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Excellent adventure

April 22, 2005

Lindsay Sandham

Every year, the world's largest international yacht race, Newport to

Ensenada, makes its grand start right here in Newport Harbor.

This afternoon, around 500 yachts of all classes and sizes will

hang around the harbor, with crews eagerly waiting to get out and

start the journey down to Mexico. Some are hoping to bring back one

of the world-famous trophies and some are goingjust for the fun of

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it.

Balboa Island's Bob Morrison, 75, hasn't sailed the race in 25

years, but he and some of his old sailing buddies decided to give it

one last go.

"We go mainly for the hell of it," Morrison said. "These are guys

I've sailed with for years."

Originally, the crew of Morrison's Columbia-50 was to consist of

himself and four of his sailing buddies -- Pete Newberg, 83; Herb

Boss, 83; Rex Young, 73; and Kip Hering, 67. Unfortunately, Boss and

Young backed out due to health problems, so Morrison's 58-year-old

nephew-in-law, Douglas Nunnaly, is flying in from Virginia to fill

in.

Although this exact crew has never sailed the Ensenada race, all

-- with the exception of Nunnaly -- have participated multiple times.

"I haven't been there for 25 years," said Young, who lives in

Bakersfield. "I expect it [Ensenada] will be [different] -- I'm told

the harbor is different, too."

Hering said that although he expects the town of Ensenada to be

different than when he last went, more than 30 years ago, some things

never change.

"The wind and the waves are still the same," the Escondido

resident said.

But the boat the crew will be sailing is much different. "La Otra

Mujer," named by Morrison's wife and translated into English as "The

Other Woman," is a Columbia-50, which he traded in his Columbia-36

for in 2000. Morrison has been working on it ever since. This year,

he decided it was finally ready for the big race.

"I thought it was time," he said. "It's been a long time. I've got

the boat in reasonable shape. I spend a lot of time working on it --

that's where 'La Otra Mujer' comes in. I do everything but the engine

work myself."

Morrison and his buddies practiced as much as possible by sailing

the boat out to Catalina Island and other local sailing destinations.

Although Nunnaly has been sailing back East for years, Hering said

the newcomer will have a few things to learn. Nunnaly also brings

down the average age of the crew.

"He's a spring chicken compared to everybody else," Morrison said.

Even with an average age of around 68, the men aren't nervous

about it, mainly just excited.

"There's nothing quite so thrilling as running downwind to the

finish line," Young said.

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