The Newport Ocean Sailing Association announced an optional “Short Course” for Cruising and smaller PHRF racers. The new course will start on the same day from San Diego Harbor and merge into the main body of racers coming down from Newport.
The main race with its over 200 boats is still considered one of the largest international yacht races in the world. The Newport Beach start will begin at 11am with classes starting every 10 minutes, while the short course will start at 5pm off Shelter Island. “We’re looking forward to creating as inclusive an environment as we can,” according to NOSA Commodore David Shockley, “to allow more boats to participate and enjoy the excitement, competition and camaraderie of overnight coastal racing to beautiful Ensenada, Mexico”. “We’re also delighted to be running this new course in conjunction with Southwestern Yacht Club who will host pre-race events in the SD area. The new short course will be rated at 62 miles, while the traditional course will be 125 miles. The class rating break for the short course will be a SD PHRF rating of 50 or higher. The dates for the 2016 Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race are April 22 – 24, 2016.
NOSA experimented with alternative courses last year in conjunction with the Transpac 2015 Race to allow for a longer 176 mile course around San Clemente Island as a qualifying race. This year’s goal is to assemble an even larger fleet of 300 plus racing boats including the Maxi fleet, multiple PHRF, one design and cruising classes along with the ORCA or multi-hull racers. The 2015 race had 225 entrants with the 60 foot “Mighty Merloe” trimaran finishing in just before 6 am on Saturday. The top 5 lead pack of Maxi yachts all finished within 3 minutes of each other for one of the closest First-to-Finish monohull wins.
It has always been NOSA’s goal to encourage as many type of racers to participate in this annual spring classic which first ran in 1948 around Catalina Island, before going to Ensenada a year later. The race grew to over 600 yachts in the 1980 and then slowly declined as the total fleet of PHRF racing boats shrank. The innovation of the Cruising Class allowed the heavier displacement boats to complete the course in an enjoyable time frame and in recent times, most of the racers have finished Saturday afternoon at the new finishing area off the Coral Resort and Marina.