From Ensenada, Mexico, today – There’s no putting a damper on the attitude of competitors at the 68th annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race that wrapped yesterday; camaraderie and the spirit of competition trumps lofty winds and rogue showers every time. Via the challenges of this race however, we learned it can be rewarding to get swept away with your family, It’s OK to get off to a bad start, teenagers cure doldrums and look to the horizon for brighter days.
Horizon, now owned by John Shulze, representing Balboa Yacht Club, was the big winner Sunday taking home four trophies: President of the United States Trophy for Best Corrected time overall in the PHRF class, Tommy Bahama Trophy for Best Corrected time for all boats, the Governor of California Trophy for Best Corrected Time in PHRF-A Class and Best Corrected Member of a Newport Beach Yacht Club Trophy.
When Shulze purchased the Santa Cruz 50 last year, it came with a crew and a winning record. Helmed by its previous skipper Jack Taylor, Horizon won numerous accolades over the years, most notably trophies for winning the PHRF-A class the previous two years. With the win Sunday, Horizon has logged a rare N2E three-peat.
The boat won its start Friday on the advice tactician Erik Shampain, with father and navigator Jon selecting the outside course. It was the right choice. “Jon is a legendary magician and the team is phenomenal,” Shulze said. “They know how to get the best out of the boat. I’m honored to be the new owner, but it’s the crew that makes it happen.”
Shulze has sailed N2E eight times in a J109 that also competed in this event. That boat withdrew after struggling in light winds. Later this summer Shulze and crew will compete in the Transpac, the Islands Run race and the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race. “We’ve got an active program,” he said. “I look forward to competing in the future.”
H.L. Enloe’s Mighty Merloe, that arrived Saturday before dawn and headed home before most of those at the Hotel Coral woke, will also be claiming four trophies, the Alice Purcell Trophy for Best Elapsed Time, Orca Class, the Stein-Cross Trophy for the Best Corrected Trimaran and the NOSA Trophy for the best elapsed time of all boats and won best corrected time in the ORCA class, the President of NOSA Trophy.
Charlie Ogletree, the tactician aboard Tom Siebel’s 70 MOD Orion, who won the best elapsed time trophy last year, said with five lead changes the two boats had a match race going on. “The conditions were tough as the extreme light air required a lot of concentration and patience,” Ogletree said. “Congratulations to Enloe and Mighty Merloe. Orion looks forward to a rematch next year.”
Austin Artis sailed his house to Ensenada, along with a friend, his wife, mother, father, brother and sister as crew. But they sailed their home and newly crowned race boat, a 50-foot Beneteau Oceanis Sweptaway so well they’re leaving with three trophies: The Secretary of Foreign Relations, Mexico Trophy, for best elapsed time in the Cruz class; the Blue Gavel Trophy for Best Corrected Cruz, Gen A Class and Best Corrected Beneteau, Cruz Trophy.
When Artis is not working as a harbor patrol officer in Ventura Harbor, he and wife Karen Keltner run an outdoor education program for kids. Although this is Sweptaway’s first N2E, Artis was on a boat that placed third overall in the 2011 race and has sailed since he was 12.
Speaking of young sailors, Scott Grealish credits his 16-year-old son for BlueFlash winning the Gil Knudson Trophy for Best Corrected Time, PHRF-D. In their first N2E and second ocean race ever, Grealish said his son, a champion dinghy racer, was the one on deck who pulled the J88 out of the doldrums. Although Grealish lives in Oregon, he keeps BlueFlash in San Diego. He decided to race N2E because it was appropriate for his 29-foot boat and because of N2E’s rich history.
Offshore, James Kirkpatrick`s Alberg, Expression Session found wind. Sailing the new Transpac course, the long-distance enthusiast admits it was slow going at first. Around midnight they made it beyond San Clemente Island and discovered variable winds of 10 to 15 knots. They arrived late afternoon Saturday with 20-plus knots, trying to best the rain. They may not have outrun the weather, but Expression Session took home the first Converse Wurdemann trophy for the best corrected Transpac class boat. Kirkpatrick said he’d like to see more offshore races and hopes that more sailors take the longer course next year.
Andy Rose, one of three partners of the Andrews 50 It’s OK, did not have high hopes of a good race when they left Friday to 6 knots of wind. The first five hours were the worst in my N2E in history, he said. “But the last 16 were the best and the finish – a once in an Ensenada career finish – was truly thrilling,” Rose said.
It’s OK was one of five boats that after 125 miles of racing came together to cross the finish line only seconds apart. “No one had a concept of handicaps; we all just wanted to be first across that finish line,” he said.
It’s OK was awarded the Secretary of State, USA Trophy for having the best corrected time in the new Fast50 Class. The win and the finish were particularly significant because of the stature of the maxi`s and other boats that came in with us, Rose said.
Although he did not win anything this year, John Sangmeister got enthusiastic cheers from the crowd when they learned that trophy winners and runners up in each class would receive gift certificates to his restaurant, Gladstones of Long Beach.
Sangmeister’s Pieology, a NACRA F20 full-foiling catamaran was the first entry into N2E’s new Unlimited Class. Although the extremely light air may be been a factor, Sangmeister claims the boat did not finish because he’s afraid of the dark.
“Weather dependent records are elusive and therefore most intriguing. It was great fun to be part of the tradition both old and new. We hope the Unlimited Class will grow in number of entrants and variety of craft,” he said.