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Anyone can be a winner in Newport2Ensenada

First-to-finish is nice and a record is extra special, but how about a $6,000 Lamborghini watch?

That’s one prize Magnitude 80 missed last year but every boat in a racing division will be chasing again in the Newport Ocean Sailing Association’s 63rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race starting April 23. A new sponsor, Lamborghini Travels, will present a limited edition diamond watch to the winner of the President of USA trophy for the fastest overall corrected handicap time that Cleve Hardaker of San Diego won last year on Sojourn, a Catalina 36.

The newest sponsor stated, “Lamborghini Travels’ goal when sponsoring an event is to seek originality. We find this through high end events.”

Hardaker sailed in PHRF-K, the lowest-rated of the racing classes, as did Chris Meyers of Lawton, Okla., sailing a Columbia 29-2 named CC.

Just because you’re racing under the radar doesn’t mean you’re overlooked. Hardaker won a $5,000 watch with the top prize. Meyers and his son Jay won … the coveted Brass Spittoon.

Meyers, who couldn’t be blamed for not hanging around for the entire awards ceremony, said, “I didn’t even realize I’d won the prize until some time after the race.”

His reaction later? “I was, uh … I was amused.”

The Brass Spittoon, which needs no description, isn’t just a booby prize. Until the format was modified a few years ago the winner was the last boat to finish before the deadline time. Some of the contests among stragglers circling above the line for tail-end honors were legendary.

Then the honor was modified to recognize the slowest handicap time.

Meyers had done the 125.5 nautical miles from Newport Beach to Ensenada about a dozen times but always on a competitive multihull, not an aging monohull.

“The boat had problems with the rigging and problems with the sails,” he said. “Bottom line was we didn’t do very well—but we did finish the race. There were several boats finishing after us when we crossed the line. When Jay told me later we had won the booby prize I was a little surprised.”

He suspects some of his followers may have been Cruising Division boats, which may motor part of the time and aren’t eligible for the Brass Spittoon.

“Humphrey Bogart won that award [on Santana] one year, didn’t he?” Meyers asked. “At least I was told that he did. If that is true then I’m in pretty good company.”

Bogie’s achievement couldn’t be immediately confirmed, but Meyers added, “I probably will try not to repeat this year.”

He also said, “I am absolutely impressed and thrilled and indebted to the people who put on that race. I accept the award in the spirit in which it is made. I’m trilled to death to participate in the race.”

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 9:44 am and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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