Thursday, May 19, 2011

Governor's Cup underway

The 44th annual Governor's Cup embarked Wednesday. If you feel like you missed the start of the first race, I'll help you catch up.

One of my favorite features of the Governor's Cup at the Balboa Yacht Club is the introduction of the crews by Andrew Rose at the welcome dinner. Now, to get a better feel on the type of intro and questions asked by Rose, think of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Phil blending together and coming up with some classic moments.

"The youth of the world has assembled for one of the most talented fleets ever brought together here at BYC," Rose said, adding that 13 teams received invitations: a record number of entries.

I then thought to myself, who is going to win? This year's favorites have to be last year's winners, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, with skipper William Tiller and his crew Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason.

If I were going to put money down on this year's cup, I would have to go with the Newport Harbor team of Chris Segerblom, Connor Bathen and Kieran Chung.

I am going to get some nasty looks when my fellow BYC members read this, but I cannot get out of my head that final run in the Rose Cup when the Segerblom team came from behind to win the last race this year. Skipper Ryan Davidson is one of the most naturally gifted sailors I have ever seen around BYC, and he will do very well in this event. I am taking bets now that, by the time Davidson reaches age 20, he will have won this event more than once.

Results and videos of the races are available through

I will be back Friday with more observations from the Governor's Cup and my regular harbor column.

Small boats, big futures

There is nothing more encouraging than noticing the true passion for the sport of sailing within our harbor's junior programs. This passion trickles down from Grandpa and Grandma watching their grandkids sail around the harbor, and leaving the yacht club with tears in their eyes knowing that they have passed the torch. Or the parents biting their tongues and not screaming at their kids to "sheet in" from across the bay. But truly my favorite part of sailing is noticing that spark turn into a flame.

The Newport Harbor 2010 Summer Junior Sailing Programs have come to the finish line. This year I noticed that flame in many different kids, but three kids really stood out from the others.

From the Balboa Yacht Club, I could not help but notice Kerri Luttrel. She spent the summer with a smile on her face and a bounce in her step. Now this might be her competitive spirit of beating her brother coming through, but one can easily see her passion for sailing.

Over at Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC), I met Jimmy Madigan at a Thursday night Lehman 12 twilight race and was greeted with a very positive and addictive "hello." While watching Jimmy compete against his father, Nick, one could easily see Jimmy's interest in sailing shine through.

Now at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), there is one individual with so much passion for sailing that he could light up two cities. When I asked around the harbor "which junior shows the most passion for sailing," all five people answered "Derek Pickell" before I could finish asking the question.

One of my panel noted: "Not only does Derek want to get on the water, he cleans and polishes his boat after each day of sailing so he will sail faster the next day." Well done, Mr. and Mrs. Pickell! I also want to make a shout out to my good friend, Chris Killian. I just hung up the phone with Chris. He and his two sons, Porter and Christophe, were driving home from optimist dinghies Pacific Coast Championships at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. This was followed up by the Sabot Nationals in San Diego. You da man, Chris!

OK, let's talk about who brought home the "pickle dishes" this year? The first name you have to notice is Conner Kelter and his second place finish at the Sabot Nationals this year followed by Carolyn Smith in eighth Greer Wattson in ninth. NHYC had three people in the top ten this year, more than any other yacht club in Southern California. I also need to recognize Jimmy Madigan again for winning The Balboa Bay Fleets and Low Point Perpetual. This is not that easy a task. Well done, Jimmy!

BCYC's Rory Gaudio had an outstanding season this year with a first place overall in the Dutch Shoe Regatta, and by improving his finish in the Junior Nationals by 87 places from his 2009 finish. Rory received the Harbor's most prestigious award, the Peggy Lenhart Perpetual Trophy, for the most improved junior sailor at Nationals. That's something to be very proud of, Rory. Good job.

Someone else that should be very proud of their achievements is Wells Drayton from NHYC, who received The Jessica Uniack Memorial for being the outstanding junior sportsman of the year. This will look awfully good on your resume, Mr. Drayton.

We also had a couple of standouts this year in Match racing and double-handed sailing. Chris Segerblom won the first annual Rose Cup and received a second place in this year's Governor's Cup with crewmembers Connor Bathen and Kieran Chung. Kieran also teamed up with Ryan Davidson to win the C420 National Championships this year.

Now, if you are like me, you are grabbing your kid and taking them to sailing practice so they will make my column next year? My panel reminded me how to "keep it fun" and help your kids improve. Make sure you attend all the family outings your yacht club provides by supporting the social part of sailing and make time for your kid to go swimming with everyone and play games after events. Get your kid to go sailing once a month, and just sail with a friend.

Where are the 'Guest Docks'?

Have you ever stepped onto a Laser or Lido 14 without having the daggerboard or centerboard down?

If you don't step in the right place and move fast, you're going to get all wet. Now blend that together with when you used to play sponge tag in your sabot as a kid. That's how I feel about California Recreation/Irvine Co. and a promise to provide "Guest Docks" behind the restaurants 3-Thirty-3 and SOL Cocina on Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.

Now let me step into my Lido without getting all wet.

According to the Irvine Co., a guest can register with the California Recreation Marina Office and obtain a guest key or contact one of the restaurants managers to get in and out of the marina gates.

I would also like to remind everyone that back in January 2008, Irvine Co. donated "The Castaways" area in the northwest corner of the Coast Highway bridge to the city of Newport Beach, and in 1987 the company donated $10.5 million to the Newport Harbor Art Museum.

I am also sure there have been many times when the Irvine Co. has been more then generous to us little boat sailors.

Like any other sailor around town, I do enjoy a good game of sponge tag each summer.

For those of you not familiar with sponge tag, like the name implies, we get a wet sponge and throw it as hard as we can at each other while sailing our boats close together.

When the Irvine Co. put in its new docks behind 3-Thirty-3 and SOL Cocina, they promised the city of Newport Beach "Guest Docks." The idea was to give residents and visitors a place to dock their boats for a short time and cross over to West Marine, dine at the restaurants, walk down to the grocery store and obtain access to the northeast side of the harbor.

Dan Miller, a spokesman for Irvine Co., said Thursday that the docks were never intended as public docks.

It has now been well over a year since the completion of this project and there is still no way to get past the locked gates to access these slips.

If you arrive by water, you will need a harbor pilot to find these guest slips because the signs are located inside the slips and are very small.

My point being is that you folks at Irvine Co. made a promise. So keep your promise, and now that I threw the wet sponge at you, you're "it."

Did you see the final round of the 2010 Governor's Cup on Sunday? Oh my gosh! That was some of the best racing I have seen in years, and did you happen to notice that I picked the two finalists two days before the event started?

I really wanted the local Newport Harbor Yacht Club team of Segerblom, Bathen and Chung to pound sand into those flightless birds, the Kiwis. It was another fantastic event. A well done must be given to the winning Team of Tiller, Thurston and Mason from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This event is a must-see next year!

The "Flight of the Lasers" also was sailed Sunday. Winds were light and 50 boats were on the starting line. Tufts All-American sailor Adam Deermount won the event, followed closely by a couple of people out of my class, Nick Madigan and Philip Thompson. I was racing "Two Around Catalina" on "Problem Child." Dan Rossen and I won our class and had an outstanding run down the backside of Catalina under a full moon and 18 knots of breeze.

This weekend I am getting back aboard Amante with the Richleys for the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race.

New public docks offer more space, short-time use 6-24-11

Editor's note: Len Bose is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist. This is his first piece for the Daily Pilot.

While cruising the harbor recently, I noticed a change to the public docks on 19th and 15th streets, and at the end of Fernando Street.

All of these public docks seem to have expanded and look new. While talking to people on the docks, I heard some good questions.

The big news is these new docks will offer a lot more room for people trying to get out to their mooring or to the people who are harbor cruising and want a place to tie up for a short time.

It's starting to feel like summertime, so I am off to Catalina this weekend with my son Andrew and three of his closest friends. I also received word this week that the new No. 8 Channel marker is here to stay. Now I assume that everyone in town knows how to recognize the markings of our public docks? No, well the markers are in the shape of a pawn off a chessboard with blue trim; don't ask me why they are this shape.

On my way to Newport Shipyard for a survey recently I noticed that the public dock at 19th Street looked much larger. The dock has grown some 60 feet in the shape of an "L" and has all the appearance of a new dock. Gone are the old wooden docks with all the fishing pole burrows dug into them. Gone are the large wooden splinters and old cleats barely holding on.

After my survey I went over to the 19th Street dock, which appears large enough to hold a 60-foot boat on it, and I am just not sure of the draft there, I introduced myself to boater Patrick. When I asked Patrick what he thought of the new docks, he replied: "Well, they are OK. I like that they are all clean again. I just wish that the harbor department would enforce the time limits."

Patrick has been living aboard his boat, on a mooring, for more than 10 years.

"Those boats over there have been on the dock for over a week and have not moved," he said. "I just feel the whole place will fill up this summer unless the harbor department does something about it."

I asked Patrick about fishermen on the dock and if he has had any problems bringing his boat to the dock while people are fishing.

"No," he replied. "Fishermen are just fishermen. I have no problem with them. Well, maybe only a couple of times over 10 years I have had a problem."

Boater Patrick also had a concern on condition the public leaves the docks in and commented that there is no longer any fishing allowed on the 19th Street dock.

"Although there were two people fishing here this morning," he noted.

I then went down to the 15th Street dock and, again, all the added space was being used. It appears this area is perfect for the people getting to and from their mooring. This area allows for the general public or visiting yachtsmen in any type of dingy or electric boat a place to dock and then wonder into town.

My last stop was at the end of Fernando Street. I found the docks here to be very tight with only enough room for inflatable dinghies, although the advanced electric boat operator looking for a parking place to walk down to the Fun Zone area has a new place to legally park a boat.

In all, this addition to our public docks is one big step forward to improving our harbor.


My son Andrew turned 11 recently and last week we were looking for ideas for his birthday party.

My wife, Jennifer, reminded me we have done too many pool parties and I needed a new idea. My first idea was to get the kids to bring their air soft guns and I will take them to Sheep Hills and they could blast each other.

With this idea thrown on the table, Andrew let out a loud "yeah!", but Mom quickly vetoed this motion. OK, how about if we get a couple of friends and load the boat and go to Catalina? Another loud affirmation came from Andrew. This time Mom answered: "OK, but I do not want to go with all you boys. Why don't you ask one of the fathers to join you?"

One thing my son has learned from me is to never oversell; we had the answer we wanted and the two of us quickly retired to the game room to plot our adventure. So if you tune in next week, not only will I tell how we got into trouble, but also how we got out of trouble!

One last note this week: The Coast Guard has agreed to keep the new small No. 8 channel marker. Again, this is good news, I thought we might end up with another large metal obstacle in its location. Now when you run into it, you will not take a chunk out of your boat. Rather, a nice new red pin stripe will be your only indication of your blunder.

I really want to keep this dock space for my column so please take a second and send me an e-mail with any of your yachting questions or go my blog site to look up some of my past stories. I look forward to telling you all about the trouble I got into this weekend in Catalina.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Possible zoning changes could hurt Newport

NEWPORT BEACH — I attended the Harbor Commission meeting July 14, where commissioners spoke the words "Proposed Zoning Changes" and "Planning Commission."

Now for some reason my mind shuts down like a fourth-grader reading his first word problem when I hear the words zoning and planning at city meetings. Early that next morning at about 4:30, my eyes opened wide and I thought to myself: "There is a layer of doubt hovering over the zoning laws in Newport Beach."

So let me back up a little, because my father always told me, "you cannot fix the problem unless you know what's wrong."

From what I understand, the City Council will sometime soon allow a zoning change from the commercial waterfront zones to allow a mix of new residential and commercial development along Mariner's Mile and Lido Marina Village.

Please do not take me wrong. I have a very hard time with government telling property owners what they can and cannot build on their property. And today the highest and best use is residential development.

The strange thing is: Why am I starting to fell like a Savannah sparrow on the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach? If the City Council approves this zoning change, where am I going to go to maintain my boat because the shipyards will be gone?

How will the people of Newport Beach dredge out their slips if Mark Sites of Intracoastal Dredging Service is forced to leave the area?

Sites said it best at the meeting: "My business cannot leave the waterfront and move inland, and if I lose my space and cannot find anything else to rent, I am out of business."

Where will we go to eat on the water, watch the holiday boat parades, go to boat shows, attend museums or take sailing and boating lessons? The list goes on and on.

The other aspect to consider: Do we really want our harbor to look like Marina del Rey or Huntington Harbour?

Nay, I say! I like our harbor just the way it is. In my mind, the harbor is just like a boat — you have to use it and it requires lots of maintenance.

Please send me your thoughts on this subject by e-mail, and in an election year we just might start feeling larger than a Savannah sparrow.