Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sharing Some Helpful, Local Boating Websites

By Len Bose

I am not going to lie! I had no interest in going onto the Harbor this last week. With the wind reaching over 40 knots, sheets of rain coming down, waterspouts coming off the ocean, and boats falling over in shipyards and all those red flags flying over the Harbor department, I had no desire to head out into the bay.

But there I was, still having to venture out a couple of times this week to help clients retrieve loose dinghy, re-tie boat covers, inspect mooring lines and just make sure their boats were safe. I have been very fortunate by watching the web-based radar maps and then picking my times to head out onto the bay. With these tasks completed it was a good time to go over this year's marketing plan and stay inside until these El Nino winter weather systems passed over.

Therefore, I spent a lot of time behind my computer this week and thought it might be a good time to point out some of the better local boating websites. On the top of my list is the Newport Mooring Association website This is obviously going to give you all the information you want regarding Newport Harbor moorings, but the site goes the extra mile and provides you with one of the better links pages I have seen. From Newport’s Boating guide to my favorite “Marine Traffic” report, this site has links to all of Newport’s Harbor Web Cams from Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa Ferry, City of Newport Beach Cams and the Croul Family Cams. With these links you have the harbor almost covered. This is a great site and deserves a daily visit to see if your boat is okay on its mooring, and to read up on what the Harbor Commission is up to.

Now, if you have a maritime legal problem or if you were wondering how to place a lien on the boat you are renting your slip to, check out The Log's, “Ask A Maritime Attorney” by David Weil, Esq. All of Weil's pieces are to the point and very informative. After reviewing through most of his archives I found myself agreeing with his opinion 100% of the time. It’s not a column just for the marine industry, but rather more for the average yachtsman. For example: “What’s my liability of getting bumped at a mooring.” His work is easy to read and understand, so you should bookmark this site. My last site of interest is the city of Newport's Television Station – "NBTV” Within the city’s video archive is a piece called “Heart of the Harbor.” Now this VOD is not particularly well done, but it's free and full of local information. I find it very interesting and fun to watch when it’s blowing 50 knots outside.

I will be back next week reporting on our local fleets, providing information on lessons learned from placing a claim with your boat insurance agent, and a review of the upcoming Corona del Mar to Cabo yacht race.

Sea ya'

Len Bose

Len Bose is the owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slips Available!

By Len Bose

It only seemed like yesterday when I would receive a sales call and the prospect would request, “If you can find me a slip, I will buy a boat from you.” I didn’t hear that request in 2009 and I don’t think I would hear it in 2010. This down cycle, for the demand of yacht storage, was last seen in 1990-95, when it seemed most of our inventory was shipped to the Pacific Northwest. Today, our boats are being purchased from people all around the world and placed on yacht transport ships, trucks, or they’re leaving on their own bottom.

We have slips again! Is that a good thing for me? I am not sure yet and I squeeze my pennies a lot tighter than I did in 2005 in anticipation for the market upturn.
As I drove around town I noticed the “Slips Available” signs starting to appear in August of last year. Dock Masters, Port Captains and Commodores are calling me reminding me they have Open Slips. By November, I started receiving color brochures from the California Recreation Company/Cal Rec. (Irvine Company) and Bellport Marinas. Dock masters were making follow up calls to me and offering incentives, such as: Sign up for a year and receive a month free, and I even had a Port Captain tell me to “Make him an offer,”

Yesterday, I made a cold call to Cal Rec. to ask a couple of questions on the slip status and was introduced to Greg Sinks, general manager of Cal Rec. in Newport Beach. Sinks is a corporate guy with The Irvine Company and can’t answer questions regarding the percentage of occupation in slips. So, let’s look between the lines of the company that drives the market in slip rentals. Cal Rec. has four marinas in town and if you look at their rate sheets a 40 foot+ boat will be charged a monthly rate between $32 and $39 per foot and, yes, they do have slips available. If you have a yacht in the 50 foot+ range, the demand is still high and the market is holding at the $ 50 to $ 55 per foot range, although the waiting list is thinner than ever, and it’s very possible you will find a slip within six months. If you have a sailboat in this size range with enough water under her for you to store your yacht in a slip, you’re one of the lucky 20 people in Newport Beach with a slip, so you should be grateful and not say a word.

If you own a boat under 35 feet in length, you’re in the size range with the lowest demand for slips. The brochure tells me you’ll pay $ 27 to $ 33 per foot. Take a simple look around town and you will find more than 20 slips that are open in this size range and that’s not even looking in the Back Bay.

Do, what you want with this information. What I would do is buy a high quality boat under 42 feet and I would find a mooring. Rent the mooring and go work the system for the best slip. If you look back over the last decade, it’s a very good value/time to be yachting now.

Sea ya’
Len Bose

Len’s Lesson for the Week: Looks like there will be motor vehicle safety inspections this Saturday night between Newport Boulevard and Finley from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Len Bose is the owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.