Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Ensenada Race weather forecast. 4-24-14 Update

4-24-14 Update
My game plan still has not changed. It appears the weather system has slowed and the BIG breeze will not be in until 5:00 AM. The difficult part of the race know looks to be between 8:00 PM & 2:00 AM. I will guess that when we could get rained on, then the breeze will kick in.
I will still be leaning toward the beach side of the course and sailing my best VMG between 8-2.
The boss has purchased Commanders Weather and as soon as I receive our copy I will update our plan tomorrow. 

4-23-14 Update
Todays information is showing me that the breeze will back a little earlier out of the West and the bigger breeze will not show up until 8:00 AM on Saturday. It appears we will be under twelve knots of breeze up until about 11:00 PM Friday night and then filling in to about 14-16 after 2 AM Sunday morning.

Overall my game plan still remains the same. I will have a ton of information to share with you early Friday morning. 

4-22-14 update:
Todays information is showing a nine knot breeze out of the south at the start of the race. I will be looking to stay close to rhumb as I can and will lean toward the beach at the start. This will be difficult because it often pays to sail offshore in a southerly. I will not sail perpendicular to the rhumb line.

Although I will keep my eyes open for ways to sail away from the beach and to the inside of the predicted lift. This will be difficult to get right and could last until 2:00 PM. If you notice a rival tack offshore onto port tack keep an eye on them as best as you can. If they tack back onto starboard and look like they passed you, then we have headaches. Our choice will be to dig in and take their stern our keep pushing forward and hope to keep our inside leverage. If this happens to me I will lean towards keeping my inside leverage and not be a happy camper, pissing and moaning the whole time. Trying to keep in mind I have lost this race more times by giving the inside away.

Buy 5:00 PM we should have 15 knots and on our way. Between 8:00 PM and 12:00 AM 16 knots is predicted  and after 12:00 AM 20++. Its looking like the breeze will drop close to the finish line to 12-14 Knots.

This is going to be an easy race for getting down the course. The difficulty will be keeping your boat in one piece.

I am writing this three days before race time and with the information I have it’s all about rhumb line and the shortest distance to the finish!

Extra attention needs to be given to your safety gear and your vessel’s steering system. I have double checked my steering quadrant and even have checked for chafe on the wheels chain in the pedestal. Jack lines have been run down both sides of the boat and everyone will have their safety harness on after sunset.

With our noon start, I will be staying on rhumb line or as close as I possibly can. If I am a little high of it, keeping my boat at the best possible VMG, it will not be difficult to sail back down to it when the breeze fills at twelve. By twelve o’ clock Saturday morning you will be in twenty knots of breeze and “hauling the mail.” 

Best to keep your game face on and leave the partying for your arrival. If we are lucky the bars will not be closed yet.

This will be series sailing, stay safe!   I will update this each afternoon, until Thursday.

Sea ya

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Harbor Report: Getting prepped for Ensenada race

Linstar in last year's Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. (Len Bose, Daily Pilot / April 18, 2014)

By Len Bose
April 18, 2014 | 2:51 p.m.

The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is quickly approaching, and I thought it might be interesting to offer my thoughts on preparing for the race and discuss race strategy.
In preparing the boat, my first thoughts are always about weight and keeping the boat as light as possible. We sail a 35-foot J 109 that rates 69 in Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) and only needs five crew members to be competitive.
To keep the weight down, I empty all the water tanks on the boat and bring only bottled water. We bring food for one breakfast, two lunches and one dinner. Chocolate candy, chips and cookies make up our snack list. I request that the crew refrain from bringing their own food.
All the food is placed in the galley, and I put all the soda and beer in an ice chest and place it next to the mast. Also around the mast are our tool kit, anchors, anchor chain rode and whatever we are using as a life raft. Sails are also kept in the middle of the boat and stacked to whichever side of the boat we want the weight.
We keep 14 gallons of diesel in the fuel tank and make sure we have emptied the holding tanks properly before race day. When we go into our night watch, everyone is asked to sleep in the middle of the boat.
Regarding the night watch, make sure you start one. Pending the weather conditions, we will keep three crew on deck. With one crew member changing out every hour, that's a two-hour power nap and you are back at it. Every 30 minutes we rotate crew positions to keep all the crew on watch alert.
Our routine is that the two watch captains are never off watch at the same time. When we rotate out we discuss true wind direction and the numbers that keep us on the favored course to the mark. Both watch captains understand when we need to change sails to obtain the best performance.

My strategy revolves around the wind strength and staying on the "rhumb line," which is the path of shortest distance between two points. As we get about four days from the start I will take a glance at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and SailFlow websites and start to fine-tune my strategy. I have overthought this race way too many times, and it always comes down to some basic tactics.
If it appears to be a moderate breeze that is forecasted to die at night, I will place my first waypoint at the Coronado Islands. If the wind appears that it might hold through the night, I will sail inside of the islands. If it looks like we will have a very long night, I will sail outside of the islands. Big, fast boats can sail great distances and hunt out the wind offshore while smaller boats have to stay on the rhumb line and hope for the best.

The race is won or lost as night falls and crew members start to get cold and tired. Extra effort has to be given to sailing your boat at its best performance to the wind's strength. All your attention is placed staying in the breeze and watching the wind direction. The navigator who can do all the above and keep the boat sailing the best angle toward the finish line wins the race to San Miguel.
I have never figured out how to get to the finish line in a dying breeze from San Miguel. All you can do is hope for the best and keep your eyes open. If you see a group of boats ahead of you stopped, sail the other direction and keep looking for the wind. Always make the effort to have the proper sails up and keep looking for more wind.
If your plan works out and you are a 30-foot boat around a lot of 50-foot boats then you have done it. If you missed the wind in San Miguel like I did last year, there is always the party to look forward to and next year's race.
Stop by my blog at to review other notes I have made. On Thursday night I'll post my take on the weather.
Sea ya around the pool.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

I do allow beer but that’s it regarding alcohol. We bring two twelve pack’s of some type of soda and instant coffee.

Each crew member is asked only to bring the bear minimum of crew gear. Personal safety gear is always welcome aboard, but I do draw the line and ask our crew members not to bring their dive gear.

Regarding the five minute rule when changing sails. I have always leaned towards changing sails as soon as I feel the wind is picking up. If the wind is dying down and I am uncertain that this is a continued trend, I will allow five minutes to pass by before committing on changing sails.

If we feel we are getting out of faze and have a question we always wake the watch captain up to review our options.

Coronado Islands: Our boat fits in the middle and we do have to sail some of those extra miles in the lighter conditions.

On a side note, I had always called it a “rum line”, before writing this story, and assumed it was the shortest distance to the bar at the finish line.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Harbor Report: Loosening the belt again at boat show

2014 Baldwin Cup

By Len Bose
April 11, 2014 | 2:46 p.m.

I am writing my column aboard a 757 headed to Miami in an effort to sell a 2009 Tiara 3900 power boat. As I review the boat's specification sheet, in preparation for the boat's inspections, my mind returns to a few of the observations I noticed around the harbor last week.
Miami Harbor

I started at the Newport Beach boat show at Lido Village, and one of the first things I noticed was that most of the yacht brokers I have worked with over the past 25 years have all gotten older and seem to be pulling their pants higher.
Now, this could be because yacht sales have been rather depressed over the past seven years and we all have had to tuck in our shirts and tighten up our belts. After last week's show, I felt that for the first time in a long time, I can let my belt out a notch or two.
From my perspective, this spring's show appeared to have more yachts and prospective buyers than I have seen in a long time. For some time now, our harbor brokerage inventory has receded faster than my hairline. As I walked around the show, I was encouraged by the increase in inventory being presented by a number of Southern California new-boat sales representatives. In my business, seeing new boats being commissioned in our local shipyards is a good thing.
I was working the show at the Pacific Yachting Club display, where we exceeded our sales goals by obtaining more new members than we had expected and were well received throughout the yachting community with the introduction of our power boat club.
It was also very encouraging to have as many readers stop by and say hello and tell me how much they enjoy reading my stories. I was asked questions about everything from eelgrass to tidal gates. One reader even said, "You make it so much easier for me to stay informed about our harbor. Thank you."
Any time I receive compliments like that, I am good for a couple more years writing about our harbor.
Brian Dougherty J 105 LEGACY 

Last Saturday, team Linstar, the sailboat I race on, participated in the BYC 66 series. This was the second of five races in the Newport Beach High Point Series. Brian Dougherty's J105 Legacy sailed another good race and has taken over the lead in the series. At this point, we have a three-way tie for second among Tango, Amante and Adios.
Out on the water, it's starting to feel more like spring with cool, crisp, strengthening westerly breezes rolling down our coast, which will make the upcoming Ensenada race that much more exciting.
This year's Baldwin Cup felt more like an America's Cup than ever before. The intensity and the excitement of four-on-four team racing kept me at the edge of my seat. I knew all the names of our local skippers and crews, and when they walked by me on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club docks, it felt like I was back in the media center during a press conference at last year's America's Cup.
I have one shout-out that has to be given to Jennifer Lancaster, Justin Law and Nick Steele. While I was walking back to my car after the Baldwin Cup, I looked out over the harbor and noticed the winds had picked up to close to 20 knots. Just then, two inexperienced Hobie 16 sailors, with the boat's main battens hanging out of its sail, flipped over and sent the skipper and crew into the cold water.
After they struggled to right their boat for some time, it quickly became apparent that they were in big trouble. Just then, after a long hard week of racing, Lancaster, Law and Steele hopped into one of the club's inflatables and helped the sailors return safely to shore.
Next time you see one of these three, please say, "Well done," because going that extra mile and helping distressed sailors is what makes this harbor so great.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Brian Dougherty J 105 LEGACY takes lead in 2014 Newport Beach High Point Series

                   Midwinters         66
Legacy          10              18  = 28
Tango           11               13  = 24
Amante         07              17  = 24
Adios            09              15  = 24
Linstar          08              14 = 22
In Appropriate               18 = 18
eXigent                          16 = 16
Maiden                          16  = 16
PussyCat      05              10=  15
Sting                               14 =14
Berserk                           12=12
RD                                  12=12
Free Event                      11=11
Whistler                          10=10
TNT                                 09= 09
Lickity Split   01             08= 09
Hot Ticket     06                  = 06
Violetta         04                  = 04
Lucky Star    03                  = 03
Baraka          02                   = 02

Roy Jones J 133 in three way tie for 2nd

AMANTE in three way tie for 2nd
Adios in three way tie for 2nd Photo   Curtesy of  Kendall Studio

Next race BCYC  Ocean Series Race # 8th  July 12

"online" calendar is incorrect. 

Editorial: If you are enjoying the Newport High Point Series please work with your yacht club and ask them to make an extra effort for this series and promote the next event at the awards. 

This years lessons learned: When a yacht club hosts an event it is highly recommended that if only one race is sailed  all classes sail the same distance. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Harbor Report: The birth of springtime events

Pacific Yachting Club aboard the Tiara 3100 She's Happy Now. (Len Bose / April 4, 2014)

By Len Bose
April 4, 2014 | 1:11 p.m.

You have to love spring in Newport Harbor, where everything seems to happen all at once.
My first stop this week was at Newport Harbor Yacht Club to check in on the Baldwin Cup Team race, running through Sunday. This event actually started weeks ago with more than 150 volunteers who work on everything from the pit crew to housing the participants.
All of the club members' boats, which are usually berthed in front of the club on moorings, have been removed along with the mooring balls. This provides the event with an almost-stadium effect for spectators. The course brings the boats close to the main dock, where commentators describe the play-by-play. And let's not forget about the 25-cent draft beers.
Of course, I am very interested on how the pilot of the Frisbee-sized drone will perform while streaming the racing over the Internet. This could be a big breakthrough for the sport of sailing, as big as the table camera was in professional poker.
Come see us at the boat show
I will be following the racing from my Baldwin Cup phone app while working the 41st annual Newport Boat Show at Lido Village, which runs through Sunday. Ralph Rodheim and I will be introducing the Pacific Yachting Club aboard the Tiara 3100, "She's Happy Now."
"Pacific Yachting Club makes luxury yachts available to its members for a fraction of what boat charters or ownership cost," Rodheim explained to the club with a press release this week. "PYC does all the work, which gives members more time to enjoy boating. Members can cruise around the bay, have a dockside meal or go up the coast, or to Catalina Island, for an overnight stay. The Pacific coastline offers a variety of memorable experiences. The new club is being launched with a Tiara 3100 and Deluxe Duffy 21.
"These two popular vessels provide the versatility, comfort and quality PYC will be known for. The fleet will grow in number and size over time. Plans are being made for establishing Pacific Yachting Clubs up and down the Pacific Coast and possibly inland waterways and lakes."
Rodheim contacted me more than a month ago to go over this concept of a power boat club and to ask whether there might be any demand. I felt very strongly that there will be a huge demand for the new boater who is unsure if the boating lifestyle will work for their family.
Please stop by the show and say hello to me and Ralph. Be sure to enter our raffle to use the club's Duffy for a couple of hours.
A tip on the Ensenada TIP
For those of you who are just getting started in preparation for this year's Ensenada race, I have found the best way to deal with the Mexico Temporary Import Permit, or TIP.
If you are like me, you looked at NOSA web page and noticed that you needed this permit. Then you thought, "Yeah, right, I am just going to pass on this race." Then a couple of days went by and the thought of missing the race started to take effect and you looked at the application again.
Now just pick up the phone and call Joan Irvine at Romero's Mexico Service at (949) 548-8931. She will make this easy for you and keep you on the race course.
Now, take another deep sigh and don't invent reasons not to go on the race.
The TIP permit has been around for a long time. You just need to make sure your boat's hull number/VIN number is fixed in the bilge and matches what's on your documentation certificate or DMV registration.
What I plan on doing is calling Sign Depot at (949) 645-4123 and have them make me an engraved plastic plate, the size of a name badge, and then epoxy it in the bilge. The permit can only be in the name of the owner or a relative of the owner.
If the boat is registered with an LLC, the permit can be issued to anyone. The permit is good 10 years; don't lose it because it cannot be reissued. Next time you are on your boat make sure to check your VIN number and write down the serial number that's on your engine. You can complete your TIP permit process within three days.
This has nothing to do with your TIP permit; just remember not to bring any fishing gear. If you do, you will need more permits. If you have a Single Side Band radio you will need to show your ship station license. The whole process is very simple, and I can feel a windy race in the near future.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Harbor Report: Gate may hold key to harbor's future

Jim Dastur, "a very peaceful man who does not get emotional while expressing his views."

By Len Bose
March 28, 2014 | 5:48 p.m.

A couple of years ago at a Harbor Commission meeting, the topic of replacing some of our harbor's 18 miles of seawalls an estimated cost of $500 million was discussed.
Of course, the cost is what first grabbed my attention, along with how the commissioners responded to the topic. It was then that Marshall Duffield introduced me to the concept of a tidal gate and started to explain how these gates can protect the whole harbor.
Jump forward two years, and the idea of replacing seawalls was still being discussed at this month's Tidelands Management Committee meeting. Attending the meeting as concerned harbor users were Duffield and someone I was introduced to at the beginning of the year, Jim Dastur.
At this year's Tidelands meetings, Dastur has always presented himself as a very peaceful man who does not get emotional while expressing his views on why he feels that the city should proceed with a study on the feasibility of a floodgate at the entrance to our harbor. During this month's meeting, the committee gave Dastur the time to review his reasons on why a study is needed regarding tidal gates. Sitting next to me was Win Fuller, a local resident and active harbor user, who looked at me and said, "This guy is making the most sense."
After the meeting, Duffield walked up to Dastur, introduced himself, shook his hand and gave him a warm pat on the back. This is when the idea of talking to Dastur first came to mind, and I proceeded to ask him for an interview, which he graciously accepted.
Dastur has lived on Balboa Island for 22 years. He was educated as a civil structural engineer and worked in marine construction. He has worked on most of the big commercial docks in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. He also has taken part in the retrofitting of all the major bridges in the Bay Area. For three years, he was the head director of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Construction Institute. Dastur was also contracted by India to consult on the building of a nuclear power plant with a seawater intake system — not to mention the fact that he was also the interim CEO of the company that worked on the replacement of the New Orleans levees.
Dastur is the type of person who prefers not to talk about himself, but when he said, "I am talking from a lot of experience," I wanted him on our team. While discussing the replacement of our harbor's seawall, he said, "Rising the walls will not do the job. Unless the walls go way deep, way deep, all you are doing is preventing the water from coming over the top."

To proceed on this topic, you have to ask yourself which government agency, from around the world, is providing you with enough facts that our sea level is rising and by how much. It was reported at the Tidelands meeting that by 2050, the projected sea level will rise by 1.38 feet, with a 1% chance that tide height will be 9.09 feet and a 10% chance that it will be at 8.79 feet. Right now, our mean sea level is at 2.65 feet, and by 2050, it is projected to be 4.03.
Now look at today's water table on Balboa Island at plus three or plus four and consider that the water table could raise to plus six or seven within the next 30 years. This means that if we only replace our seawalls, the water won't come from over the top of the seawall but from under the ground.

It has been said, by one of our council members, that no politician will recommend to pay for a $200,000 study for a tidal gate. Dastur explained to me that "a study needs to be done to see if it is feasible. Before you throw out the concept, we should look at the study. The gate has to be looked at when you look at the harbor holistically and not confuse the gate with the condition of the seawalls."
A couple of things you should understand about tidal gates. Yes, they are very expensive. It would take about 10 years to build the gates. The gates are not up all the time. They would be on the bottom of the harbor channel and would only be raised about four and five times a year for about four hours at a time. In the future, they could be used as many as 15 times a year.
There is much more information on this topic to share with you, and I will post it on my blog. For what it's worth, I am in favor of urging our City Council members to have further discussion regarding tidal gates and would request that they consider moving forward with a study.

Thank you for your column in the Daily Pilot. As more people get interested in the issue, the greater possibility of an informed decision.
Warm regards.

Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Harbor Report: Coming home with fresh ideas

Team Linstar at the 2014 Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten. (Len Bose / March 21, 2014)

By Len Bose
March 21, 2014 | 3:46 p.m.

I made it back last week from the 34th Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten, where I observed a couple of fresh ideas on how to better promote yachting events.
First off, the regatta was spectacular. I highly recommend that you place it on your bucket list.
One innovative idea, which I could not help but notice, was the use of drones. They were about the size of a Frisbee, hovering above the regatta and the various parties, filming all of the activities.
If you would like to view the beauty of this Caribbean island, along with the types of boats in the event, google "Heineken Regatta drone." It's truly amazing.
As for how the Linstar team did, we got our behinds kicked. We were not ready for the bigger breeze, and our charter boat was a little less than desirable. We were respectable in the Gills Commodores Cup, which is a one-day warm-up race for the Heineken, placing fifth out of 10 boats in our class.
One of Newport Harbor's past sailing teams, Stark Raving Mad IV aboard Jim Madden's J/125, sailed like pros and won their class with three firsts and a second.
Gino Morrelli of Morrelli and Melvin Design and Engineering sailed on the Gun Boat 62 Elvis. With five of these 62-foot boats on the starting line, this became one of the most interesting spectacles of the regatta.

Gun Boat Start
So what's new in Newport Harbor?
At last week's Harbor Commission meeting, two ad-hoc committees was formed. Taking the lead in the water taxi request were Commissioners Doug West, Joe Stapleton and David Girling. Commissioners Karen Rhyne, Duncan McIntosh and Brad Avery were assigned to study how to add floating docks as a replacement for our offshore moorings.
I hope I am wrong, but I just get the feeling that our harbor commissioners will bust their buns and submit their reports, which will just be received and filed by the City Council.
I attended last Wednesdays Tidelands Management Committee meeting and the key topic was the seawall around Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and Collins Island. It appears the city will be moving forward with a consultant starting in the very near future.
Under consideration is a ten foot wall added to the outside of the existing seawall. At this time the existing seawall has an average hight of seven and a half feet. The city will start with its public outreach and will have displays around the islands showing the height difference. Another concern is whether or not to raise the height of the boardwalk. This will be the hot topic around town for the next ten years, make sure you inquire the public works department for more information.

Let's talk about what will happen in our harbor this spring. Amy Elliott, secretary of the Balboa Angling Club, sent me a press release updating me on the 51st annual Lily Call being hosted by the club from April 26 to 27. This year's entry fee has been reduced to $40 and is limited to the first 150 anglers.
This light line fishing tournament inside the harbor is open to the public. Anglers will be fishing for croaker, bass, corbina and halibut.
I say this every year: Join the Balboa Angling Club, one of harbor's best values.
The next big sailing event is Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Baldwin Cup from April 4 to 6. It is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. The Baldwin Cup is a four-versus-four team race event in Harbor 20s. This regatta is sailed in front of NHYC and can be watched from its main dock.
Staff Commodore Phil Ramser, this year's chairman and one of my favorite people on our harbor, was quick to mention the new free phone app that will provide regatta updates and Texas Corinthian Yacht Club's plans to make its first visit to the Baldwin Cup.
I told him about the drones I noticed at the Heineken Regatta and encouraged him to use them to film his event.
If anyone can pull this off it's NHYC.
The angles these drones can obtain, while filming this regatta, will make it easier for the spectators to understand team racing better and enjoy the event that much more. I'm already on the edge of my seat.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.