This story originally appeared in the LA Times.
BY LILLY NGUYENSTAFF WRITER NOV. 12, 2021 8:03 PM PT
In early celebration of what will be the 75th anniversary of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. next year, the mayors of Newport Beach and Ensenada met at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club on Friday — a meeting that officials say hasn’t happened in at least 10 years.
Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery and Ensenada, Mexico, Mayor Armando Ayala exchanged proclamations and pins representing the emblems of their respective cities in acknowledgement of the diplomatic importance of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, which was first held in 1948.
The association was founded in 1947.
Commodore Mary Bacon said the meeting Friday was brought forward by Ayala and his staff, who have been visiting Ensenada’s other sister cities throughout Southern California, including Downey, Redondo Beach and Riverside.
Bacon said she felt the meeting was symbolic in that it allows the mayors to meet face to face and connect.
“It’s … opening the door to camaraderie and communication and setting the precedent also for the future,” said Bacon, adding that the impetus for the meeting was not necessarily because of the anniversary but is significant in relationship to it nonetheless. “I think this is a pretty big deal that they’re even doing this.”
Melanie and Victor Woodworth, who sit on the Newport Beach Sister City Assn. for Mexico, said that Newport Beach and Ensenada have been sister cities since 2006.
Next year’s race, which will take place in April, will be the 74th as the organization marks its 75th anniversary. Bacon said a celebration is planned for the end of the race that weekend.
“We are very thankful that you took the time and had the desire to meet with us about the Newport to Ensenada race,” said Avery in a toast to Ayala and the meeting. “It takes effort to keep the relationship going, to keep it solid and we really appreciate the effort that you made Mr. Mayor, Mr. Vice President … and it’s been a long time, so it’s good. Especially after COVID, it all stopped.”
“The momentum stopped, so this is very helpful for us to come together to make sure that next year — the 75th — is great and we’ll see a lot of boats and a lot of sailors,” said Avery.
Ayala said he and his staff were happy to be part of the organization for the event and to meet with Newport dignitaries.
“Seventy-five years of relationships and friends,” said Ayala.
“It’s very important to make the space to come to California,” said Ayala. “This event, it’s a little event, pero, but very important.”