ENSENADA, Mexico, April 23, 2016 – Aszhou, a 63-foot Australian-built Reichel Pugh on its first Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race set an amazing new monohull record of 9:35:34. Like Orion in the multihull class, Aszhou destroyed the previous record by just over 1 hour and 28 minutes. With a PHRF rating of -143 however, the time will not be enough to win its class. That honor will likely go to Medicine Man, one of four boats in the Maxi class (including Pyewacket and Zephyrus) to best the old record.
“It was a good race with good competitors, well organized; winds were good and we had a good time,” said Aszhou’s owner Steve Meheen. He sails from both San Diego and Waikiki Yacht Clubs under the MisFits Sailing banner. Earlier this year, the 12-man crew sailed in the Puerto Vallarta Race and the Rum Runner race, winning their class in both. “It was also great to see so many boats on the water at the start. Although we expected wind earlier, we were happy to get what we got.” said Meheen. He and the crew thought the record might be possible, but no one wanted to talk about it so as not to jinx their chances.
By Camp Pendleton, the boat was reportedly ahead of everyone else and they had a good long run to stretch Aszhou’s “legs.” Although this was the first N2E for Meheen on Aszhou, he has been sailing for 30 years. Admittedly he’s getting more serious about the sport. “We got what we set out to do and had a great time; fantastic, really,” he said.
Meheen was one of many racers who reported seeing a small whale at the Newport Beach start. It might have been a good luck charm for many who saw it, including the crews of Adios, Pole Dancer and Orion.
Orion Skipper Charlie Ogletree reported seeing the whale cross his bow and lots of sea life along their speedy trip Friday. They, too, were expecting more wind at the start. “It was light in the beginning, so it did not look good for a record-setting run,” Ogletree said. “But the winds kept building to perfect conditions; we couldn’t have asked for any better.” Onboard, the crew of seven saw an average wind speed of 19 knots, maxing at 24. They hit a top speed of 37 knots yet averaged 25.6.
Through much of Orion’s record-breaking race Friday, Ogletree said they had a great side-by-side battle with Mighty Merloe. At one point, they veered a little farther offshore and found better wind. As to the record; Ogletree thinks this one could stand for a while, given how long it took to break the old one. However, “records are meant to be broken,” he said.