Sleigh ride for 2022 Ensenada Race
Published on April 24th, 2022
Weather reports for the 74th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race accurately predicted windy and wavy conditions for the April 22 start and the majority of racers on all three courses took on Mother Nature in an epic showdown; most reporting personal best times, numerous records, and came ashore with tales of blustery sailing adventures.
Although Rio100, a custom Bakewell White and its crew, led by owner Manouch Moshayedi, set a new N2E elapsed time record for a monohull at 7:02:17, six out of seven boats in the Maxi Class clocked in faster than the previous record set in 2016. George Hershman and Mark Coming’s Good Energy, a Reichel Pugh 63, sistership to former record-holder Aszhous, arrived second at 8:32:49, shaving 1:02:45 off the old record.
Despite missing the record by four minutes, Saga’s finish time of 9:39.01 earned the TP52 a trip to the podium to claim PHRF UL-Maxi class honors. With a corrected time of 12:31:13, owner John Brynjolfsson also earned the Amigo Trophy for the fasted corrected first-time N2E skipper.
But it was Bill Gibbs Wahoo, whose arrival at 9:23:19; slightly ahead of Fast Exit (9:29:00) and Zephyrus (less than a minute later at 9:29:59) that set multiple personal bests aboard his Schionning GF 1400 Catamaran. Not only did NOSA’s Staff Commodore sweep the top three trophies, but he did so for the fifth time.
In 2004, 2010, and 2013 Gibbs and a crew of friends collected the coveted Tommy Bahama Trophy for Best Corrected Overall with Afterburner, a 1987 52-foot Tennant Bladerunner-designed catamaran. He returned to the podium in 2016 after Wahoo’s inaugural N2E on the Schionning, which he modestly refers to as a lightweight cruising boat.
“My boat lights up at 20 knots of wind,” said Gibbs with a smile. “This was the best wind of my 21 N2E races, by far. But you have to do all the races in order to be there for the special ones like this.”
Despite blowing out a spinnaker off San Diego, the crew bested Wahoo’s previous record by 90 minutes. He reported that Wahoo got to sail in optimal conditions for much of the race, under 25 knots, TWS sailing downwind.
“Thanks to my great crew without whom this would not have been possible,” said Gibbs.
Sailing back to the podium, Gibbs also collected the Stern Choy Trophy for Best Corrected – Catamaran, the Alice Pursell Perpetual Trophy for First to Finish Multihull, and the President of NOSA Trophy for Best Corrected Multihull.
With today’s wins, Gibbs will have his name etched 31 times onto five N2E trophies.
Standish Fleming’s J/125 Nereid also reported extraordinary conditions; the fastest breeze of any race he’s done. “We were 30 miles south of the Coronado Islands before dark! That’s unheard of; incredible,” he said. Although this was Nereid’s first N2E, having only purchased it in 2019, Fleming and the crew have collectively sailed hundreds of N2Es over the years, he said.
But this one was special not only because he took home the President of USA Trophy for Best Corrected – All PHRF, but it was crewmember John Shampain’s fourth trip to the podium to claim top honors.
Nereid also took home the City Of Newport Beach for best UL-B class and was part of the Cortez Racing Association that ended Dana Point Yacht Club’s decade-plus-long reign of being the yacht club with the most entries.
Dan Rossen Problem Child, a B32, and sole crewmate Richard Whitely did successfully defend their double-handed winning streak and claimed the Volvo Best Corrected Trophy for a 10th straight time.
PHRF A Class winner David Chase of Uhambo said they raised a code zero sail at the start and took off. The 17-time N2E sailor– in two boats – said their race was the fastest ever by far. It was also the first time Uhambo, named for a South African term meaning journey, saw the Coronado Islands in daylight.
In the CRUZ classes, NOSA Director David Normandin sailed home with a crew of highly successful sailing friends and all four trophies. Flying a SDYC burgee, the sweep was yet another by Freedom, a Beneteau 55OC, and included the Almon Lockaby Trophy for CRUZ SPIN A, the Secretary of Foreign Relations-Mexico Trophy for Best Elapsed – Cruz, and the Beneteau Trophy for – Best Corrected Beneteau.
Andy Horning’s Day Tripper II placed third in PHRF-C ending his multiple-year streak this year thanks to a couple of breakages in what he called a wild and woolly race. Befittingly, he was one of the three boats that claimed the Storm Trysail Team Trophy. He recalled being passed on the course by Rio100, calling the experience “otherworldly and amazing,”
Peter Isler accepted the NOSA Trophy for Best Elapsed Time – Overall on behalf of Rio100 and Moshayedi.
Rio100’s record-setting crew, flying under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee, were Manouch Moshayedi, Sebastian Moshayedi, Jeff Messano (Boat Captain), Peter Isler (Navigator), Morgan Gutenkunst (Tactician), Jesse Fielding (Strategist), Matt Noble, Marco Constant, Joseph Penrod, Ethan Doyle, Giovani Morelli, James Espey, Scott Tompkins, Scott Ewing, Chris Schubert, and Don Cianto.
Racers sailed one of three courses – the sprint to Dana Point, the extended San Diego run around the Coronado Islands, and the classic 125nm course to Ensenada, Mexico.
First run in 1948, the N2E has a storied history of mixing professional racers, celebrities, and recreational sailors to become a time-honored event for the city of Newport Beach, the City of Ensenada, and sailing enthusiasts who come from across the country to compete. In recent years, great winds have tested and challenged the skills of crews, many of who only sail overnight on this race. Orion, a MOD70, holds the record for fastest elapsed time on the 125nm course at 5:17:26.
Source: Laurie Morrison