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N2E: The experience has helped me become a better sailor, and person

Bang! Five minutes to the start, and I can hardly believe I'm getting to race the N2E for the second year in a row. I was always told that the Newport to Ensenada race was light, shifty, and miserable. After the past two years I don’t believe it anymore.

My name is Jeffrey Petersen and I am a junior sailor, age 15, from Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, CA, and a member of the Mater Dei high school sailing team. I have done the last two Ensenada Races and both have been a blast!

Both races showed 20 knots of breeze, surfable swell, and great racing. Last year, I sailed on a J/120 named ADIOS, skippered by [BYC Staff Commodore] Peter Bretschger, and this year on an Andrews 50 named IT'S OK! with a veteran team led by Lew Berry, [BYC Staff Commodore] Tom Purcell, and Andy Rose.

Both races were fun and we collected first place (in class) finishes both years, along with the top One Design award in 2016 and a First Boat from Newport Beach trophy this year. Both N2Es were some of the best racing I have ever done, with tactical challenges, many sail changes, and straight up drag races – what a blast!

Ever since I can remember I’ve watched from the dock as my father left for this race and I would stand there, wishing I could go with him. Thank God I was brought up in a sailing family, and that when I finally turned 14 my dad let me come with him on the race for the first time. I guess being allowed to sail distance races on big boats at this age is not very common but, I wish it were. I am so lucky to not only go, but to actually get to trim, grind, pack sails and be out there on deck at night just like one of the guys. This has helped me become a better sailor and a better person. I hope that big boat owners take notice and allow young sailors to come race with them, not only on local races but long distance ones too.

[Jeffrey's article and photo is our first reader submission, and we welcome it and others. Have an article to submit for consideration? Click on the Submit button on the menu bar above, or write us at -TFE]

Balboa YC's Jeffrey Petersen (yes, he's in the red visor) in the crew meeting before docking out for the 2017 Newport to Ensenada Race on the Andrews 50 IT'S OK! Photo: Denise Petersen

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