ON BOARD WITH THE COMMODORE
Forecast for the day was 15 to 20 Kt SW with locally stronger gusts in the afternoon. Showers or thunderstorms likely. The Newport to Ensenada 2002 was our first race with our new boat a 1999 J 125 named LUCKY DOG.
At 10:45 LUCKY DOG call sign was changed to BYC-1 as Commodore Walker stepped aboard from the club’s race dock. Right off the dock, a rain squall came through which sent everyone diving for their foul weather gear. But we can’t complain, nor can we wipe the smile off our faces. The next thirteen hours was some of the best sailing I have ever experience in the Newport to Ensenada race
Fortunately for us, Commodore Walker attended S/C Anderson weather report that morning, which brought together our strategy. We had a great start, set the spinnaker and were off to the races. In hindsight we probably set the spinnaker to early, we were laying the mark at the start and the weather was building, as predicted by S/C Anderson. The fun meter was beginning to read all grins until the wind headed us by 20 degrees at Oceanside and we had to go back to our jib. This lasted for about an hour until the wind backed again and the chute went back up.
As the LUCKY DOGS knot log recorded a 15.8, the GPS told us we were really doing 16.7, I looked over for Commodore Walker’s reaction to this sudden surge in boat speed as we headed down this rather large swell just off Oceanside. I thought I might catch the commodore’s eyes wide open and hands gripping the boat tight. The opposite was the case, “I’ve never gone this fast before” smiling ear to ear as he ground in the spinnaker for the next wave. Along with his game face, Commodore Walker brought some of the best quote’s “ Bring it on, we’re boiling, we’re going to be finished before 1:00AM” were only some of the comments made by this exceptional competitor.
We finished at 1:58 and the celebrating began. LUCKY DOG finished third in class and we experienced some of the best yachting in history. Fleet Captain Craig Reynolds organized one of the best Balboa Yacht Club events in history with twenty-eight boats participating in the race, only three shies of the yacht club with most entries award. The clubs hospitality suite was full of members telling their sea stories, which was almost better than the race. The IT’S OK crew also invited all participants to a huge spread at their suite at the Coral. If you missed that one you missed a huge shift! Thank you, Lou and Andy! If you’re not a sailboater any longer or never have been, but want to join in on the fun next year, be sure to contact next years Ensenada Race chairman or the Fleet Captain. Join the fun and bring home the smiles! Let’s go yachting!
Commodore Walker passed away this last week, this one hurt like a punch below the belt. I will always remember his warm greetings " Lenny Bose" December 30, 2018.