let love rule
Nothing sells a race better than those who sail them…
I love the Newport to-Ensenada race because it is our big adventure of the year. For my crew and me, it’s our biggest race of the year. It’s about as far as I can get from my daily “office life” and the farthest from my normal races. I am a weekend day sailor. 90% of my races finish in time to hit the YC bar with my crew for a couple beers and still be home for dinner. It’s not like I’m going to be doing the Volvo Ocean Race any time soon. I have a day job. No one is getting paid to sail with me. We race to have a good time. It’s a great hobby. Compared to my normal races, the NP-Ens race is HUGE! We have to transit to Newport Beach, leave the boat at a mooring, pack supplies for a week, solve crew logistics up and down the coast, schedule vacation days, get rides, get hotel rooms, prep the boat, start with several hundred other boats, race 120nm into the night, spend a day or two in Ensenada eating and drinking, then transit back home as we are the transit crew. There are parties before the start, parties after we finish, and a Mexican town with cheap food and drink full of fellow racers. Some years my daughters drive down and join us. It’s quite the event.
I love the 65 years of history. Every famous name in California sailing is on a NP-Ens trophy. As well as the names of a lot of not-so-famous sailors. I love the mix.
I love the glamour boats we have in the race. Our pre start conversations are not always focused on racing. “Is that Dennis Conner over there?” “Isn’t Magnitude 80 awesome?” “Is Pyewacket going to try and run us over again this year?” “Watch out for that power boat with the Jesus Saves sign! (Definitely watch out for Da Woody).
The list of past big-name boats is very impressive. Names like Pendragon, Stars and Stripes, Taxi Dancer, Locomotion, Alchemy, Medicine Man, Peligroso, Ragtime, Loe Real, and Mag 80. Where else are we going to be on the water with boats like this?
I love the stories from the races. Even the problems we experience become great stories for future telling. “Was that the year we broke the mast? Or that we broke the main halyard? No I’m sure that was the year we broke the rudder. The bowsprit breaking was a different year entirely”. Even a DNF can be memorable. Racers recall details of each year’s wind. Who doesn’t remember 2004 when the outside start line had wind and the inside start line didn’t? Or 2010 when going deep inside worked and 2011 when it didn’t. We all complain about drifting at night, but remember that windless, moonless night when you were on watch and out of nowhere a puff hit and suddenly you are sailing blind at high speed with way too much sail up? Or the year when the wind got up past 25 and you had to get the chute down? Maybe you shrimped it… or maybe not. Or the year the skipper got it right and you ghosted along the cliffs in the early morning, smiling at the stalled boats out in the bay? You can’t buy memories like these sitting on a couch. You have to get up and actually go racing.