Frequently Asked Questions

The Newport to Ensenada Race (N2E) has three course options – racing to Ensenada, to San Diego or to Dana Point. Which one should I enter?

Entering any of the three courses allows you to participate in the parties, the events, the Newport Beach start, and to race with a YB Tracker. Here are some reasons for choosing a specific course:   

Only the race to Dana Point (N2DP) offers entries for small skiffs, high-performance dinghies, beachcats and other non-ocean racing boats supported by chase boats for safety. Portsmouth ratings are used for handicapping, and one-design classes can be formed with enough entries. This is a great race for Junior teams who want to join in on the fun of the event. For larger boats entering N2DP, PHRF and ORCA handicaps are used for scoring.

The race to San Diego (N2SD) is a smaller version of N2E, intended for racers who don’t have the time nor desire to go the full distance and finish in Ensenada. 

N2E is the main event and draws the most boats for the closest racing. It includes islands, coastline, strategic route choices, marine life and night racing.  It is a safe and fun way to visit Mexico with a large group. Entry and Exit formalities for Mexico are simplified for you as part of the event. The parties and awards are inside a resort complex, the Hotel Coral. Exploring downtown Ensenada is easy with a short free shuttle ride.   

Is safety in Ensenada an issue of concern?

The short answer is No, not above normal precautions exercised in any urban environment. US-based cruise ships routinely stop in Ensenada, and the US State Department ranks Baja California at Level 2 (exercise increased caution), the same rating as given to France and Italy. 

Which N2E Class should I enter? 

Except for any specific one-design classes, all entries will be scored using one of four possible rating systems:

– Portsmouth for small for dinghies, skiffs and beachcats.

– All multihulls will use ORCA. 

– Monohull cruisers and racers may enter using PHRF.

– For the first time, large and fast racing monohulls entered in the N2E may enter using ORR, consistent with its use for many other Pacific ocean races.

– For exceptionally large and/or fast boats which cannot be rated using the above systems, N2E offers an Unlimited Class. 

What about CRUZ classes?

The advent of CRUZ classes in the N2E is in recognition that wind conditions between sunset and sunrise may often be very light, making it difficult to progress towards the finish which reduces their time for fun in Ensenada. At their choice, entries in CRUZ classes may thus run their engine(s) in gear at night in exchange for a penalty added to their finish time.

In both PHRF and ORCA classes, entries may choose the CRUZ or non-CRUZ option.

Who is recommended to choose the CRUZ classes? 

The intent of the N2E CRUZ classes is to offer a participation option for those who want to use their engines at night to reduce their time on the course…it is not intended as a default option for all cruising monohulls or multihulls.

What is the difference between entering a CRUZ class and getting a cruising gear credit on my PHRF rating?

CRUZ and non-CRUZ classes are both within the governance of the SoCal PHRF handicap Class. SoCal PHRF offers rating adjustments for cruising gear carried by cruising type sailboats, as described in the PHRF Rules Appendix F, Configuration Adjustments (www.phrfsocal.org/boat-config-adj), so that they may race more fairly against racing-type sailboats, or even similar cruising boats that are stripped for racing. This is new in recent years.

Why does the 2020 N2E not offer a PHRF CRUZ Gennaker class, as they have in previous years? 

To explain why a separate Gennaker class is not being offered, it’s first useful to define the difference between Gennakers and Spinnakers: in the parlance of rating rule systems, they are both within the same class of downwind sails and are called Spinnakers. When both were listed as separate in the CRUZ classes, the Gennaker class had boats with Asymmetrical spinnakers, and the Spinnaker class had boats with Symmetrical spinnakers.

PHRF ratings are calculated based on the size and type of spinnaker used, and therefore it may be common to have entries with both types of spinnakers in the same class. In fact, this is standard throughout distance races in North America, where separation of classes is almost never determined by spinnaker type. Since PHRF already calculates any performance differences into the ratings, there is now no reason to separate them.

NOSA’s goal in making this change is to provide better racing for the participants. This is both to reduce confusion and misunderstandings, as well as to achieve more fair and accurate handicap results.  

How are PHRF class divisions determined?

All handicap systems work best between similar-performing boats, and PHRF is no exception. NOSA therefore tries to include similar-performing boats in the same classes. This is why we split the non-CRUZ classes into ULDB and non-ULDB classes, starting last year because this helps separates planing from non-planing boats. 

Another strategy for NOSA to improve the accuracy and fairness of the handicap racing results is to have smaller ranges with more class breaks so that boats of similar size and speed as well as boat type can be grouped together into a class. This requires us having more entries to enable us to divide into more start classes. By combining the CRUZ Gennaker entries into CRUZ Spinnaker classes, our expectation is to increase the total number of boats, which will allow us to have better class breaks for tighter and more fair racing.

For example in 2019, the non-CRUZ, non- ULDB, PHRF E Class had a class break rating range from 216 to 232, a spread of only 16 sec/mile with tight, competitive racing among the boats as a result. On the other hand, the PHRF CRUZ Gennaker class ratings ranged from 79 to 206, a spread of 127 sec/mile! This was not a tight class.

By combining both spinnaker types into one class, we hope to have enough entries for a PHRF CRUZ Spinnaker Class A, Class B, Class C, etc., which will provide more fair and competitive handicap racing for the participants. After entering, NOSA will assign you to a specific start-class based on class breaks determined from entries. Similarly, NOSA will divide PHRF non-CRUZ boats into ULDB and non-ULDB classes based on their PHRF certificate’s Performance Factor. 

What about use of ORR?

NOSA has added ORR as a rating Class for 2020. This means instead of racing under PHRF, monohulls may choose to get an ORR rating and race under the ORR rules. This system is more sophisticated in measurement, rating and scoring options, and its use is common in West Coast ocean races.

NOSA believes use of ORR in the N2E will thus appeal to the more serious big boat programs that participate in these other races, and leave PHRF use to be more focused on the recreational racers.

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Latest News


Adding more safety and excitement Raising the safety bar for the 71st annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race while setting the new standard for the involvement of friends and family is what the new relationship with YB Tracking is all about, said NOSA officials. Racers on all three courses: the 125-mile course to Ensenada, […]

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