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30 April 2007, 01:57 pm
Ill Wind Blows Well For A Few In 60th Ensenada Race
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LEXUS Newport To Ensenada Yacht Race 2007
Ensenada, Mexico

If Alec OBERSCHMIDT or Mark FOLKMAN and Mike GALLOWAY had any complaints about the 60th Lexus Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, it was not about the wimpy wind. 'The weather band was working for us,' OBERSCHMIDT said after sailing Staghound, a venerable Reichel/Pugh 50, to first place overall among the big boats on handicap time to claim the President of Mexico trophy.
Meanwhile, FOLKMAN and GALLOWAY's Ono, an Olson 40 half the size of the fastest finisher, Doug BAKER's Magnitude 80, won the President of USA Trophy by correcting out on all PHRF entries.

There were 449 entries but only 241 official finishers before the 11:00 cut off on Sunday. There were about 20 non-starters and an undetermined number of dropouts along the way. Some gave up the struggle in winds that reached double-digit velocity only briefly, while others - including many of the Cruising class boats that comprised one-third of the fleet - simply motored into Ensenada.

Slowest Race In Memory

David PRICE, skipper of Tres Gordo from Newport Beach, won Spinnaker B in the Cruising Class and said, 'This is my 45th race and this was the slowest race in my memory.'

But Staghound persevered. After two bigger and faster rivals in the Maxi class crawled to the finish 2½ hours ahead shortly after 09:00 on Saturday, the wind filling during the interlude allowed the San Diego boat to correct out by about 19 minutes on Jim MADDEN's Stark Raving Mad III, which owed it 87 seconds per mile for the 125-nautical mile race.

OBERSCHMIDT said, 'We do well in light air and we do well going to weather. That's the way we built the boat, so it's natural for us to win a race like this. And [for the last two hours] we had running wind [while] those other guys had been drifting [at the finish].'

Ono Betters Mad Max

That scenario also played out well for the top PHRF classes that sailed the last few hours in good breeze before the wind faded again at dusk. FOLKMAN and GALLOWAY's Ono finished in mid-afternoon on Saturday to nip last year's overall winner, Mad Max, by 32 seconds on corrected time.

The racers from Palos Verdes Estates, California did not hang around for the awards ceremony, but Mad Max partners Max ROSENBERG and Paul WREN did, and they briefly thought they had won again until the final handicap numbers were re-crunched.

'We were cheering for five minutes,' ROSENBERG said.

But the final result was not too disappointing. ROSENBERG recalled being befriended by FOLKMAN when he sneaked into King Harbor Yacht Club when he was only 13 years old.

'He told me it was important to get a new sail every year because they were just a little bit faster,' ROSENBERG said.

All Mad Max needed was 32 seconds, but ROSENBERG did not buy any new sails this year.

But he sailed the race well, hugging the shoreline where the breeze was all the way down and even using their spinnaker for more than six hours, while Mag 80 and Stark Raving Mad III never took theirs out of the bag.

'We were never more than two miles off the beach,' ROSENBERG said.

Rich Roberts (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Alec OBERSCHMIDT receives the trophy for Staghound's first place overall:© Rich Roberts
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