Sunday, June 19, 2011

A little about them good ol' boys

This week's story is going to be fun.

Anytime a story about Newport Harbor's "Good Ol' Boys" club comes to mind — and I can write about the likes of David Frasier, Ken Knight, Carter Ford, Duncan McIntosh and Roger MacGregor — I sit up in my seat with enthusiasm.

At the Balboa Yacht Club we have the "Wall of Recognition" that recognizes "members who have served as Distinguished Yachtsmen over a span of years in the world of yachting through excellence in racing and/ or to the credit and honor of BYC."

If the city of Newport Beach and harbor had such an award, I would nominate Barry Wood.

On Sunday, BYC will run its 43rd annual Harry Wood Memorial Regatta, which will be in Lido 14s. I could go into all the great things that Harry did for the sport of sailing, but this story is about a mentor of mine, Barry Wood, Harry's son.

Barry called me about a month ago.

"Hello, kid. I hear you are chairing the Harry Wood regatta this year," he said. "I just wanted to let you know that I have ordered the T-shirts that are given to all the competitors, and have picked up the Perpetual Trophies for updating and cleaning."

Barry does all this on his own dime. When I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, "Now this is what sailing and sportsmanship is all about."

Barry Wood is no newbie to Newport Harbor. He grew up in Long Beach, where he sailed Lido 14s with his father in Alamitos Bay and Newport Harbor in the early 1960s. He went to the same high school with Duncan McIntosh and lived down the street from him.

They teamed up and started selling Columbias and Islanders from Marina Shipyard. This explains how Barry always gets the best location at the Newport boat shows.

Shortly after that, Barry teamed up with Eddie Arnold and moved to Newport Beach, where they sold Columbias, Islanders, Hunters and MacGregors. When I called Eddie he told me they had worked together for 16 years.

"We never raced too much together because one of us had to man the shop" Eddie said.

One of the many things Barry could do well was sell MacGregor boats.

"We sold 50 of the 26-footers in one year" Eddie told me.

This made me pick up the phone and call Roger MacGregor.

First thing that Roger said was "no better guy in the whole world", "absolutely magic working with him," and "backbone of my business."

Roger then went on to tell me that Barry had sold more than 1,000 boats during the last 20 years.

Now, if you think about that and add all the other product lines that Barry has represented over the years, then use my simple math method, it would indicate that Barry has introduced over 2,000 people to the sport of sailing!

So when Duncan called Barry "The Sailboat Guy," that was kind of a punch in the gut to me because I always thought I was that guy. Duncan was right: I am not even in the same ballpark — yet.

When I got off the phone with Barry, he took great pride in how his whole family has competed in the Harry Wood regattas over the years; his and daughter Andrea's names are on the trophy. I was told this leads to a very competitive spirit between his other daughter, Heather, and grandson Nichols to have their names placed on one of the trophies.

So if you have a Lido 14, please come down to BYC this Sunday and join in on some of the true flavor of our harbor. The whole Woods family will be in attendance — Sheila, Andrea, Heather, Nichols — and the Bear himself will be at the trophy presentation. It would be fun if you all came by and gave the Bear a salute for going the extra mile for the sport of sailing and passing on the family tradition.

For more information, go to

Sea ya!

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

Some perspectives on the boat market

Whenever I start up a conversation with someone from around the harbor, the first question I am normally asked is, "How is the boat market?"

Early in 2011, it's looking like we are coming off the starting line in good shape.

While attending the Sunroad Boat Show in San Diego last weekend, I was showing the Beneteau sailboats line. And, yes, I am the new Beneteau associate in Newport Beach. I have not seen this much traffic on the docks since 2005.


Just within the Beneteau line itself, I have seen five boats trade last month. During the show, I had a chance to talk with Chuck Hovey and Jim Johnson from Chuck Hovey Yachts. And when I asked them how their business was, they both just kind of smiled and said, "We are doing pretty good."

I received a similar reply from Balboa Yacht Club Staff Commodore Morrie Kirk, from Orange Coast Yachts.

Replies like these in the yacht sales business means you are doing great, and you're not about to jinx your sales by boasting.

So, if you were to ask me, "How is the boat market?" my reply would be, "I am doing pretty good."

On a side note, make sure you attend Sunroad Show next year. The event appears to be shaping up to be one of the better shows. Also, mark your calendars now for the Newport Boat Show April 28 to May 1.

Now for some good news. This weekend is the 22nd annual Women's Sailing Convention at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Space is limited to 275 people, and the cost is $170, which includes workshops, breakfast, lunch, dinner, souvenirs and handouts.

You might ask yourself if it's worth it.

I believe it to be the best investment you will ever spend on your boat. Anytime a sailor can review what to do in an emergency situation — from becoming "suddenly single-handed" to dealing with hypothermia — has to be a good thing.

From diesel repair to troubleshooting the head, every aspect of yachting is offered at this convention. Skippers, think about it: Can you imagine how valuable a crewmate would be who can clear the cooling system in your boat, get you home in an emergency and keep you warm?

This is all good information and a traffic value. Just look up "Women's Sailing Convention" or call BCYC to see if there is still room available.

You might recall my January column, "Harbormaster an approachable leader." Lt. Mark Long is now Capt. Mark Long, and as of Feb. 25 he will be joining the sheriff's command team. We all know it was not my story that promoted Mark.

In my simple mind, he just gets it. Everyone is congratulating and giving him their best wishes. I am going to hope for the best on this one and wish Long all the luck.

Sea ya!

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

Predictions and 'unofficial' standings in boat racing

The Newport Harbor Yacht Club-Cabo Race 2011 starts Friday and Saturday. The thought of not being able to attend it pounds at my head louder than a hangover and a bad mariachi band. In this column, I also have the results for the Newport Hi Point leaders and offer a couple of observations from the first 66 series at Balboa Yacht Club last weekend. Early H20 Spring Twilights at BYC started Wednesday off M mark.

Each year's Cabo race in March normally offers some of the best offshore racing in the world. If you are fortunate to start in a clearing westerly and have the spinnaker pole back before sunset, you are in for the ride of your life, and if you are really lucky, you are in Cabo before sunrise on Tuesday. I have not missed many of these races and, the last time I counted, I was at 29 races down the Baja Peninsula.

I have a story for each race and this year's story looks like a good start and a slow finish, and that's how I am going to place my bets. If you are keeping track of my bets this season, I am three out of eight so far. In the recent Island race I picked Pendragon VI to finish first, Grand Illusion in ORR, Horizon in PHRF C. Amante was only 15 seconds out of first place in PHRF D.

My Cabo pick to finish first is Bella Mente, hailing from Newport, R.I. This is not an easy pick because I prefer betting on the local team. Something tells me that a Reichell/Pugh design and a boat that has been on the race course for some time has the advantage over a newer boat. IRC B looked to be a close class and everyone was looking forward to seeing Dr. Laura's new Kernan 46 Katana take her first stride on the race course.

Rumor has it she was not given an IRC rating because the boat has composite stanchions and IRC indicates stanchions must be stainless. In IRC B I want to place my bet on "Criminal Mischief," although with the light wind finish I am going to have to go with the Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion.

In Class C, I am going with Horizon again until someone can step up and beat Jack and the Hippy. In Class D, my money is on the New J 111 Invisible Hand because, even just sitting at the dock, the boat looks fast. My overall bet is on the first to finish boat Bella Mente. Follow the race at and click on the iBoat track button. You can also follow the race on the NHYC Cabo 2011 Facebook page.

Balboa Yacht Club had its first race of the 66 Series on March 12, and my old friend Tim "where's the mustache" Richley sailed a perfect race aboard the Choate 48 Amante. You did not miss a shift, Tim. Well done, buddy. From start to finish you had Amante in all the breeze. Now with a lot of help from Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's Paul DeCapua, I have come up with a very unofficial Newport Beach Hi-Point Standings.

John Szalay and his crew aboard Pussycat are leading with 25 points, Amante has 21 points, Dare has 20 points, David Gray and Pendragon have 18 points and Bill McKeever's "Reliance" is in fifth place with 17 points. If you would like to know where you and your team stands on winning the custom Newport Beach Hi-Point burgee from Nikki's Flags, you have to find me at BYC on Wednesday nights, sailing Harbor 20 in the Early Spring Twilights.

I posted a thread on the Harbor 20 website at the end of February asking if anyone wanted to start racing off M Mark on Wednesday nights after the time change. Next thing I know, more than 10 boats signed up. Please come on down and check out all the fun from the BYC docks, or help us with mark set.

Good times with good people in Newport Harbor. Come on down and join us.

Sea ya.

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

Why GPS loses its maps 7-8-10

I was still picking up BBs out of the boat from last week, fixing the head from the kids clogging it up, and wondering why all my waypoints have been erased from my GPS when Pam McGreevy, the mother of Andrew's friend Bubba, stops by the boat to pick up her son's bodyboard on her way to work.

As I see Pam walking down the gangway, she says, "Hey Len, thanks for bringing him back in one piece last week."

"Um, yeah, Pam. We did not use the boogie boards that much," I replied.

"Well, Bubba had a great time. Thanks for inviting him," she said.

"Sure," I said. "Did you happen read my story in the Daily Pilot last week?"

Pam had not, so I asked if I could interview her for this week's story. For those of you who do not know McGreevy, she has been a captain on the ferryboats for 14 years and holds her 100-ton skipper's license. Working 40 hours a week is a lot of time on the bay, and I cannot think of many people on the water more than Pam.

When I asked what might be the biggest mistake she sees boaters make, she replied: "Going too fast and not paying close enough attention to their surroundings."

Seems McGreevy has come to notice the rental boats in the harbor and gives them plenty of room because "they never see you."

I then thought, what's the best way for me to communicate my intentions when crossing the ferry zone?

McGreevy told me you could always pick up your VHF radio and turn to channel 6.

"The large charter boat captains do this all the time" she said.

"It's always simpler for me when I know what the other captain's intentions are," she said.

Most boaters do not know the sound signals, but there are a couple of sound signals the ferryboat captain's use.

Three shorts blasts mean the boat is in reverse. Five short blasts mean danger. And one prolonged blast means leaving the dock. A number of ferryboat captains will also just honk at you to get your attention.

Pam also told me that one of her concerns is the speed the cars go when getting onto the ferry.

"With all the kids around and crossing over the sidewalks, I just wish more people would slow down," she said.

My last question for McGreevy was regarding boat handling and how she compensates for current and wind.

McGreevy told me to "always approach the dock, going against the current; you will stay in control longer." I have to try this because I have always tried to approach the larger slips at the Balboa Yacht Club by trying to time my side slip and approach the slip by going with the current.

This is why I have been less than successful when the tide is ripping. It was very reassuring talking with Pam because she knows the navigation rules better than any of the other skippers I have met over the years.

So do the ferryboats have right of way over all other boats in the harbor?

No, they are like any other vessel in the harbor, although when they have a full load it is very difficult for them to maneuver. So when you approach the ferry zone, take a look at what the boats are doing. If need be, contact them on channel 6. Also remember these captains spend a large part of their days talking to their friends at the Harbor Patrol.

And also keep in mind that "tonnage" always wins.

When McGreevy left the boat, I still needed to fix the head. I was running out of time, so I called Jeff Roberts at Boat Plumbing. He told me right away how to fix my problem and also gave me some good advice on keeping my holding tank clean. On my way home from Catalina while dumping my tank, Jeff told me to pump as much freshwater through the system as I could, and also to dump some environmentally friendly cleaner.

What's the best secret to keeping your plumbing system working?

"Use it," Roberts said.

Next I needed to figure out why I had lost all my waypoints in my GPS. So I called my old sailing buddy Robert Kinney at Alcom Marine Electronics. First thing he asked is if I had used the GPS in awhile. My reply was "last summer when we went to Catalina."

"Len," Robert said, "you have to use the GPS from time to time to keep the memory batteries charged. So every time you go down to the boat and take a bay cruise, start up all your electronics so that they can get some exercise. Also, if you have a boat with satellite TV, make sure you turn the TVs on once a month, because if the system does not receive a ping it will turn itself off."

The last thing I noticed this week was that there is no easy way to remove bad fuel or coolant from your boat. You have to pay someone to dispose of it for you. I find it strange that the city does not have a place for us to dispose of this waste for free somewhere in town. E-mail me your thoughts

The Harbor Report: Merriment on Newport waters

One cannot help but smile on the water in Newport Harbor.

On the night of July 8, I grabbed my camera and got in my dingy then headed out to the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Twilights. (The week before, when sailing Beercans, I noticed more than 15 Lehman 12s out racing.)

"Now that looks like fun," I told myself on arriving at the club, where I started to notice a number of familiar faces.

Chris Rabb and his daughter Kayla were there. John Virtue had his two daughters with him, and every once in a while I would see one of them stick their heads above the rail and then duck back down.

I promised Seymour Beek that I would not write about him, but he was hanging with the boys and he appeared to be having a good time. I then noticed one of the coolest things I have seen so far this summer. It was Nick Madigan sailing with his daughter Kate and having way too much fun sailing against his son Jimmy in another Lehman.

I can't describe how much fun it was watching the Lehman fleet and it kind of felt like a flashback from "back in the day" watching Chris Rabb work the "lido lift" so effortlessly and winning the two races I watched from start to finish.

When I left, Chris was second from the pin at the start of race No. 3 , and hit the first shift again. One could see the mojo just dripping from Chris last week and I assume he won the third race also. The best part of the night was watching all the parents sailing with their kids and just keeping it fun.


Saturday was the Balboa Yacht Club's 66 Series, races No. 3 and 4. The wind was light and shifty out of the south, and the racing was very close. While at the top mark I thought it was funny how many times the skippers would call for the spinnaker hoist and how many different ways I would hear this command.

You have your "Hoist" and your "OK Set" but my favorite is "hoist, hoist, hoist!" If you have not volunteered for race committee in a while you should do so because it's kind of like commentating a sporting event on TV and I want to tell you that I have learned a couple of things by watching. The yachts Tango & Radical Departure traded 1st place in class A while Amante won both of class B races. In Class C Pussy Cat won the first race and Good Rhythm won the second race. Whistler was the bridesmaid in both races.

Sunday was fun. My son Andrew and I went over to the Lido Isle Yacht Club to watch NHYC's Summer Gold Cup. With 179 boats entered there was plenty to watch, not that all the boats were on the bay at the same time.

NHYC must have done this before, because everything over on the C3 racecourse seemed to go well.

One of my big lessons this weekend was how to become the proper "Jr. Sailing Parent," and I found these four rules written by Bill Sanberg who is a sailing coach back east:

Parent Don'ts

• Don't help your child rig or unrig their boat. This is something they need to learn themselves, and they're probably embarrassed by your "help."

Don't berate an instructor, especially in front on the sailors. This immediately undermines their authority and thus their ability to do their job. If you have a problem, seek out the program chair or a member of the committee. It will be far more effective.

Don't go to regattas and scream and cheer when your child or your program's child rounds a mark in a high position. How do you think this makes the kids at the end of the fleet feel? Like losers.

Don't make the first question you ask your child after a regatta, "How'd you finish?"

It should be, "Did you have fun?"

There are some exceptions to this. If they are older and committed to (racing), it's OK to ask how they did. These are committed racers, and winning is fun. However, don't grill them for information. It will come out. Discuss, don't preach.

I know that I am running out of room so I will just give quick notice that the Balboa Yacht Club "Club Championships" are this weekend. I had to withdraw today because I have a sea trial this Sunday. I really wanted that parking space back at BYC.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back from Catalina in one piece 7-1-10

I have been pleasantly surprised by the response from people who read my first column last week.

The first remark I received was in Catalina from Diane Buchanan: "I read your story in The Daily Pilot, Len. That's a great idea and I look forward to reading more of them," she said as four 11-year-olds old charged the picnic table for dinner.

Yes, I pushed the limit in Catalina this weekend and I will not be in trouble until my wife Jennifer reads this story.

This Monday was also the start of the junior sailing season and I have a couple of observations I want to share with you.

Since moving my column over to the Daily Pilot, the response I have received has multiplied by 10. I received e-mails from people like Malcolm Geffen, Paul Blank, Mike Whitehead and Ray Lewis, along with Nancy Teulie and Diane Buchanan stopping me at the Balboa Yacht Club and telling me how they enjoyed my story.

The best quote came from my son Andrew, after we arrived back at the yacht club: "Dad, how did everyone know it is my birthday this weekend and knew we were in Catalina?"

"Looks like a lot of people read The Daily Pilot and want to know how your trip to Catalina went," I replied.

I had been dreaming of taking Andrew and a number of his friends to Catalina Island for his birthday. It all came together this year. Yes, when you see me on the water this week I'll be the dad with the ear-to-ear smile.

But don't let me fool you that it was easy. I was fortunate to have my best friend, Bobby Blake, helping me with the crew of the Happy Times. It consisted of Bobby's son, Jack, and Andrew's two friends from the neighborhood, Bubba and Brian. We also hooked up with the crew of the Inconceivable, Christophe and Porter Killian, and, yes, when you blend these two crews you have "Inconceivable Happy Times."

Now the idea of an air-soft battle with biodegradable BB gun pellets was a bad idea of mine. Not because the kids got hurt or that we must have broken a number of laws. It's because I am still picking up BBs that were spilled all over the boat as the kids filled their guns.

Bad, bad idea that ranks right up there with allowing cheese puffs on the boat.

The next exciting moment came when we heard, that the week prior to our arrival, there had been a great white shark seen off Long Point. You would of had to been there to see the expression on our faces when we received the news and looked up at the kids playing on the beach.

After checking with the White Harbor Department, BYC caretaker and my old friend in Avalon, lifeguard Steve Trigger, I was convinced of the kids' safety — although they thought it strange when I vetoed snorkeling and swimming from the boat to the beach.

The weekend could not have been any better, with the morning marine layer burning off by 11 a.m. each day and a full moon each night. Not that the kids really got a chance to see the night's sky after a full day of playing on the beach and running up and down the hills of Catalina. They were asleep by 9 each night, although I did ask Andrew to come back on deck after our return to the boat the first night. I placed my arm around his shoulder and pointed out the full moon just breaking the horizon and filling the whole bay with its sparkling light.

This is when I asked him to make me a promise: "Andrew, now you have to promise to bring your son to Catalina for his birthday, OK?"

"I will, Dad" he replied. "Wow, look at the moon! I can almost count the rocks on the moon. Can I go back and watch the rest of the movie now, Dad?"

This gave time for Bobby and I to sit outside in the cockpit and recall all the good times we had aboard the Amante, the Richley family's 48-foot sailboat.

"Hey Bobby, let's call Mel" — Mel Richley is the owner of the Amante — "and thank him for all the good times we have had on his boat and for introducing us to Catalina and White Cove and the understanding that every second with your family on a boat is priceless," I said.

Bobby then replied, "I have a better idea. Why don't you write about it? You know Mel reads The Pilot every day."

To Mel: Thank you! You have no idea how much you have helped me over my life and carrier by allowing me aboard the Amante and telling me about your family stories on all of those moon-lit nights we had over the years.

This Monday was the first day of junior sailing this year. I started to worry when I was cleaning the boat up Sunday night and noticed all the fathers getting their kids' sabots ready for the next day. I was OK because Andrew and I went sailing last week and everything was in good shape. We still arrived a little early Monday morning, and sabot parents have nothing over Little League parents. The tension on the docks felt like tryouts, with each parent giving last-minute advice before the big show.

Later that day I was moving a boat I had just sold to its new slip and must have seen at least five kids in complete meltdowns, with crocodile tears running down their faces.

As I arrived at Andrew's class, I was just in time to watch Andrew flip his boat and then look over and notice me. He told me with a big smile that he was all right and had misjudged the wake made by the Pavilion Paddy charging past the class — too close for this father's comfort level.

The classic moment came when one of the Balboa Yacht Club's staff commodores, who was concerned about his grandson getting hit by the boom earlier in the day and with the return of his grandson to the dock was trying to help, fell into the water. Fortunately our commodore did not hurt himself and it was even more priceless to hear the young skippers tell the grandfather where the ladder was to get out of the water.

Truly a priceless weekend on the water and a fantastic start to the yachting season.

Stay tuned for next week.