Ryan Lawler, 2017 Outstanding Angler of the Year, with his bluefin tuna catch where did he find a pair of those shoes?
By LEN BOSE
I am a bit of a history buff and one of the subjects that have intrigued me is the different achievements that can be won by our harbor users. In this column, I will go around the harbor and give a brief description of the different awards and who has won them over the years.
Let’s start with the Commodore Albert Soiland Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the winner of the “Flight of the Snowbirds” now referred to as “The Flight in Newport Beach.”
In 1957, 163 boats signed up to place their name on the trophy; Dick Ward crossed the finish line first and placed his name on the trophy that year. Other past winners that I recognize are Barton Beek in 1940 and Dick Deaver in 1949 with 138 boats that year, Burke Sawyer won in 1958 with 151 boats competing, Pat Scruggs won in 1968 and Jon Pinckney’s name is plastered all over the trophy. In fact, Pinckney was the first to win in a Harbor 20 last year. Participation has been down from the late ‘50s, but if you can get your name on this award you will be in the history books for a long time; the first race was sailed in 1936. This year’s race is on July 15 and is open to Harbor 20s and Lasers.
Len Bose receiving the Edward F Kennedy
My next stop was at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club’s trophy cases. You’ll find two very prominent awards. The first being the Edward F. Kennedy Memorial that is awarded to the Newport Harbor Yachtsman of the Year. This is one of two awards in our harbor that can be given to a non-club member of the presenting club. First awarded in 1984, names that jumped out at me are Lloyd “Swede” Johnson 1985, David Grant 1996, Nick Scandone 2006 and Mike Pinkney 2008. The other award is the Elmer Carey Memorial (formerly Balboa Bay Club Yachtsman of the Year until 1982) Award to the BCYC Yachtsman who most contributed to the organized yachting community. This award was first presented in 1959. Past recipients included Cooper Johnson in 1966, Jim Emmi in 1975, Lorin Weiss in 1988, Carolyn Hardy in 1998 and in 2012, Peter Haynes.
J.A. Beek Perpetual
For those of you that love our harbor but don’t happen to sail, I stopped by the Balboa Angling Club and talked with Mindy Martin, the club’s secretary. So, let’s see if a sailor can tell a good fishing story? One of the highest esteemed awards at the BAC is the “Outstanding Angler of the Year Award” which is scored on a point system based on line test used. Previous winners include Jim Duncan in 2002, Vick Sommers in 2011 and Ryan Lawler in 2017.
The J.A Beek Perpetual Trophy awarded for the First Tuna of the season has been restored by the Beek family and is displayed in the BAC’s trophy case. This award was first presented in 1979, and names on this award you might know are Jeff Jones 1983, Steve Crooke 2008 and Nate Dunham 2018.
Harbor 20 Fleet One has one particular award that has always grabbed my attention and is presented at the end of the year holiday party. The Arthur B Strock Service Award is given to members who have performed outstanding service for the Harbor 20 Fleet One organization. This award was first presented to Arthur Strock in 2001 for his service and in 2006, it became an annual award. Names of admiration are Phil Ramser 2007, Peter Haynes 2009, John Whitney 2013, Shana Conzelman 2016 and Debra Haynes 2017.
NHYC Bergie of Merit
My next stop was at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club where two awards grabbed my attention the first time I ever walked in. The first is the Don Vaughn Award, which is bestowed annually to NHYC members’ “Crew of the Year.” This crew member has shown their positive influence and importance onboard racing sailboats. The recipient is chosen only by the previous winners. This award was first presented in 1981 to Gordo Johnson and other past winners included Bill Menninger in 1997, Marshall Duffield in 1998, Brad Avery in 1999, Craig Chamberlain in 2002, Tom Corkett in 2015 and Nick Madigan in 2016.
The next award is one of the most coveted trophies in our harbor and can be presented to any distinguished yachtsman that has brought unusual distinction or notice to West Coast yachting and the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, which was first awarded in 1936. This is not an annual award and is awarded upon the action of the NHYC board of directors. Names that grabbed my attention were Don Ayres, Grant Baldwin, Tom Blackaller, Tom Corkett, Dennis Conner, Bill Ficker, John Kilroy, Justin Law, Lowell North, Michael Menninger, Phil Ramser, Chris Raab and Nick Scandone.
Over at the Sea Scout Base, starting in 2007, they have presented the “Good Sea Scout Award” that honors local mariners for their contribution to the boating industry, from innovative yacht and sail designs, and improving youth access to boating and sailing, to sportsmanship at the highest level. Above all, those honored have shown the personal character traits that scouting embodies and promotes. Recipients include Duncan McIntosh 2007, Jim Warmington 2008, Dave Ullman 2009, Marshall Duffield 2010, David Janes 2011, Bill Ficker 2012, Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin 2014, Timothy Hogan 2015, Gary Hill 2016 and Seymour Beek 2017.
My last stop was at the Balboa Yacht Club where two awards stand out above the rest in the large trophy cases you see as you enter the club. The first is the BYC Sportsman of the Year Award. It was first presented in 1939 and given to an active racing skipper who consistently displayed outstanding sportsmanship during the yachting season. Some of the names are Barton Beek 1940, Bill Ficker 1946, Bill Taylor 1966, Dave Ullman 1969, John Arens 1972, Lloyd “Swede” Johnson 1982, Paul Blank 1996, Nick Scandone 2003 and Alex Steele 2016. Another noteworthy area in the BYC is the “Wall of Recognition” that was created in 1980, and honors many of the members who have served as Distinguished Yachtsmen over a span of years in the world, yachting through excellence in racing, or have been a credit to the BYC. Names like Dave Ullman 1980, Lloyd “Swede” Johnson 1988 and Nick Scandone 2006 are just a few of the names that appear.
Unfortunately, I was not able to list every winner of these highly regarded awards and will leave that to you when you view these trophies, to decide where your name should be placed.
Sunday July 17 is the start of the 81st Flight of the Lasers and when people like Brett Hemphill, David Beek and Gator Cook call me up to ask me to write a story about “The Flight” I am all over it.
First call I made was to Seymour Beek to find out as much about the race as I could. Beek first sailed in the race at the age of seven, I did not happen to ask Beek what year that was but the race started in 1936. The race first was known as the Flight of the Snowbirds, which is 11 foot monotype sailing dingy. The Snowbird was a class in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Beek’s best finish’s were in 1948 and 49 with two-second places to Gil Kraemer and Dick Deaver respectively. These were the years when as many as a 160 boats would be on the starting line at the same time. To finish in the top fifty would be quite the accomplishment, but to finish second during this time,with all the past Olympians 0n all those boats, needs some serious respect and acknowledgment.
Beek refers to the race as “The Flight” because over the years the race has been sailed in the Snowbirds from 1948 to1970, Kites 1972 to 73 and now Lasers from 1975 to present. The Laser also happens to be an Olympic class boat.
In 1954 Tom O’Keefe won The Flight and I had a chance to talk to him over the phone. “ At that time The Flight was the largest one design race in the world. I recall once I got into the lead there was a news reel boat filming the race and later played the news reel in the theaters.” O’Keefe said. “ I also remember all the power boats in the bay blowing their horns at the finish line when I won the race. It was a big deal at that time. O’Keefe recalled a story about a competitor who's boat did not measure in to the rules and this person had won a number of different regattas that summer. There was someone who took offense to this competitor and swam from Balboa Island and tipped the boat over just before the start of the race. O’Keefe recalls the harbor department following the swimmer back to the beach he had come from. “I still have the silver plated bowl I won as the take home trophy that year, I will always remember all those boats.” O’Keefe said.
Next I checked in with Chris Raab who had won The Flight in Lasers in 99, 02 & 03. “ This race meant everything, I needed a new sail really bad and the winner received a new sail. My father was at work and he did not have time to trailer my Laser down from Long Beach so I remember sailing my boat from Long Beach to Newport, at the age of 15, so that I could practice a couple of days before the event. Dude this race meant everything to me, it was huge!” Raab said.
I had to pick up the phone and call the man himself Jon Pinkney who has won The Flight more than anyone else with seven wins. Like all the past winners the first thing he said was “ It was the big event, the biggest race on the bay at the time, and I wanted that new sail. Out of the 100 boat that started the winner was the king.” Pinckney said.
Pinckney recalls the 1990 Flight, which was one of the windiest, as the one that got away from him. “ Phil Ramming and I came off the starting line ahead of the fleet. Ramming had just tacked off of O mark to starboard and lee bowed me back to the right side of the course. Ramming then made it in front of the ferry, that was headed into Balboa Island, and I had to sail around it. I was never able to catch him after that.” Pinckney said. This was some twenty-six years ago and Pinckey was telling the story as if it was yesterday.
When I told Pinckney and Raab about the winner of this years Flight receiving a new sail they both got rather quite. I’ll let you know if I see Raab on his Laser this week before the start. Sailing Pro shop is donating the new sail along gift certificates, the entry is free thanks to the Newport Chamber of Commerce. There are several categories that people can enter, such as the youngest skipper, parent child, couple, oldest skipper, and bragging rights.
Tom Corkett with his trophy – War Canoe – for winning the Transpac overall in 1963
By LEN BOSE
The year was 1988, and I had just started my career in yacht sales. One day while gazing out the window, a large off-green BMW pulled up in front of the office with the initials TC on the license plate. My broker noticed where I was looking and said with an envious tone in his voice “That’s Tom Corkett.” Ever since that time, I thought that’s the person I want to emulate.
Tom Corkett – T.C. – hope you don’t mind, but I am going to use his initials because that’s how I have always greeted him from the time we used to work together at Ardell Yachts in the ‘90s until the present day as we cross tacks in the Harbor 20 fleet.
TC was born in Pasadena. His family purchased a home on the harbor in 1947, and then they made it their full-time residence in 1954. At that time, the active racing fleet in the harbor were the 11-foot Snowbirds. TC crewed for his sister, Nancy, in Snowbirds, until he wanted his own boat. He recalled the 1954 “Flight of the Snowbirds,” where 200 boats would show up at the starting line. He finished mid-fleet, yet went on to describe how Nancy won the pin end of the starting line with Tom O’Keefe, and the two of them punched out in front of the fleet. Nancy finished a close second to O’Keefe. TC also recalled that they would close down the harbor for the Flight, and other boaters would line up around the outside of the race course to spectate, as well as watch the powerboat races down the Lido Channel: those were the two big events of the summer. “We used to have power boats going 50 mph down the harbor. It was great,” TC recalled.
At the age of 21, TC started the sailing club at Ardell Yachts, where he would give sailing lessons on new fiberglass sailboats, and then after the lessons, sell students those boats. Cal, Pearson and Hinckley sailboats were the product lines that Ardell Yachts represented in the early ‘60s. During the ‘70s, interest rates jumped up and Ardell Yachts turned to brokerage boats. By the time TC was 32, he had hooked into a deal, representing both buyer and seller of a 180-foot steel motor yacht, “Pegasus II.” “That really got me going...that was the start of it all,” TC said. He described the interior with ornate furniture and chandeliers – more like a hillside mansion on the water. The vessel had 16 crew members.” TC said.
For as long as I have known TC, he is not one to tell you about his recent deals. I was always left in awe of the amount of traffic in and out of his office. From the Ardell copy room, I would constantly hear: “Hi Tom, I need another boat.” One time, I noticed a very well-known movie studio CEO come into the office unannounced, and after about 30 minutes, TC was headed out to show an 80-foot Alloy sailboat via executive jet to some far-off land. I remember him walking past the copy room and noticing me, then coming back and telling me he was not going to make twilights that night, and it was okay if I wanted to take the boat out.
TC has spent his time at sea. At the age of 21, he put a crew together for the 1963 Transpac aboard the family boat “Islander.” This boat was designed by Kirk Uhlman, and built-in 1958 by Joh de Good & Sohn in Germany. “The boat did not sail to weather very well, but it could sail to its rating downwind,” TC said. TC knew how to put together a winning team with Dr. Jack Paschall as navigator, Gary L. Myers, William Cook, a rigor from Lido Shipyard by the name of Mark Von Mills and Burke Mooney. The crew was very young, and TC was the youngest skipper to enter and win a Transpac. He had a young crew. Three were in their 20s and two in their early 40s. What they lacked in age, they made up with experience. Four of the six of them had sailed in Transpacs before, and all had done plenty of offshore sailing.
They only had one serious problem during the 14-day run. On the fourth day, their steering unit began to cause trouble. “Islander’s” wheel, mounted on a pedestal in the cockpit, was connected to the rudder mechanism by a bicycle chain working the sprockets. When two of the sprockets popped the chain, it developed so much slack, that there was far too much play in the wheel to steer efficiently. After seven hours of handiwork, the crew completed a gadget called an Idler consisting of a metal wheel at the end of a plywood handle which could be wedged from the chain to keep it taut, which held up for the remainder of the race. “We sailed rhumb line and the great circle; we sailed the shortest course and ended up winning the race,” TC said. He went on to describe that they had blown out all their spinnakers and finished the race with wung out jibe. “We should have had new sails. We purchased used sails before the race and they were tired before they even got on the boat. I found out really quickly, you cannot sail that race with used sails,” TC said.
Another offshore event that TC participated in was the 1992 Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Kaneohe. He and his longtime friend Scott Abrams double-handed the 68-foot Nelson Marek “Peregrine.” In that race, they faced the hottest navigator of our time, Stan Honey, aboard a Santa Cruz 70 named “Mongoose.” He was also sailing double-handed with the owner. TC and Abrams won on corrected time.
Over the years, TC has taken home some of the most prestigious awards that can be given out on our harbor by winning the Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Burgee of Merit and Don Vaughn Memorial Trophy, but my favorite and maybe even TC’s is the War Canoe he won for winning the Transpac overall in 1963.
Today, you can find TC at the start of this year’s Pacific Cup aboard “Runaway” or racing a Harbor 20 with one of his 10 grandchildren.
When I ended my interview, I thanked TC and he said: I’ll sea ya on the water.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.
It has been a long time since I took a tour of the bay looking for a story, so I did just that this week. My first stop was at the 15th Street public pier next to the American Legion where I met a friendly couple who were starting their daily errands.
I am going to refer to this couple as Jane and Mike who have been living aboard their vessel in the mooring fields just in front of the public dock, a little over five years. I first asked Mike how was the rotation of the dinghies on the public dock? In other words, has he seen more than one dinghy tied up to the dock for weeks or months without moving? “No, it has been really good lately. In fact, the 72-hour zone has kept empty for the most part; harbor services have been doing a good job enforcing the time limits on the dock,” Mike said.
He wasn’t in a rush, so the conversation moved toward how is living aboard on a mooring. He replied that things have gotten much better, then commented that it used to be rather “rough” in the J & H mooring fields with drugs, people stealing dingy fuel and other late-night antics. “It’s really cleaned up out there over the last year since harbor services have taken over the mooring management,” Mike said. Jane and Mike have their own mooring permit and are permitted liveaboards. I asked if they have been inspected, as each year liveaboards are inspected by the city making sure their vessels are in good order and meeting the permit requirements. Jane replied, “Yes, we have been inspected twice this year.” She went on to explain how Harbor Services has been fair to them as well as others; they don’t pounce when things seem to be a little out of place. Both Jane and Mike are very pleased with the change in city codes to allow them to transfer their mooring permit should that day ever come. They also felt that a few things can be made better, such as a dinghy rack on the beach, or even a floating dock on a nearby mooring were people could tie up their dinghies for longer periods of time and just kayak out to them. I thought Mike had a great idea for the liveaboards, and that was to be given a card so they could slide the card to show when they’re using the pump out systems around the harbor. Either that or show their invoices from the mobile pump-out services.
There has been more discussion with council members regarding charter operations in Newport Harbor. I took a simple count around the harbor and found 21 large charter boats. Most of the docks where these charter companies work from are in good to very good condition with proper lighting, electric outlets, and firefighting equipment. Although, if city code enforcement took a closer look, then they’d notice what I saw: improper lighting, electric cords running over the water and very suspicious docks in three locations. I would have to assume that the Charter Boats have to log when and how they empty their holding tanks.
My observations around the harbor: I still notice more than one dinghy tied up to moorings, there are many derelict boats tied up to shore moorings, the fishing charter boats are very aggressive to other boaters that are whale watching, and I keep noticing one of the electric boat rental companies coming very close to overcapacity on their rentals. If that’s all I can complain about for now...we’re doing pretty good to start the summer!
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The Balboa Angling Club (BAC) is sponsoring their 16th Annual YSH (Yellowtail, Seabass, Halibut) Tournament on Thursday, June 14 through Saturday, June 16. Anyone can enter, and no membership is required. Tournament hours are from 8 p.m. on Thursday through 5 p.m. on Saturday. Fish may be weighed in at any certified scale location, but weigh slips must be emailed, faxed or delivered to BAC before 5 p.m. Monday, June 18. Call to confirm that the club has received your weigh slip. One fish per angler, per species limit for the trophy awards.
Summer sailing has started with the American Legion’s Monday nights, BCYC Taco Tuesdays, SSYC Hibachi Wednesdays and the NHYC Twilight Series on Thursday...you can sail almost every night of the week!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport
It is with our deepest sorrow that we must inform you of the listing for sale of our beloved friend LINSTAR.
I have sailed and ran Linstar for the last ten years. We have competed in The Big Boat Series, Southern California One Design, and Club Racing. This is the best all around boat I have ever sailed on. She can do windward/leeward races, point to point and take the family cruising.
When viewing this boat please notice her like new sail inventory, rebuilt engine, six-year-old sail drive, strengthen mast step, eight-year-old mast and standing rigging.
She is a very clean boat with a huge inventory of equipment, she is located in Newport Beach California and very easy to show. Call for an appointment today! ASKING $ 139,000
OWNER WANTS HER SOLD! NOW!!!
The J 109 offers one of the best cabin layouts in the performance racer/cruiser market today. Forward is a large guest stateroom that features plenty of storage with good ventilation and privacy door. Next aft is the salon with removable drop leaf table with two straight settees to port and starboard and storage above. Continuing aft is the galley to port with pressure water, stainless sink, two-burner stove and oven and more than enough counter space for preparing large meals for the crew or family. Across and to starboard is the navigation station that features plenty of room for books, laptop, electronics, and charts. Just aft is the head with access to the aft settee. Aft of the galley is the owner's stateroom with double berth, hanging locker and privacy door.
Carbon Ullman Class Sails 2014 (only used 8 times)
Carbon Class Jib
Class 2A Runner
Other Sails all very fresh:
(1) North 3A (Only used three times)
Code O Ullman
(1) North PHRF 2A Runner
(1) North Never used 135% Genoa
(1) North main
Ullman Class Jib
B&G wind instruments with (7) displays.
B&G Auto Pilot
Norstar GPS Plotter
Icom VHF with Remote Mic at Helm
Stereo New in 2014 w (2) Interior and (2) Exterior Speakers
(2) Batteries two years old
Fenders & Docklines
Stern Cockpit Seat / Locker Included
Harken Roller Furling
Tuff Luff Head Stay for IRC
Backstay fo IRC
H/C Pressure Water
Danforth anchor with rode
Jib furler cover
2-burner propane stove and oven
10-lb LPG tank
Harken #46 self-tailing primary winches
Harken #40 self-tailing halyard winches
2 winch handles
2 PVC winch pockets
Harken ball bearing blocks and fine tune for mainsheet
Harken traveler with 4:1 purchase
Harken ball bearing tracks with 4:1 jib and genoa tracks
Harken foot blocks for genoa sheets
Harken spinnaker sheet blocks on U-Bolts
Harken block on padeye on the bowsprit
5 halyard/reef turning blocks
4 halyard Spinlock stoppers on either side of the companionway
Tack line lead aft to cockpit
2- bow mooring cleats
2-stern mooring cleats
2-sheet bags on coach roof
P/S handrails on coach roof
Aluminum wheel and S/S pedestal guard
P/S boarding gates
It may be impossible to have both cruising luxury and high-level race performance in the same boat, but the J 109 comes as close as can be achieved in the search for the right blend of compromises. With refrigeration, ample fresh water, and two comfortable staterooms, a couple can cruise for several weeks without needing to visit port. The value is in her performance design and quality construction, which will allow you to sail, offshore, club race and take the family cruising safely. This is the type of yacht you can be proud of in front of the Yacht Club. HARD TO FIND! GREAT VALUE!
While attending last month’s Harbor Commission meeting, John Kappler, Newport Beach’s Water Quality Manager, started his presentation of the quality of the water in our harbor. This is when I normally shut down when engineers start talking about parts per million and water flow. As Kappler continued, I sat up in my seat when he started talking about the tons of trash and organic materials that his team keeps out of the harbor annually. I quickly made a note that I needed to learn more from this guy.
When I called for the interview, Kappler returned my call quickly. I don’t speak engineer at all, and he made it easy for me to understand what we can do to make our harbor cleaner.
Kappler moved from Ohio, with an engineering degree, about 15 years ago to escape from the winters, and had family in Orange County. Soon after arriving, he got a job with the City of Newport Beach. He spends his leisure time surfing and stand up paddling, and engages in competitive ocean swimming, where he regularly competes in the local Ocean Swimming series and the Balboa to Newport Pier race.
Kappler’s job as Water Quality Manager is within Public Works, where he is tasked with environmental water quality, water testing, monitoring and placing systems to keep trash out of the bay, managing the different grants, public education, and inspecting shipyards and construction sites. The list went on and on, and I started to think...when does this guy sleep?
As you would guess, fall and winter are his busy seasons, making sure the underground CDS units are cleaned. The CDS is a hydrodynamic separator using swirl concentration and continuous deflective separation to screen, separate and trap trash, debris, sediment and hydrocarbons from stormwater runoff. I had never known that the city had this type of equipment. There are also Marina Trash Skimmers, catch basin screens and the different types of booms that gather trash.
“The city has done a good job of chasing money and implementing projects,” said Kappler, while describing all the different grants the city has obtained to manage the equipment costs each year.
The City is also working toward marine recycling centers, where boaters can dispose of used engine oil and absorbent bilge pads. There has been a center in place at Marina Basin that will be remodeled and expanded in the next couple of weeks to include transmission fluid and batteries. If it all works out, there might be two additional centers in the future at the Harbor Marina under the 55 bridge/and PCH and another near Marina Park.
So now the real question. How do we keep our harbor clean? We are going to have to want it...which is evident in the annual harbor clean up days. Starting with the Newport Harbor Underwater Clean-Up on Saturday, June 2 at the Balboa Bay Club. You can check this out at www.nhunderwatercleanup.com. Help Our Harbor is looking for certified SCUBA divers and land-based volunteers to help clean up and preserve Newport’s most precious resource – our harbor. Go to the Register page and provide your email address, and you will be contacted about the event. This is all good stuff. We also have Help your Harbor at www.helpyourharbor.com with clean up updates the first Saturday of every month from April through August.
Okay, so if you are like me and go sailing or boating every weekend and you just don’t make time for organized events, what can you do to make a difference? It’s the simple things that make your connection to the harbor important. If you drop trash or see trash in the streets, it’s going to end up in our harbor. It’s a lot easier to pick it up from the streets than when you see it flowing in the harbor, according to Kappler. When you are at a restaurant, keep in mind you might not need all those napkins, condiments or straws you grabbed. It would overwhelm you how many of these items end up in our bay.
This all seems rather simple to me. Before every race, I always look around for man-made flotsam. Balloons, plastics...whatever should not be in our harbor or the ocean. Then catch and dispose of the flotsam. Makes for good juju on BCYC Taco Tuesdays, if you take a photo of the item you picked out of the harbor. Rhonda Tolar, and her team will give you an extra opportunity drawing ticket...and you will be surprised how good it makes you feel.
I am headed back out to sea again this weekend aboard Horizon participating in this year’s California Ocean Racing Week starting in San Francisco with stops in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. As always, wish us luck, and I could use a favor. Newport Shipyard is remodeling their marina and has evicted us from our slip for Horizon. We ended up having to leave the harbor and would prefer to stay in town. So, if you know of anyone that would like to rent us a slip, please contact me at email@example.com.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.
Opening day in Newport Harbor starts off the first Saturday of May with a bang each year with the starting signals of Newport Harbor’s Opening Day Race from Long Beach to Newport Beach Pier.
This year, 26 boats showed up on the starting line and were greeted with a fresh, cool westerly breeze that picked up to 20 knots as we sailed down the coast. This event is truly about the sail with your friends, and it makes it that much better when you have a big swell and breeze on your back. Everyone from all the participating yachts had huge smiles on their faces when they reached the docks.
This event brings out more than the racing boats from our harbor – boats of interest included Richard Straman’s 88-foot schooner “Astor.” Aboard Astor, I noticed many of our harbor’s best sailors, who I can only imagine are still trying to figure out terms used aboard these fine ships such as “Bone in her Teeth,” which I am sure got the attention of most of them, meaning “sailing well underway such that spray is thrown out at the stem of the boat.” They might have heard the boatswain say “Stay away from the Bar,” meaning be aware of the shallow water ahead.
Other boats that caught my eye were John Sabourin Hinkley’s Bermuda 40 “Black Irish” which has a long history on the bay. Sage Marie had a strong crew aboard the Calkins 50 “Zapata II” and the Morris 42 “Lyoness” skippered by Curt Lyon is always a double take.
Opening Day is a celebration and tradition to welcome members to the yacht clubs’ facilities for the upcoming season.
• • •
This Saturday, I plan to attend Opening Day at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club’s start of their 2018 yachting season. The tradition of the opening day started many years ago, where yacht clubs would close down for the winter and, of course, re-open before each summer season. Tradition plays a big part in every opening day, starting with the inspection of the fleet.
I am a big supporter of the inspection process because it leads to boat owners’ preparation and maintenance for the upcoming season. Fleet inspection normally starts early in the morning, with the inspection chairmen and their committee assigned to the different boats for judging.
The judges will then head out to the fleet and meet with the boat owners who have entered into the inspection. Judges are looking at overall appearance inside and out. They will then head into the bilges of the boats and take a look around with a boat surveyor’s eye toward the integrity of the vessel.
Some judges might even know Coast Guard, National Fire Protection Assn. and American Boat and Yacht Council standards. This would cover everything from batteries being boxed and properly secured, looking for fuel leaks, making sure a set of tapered softwood plugs are leashed through the hull in the boat, and even ensuring there is a corkscrew for happy hour in the galley.
I have known more than one boat owner who could tell me how many door hinges they have on their boats because they have polished each and every one of them. For the boat owner who has taken the last week off work and has gone through the inspection checklist themselves, I salute you for a job well done.
The odds of them having an equipment malfunction this season has been greatly diminished because of their hard work. If you happen to know this type of yachtsman, send me a note; I would like to interview this sailor.
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Let’s talk about flag etiquette – this is when I start my yearly rant. Now, the bottom line is you are enjoying your boat, and are having fun doing so, and I should stop here. But I have a hard time with people flying pirate flags and thinking that the more flags you fly the better. I noticed one boat last weekend flying a set of plastic flags from the sign shop. The guy could not have been any happier and said, “Look at all the colors I have flying.” I replied, “Looks like you are going to have a fun opening day.”
As I turned away, I suffered from acid reflux, but, hey, people on the boat were having a great time, and that’s all that really matters. So, yes, I am a type of snob when it comes to flag etiquette. I wrote a story nine years ago on this topic. You can find it on my website, lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.
Here is the Chapman, book of seamanship, recommended list for dressing ship:
“On the Fourth of July and other special occasions, yachts may dress ship when at anchor. The international Code Flags are displayed from the waterline forward to the waterline aft, using weights at the end in the following order arranged to the effect color patterns throughout: Starting forward: AB2, UJ1, KE3, GH6, LV5, FL4, DM7, PO 3rd repeater, RN 1st repeater, ST0, CX9, WQ8, ZY 2nd repeater.”
NO Pirate Flags!
Now, if you don’t have your signal flags in this order, and you get marked down, you can argue that this is only a recommendation for a color pattern, and there is no official pattern. I have to take tums every time I see boaters dress ship a week before and still have their signal flags up a week after opening day.
One last bit advice for the upcoming season: Make sure your first mate understands how to read your GPS and how to work the VHF radio and call for help. Let this person engage and disengage the autopilot and let them hand steer to or from Catalina once this season.
It’s summer and the sun is out!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.