The Newport Harbor Yacht Club-Cabo Race 2011 starts Friday and Saturday. The thought of not being able to attend it pounds at my head louder than a hangover and a bad mariachi band. In this column, I also have the results for the Newport Hi Point leaders and offer a couple of observations from the first 66 series at Balboa Yacht Club last weekend. Early H20 Spring Twilights at BYC started Wednesday off M mark.
Each year's Cabo race in March normally offers some of the best offshore racing in the world. If you are fortunate to start in a clearing westerly and have the spinnaker pole back before sunset, you are in for the ride of your life, and if you are really lucky, you are in Cabo before sunrise on Tuesday. I have not missed many of these races and, the last time I counted, I was at 29 races down the Baja Peninsula.
I have a story for each race and this year's story looks like a good start and a slow finish, and that's how I am going to place my bets. If you are keeping track of my bets this season, I am three out of eight so far. In the recent Island race I picked Pendragon VI to finish first, Grand Illusion in ORR, Horizon in PHRF C. Amante was only 15 seconds out of first place in PHRF D.
My Cabo pick to finish first is Bella Mente, hailing from Newport, R.I. This is not an easy pick because I prefer betting on the local team. Something tells me that a Reichell/Pugh design and a boat that has been on the race course for some time has the advantage over a newer boat. IRC B looked to be a close class and everyone was looking forward to seeing Dr. Laura's new Kernan 46 Katana take her first stride on the race course.
Rumor has it she was not given an IRC rating because the boat has composite stanchions and IRC indicates stanchions must be stainless. In IRC B I want to place my bet on "Criminal Mischief," although with the light wind finish I am going to have to go with the Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion.
In Class C, I am going with Horizon again until someone can step up and beat Jack and the Hippy. In Class D, my money is on the New J 111 Invisible Hand because, even just sitting at the dock, the boat looks fast. My overall bet is on the first to finish boat Bella Mente. Follow the race at http://www.nhyccaborace.com and click on the iBoat track button. You can also follow the race on the NHYC Cabo 2011 Facebook page.
Balboa Yacht Club had its first race of the 66 Series on March 12, and my old friend Tim "where's the mustache" Richley sailed a perfect race aboard the Choate 48 Amante. You did not miss a shift, Tim. Well done, buddy. From start to finish you had Amante in all the breeze. Now with a lot of help from Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's Paul DeCapua, I have come up with a very unofficial Newport Beach Hi-Point Standings.
John Szalay and his crew aboard Pussycat are leading with 25 points, Amante has 21 points, Dare has 20 points, David Gray and Pendragon have 18 points and Bill McKeever's "Reliance" is in fifth place with 17 points. If you would like to know where you and your team stands on winning the custom Newport Beach Hi-Point burgee from Nikki's Flags, you have to find me at BYC on Wednesday nights, sailing Harbor 20 in the Early Spring Twilights.
I posted a thread on the Harbor 20 website at the end of February asking if anyone wanted to start racing off M Mark on Wednesday nights after the time change. Next thing I know, more than 10 boats signed up. Please come on down and check out all the fun from the BYC docks, or help us with mark set.
Good times with good people in Newport Harbor. Come on down and join us.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.