Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some help disposing those expired flares

Have you ever been instructed by your spouse that it is your turn to cook dinner, then 4 p.m. comes around and you just realized you have not taken anything out of the freezer? You then look in the refrigerator for leftovers and your mind starts coming up with ways of scraping something together.

That's how this week's story filled my trash can at home.

There is always that object in the fridge that's been there too long, but you always have to open it up and check to see if it's still good.

Did you know that you can do your VHF radio checks on Channel 27 and automatically receive a reply back in your own voice? Channel 27 is owned by Sea Tow and they are the ones providing this service around most of the country.

Dave Beek at Island Marine Fuel told me about this service almost a year ago. It's very easy to use. Just switch the VHF radio to Channel 27A and send a message; your response will be your message followed by a short message that this service was brought to you by Sea Tow.

In my fridge you never know what you will find in the vegetable drawer, so I opened that up thinking that I might find some hazardous waste. Well, I was right.

Rather than just shut the drawer as quickly as I had opened it, I thought I had better take the time to dispose of it properly.

This question came from my friend Paul Blank, the Balboa Yacht Club's Fleet Captain:

"Hey, Len:

I have had a frustrating time disposing of the expired flares that I recently replaced on my boat. It's not easy disposing of old flares in Orange County.

1) West Marine and other suppliers won't take old ones, but will happily sell you new ones.

2) The Harbor Patrol won't take them (or wouldn't take them from me).

3) The Coast Guard in O.C. won't take them.

4) The Newport Beach Fire Department won't take them.

5) The O.C. Fire Authority won't take them.

6) There is a guy in the Coast Guard Auxiliary who takes a limited number of them for use in the "Safety at Sea" seminars he teaches.

7) I have a call into the O.C. Hazardous Waste Authority (or some such organization) and am waiting for a call back from supposedly "the one person in O.C." who knows how this stuff can be disposed of. I'm not holding my breath waiting on that call — it's been more than 24 hours.

Both No. 1 and No. 6 above encouraged me to keep my expired flares on board with the reasoning that they will still work even though they are expired. This is, of course, in addition to maintaining the new flares I purchased to comply with USCG and ISAF regulations/laws.

While I can understand the logic and common sense of this direction, this cycle eventually gets ridiculous if old flares are never removed.

I explained to both parties that on a racing sailboat both space and weight are at a premium.

I implored them both for a solution that would allow boaters to remain compliant with the law and not clutter their lockers or be needlessly redundant.

Both were incredulous.


The answer is Rainbow Disposal at 17121 Nichols Lane in Huntington Beach, or call them at (714) 847-3581. Go to Gate No. 6 and they will take them from you for free. Rainbow can also take up to 25 gallons of toxic fluids you might find in you bilge, like diesel, gas, coolant, etc. There might be a cost for this service.

One would have to think that a large percentage of people would just hide this hazardous waste and just dump it. This leads me to the idea that maybe the city of Newport Beach should have some sort of hazardous waste disposal site around the harbor.

I did find a couple of good items in the fridge. The guest slips behind SOL Cocina will be more accessible soon, and I made some good progress with Gil at Nikki's flags in producing a burgee for the Newport Harbor's PHRF High Point series. The first race of that series is this week's Mid Winters that sailed out of the American Legion Yacht Club.

Sea Ya!

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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Sea You!

By Len Bose

Once a week I walk through our local shipyards just to make sure I am not missing anything and to keep in contact with all the local venders. This week I made my normal stops at Newport, Basin and Marina Shipyards and I also took a quick sortie through the Newport Boat show.

Long Beach Marina Shipyard is not my first choice in shipyards, although they do allow you to work on your boat yourself and they have a tendency to be a little slow, which might give you that extra afternoon to complete a couple extra tasks on your hit list.

The first boat I noticed while walking into the shipyard was the new Antrim 49 "Rapid Transit." This is an open-style boat with canting keel, three rudders and dagger board. The learning curve on this boat has to be more difficult than reading through a B&G manual. Not only do you have to learn how to sail the boat on that strange front chine, you have to trim the keel, rudder and centerboard to make her sail to her -90 PHRF rating. No wonder it took her half way to Catalina to get up to speed. Looks like Jim Partridge is putting a kelp cutter in and maybe even working on the keel. “Rapid Transit” is a sexy boat and I would love to get a chance to sail on one of these open boats one day.

Dave Clark had his Santa Cruz 50 “ADRENALIN” was out for some new bottom paint and is having the hull waxed and cleaned. Looks like “ADRENALIN” will be ready for opening day, because she is showing better than ever – especially with a fresh white bottom paint.

My favorite yacht insurance agent Craig Chamberlain of Mariners General has his Frers 45 center cockpit “DARLING” out for a new bottom. I also noticed that this year's Cabo Race Overall winner, Dr. Laura’s J 125 “WARRIOR” was in a slip with the boom off and a couple of guys in fiberglass suits were working on something. Might have been a rough trip home for the delivery crew.

I had another one of my clients pulling his boat at Newport Shipyard, so I proceeded south to take a look at the bottom and comment on some signs of the metal turning pink on his prop. The boat's been there for two days now and still has not been pulled out of the water. The hurry up and wait is the typical MO for Newport Shipyard, but it's still one of the best yards in town with my good friend Jimmy Warner operating the travel lift over the last 20 years. Good work, good value, and good people are all at Newport Shipyard. One just needs to stay on the patient side of life while there. Looking around the yard, one boat just jumped up and said HELLO, kind of like the first girl you notice in a bikini each summer. That’s the new 65’ Cruising Catamaran designed by Morelli & Melvin and built by Westerly Marine. Can you say built & designed in the USA? The owner is a Swiss gentleman who has done it right, and at $3.5 million it better be. Don’t ask me “what it rates,” because the answer is 1st class baby! I couldn't help but smile and think we should all give a big “ WELL DONE” to the designer and builder, because the pride is back in the Southern California boat building business. The word is – Hull #2 will be launched in the fall.

As I headed over to Lido Village to take my sortie through the spring boat show, I thought how cool it would be if I could bring that 65’ Morelli & Melvin into the boat show for Westerly Marine. She sure would be the Flag Ship of the show! Now, it could just be me and I am sure Duncan and Terry won't be very pleased about what I am going to write, but the show is weak at best. Yes, Offshore Yachts has some good product at the show along with Ocean Alexander and Grand Banks, but that’s about it. Lido Village is a dump with most of the space unoccupied. Parking is an insult, and I just don't get the feeling it’s producing the atmosphere it once did. I can't tell you why I feel this way … maybe it's time to go back to the Dunes or maybe there are just too many shows. So, if you ask me if you should go to the show, I would have to say yes. Just don’t expect to be wowed! Should you seek better parking, remember that over the weekend you can park in the city’s parking lot for free.

My last stop was Basin Shipyard. One has to remember, “You get what you pay for” and Dave and Derek New are the best in town. I also feel Bennie, the travel lift operator, is as good as Jimmy over at Newport Shipyard. I have been to a number of shipyards in my 22 years in this business and these two guys are the best I've ever seen. Like the Allstate commercial claims, “your in good hands” with these guys. The yard was in mid-week transition, and the yacht catching my eye was “BANDIT” the 60’ Viking owned by Corey Myer. This light blue masterpiece always makes you stop and take a second look and say “NICE BOAT.” No doubt that Cory is getting ready for opening day at Balboa Yacht Club, and he has to be the favorite to win the Boat of the Year award. Larry Ellison may have won the America's Cup, but Corey Myer won the cup when it comes to fishing.

So let the season begin. It's time to go yachting!

Sea ya'
Len Bose

 Len Bose is a contributing writer to The Daily Voice and owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Say It Ain’t So, Gordo!

By Len Bose

Gordon "Gordo" Christie of West MarineIt’s Wednesday, it’s windy, raining and I just made it through my morning sales calls. Now, I have to write my harbor column. Everyone knows where to get a weather report and that the Ensenada Race starts this weekend. I asked myself, what else is coming up soon? Our yacht club's opening day, yeah that’s it, and who is busy between everyone getting ready for the Ensenada Race and Opening Day. Gordo, That’s it! Gordon “Gordo” Christie, the operations manager at West Marine. So, I grab my tape recorder and camera, and drop in on Gordo.

For the people that don't know Gordo, he has been the "go to" person at our West Marine store for the last four years. He has been the Jay Carson, the Gordon West, your favorite bank manager, bartender ... get the idea?

“Hey Gordo, how are you doing?” I said as I approached him in the middle of the store. “I would like to take a half hour of your time and do an interview with you for my “Daily Voice” harbor column?"

After a couple of, “why me” questions from Gordon, I simply explained that everyone in the bay will be walking in the doors within the next couple of weeks looking for him. The first thing I found out was that Gordo was leaving West Marine! YEP! “Gordo, say it isn’t so!” Now what am I going to do? “Its okay Len, the store has lots of good help right now. Do you still want to interview me?” “Of course I do, even more so, now,” I replied.

I came to find out that Gordon is responsible for keeping "the stuff on the shelves” as he would say. When asked what is his favorite part of the job? “It's running into all my old friends. It feels like it's just been a couple of weeks since I have seen them. When it’s truly been a number of years. The hardest part of the job is just keeping a finger on the market. One never knows when someone from a big job will walk in and clean out the shelf of an item. I can always guarantee you that on that same day, someone else will walk in and want that same product. What do you mean you're out of Simple Green? It goes without failing, every time."

So, how can a person receive the fastest service? Before you come into the store go online to the West Marine catalog and bring in the parts number. Or Google the manufacturer and find the information from the manufacturer's Web site. What if you are on the boat and come straight into the store? Gordon recommends that you take a photo of the part you are looking for with your phone camera. “You would be surprised how much time that saves everyone.” This is a great idea. Nothing makes me more upset when I buy the wrong part for something and have to return to the store. What else should our readers do Gordo? “Don't forget your list on the boat,” he replied with a contagious laugh.

If you were to give advice on safety or what not to forget to place on your boat, what would it be? “Stay compliant, be ready for the worse and keep an eye on the horizon. I strongly suggest that everyone own a POB or EPRIB. They are only $400 and they will save your life. Remember to wear your life jacket and also remember Slip, Slap, Slop. Slip on a long sleeve t-shirt, Slap on a hat and your sunglass, and Slop on the sun screen.” Anything else? “Yeah, don’t forget your pocket knife, flash light and the TP!”

Because Gordon is in the pulse of the industry, I asked him if he has seen a difference in sales between this year and last? “This store has done well with a drop in sales of only 4-5% last year. This year, we are doing better and I think the industry is doing well because I noticed a lot more people calling in and stopping by, asking us where the Boat show was last week. I can also tell when things are getting busier in the harbor by the amount of TP we sell."

So what does Gordon do with his time off? “I like to hang upside down and let my feet rest. I also like surf fishing, I find it very relaxing. I also race a couple of times a year; the Long Point Race is the best race in the world."

What will you be doing for work in a couple of weeks? “I'll be going into the yacht maintenance business. I have learned a lot while working here over the last four years, and I will be doing everything from wash downs to general management."

One thing is for sure – Gordon will know who to call. Speaking of who to call. Gordon, if you're leaving who is our new go to guy? "The tall guy, Mark White will be the new go to person. The store also has Jordan Susman the son of Joan & Stan Susman." I kind of like this kid because when Gordon introduced me to him he recognized my name and told me it was a pleasure to meet me. Something tells me Jordan will be the next go to guy. Gordon also pointed out a Gold Tech pin he had on his nametag. I never knew West Marine sent their associates to tech school? I have to keep this in mind the next time I'm in the store.

Well Gordo, I am sad to see you go! “Len you are not going to get rid of me that easy, I'll still see ya' around the harbor.” For anyone that needs a maintenance guy, Gordon is your guy! You can reach him at (949) 230-8350.

Thanks for reading!

Sea Ya'

 Len Bose is a contributing writer to The Daily Voice and owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.