Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time to support local racers, races

The well-known question of "how to stimulate our local racing fleets" was brought back to the table for more discussion during this week's race council meeting at the Balboa Yacht Club. How could BYC raise activity within the 66 series and the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) in Newport Harbor?

I have never been one to reinvent the wheel — just dress it up a little and sell it with a passion. How many of you knew there was the Newport Harbor PHRF High-Point Series? Does anyone remember who the last two winners were?

I know you still care because you would not be reading my column and have your racing calendar already filled out for 2011. I just want to convince you to sail in more Newport Harbor events.

A big ingredient to improving activity is for the local press to report the race results and place the winners' photos in the paper. So, that's what I intend to do this year.

I plan on following Newport Harbor's High-Point Series and plaster as much information as possible into this year's column. I will even create a "Newport Harbor PHRF High-Point Series" burgee that the winner can fly on his or her boat next year.

Let me now start from the beginning of the series. Back in the 1990s, the Assn. of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs (AOCYC) started a high-point series in Newport Harbor. Chuck Holland and his Capo 26 Amorous was the boat to beat in 1990 and '91. In fact, there is a tie between Dennis Rosene and David Gray as the two top-winning skippers with three wins each.

The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club skippers have won the event 11 times and the Balboa Yacht Club skippers have won it six times. South Shore, UC Irvine and the American Legion yacht clubs have won the event once.

Strange … is a yacht club missing from this list?

Last year's winner was John Salazy and his crew aboard his Peterson 34 "PussyCat. John has been around this harbor for so long that he can show you photos of the last time when the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the harbor. Just kidding.

He has not been around that long, although I remember sailing against John in 1980s in his San Juan 28 with the same name and much of the same crew. Odds are always good that, if you beat PussyCat, you have won the race.

By this point I hope you are saying, "I want that burgee, and I will be the first person from my club to win this event, or what do I have to do to beat PussyCat?"

That's easy. All you have to do is go sailing and make sure you attend the American Legion Midwinter's Feb 19-20, BYC 66 Series No. 1 on March 12 (which is historically the windiest race), NHYC Ahmanson Cup Regatta May 14-15, BCYC Angleman Series No. 1 June 18 and the NOSA Argosy Regatta Sept. 17-18.

The winners of this year's series will not only win a Custom Nikki's Burgee, they will get a full writeup in my column and their crew photo in the paper. Let's give priority to our local Newport Harbor events this season and stimulate our local racing fleets from within.

Sea ya!

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

New harbormaster gives off good vibes already

We are at the warning signal for the 2011 boating season.

In the past two weeks I had a chance to meet — if only briefly — Lt. Tom Slayton, the new harbormaster. I also attended the "Harbor Vision" committee meeting and sailed in the Southern California Yachting Assn.'s 82nd annual Midwinter Regatta.

I introduced myself to Slayton, after he spoke at the last Harbor Commission meeting. I immediately noticed a number of good things that made me comfortable with our new harbormaster.

For one, Slayton was there in his street clothes. I cannot tell you why that makes me feel better. It just does.

And while introducing himself to the community, he said all the right things. Although I liked what I heard — that he would keep on the same course and maintain a similar style to outgoing Capt. Mark Long — at the same time, Slayton assured he was there to protect us.

What I liked best was how he introduced Sgt. Steve McCormick.

"As long as I have Sgt. McCormick working alongside me, everything will work out just fine," Slayton said.

I also attended the second Harbor Vision Committee/Task Force meeting, chaired by Harbor Commissioner Ralph Rodheim.

As soon as I walked into the Council Chambers, I knew I was in the right spot when I spotted people like Tom Purcell, Gary Hill, Karen Rhyne, Mayor Michael Henn, Chuck Brewer, Dave Beek and many other harbor users.

My understanding of these meetings is that they gather a consensus for the best use of our harbor, then report back to the City Council through the Harbor Commission.

This last meeting's topic was the area at the top of the Lido Channel and in front of the Lido Village, which you sailors know as "Z mark." I noticed and heard some very interesting reactions and questions during the meeting.

Most of the charter fleet is berthed in this part of the harbor, and it was fun while listening to public comments to watch these business owners bunch up like bicycle riders without any riding pants on. I am sure my time is coming when my business is brought to the table, and these same business leaders will get to watch me drop my tiller extension and spin out of control.

The best question of the night came when Gary Hill asked Chairman Rodheim, "We just completed years of consensus-building on another topic. When we presented our finding to the council, they threw away our recommendations as if it never existed. Can that same thing happen again?"

Rodheim's answer was simple and to the point: "Yep."

My personal feeling is that the council can only burn up so much hay around the harbor, and these efforts will not get thrown back in the toxic waste dump. I take that back; we do not have a toxic disposal unit within reach of our harbor.

It felt good to get back on the water last weekend for the SCYA's Midwinter Regatta, and it felt even better to sail on our local waters. We had 81 sabots racing, 22 Harbor 20s, five Lasers, three Thistles and 10 PHRF boats on the water.

By now you all know I am promoting Newport Harbor's PHRF High Point Series, and the Midwinter Regatta was the first event of the season.

Here are the leaders so far: Chuck Brewer with his Far 40 vessel, the Heartbeat, with 89.6 points; in second place is Joe Degenhardt with his Catalina 38, the Lickety Split, with 85.8 points; and in third place is Roy Reinimar with his Davidson 34, the Violetta, with 70.7 points.

Now I need a favor from my readers. Would you all congratulate the leaders when you next see them? That would be a huge help. Also, tell them how proud they will be to fly that Hi-Point Burgee from their boat.

Sea ya!

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

t's a busy race around the islands

I will be aboard Glenn Highland's yacht, the Bien Roulee, on Friday morning, powering up to sail to Los Angeles Harbor for the start of March 4-5 Islands Race.

The second-annual event is co-sponsored by the Newport Harbor and San Diego yacht clubs. The race starts Friday afternoon in L.A. Harbor. The competitors will race out through Angels Gate, around Catalina and San Clemente islands to port, and finish at San Diego Whistle Buoy "S.D." with a handicapped distance of 129 nautical miles.

Last year's inaugural race attracted 41 boats and this year's attendance is at 47 registered boats. Most of the fleet finished by 3 a.m. last year and looking at the weather two days out, it appears to be similar to last year's cold!

Looking over my story from the 2010 event, the race was a huge success. The inverted start, with the big boats starting after the smaller boats, has everyone arriving at Catalina about at the same time. It seemed that everyone I talked with had their own spectacular descriptions of the sunset.

There was a tremendous amount of sea life reported last year with one boat bumping into a whale. Everyone had dolphins ducking under their boats and lighting up the waters fluorescence.

Add that excitement with some wind and surf, and you have yourself a yacht race to remember. And for dessert, just add 300 sailors hanging out at the San Diego Yacht Club, telling sea stories and attending the awards ceremony after the race.

From what I can tell, this year's Islands Race should bring the same excitement. I am with the race's co-chairman David Clark, who will be racing his Santa Cruz 50, the Adrenalin.

"We have two changes to this year's event that are notable" Clark said. "The first is we will have a finish boat on station, weather permitting. The second new idea is to have the Kattack race tracking system on each boat."

In my opinion this should add level of interest to this race, if it works. I could hear the concern in his voice because the signal is on the cellular phone ban. If it's anything like my cell phone service, the signal will be dropped a couple of times. So while you are at work on Friday and are wondering how the race is going, go to and look for the Kattack link.

Now it's time to place your bets for the race. Here are my picks:

First to finish will be Pendragon VI. I am going with the breeze holding up until 2 a.m.; that should give enough time for Horizon to win overall. This year's boat with the best chance of bumping into a whale has to be given to the Amante.

If you cannot take Friday off of work and still are looking for a good race, the Bogart Series out of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club is staging its Avalon and Return Race. It's too bad these two races conflict because the Bogart is also one of my favorite races of the year.

If you are one of those sailors who prefer sleeping in a warm bed at night, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club is also hosting the Schock Regatta this weekend that will bring in most of the harbor's H20s to the turning basin.

It's starting to feel like spring. The time change is coming soon. If you are a Harbor 20 sailor, go to their website because we plan to start spring twilights on March 16.

Sea ya!

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

Paddling for a good cause

This is my 15th week writing the Pilot's harbor column, and I would like to thank you for all of your encouraging e-mails and in-person comments about how much you like my fresh approach to reporting on our magnificent harbor.

Yes, you have it right. It's time I ask for a favor from my readers and pass around the basket. A close friend of mine, Mat "Mersh" Marshall, contacted me to bring public awareness to Livestrong. Please take a look at its website and, should you get so moved, please donate some of your hard-earned income.

Marshall called me about three weeks ago and said, "Hey, Len how are sales? I would like to tell you about Jack Shimko and the Paddle2live project. Do you have a couple of minutes?"

I have known Mersh for a long time, and if he feels strongly about a project, it's something that I will take interest in. He is that type of friend.

We talked for about a half an hour and I then went over to, the Paddle2live website, and read up on Jack Shimko and his fight with stage 2B Hodgkin's lymphoma. All the information about Jack's efforts to raise awareness and money for Livestrong by paddleboarding from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 is on this webpage.

I was fortunate to make contact with Jack, between his training efforts, to ask him a couple of questions.

How have you been feeling?

"I think good," he said. "It is problematic because I am shifting my body through all of this new training and nutrition. It is a big difference eating the types of calories that I am eating now every day. In terms of cancer, I am feeling good! And healthy as I have ever felt."

What have you been doing for training?

"I do a series of paddling, cross-fit and running to get in shape," he said. "I have been spending 40 to 70 hours a week. Each paddle is between four to six hours, and in my spare time I am busy raising $500,000 for cancer research and treatment."

Why did you pick paddling to raise awareness?

"I got hooked because I did the World Championships on the North Shore of Oahu, and soon after that I was diagnosed with cancer," he said. "I got hooked by the paddling in the race and then the next thing in my mind was cancer treatment."

What type of board will you be using?

"I am bringing three Joe Bark paddleboards that were very generously donated. The main board is an Unlimited, a 14-footer and a stocker. Stock is a 12-foot, and the Unlimited is 18.6-foot."

Willpower and determination. Have you had any special training regarding this subject?

"Chemotherapy is my training," he explained. "I have no special training, but it was the only thing I had to get me through. Isn't this what everyone turns to?

"But I definitely think my cancer treatment and chemo pushed that determination to a new level — that's the genesis of Paddle2Live — I want to see what happens when I push it even further."

While writing these questions I hear the count down clock on your website, and I cannot help but think you hear this same clock in your head while fight this cancer. How do you deal with it?

"I don't know ... I try to blank out that clock," he said. "Part of me doesn't think in terms of a countdown; I would say if anything the clock is ticking to get me out of this treatment and into the next phase of my life, raising money to help others fight this disease and to help researchers find a treatment."

Thank you for your time, Jack, and best of luck to you down the course.

"Sure, Len. Anytime. And if any of your readers would like to come out for my arrival at the finish, the local paddle community, along with friends, family and supporters will join me for the final 3.5-mile paddle through Newport Beach bay," he said. "A celebration will follow at NAC (Newport Beach Aquatic Center), with a barbecue from Bear Flag Fish Co., live music [TBA], silent auction, refreshments and much more."

So, please go to the Paddle2Live website and keep an eye open for Jack's daily updates and streaming video. Also take a special look at all the Newport Harbor sponsors. Please consider purchasing some ad space.

Sea ya!

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

Some mooring tips

This week I met with Chuck South, owner of the South Mooring Co., at the old IHOP on 17th Street in Costa Mesa, and it was an instant flashback for me. Chuck and I walked in and there was Robin, formerly of Robin's Nest and Snug Harbor, with a big "hello, Dad" for Chuck.

I have seen Chuck South on the water for years and he attends most of the Newport Beach Harbor Commission meetings. He always greets you with a smile and hearty hello, and one gets a feeling of trust when you meet him. Maybe that's why the waitress Robin, who is not related to him, called Chuck "Dad" and came back to our table with a menu and Chuck's coffee already in hand.

We sat down and had some lunch and talked about old times and dropped names like Chuck Avery, Ed Cox, Seymour Beek and Mark Sites. Dropping names like this is like the secret handshake of Newport Harbor's "Good Ole Boys" club. Once Chuck realized that I have been working in the harbor for 22 years and had my own stories to tell, we both relaxed and continued telling sea stories.

Chuck South came down to the harbor as a kid to go sailing and dancing at the The Rendezvous Ball Room. In the 1970s he moved from Long Beach to Newport Beach to start working in boat repair and running charter boats.

"Sailing is my passion," Chuck said. "My family sailed and I have always sailed. In fact, I still own my sailboat from the time I was eight years old."

Chuck enjoys single-handed cruising and has spent a lot of time in the Channel Islands and cruising around Mexico. In fact, he is planning a trip to Catalina and an overnight sail around San Clemente Island.

"There is nothing better than spending a night at sea," he said with a half-squinted eye like Popeye talking.

When Chuck's not sailing he is in the mooring business, and when you receive your notice from the county to inspect your mooring equipment, Chuck South is the person you call.

"Anything that has to do with a mooring, I do," he told me with confidence.

I then asked him questions, such as two lines or four lines for double-ended mooring?

"Four lines, Len. Line is cheap insurance," he said.

What are some of the mistakes boat owners can make while tying up their boats?

"Well, moorings move a little," he replied. "Just don't place a loop on your mooring line and expect it to be tied up correctly. Mooring lines always need to be adjusted. A three-quarter-inch line works well with the proper chafe gear and make sure you have through bolted cleats with backing plates under them."

I then asked Chuck about the mooring balls that I see around the bay and that seemed to have sunk.

Chuck replied: "Each mooring ball can float 250 pounds, and when you have 20-foot lines attached to a ball that has been in the water for some time, each one of those lines can weigh a 100 pounds from sea growth. Add that with the growth on the bottom of the ball, and the chain and the mooring ball begins to submerge. You can gather some very interesting critters if you're leaving your lines in the water long enough."

Is it a good idea to have your bottom diver clean the bottom of the mooring ball?

"Well, it would not hurt," he said.

Another thing that can submerge a mooring ball, Chuck told me, is that the chain can wrap around its base. Just take a boat hook and bounce the ball up and down a couple of times and the chain should free itself.

Chuck has a couple of other concerns: the condition of some of the old mooring balls and the "Mystery Rods" that run through these old floats. I came to find out that the old mooring balls are made of fiberglass with iron rods that run through them with loops on either end. After 20 some years, it's a good idea to replace your buoys and make sure they have the new attachments in place.

Chuck's last concern is about available space around the harbor for marine construction companies.

"I am running out of locations where I can launch pilings, docks or haul something out of the harbor," he said.

I personally hope that someday Chuck and other people around our harbor don't say, "I told you so."

At the last Harbor Commission meeting there were two couples from Linda Island. One couple brought their attorney with them, complaining about boaters using the two guest slips behind the 3-Thirty-3 and SOL Cocina restaurants.

They said, "People are having fun and making too much noise."

To me, this is a perfect example of residential living alongside commercial property, and we all know who was there first. So if you follow me here, I sure hope we do not hear "I told you so."

The last item of interest is for people like me who take their dinghies out under the Bay Island Bridge in the summer months. The Harbor Patrol is watching and giving out tickets.

I had to postpone the Junior Awards article until next week because all the results were not complete, so please stay tuned.

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

Show us the money

ple harbor fee increases are a forgone conclusion?

What? Wait a minute!

Have you ever sailed in a race and missed the first big wind shift? Well, most of you who race against me know I do that quite often. Man, have I missed a huge one this time.

I picked up the first signs of this wind shift from some of my sources more than two months ago when a friend of mine called. He told me about the possible mooring permit increase. I thought to myself that I have seen this shift before and it seems to roll down the course about every two years. I also thought to myself it's probably time for a rate increase, but it cannot go up any higher than my health insurance. Or can it?

I then received another phone call.

"Hey, Len. Will you meet with us and let us explain what is being endorsed by three City Council members, the city manager and will be brought in front of the City Council for a vote on Sept. 28, 2010?"

Hearing the concern in my friend's voice, I quickly accepted the invitation and started to look further into this subject. I came to find out this subject goes deeper than there is water in the harbor.

That's a bad analogy. How about deeper than anchoring off Catalina's Whites Cove on a Labor Day weekend?

Yeah, that's better.

So here is the short-course version of this issue: If the city of Newport Beach acts on this subject at this time, it will be acting in what I consider bad faith.

From my understanding, the city needs to slow down and sort things out. Please do not take me wrong, because I never recall telling a city to slow down before. I just want to make it clear that the stakeholders do not have an issue with an increase in fees, if it's fair, but rather the process to come to a fair market value.

It was my understanding, when this issue was brought up a number of years ago, that there would be no increase in harbor fees without a qualified tidelands appraisal done by a third party. It now appears the city staff has done an in-house appraisal by comparing the costs of moorings and slips in San Diego and blending it together and producing their own bottle of "Three Buck Chuck."

Now, I need to take two tacks back and look back at the first part of this upwind leg. The first item you should look at is that the tidelands (ocean beach and harbor) are state land, which is granted to the city with the condition that all money raised on those tidelands be used only toward the upkeep and maintenance of those lands for the public benefit.

Any excess revenue more than $250,000 must be returned to the state. This makes the city's accounting system open to question. And because this is our harbor, we need to demand for a harbor valuation study.

Like my father always told me, "You cannot fix the problem unless you know what's wrong."

The city claims that it is mandated to charge "fair market value." That's fine. I have no problem with that. All the city has to do, as they say, is "show me the money."

Like I said earlier, every sailor looks for the next big shift. State law regarding the tidelands mandates that the city "shall make no discrimination in rates, tolls, or charges for any service," and private pier owners should pay particular attention to what is going on with the moorings.

So, here we are on the downwind leg of this short course, with no appraisal as required by the California State Lands Commission. We're hoping the council will see the error of its ways, slow this process down and invite the public to participate before the night of the vote.

Did you also happen to notice the increase in the permits to maintain your docks? Two years ago, a permit to fix your dock was $57; today, it's up to $500.

And all along I thought my health insurance was unjust and too expensive.

On Wednesday I will be speaking at Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Yachtsmen Luncheon. I will be talking about this subject and other topics of interest. Everyone is invited. If you have a moment, please send me an e-mail to on the subject you would like to address.

Sea ya!

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

Longing for simple life of small clubhouse

While sailing around the harbor this week a strange feeling overcame me of days gone by and that something was missing. Upon returning to the Balboa Yacht Club and pulling my Lido 14 out on the south crane, the thought came to me: I wish I could have been a member of a 1920s sailing club.
With that in mind, I walked upstairs to the BYC library and started looking at all the old photo books of the "Southland Sailing Club." In the pictures everyone was dressed in white and wore some type of hat.
While reading about the club's history, a quote from one of BYC's first publications haunts me: "Several prominent members of Newport Harbor Yacht Club decided to form a new club because small-boat sailing was not receiving sufficient impetus."
Now this is not to say that BYC today does not have any momentum to encourage small-boat sailing. In fact, the opposite is true and I take great pride in BYC heritage. But I feel that something is still missing.
What I am missing are the barbecues and picnic benches, and the kids playing and fishing off the beach. I miss having a small clubhouse with a big fire pit in the middle of the room with photos of past commodores and burgees of other visiting yacht club members lined up around the room. Ideally a member would want to have the bay in front of the club, where we could race our small boats at a moment's notice with easy launching.
In the summer we could watch our kids take part in a junior program during the day, then later on the adults could go out and act like kids. Members would then barbecue their own meals, enjoy their favorite beverage and talk on the beach around the picnic tables and in beach chairs. Yes, we would be missing the full service dining and staffed bar, and, most of all, an outstation at Whites landing in Catalina. But the thought of that simple club still entices me with a true type of Corinthian spirit attached to it.
Is this sailing nirvana still possible in Newport Harbor? Well, let's just say I would have more chance of transferring a mooring permit for what I paid for it. This does not keep me from looking around town at possible locations. I looked at the Newport Aquatic center, which has lots of room on land but no water. Then I looked at Newport Dunes, in the lagoon, which has the perfect format and would be the ideal arena for team racing. I am not sure if there is enough water or wind there, and you still need a way past the bridge.
This led me to the Castaways beach but, still, the bridge is in the way and I hope that area turns in to a commercial area someday. I looked up and recognized where the Reuben E. Lee once was, but that is now Irvine property. By the way, I never knew that the Irvine Co. financed BYC when it first built its club. Hmmm, maybe?
The place I keep looking at is the Windward Sailing Club. The building is perfect, that part of the bay has been a favorite of mine since I proposed to my wife at Z mark. Would it work? Always difficult to say, but that little bit of the harbor sure brings a smile to my face.
Just then I snapped out of my reverie as a friend entered the BYC library.
He asked, "Hey, Len what's going on with the moorings?"
"Well, I have as about as much chance of ever getting a mooring in the size and location in the harbor that works for me as I do having the Southland Sailing Club return," I replied.
"OK," my friend said, as he gave me a blank look and left in a hurry.
Everyone please remember that on Tuesday evening the city of Newport Beach is going to discriminate against the simple sailors and wipe away a big part of our history away. Please contact me, so I can give all the information I have on the tideland issue we are now facing.
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is a yacht broker, boating columnist and an experienced boater.