How faith, grit and determination led one local to overcome the odds and claim unexpected—and joyous—victory in the 2016 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race
s Bob and Seana Siemon gazed at the snapping sails of boats jockeying for position at the start of the 2015 Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, Bob hatched the plan that would not only consume and define him over the next 12 months, but would set off a ripple effect that he feels to this day.
“This experience is going to fill my life with challenges, lessons and interesting people and places,” the 65-year-old Pelican Hill resident remembers thinking. “That’s why they call it an adventure.”
It was the deliberate choice to set and meet a lifelong goal that inspired Bob to tackle Newport to Ensenada. This 125-nautical-mile run from Newport Beach to Ensenada, Mexico, has been braved by sailors since 1948. In its heyday, the competition fleet numbered more than 625 boats. N2E, as it is known to insiders, can be as fickle as the sea itself. In 2015 the wind-dead race had skippers turning back even before they reached San Diego. The 2012 competition ended in tragedy as four sailors lost their lives in the wee hours of a moonless night.
When Bob set his sights on N2E 2016, he adopted a tried-and-true approach: He identified the endpoint first. “You have to envision what you want,” he said. “A dream is just a dream until you assign it a time and a date. Then it becomes a goal. A sailing race is a great metaphor for that process.”