Gypsy makes it to Ensenada

April 27, 2003

Coral Wilson

At 5 a.m. the finish line for the Tommy Bahama Newport to Ensenada

yacht race was already in sight, but it was still a long way to the

end. Gypsy bobbed slowly on the water and the waves gently tickled

her sides.

In a bleary-eyed state of exhaustion, it is easy to forget that

seconds might make all the difference. Time seems to be in abundance


but experienced skippers know that the passing minutes count.

As the crew struggled with lines and sails and watched for signs

of wind, nature remained unsympathetic to human impatience. The crew

submitted, gratefully accepting every puff.

"Come on Gypsy girl," Camille Daniels urged the boat on.

Under a crescent moon, Ensenada's lights reflected on the glossy,

black water. The faint red and green lights of boats speckled the

horizon. In the early morning haze, the boats floated like ghosts in

the night, with large white sails and colorful spinnakers.

Suddenly, the sailboats appeared with the light. They were


"Pretty weird, you are all alone for all that time and here's

everybody," watch captain Seth Morrell said.

Through binoculars, Daniels was able to identify some of the

competition. Boats Cadenza and Amante hovered nearby. Gypsy, a

30-year-old, 52 foot, Columbia sailboat was in the company of much

larger, faster boats.

Moving wave by wave, inch by inch, the sailboats moved steadily

toward the finish line. Excellent conditions and feisty winds had

brought the boat this far but the race had come to a painful

standstill. The knotmeter hit zero.

On his 24th time sailing the race, Skipper Steve Washburn warned

his crew that, less than a mile from the finish, the race still might

take hours.

Gypsy was a well-sailed boat under six previous owners but this

race was its second, skippered by Washburn. The previous year, the

steering gear broke and the race ended abruptly at Dana Point.

This year, determined to put together the best crew to make a

winning team, Washburn, 46, collected crewmembers from his years of

past sailing experience.

Two college sailing team friends from UC Irvine, Morell of Chicago

and Tom Burton of Minnesota, flew in for the event. Past colleague

from Dallas, Neale Hickerson and his 19-year-old son Marc Hickerson,

joined in. Longtime friend Daniels of Seal Beach offered years of

sailing experience. Emmet Holden arrived Friday morning from Chicago.

And Washburn brought his 13-year-old son, Steve (Stevie) Washburn Jr.

"Steve is a well-known and accomplished sailor so when a guy like

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