By Mike Whitehead
1:04 PM PST, January 24, 2014
Wow, I cannot believe that the 2014 Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is starting to show on the fringes of my radar screen once again. In only a few months, hundreds of sailboats will cross the start line in the ocean off Balboa Pier in Newport Beach and head to the finish line in the bay off Ensenada.
The good news is that 88 boats have already registered as of the first of this week, and the world's largest international yacht race will have very serious racers and weekend just-for-fun sailors. This race is your opportunity to sail 125 nautical miles with the fleet from Newport Beach to Ensenada, Mexico, and the peace of mind that you will be safe crossing the border with other boaters.
The south-of-the-border activities are returning to the Hotel Coral and Marina just north of Ensenada. Sailors should plan to attend one of the safety seminars at various yacht clubs and West Marine stores from San Diego to Ventura. You can register and find more information at newporttoensenada.com or on Facebook.
Tip of the week is for boaters who will be traveling by plane, boat or car to San Francisco this weekend, where I will attend the inaugural Progressive Insurance San Francisco Boat Show.
The National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA) has expanded its annual shows to AT&T Park's McCovey Cove. This will be an in-water boat show where you will be able to board and explore larger luxury yachts, sailboats and fishing vessels. Additionally, this show is a great family event where inside the adjacent Pier 48, you will have boats for every budget and lifestyle from ski boats to family cruisers. Of course, vendors will display the latest and greatest marine accessories, and you can attend the daily seminars or on-water boating classes. NMMA will provide free trolley service from Pier 48 to McCovey Cove.
Some highlights of the show are exhibitions of on-the-water activities, including stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Discover Boating's hands-on skills training workshops are geared to the beginner boater or the experienced skipper. These one- to three-hour workshops will address docking, handling and precision boat control in close quarters.
Discover Sailing will host two-hour on-the-water classes for novices to advanced sailors. Additionally, in lieu of sessions, wannabe-sailors are invited for 2 ½-hour sails on San Francisco Bay with a licensed captain at the helm. There is a cost for these two sailing adventures, and I recommend that you register online.
As with most boat shows, the free seminars, DIY sessions and always-popular kids' zone are hits with almost everyone. You will probably find me in the kids' zone making a nautical craft to take home.
The show started Thursday and runs through Sunday. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.SFBoatShow.com.
Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.
Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at http://www.BoathouseTV.com, http://www.facebook.com/boathouseradio and http://www.twitter.com/BoathouseRadio.
MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.boathousetv.com.