Sunday, April 25, 2010

Party time for (almost) everybody in Ensenada

Bronny Joy Daniels's Photo
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. What's your pleasure -- looking good or collecting the hardware?

Lorenzo Berho of Mexico finished first with Peligroso in the big boat Maxi class of the Newport Ocean Sailing Association's 63rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race in the pre-dawn Saturday morning.

Never mind that in Sunday's awards ceremony the trophy will go to Dick Compton, Jim Yabsley and Tom Parker, the owners of Taxi Dancer, teh Reichel/Pugh 68 from Santa Barbara that beat him by 70 minutes on corrected PHRF handicap time over the 125.5 nautical miles.

No matter. "We are the first boat from Mexico to finish first in the Maxi class," Berho said.

Parker said the Taxi Dancer team enjoyed "a great party" the night before the race, but they'll have another in Baja.

Then there was Bill Gibbs from Ventura, who was delighted when his Tennant catamaran, Afterburner, finished only an hour and a half behind H.L. Enloe's much faster trimaran, Loe Real, because he collected 26 minutes more than what the San Diego-based rival owed him in handicap time to win the ORCA class for multihulls.

Other confirmed winners were Dennis Pennel's Blue Blazes in PHRF-A, the Richley Family's Amante in PHRF-B, Ron Simonson's Sleeper in PHRF-C, Tom Holthus' Bad Pak in Sprit-A and Mark Wyland's Lucky Star in Sprit-B.

Taxi Dancer, the bright yellow longtime campaigner among West Coast ultralight sleds, finished only 11 minutes 22 seconds behind Peligroso boat for boat before cashing in 81 1/2 minutes worth of handicap chips ---no contest.

Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes was a more serious threat. Taxi Dancer owed time to the dark blue Farr 60 and tallied out by less than 12 minutes.

Now the anxiety is about who will collect the $6,000 Lamborghini diamond watch that will be presented Sunday to the winner of the President of USA Trophy for best overall corrected handicap time. That was still up in the air Saturday afternoon as the slower-rated PHRF classes approached the finish line with the significant advantage of better breeze-- following from the west rather than on the nose from the east-- than the bigger boats found in the morning.

That was not a worry for Gibbs, the new president of the Ocean Racing Catamaran Association. All of his ORCA multihull competition were in the same boat.

"Ensenada has been an interesting race for us," he said. "In 11 attempts we have broken three times and been first to finish three times. This time we weren't first to finish but we won."

But it was tricky.

"We bought the boat to support Mexico's young sailors," he said---and he wanted a boat that would draw attention.

For this race, he said, "We had mostly a crew of sailors in their early 20s … young people with ambitions to sail in major events---even in the Olympics."

His navigator was Piet van Os of La Jolla, who had the same assignment on Morning Light, the boat sailed by a similar crew for the late Roy E. Disney's documentary film of the same name. Van Os now sails the world navigating merchant ships.
"He just flew in Thursday to do this race," Berho said.

H.L. Enloe's hope was to challenge the multihull record of 6 hours 46 minutes 40 seconds set by the late Steve Fossett on the Stars & Stripes catamaran in 1998, but the conditions weren't there for his 60-foot trimaran. Although finishing first, he was an hour and 7 1/2 minutes over his own best time of 8:45:03 of last year.

Lamborghini Travels has joined has joined the list of event sponsors and supporters that also include North Sails, the world's largest sailmaker; City of Newport Beach, Go Baja, The Pirate's Lair, Mount Gay Rum, Firebrand Media, Marriott Newport Beach Hotel and Spa, Connection to Cruise/Carnival Cruise Lines, Vessel Assist, Ruby's, West Marine and Weather Routing Inc.

Logistical support is provided by the Bahia Corinthian, Balboa and Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs.

Newport Beach, an opulent seaside community located on the Orange County coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego, epitomizes the quintessential Southern California lifestyle. Known for its picturesque views of the Pacific and one of the world’s largest small yacht harbors, the city is acclaimed for its beaches, yachting community, sophisticated atmosphere, international film festival, three annual epicurean festivals and the oldest holiday boat parade in the nation. Newport Beach was named “one of the top 10 resort towns in the U.S.” by AOL Travel in 2008. For more information, call (800) 94-COAST or visit online

Class winners
(by PHRF corrected handicap time)

FIRST 10 FINISHERS (elapsed times)---1. LoeReal (Jeanneau trimaran), H.L. Enloe, El Paso, Tex., 9 hours 52 minutes 33 seconds; 2. Afterburner (Tennant catamaran), Bill Gibbs, Pierpont Bay YC, 11:17:20; 3. Peligroso (Kernan 60), Lorenzo Berho, Mexico City, 14:01:39; 4. Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Dick Compton/Jim Yabsley/Tom Parker, Santa Barbara, 14:12:51; 5. Stars & Stripes (Farr 60), Dennis Conner, San Diego YC, 15:08:34; 6. Pendragon IV (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, California YC, 15:41:01; 7. Ragtime (Spencer 62), Chris Welsh, Newport Harbor YC, 16:10:13; 8. Staghound (R/P 50), Alex Oberschmidt, Southwestern YC, 17:51:48; 9. Blue Blazes (R/P 50), Dennis Pennell, SDYC; 10. Fifty-One-Fifty (Santa Cruz 50), Mike Warns, Ventura Sailing Club, 18:21:24.

MAXI (7 boats)---Taxi Dancer (Reichel/Pugh 68), Yacht Club, elapsed time 14 hours 12 minutes 51 seconds, corrected time 17:08:33.

ORCA (5 boats)---Afterburner (Tennant catamaran), Bill Gibbs, Pierpont Bay YC, ET 11:17:20/CT 16:26:54.

PHRF-A (13)---Fifty-One-Fifty (Santa Cruz 50), Mike Warns, Ventura Sailing Club, ET 18:21:24/CT 18:27:40.

PHRF-B (16)---Amante (Choate 48), Richley Family, Lido Isle YC, ET 21:20:16/CT 20:04:58.

PHRF-C (16)---Sleeper (Jeanneau 44), Ron Simonson, Cabrillo Beach YC, ET 22:46:14.CT 19:50:32.

SPRIT-A (10)---Bad Pak (J/145), Tom Holthus, San Diego YC, ET 18:11:47/CT 19:14:32.

SPRIT- B (6)---Lucky Star (J/105 OD), Mark Wyland, American Legion YC, ET 23:05:33/CT 20:09:51.