It's time for my spring Harbor Observation Report. And, yes, I am for hire.
I took my standard route this week by starting out at the Newport Harbor Shipyard. I then looked out over Z mark from the Windward Sailing Club, walked through Lido Village, glimpsed the repo yard, stopped at Ardell Marina, and proceeded to my final destination: Basin Shipyard.
There was plenty of activity at Newport Harbor Shipyard. As I turned down shipyard way I could not help noticing the burgee of the Lahaina Whale smartly placed on the top of Windward Passage's rig.
Walking into the yard, the first thing that grabbed me was the huge Alan Andrews-designed bulb keel.
The skipper Dave "Half Deck" Johnson was high in the scaffolding, prepping the boat for a new paint job.
Seeing Dave work over the years, the boat will be a faultless work of art before she is placed back into the water. If she attends the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's opening day, she is my favorite to win as best overall yacht.
It also appears that Paul Stemler and his J 44 Patriot are also getting ready for opening day, by placing in a new bottom and what looks like a new paint job. Craig Reynolds is placing a new bottom on his boat, Bolt, and it looks really fast.
If anyone can beat the SC 50 Horizon in this year's Transpacific Yacht Race, it might just be the Bolt. After looking at the boat's bottom and asking a couple people around town, Newport Harbor Shipyard is producing some fast-looking bottoms.
At the other end of the yard is the Santa Cruz 50, the Flaca. The owner, Paul Casanova, has the rig and rudder pulled for inspection in preparation for the Transpac, and while he has the boat out of the water, she is receiving a new paint job and a little keel repair.
While walking out on the shipyard ways to have a look at the other shipyards, I noticed Roy Jones' J 133, the Tango, having her interior completely re-varnished for the Balboa Yacht Club's opening day. The Tango has to be the favorite for the best overall sailboat this year at BYC.
My next stop was next to the Windward Sailing Club and there appeared to be the same number of the larger Charter Boats 15 from my quick count in town. While standing there, I pictured the proposed "New Vision" of the harbor for the Lido Village area. I hope the city can improve this area sooner rather than later. It will sure make the boat show more attractive to attend.
My next stop was the repo yard. The only thing of interest was a couple of sedans and one sportfisher, so I did not stop to take a closer look, and continued over to Basin Marine.
While going over the PCH bridge I glanced over toward NHYC to notice a Mini Transat Pogo 2, 20-foot open race boat out for a sail. I have always wanted to sail one of these boats, and I discovered that a Pogo 2 is now living in our harbor. I put a call in to the new owner, and I hope to get a hold of him and report back on what the owner's plans are with the boat.
While at Basin shipyard, Bill Taylor has the Scavenger out for a new bottom and there were a gorgeous Cabo Express and Viking getting ready for the upcoming season.
As I write my column, it's Wednesday late afternoon and time to head over to BYC for the Spring Twilight sailed in Harbor 20s off M Mark. I hoping to have 15 boats show up this week, and the breeze looks good, so we should be able to get in four to five races.
I will be introducing the Buddha Duck on Thursday night. The Buddha Duck is a plastic bathtub duck that is towed behind the boat that made some type of blunder in the previous race. It makes for some great fun.
Come on down and join in on the fun and get your photo taken and be at one with the Buddha Duck.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.