Big Pimpin’


The world-famous Newport to Ensenada race is soon upon us. Here’s the scoop:

First there were concerns about the troubles in Mexico, then came the worst economic plunge since the Great Depression and, most recently, an outlaw event scheduled to start on the same day in the same place. What did the "world’s largest international yacht race" do to deserve all this? As the 62nd running of the Newport to Ensenada Race approaches Friday, April 24, a great sailing tradition is being slammed from three sides—but it’s battling back. 

For families and friends of sailors who want to join the fun but are leery about driving 60 miles south of the border, there will be special tour buses departing after the start from Newport Beach and San Diego at $60 roundtrip, or for $50 one way back from Ensenada. Another option: a special three-day, two-night cruise offered by Carnival Cruise Lines at $289 with double occupancy and including roundtrip transportation between Newport Beach and Long Beach.

For the first time, spectators will be able to watch the starts from out on the Balboa Pier, a half-mile up the beach from the usual location at the entrance to Newport Bay. Then the buses will head south, except for those transporting the cruise ship passengers to Long Beach, from where they’ll leave early enough to beat the boats to Ensenada.

NOSA—the Newport Ocean Sailing Association that runs the race—also has been making extensive arrangements with Mexican officials to address security issues. 

Once in Ensenada, there will be a choice of Saturday excursions for only $20 each to wine country or La Bufadora—the famous "Blow Hole"—followed Saturday night by Fiesta del Vino on the city’s waterfront plaza, hosted by the city and featuring folklorico dancers, mariachis, food and wine.

Finally, there’s the wild windup awards party in the grass courtyard of the Bahia Hotel early Sunday afternoon, and won’t you be glad you don’t have to drive back after that? The winners don’t get any prize money, but the owner of the boat with the best overall corrected handicap time will be flashing a $5,000 Corum timepiece from Traditional Jewelers and Corum USA all the way home.

For all this—entering the race, catching a bus or a cruise ship—sign up by calling Colby at 714.557.5100, ext. 16, or e-mail at [email protected]