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And a good race was had by all

May 01, 2000

Terry Phillips

There were close to 500 boats in this year's Newport-to-Ensenada Race

with as many as 12,000 sailors and support crews participating. What

there wasn't much of was that necessary ingredient -- wind!

For the second year in a row, that movement of air failed to push the

fiberglass (wood, steel and aluminum, too) as fast as most sailors would

have liked. However, once they reached Ensenada and strolled into the

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Bahia Hotel Courtyard, all the frustration seemed to dissipate rather

quickly.

The Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. scoreboard was abuzz with skippers

straining to see how their boats fared in this most famous of races.

There were cheers and tears, with several hoping they had placed a little

farther up the ladder than they did.

"Hey, we didn't win, but we had fun," said Henry Hernandez of San Diego

after finishing his 11th Newport to Ensenada race.

Al and Sharon Schoneberger of Newport Beach parked their sloop, Blind

Date.

"I decided to leave the boat in San Diego and drive. The way we were

going we would have missed all the parties," Schoneberger said with a

smile.

Top honors went to Doug Baker's Magnitude in 15:96:39, edging Roy

Disney's Pyewacket by approximately 7 and 1/2 minutes. However this was

nearly 4 and 1/2 hours behind Pyewacket's record-setting finish of 11:54

in the 1998 race.

For Paul Potts, a member of the Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego,

coming in first or last wasn't the objective; finishing this fun race

was. His boat, Dauntless, crossed the finish line in 37:96:56, trailing

all other entries in the Ancient Mariner Class.

The well-behaved crowd was in fine spirits as the warm Baja sun began to

set on Saturday evening. Many danced to the music in the lounge as the DJ

cranked up the volume to 10. The margaritas flowed freely and frequently

with crews sipping far faster than their boats had sailed.

The hotel room balcony overlooking the courtyard displayed signs of yacht

clubs, sponsors and businesses. Hundreds of people lined the rails

overlooking a sea of sunburned sailors. Many of the sailors only get the

chance to see one another once a year, and it's right there at the Bahia

Courtyard. There were hugs, kisses, high-fives and handshakes aplenty and

a place where long pants couldn't be found. Shorts, logo-covered T-shirts

and Mt. Gay Rum red baseball hats were the dress of the day.

Every restaurant appeared crowded beyond capacity, and the taco vendors

and fast food stands were as busy as Nordstom during a 70%-off sale. The

residents of Ensenada couldn't have been more friendly and appeared to be

having just as much fun as the racers and support crews.

Hussong's Cantina had a waiting line to get in, and the music could be

heard the entire length of the block. Pennants, shirts and hats were

being hocked from kiosks lining the streets, and the good people of

Ensenada were very thankful for a sport called boat racing.

Many racers were so exhausted from the length of the trip that partying

in the courtyard was out of the question. With the 2000 Newport to

Ensenada now history, it was time for a little siesta.

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