Staghound Wins Newport to Ensenada Drifter

News brief, 5/1/07

If Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race winners Alec Oberschmidt had any complaints about the 60th edition of the race, it wasn't about the light wind. "The weather band was working for us," Oberschmidt said after sailing Staghound, a Reichel/Pugh 50, to first place overall among the big boats on handicap time to claim the President of Mexico trophy. Meanwhile, Mike Folkman and Mike 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 a.m. cutoff 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. 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 9 a.m. 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]."