ENSENADA — Spectators lined the Balboa Pier to catch a glimpse of the more than 167 sailboats participating in the 2014 Newport-to-Ensenada Race, April 25.
Pete Melvin’s 28-foot catamaran, Mama Tried, sailed under his competitors’ radar, besting the pack by sailing into first place on April 27. Melvin and his crew took home three trophies at the award ceremony – first place in ORCA Class; best corrected time for a trimaran and the coveted Tommy Bahama Trophy for best overall corrected time of every class.
Melvin, an Alamitos Bay Yacht Club member and Newport Beach boat designer, engineer and builder, built his vessel with partner, Gino Morrelli in New Zealand. The team also designed and built Stars and Stripes, the boat Steve Fossett sailed to the 1998 Newport to Ensenada elapsed time record.
Mama Tried was sailed by Melvin and two other crew members, according to Trip Ivey, an industrial designer with Morrelli & Melvin.
Winning his first first-place of the race was Jerry Finnegan of King Harbor YC aboard Celebrity. Picking up the Porter Sinclair Trophy for PHRF-I, Finnegan has been sailing this race since high school. Crew member Kevin Welch said of the trip, “We beat second place by more than an hour because no one else dared put up a spinnaker in that weather.”
Racers encountered wind gusts of more than 30 knots with horizontal rain at 16 knots of boat speed.
Patricia Escorihuela, an Ensenada resident, also reported seeing boat speeds from 16 to19 knots on the FT10 Abacus. She was part of the eight-member women’s team, lead by Kirsten Zillmann of Silver Gate YC, that won the Caroline Starr trophy. Although all experienced sailors, this was the first time the women had all sailed together.
Amidst celebrations for Horizon’s double trophy win, the exuberant Dana Point YC crew tried to convince skipper Jack Taylor not to sell the Santa Cruz 50 and retire. Horizon won the Governor of California trophy for the best PHRF-A performance and the President of the USA trophy for best corrected time, all PHRF boats. Taylor has sailed Horizon in this race each of the 13 years he`s owned the boat. On Horizon’s first Newport to Ensenada, it took them two days and two nights to finish. “It’s been a great run,” Taylor said. “To win this last race is huge.”
NOSA officers presented trophies at the awards ceremony Sunday, April 27 in the open courtyard of the Hotel Coral and Marina. Trophy winners ORCA President of NOSA Trophy, for Best Corrected Time, Mama Tried, Pete Melvin Alice Pursell Trophy, Best Elapsed Time, Orion, Tom Siebel Stern-Choy Trophy, Best Corrected Time – Trimaran, Mama Tried, Pete Melvin NOSA Trophy, Best Elapsed Time All Boats, Orion, Tom Siebel For a complete list of winner, visit scoring.newporttoensenada.com/results
Celebrating the winners
By Coty Dolores Miranda
ENSENADA — The 67th annual Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race may have had fewer participants this year, but the joie de vivre – or more appropriately in Spanish alegria de vivir – was palpable as racers and friends gathered for the second year on the grounds of the Coral Hotel.
With cool winds continuing Saturday and Sunday, the hot tub was full and the outdoor pool was empty but, in keeping with tradition, the palapas serving drinks and Tecate maintained a thriving business.
The crew of Celebrity, were among the celebrants gathering and recounting the long voyage through high winds of up to 30 knots and driving night rain. It was Finnegan’s first-ever first place win in the race he’s participated in since high school.
Paul Casaova of South Bay Yacht Racing Club bought a round of cervesas for his crew of Flaca.
Not everyone was enjoying the sun and camaraderie. NOSA volunteers crammed into the operations center housed in a hotel room off the courtyard, not hesitant to shoo out any interlopers that might reduce their powers of concentration while calculating corrected times for the 17 classes. Other volunteers matched winners to the appropriate traveling trophies, and more tediously organized the trophy mugs for distribution at Sunday’s Awards Ceremony. Patiently sitting and answering visitor’s questions, were Wendy and Chuck Fisher, long-time NOSA volunteers manning the Engine Log & Finish Card Turn-in tent.
The numbers were low but morale high.
“This was one of the lowest number of boats starting,” said NOSA commodore Chuck Iverson who said permit complications this year was one of the causes for the decline from last year’s 210 vessels.
“One year we had only 175 but then it started building up again,” he said “But look around, everybody’s got great war stories and most all the sailors were happy with the wind.”
A recurring tale was how spinnakers weren’t used this year – not typical for the 125-mile run down the California/Mexico coast.