Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dueling Races

In a earlier post, I described how the entry list for the Newport-to-Ensenada Race was smaller than usual. This can be attributed to the recession and some very bad press about drug violence.

A third factor has been reported by the Los Angeles Times. The Border Run Race has been organized and billed as a safe alternative to entering Mexico. It is essentially the same race, but it is 35 miles shorter and ends in San Diego. It also has a dogleg that is upwind in the prevailing winds.

As it turns out, the new race may have been born more out of a personal dispute than out of concern for the safety of Mexican waters.

Randy Reynolds created the Border Run because his radical catamaran was denied entry in the Ensenada Race by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association. The Ensenada organizers claimed that Reynolds' catamaran is too prone to capsize for safe offshore racing. Reynolds claims that he has a right to be extreme and that N-to-E is a terrible race because of poor winds in recent years. The weather in Southern California is usually matched to the weather in Baja. This suggests that the Border Run should have taken a different course or a different date.

As of April 22, Newport-to-Ensenada has 272 entries, Border Run has 109. The total approaches the 400 boats of the glory days of the Newport-to-Ensenada Race.

The main losers are the struggling Mexican economy and the gentlemanly tradition of yachting.

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