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Mexico's drug war won't stop Newport to Ensenada sailing race

April 8, 2009 |  9:04 am

Spectators watch the start of last year's Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race from Inspiration Point in Corona Del Mar.

Sailors in the festive armada that is the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race will not be concerned about themselves, because Mexico's bloody drug war is being waged on land.

But what about family and friends who want to drive to Ensenada and greet the 187 entrants (down considerably from past years)?

They'll have to pass briefly through Tijuana and Rosarito Beach to reach the port city for the conclusion of a race that begins April 24. Tijuana has been a central theater for drug war violence, though violence has not been directed at tourists. Rosarito Beach and Ensenada also have experienced drug-related violence.

Police have promised "beefed-up" security, according to a news release issued by race organizers. "The Mexican authorities completely understand the concerns," said Jerry Montgomery, Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. commodore. "To them, it's a larger issue than just our race because of the affect on tourism year-round. But because of the race's high profile they are doing everything within their power to ensure the experience will be a safe one."

Ensenada city officials say they'll significantly add to the police presence during race weekend. Those worried about driving down can spend $60 for a round-trip journey aboard a Bajarama luxury bus. The buses depart Newport Beach and San Diego April 24 and return April 26. Interested tourists can book by calling (714) 557-5100, ext. 16, or via email at colby@rodheim-marketing.com.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Spectators watch the start of last year's Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race from Inspiration Point in Corona Del Mar. Credit: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times

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