The Harbor Column:

World’s largest yacht race returns

April 25, 2008|By MIKE WHITEHEAD


It is that time of year again for the start of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn.’s 61st annual Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. More than 400 sailboats will battle for position to the start lines in the waters just seaward of the Newport Harbor west jetty entrance. I cannot believe a year has passed since the last race. There will be a fury of activity this morning as hundreds of sailors make their final preparations for a finish line 125 nautical miles away.

Once again, I invite those on the shore to join in the excitement with me at Lookout Point Park on the bluffs above Big Corona, Corona del Mar State Beach. At the park, I will enlighten the spectators as to what is happening on the water, about the race, personal ocean experiences, and with my famous jokes. OK, maybe they’re not so famous but at least give me a courtesy chuckle. I won’t be alone as Chandler Bell, my radio show manager, will join in on the commentary too.


So grab your friends and come on down to the bluffs at noon today to see an unbelievable sight of the sheer number of sailboats. The association has hired the same professional sound company that provided both the public address system and sound engineer who did a good job last year on the bluffs.

This race is deemed the largest international yacht race in the world with almost 400 sailboats registered as of last Wednesday, and these skippers are hoping to cross one of the two start lines. The race is organized by volunteers who donate countless hours to provide a safe, enjoyable yacht race.

Tip of the week is everyone staying north of the border can hear a live race report update during my radio show Saturday. Mary Longpre will call in from race headquarters in Ensenada, and she will let us know what is happening on the race course, and if any interesting or usual happenings have been reported. In the past I have seen and heard of racers colliding at the start line, naked movies shown on the sails at night and boats sailing between the Coronado Islands.

Remember to tune in at 11 a.m. Saturday to "Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show" on KLAA-AM (830).

MIKE WHITEHEAD is the Pilot’s boating columnist. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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