockaby Trophy for CRUZ SPIN A, the Secretary of Foreign Relations-Mexico Trophy for Best Elapsed - Cruz and the Beneteau Trophy for - Best Corrected Beneteau.

Andy Horning's Day Tripper II placed third in PHRF-C ending his multiple-year streak this year thanks to a couple of breakages in what he called a wild and woolly race. Befittingly, he was one of the three boats that claimed the Storm Trysail Team Trophy. He recalled being passed on the course by Rio100, calling the experience "otherworldly and amazing,"

Peter Isler accepted the NOSA Trophy for Best Elapsed Time - Overall on behalf of Rio100 and Moshayedi.

Rio100's record-setting crew, flying under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee, were: Manouch Moshayedi, Sebastian Moshayedi, Jeff Messano (Boat Captain), Peter Isler (Navigator), Morgan Gutenkunst (Tactician), Jesse Fielding (Strategist), Matt Noble, Marco Constant, Joseph Penrod, Ethan Doyle, Giovani Morelli, James Espey, Scott Tompkins, Scott Ewing, Chris Schubert, & Don Cianto.

Meanwhile, the smallest boat in the fleet, the 16-foot modified Venture RS 4U from California Inclusive Sailing, braved the elements Friday to set a personal best on the sprint to Dana Point.

"It blew and we flew," said skipper Christian Buhl. Facing adversity is familiar to those living with disabilities every day - conditions also met with bravery and determination. Buhl and JP Van Houden, who has battled Parkinson's Disease for 20-plus years, took a calculated risk and made the trip in 2:12, an hour less than last year.

Charles Ullman, the grandson of the founding NOSA handicap chairperson, Charles Ullman Sr., brought legacy and innovation to the Dana Point course. Ullman and Ullman Yachts Sales associates Michael Dorr and Alexander Dvanor sailed the first L30 to arrive on the West Coast. Developed by a Ukrainian Olympic Medalist, the sleek boats were initially built in Ukraine. Production recently moved to Hungary.

Three Trophies were handed out at Dana Point Yacht Club to:

  • 4U -PORTSMOUTH-A -Christian Buhl
  • Horsefeathers -PHRF-SPIN-B John Fuller, NHYC
  • John B -PHRF-SPIN-A Tom Garrett, NHYC

Ten trophies were handed out in San Diego at Silver Gate Yacht Club on Sunday. Despite the resolution of technical difficulties with YB Trackers issues in San Diego, anarchy reigned!

Scot Tempesta's Anarchy 6, a Hobie 33M, for SDYC, sailed off with four trophies. Best in PHRF-UL-B, Best Corrected - Overall, Best Corrected - Monohull, and Best Corrected - ORR.

It was Rudy Hasl's Palaemon, however, that was first to conquer Friday's wind and waves. The J145 was honored three times; for winning PHRF A, for the Best Elapsed Time Overall, and for Best Elapsed Time for a Monohull.

Matt Solhjem's, PCYC, Anais, took home three trophies: Best-SPIN-A M.Best Corrected and Best Elapsed All Cruz.

Back in Ensenada, Team Seal Beach beat out six competitors to win the Storm Trysail Club Trophy. The three-boat team from Seal Beach Yacht Club were; in CRUZ-SPIN-B Joe Negron, and Walter Simmons along with PHRF- C teammate Andy Horning.

Race results and trophies...

The Newport Ocean Sailing Association lovingly dedicates this 74th N2E in memory of Toni Baiunco

The red-haired force of nature blew into Ensenada as the hospitality chairperson to make sure sailors had a great experience each year, for the past 25 years. She coordinated everything from parties to dignitary receptions, sent invitations, organized hotel accommodations in both cities, coordinated volunteers, and managed Race HQ alongside the staff she loved at the Hotel Coral and Marina.

Unlike this year's epic winds, she did so year after year. Without fail. Her absence was felt across every committee and by every volunteer. She was friendly, kind, service-oriented, and always excited to get things done. She was missed more than we can say.

Toni Baiunco
June 1938 - December 2021

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