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“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Toni Morrison
The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Clubs Angelman Series overall winner Dan Rossen aboard PROBLEM CHILD
I would like to give one more analogy on the tidelands permit fees increases before reviewing this summers sailing awards winners.
Picture yourself taking a family trip on a hot muggy summer day to Catalina on a slow boat. Your parents are at the helm, The State of California, you and your big brother, The City of Newport Beach, are sitting in the back of the boat when your big brother turns to you and slugs you in the face. You squeal “ Mom, Dad” the City of Newport Beach just slugged me in the face! Your brother reply’s “No I didn't” and you the permit holder reply “Did to”. This has been going on since 2008, when will Mom and Dad finally stop the boat and pick up the dingy paddle. Give us that stern look of the eyes, over the top of their sunglass, while beating the halibut out of our big brother?
The only way I see mom and dad stoping our boat is if there is an accounting problem and we are not telling them the truth? Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than having to turn around halfway to Catalina and head home. Dad gets really grumpy and his face turns all red.
Back to who won this summers pickle dishes? This years PHRF fleet started with Newport Harbors Yacht Clubs, newly formatted, 3 race series Ahmanson Cup. This series was a huge success with 35 of our harbors boats entering. In 3rd place was team Tres Gordo on “Its OK” from BYC, in 2nd was BCYC Team Plant sailing “Still Crazy” and in first place was BYC Team Kettenhofen aboard “Dare”. Next this season was The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Clubs Angelman Series. This was a nine race series with all windward/leeward races. In 3rd place was BCYC Team Szalay sailing “Pussy Cat”, 2nd place was Team McKeever on “Reliance” from BYC and this years overall winner was my good friend Dan Rossen sailing his boat “Problem Child” for BCYC. Two weeks ago The Balboa Yacht wrapped up the 66 series with the race from Catalina and back. If you missed this race you missed one of the best sails home from the island I have had in years. 3rd place in this years 66 series, sailing for NHYC was Team Grant aboard eXigent, in 2nd was The Richley Family from LIYC on the mighty Amante. This years
overall 66 winner was Roy Jones and Team Tango sailing for BYC. Special shout out to everyone who participated in our harbors PHRF events. This weekend is the Argosy Race which is the last race of The Newport High Point Series. Pending on how many boats show up this weekend, it still is anyones race.
In this years Sabots Balboa Bay Champship regatta the winners in C1: 3rd place Mitchell Harvey, 2nd Rowdie Peets and in first was Shannon Morris all from NHYC. In Sabot B in 3rd was Reid Wiley, 2nd Erik Hou both from NHYC and from BCYC 1st place in Sabots B this year was Jack McClintock. Now to Sabot A’s with NHYC members making a clean sweep of it with Sean Dahl taking 3rd, Kate Madigan in 2nd and this years Balboa Bay Fleet Champion Rhodes Garner is headed to Disneyland.
In the Harbor 20 fleet the current High Point Series leader is Kurt Wiese aboard his yellow boat Ping. The current leader for the rain or shine, who has sailed the most this year is Peter Haynes on Spirit, followed closely by Steve Horton aboard Hears a Who.
In the Harbor 20 Summers series at BCYC Taco Tuesdays A. Fleet Len Connelly sailing Dollie has had the hot hand on the tiller this summer and in B fleet Dick Somers onboard Stop Making Sence is leading the way. Over at BYC Twilights on Wednesdays nights its Gary Thorne in A Fleet and Mark Hurwitz in B fleet sailing very consistently. In NHYC Thursday nights Rich Matzinger and Phil Ramser have been tearing up A fleet and in B Fleet John Whitney has been sailing very well. In C fleet it appears Steve Horton and Nina Manning have been having a good battle.
More summer results next week, I am off to Catalina.
This last Wednesday morning I jumped in my dingy at the Balboa Yacht Club and proceeded up the bay in search for a story, the fog was tick this morning with a rather high humidity level that was quickly burning away to a perfect summer day on our harbor.
My mind was wandering from the information I had been receiving this week while attending “The Coalition to Preserve Newport Harbor PAC” meetings on Tuesday’s at 8:00 Am at the John Dominis building located at 2901 W Coast Hwy. I must have been having a flashback because it felt like I was in a Navy Seals team inflatable boat preparing for a landing on the enemy beach. While making my way through the harbor I wondered if I was going to make it through this next assault of tideland permit fee increases. Maybe it would be one of my teammates that would get it? I glanced over at the bait barge, noticed the number of out of town people experiencing our harbor for the first time by renting an electric boat or stand up paddle boards from our harbor rental company’s, looked over to our two fuel docks. This flashback was really not taking me to a place where I wanted to start my day. The point I am trying to make is another call to get involved and make your voices heard by attending the “The Coalition to Preserve Newport Harbor PAC” meetings or our monthly Harbor Commission meetings. Review our City’s web page at www.newportbeachca.gov , contact our City Council members and talk about what type of harbor you would like to see with your friends. If we just stand by and watch, our grandchildren could end up with a duck pond with condos built around it.
Time to think positive and I can think of know better person to talk to than Matt Cox the operator of the Hill’s boat fuel tanker. His official title is “Licensed fuel tank engineer” and Matt is one of “the good old boys” of our harbor. He attended Harbor View Elementary School where he first met the owner of the fuel dock Garry Hill in the 4th grade. Jump ahead some 30 years latter and Gary noticed Matt working the shore boats in Catalina and offered Matt the job to run the tanker. Matt accepted and has been on the job close to 20 years now. I first met Matt about 15 years ago and he is one of harbors kindest, most professional people that I have ever met on the water. He always greets you as if you are his best friend and he always keeps his promises. “The best part of this job is meeting all the characters in our harbor, like you Len” Matt told me.
He delivery’s diesel fuel to about 10-12 boats each day Monday-Friday. His tanker holds 2,620 gallons of fuel, the tanker was built out of steel in 1947 by The Joe Beek Company. The same company that built our harbors the auto ferry’s. The Hill’s purchased the tanker some 30 years ago and have kept her in perfect condition. Matts routine while pulling up to a vessel is to note the tide and current, tie the tanker up properly, deploy his fuel lines, inspect the fuel vents of the vessel he is filling, then proceed in fueling the vessel. One of his biggest concerns is if there is a leak in his customers fuel lines and he fills the bilge with fuel. “This has only happened to me about once every ten years” Matt replied. One of my secrets are to place my ear next to the fuel vents and cup my hand around the vent so I can hear the fuel going into the tank. He also noted that understanding your boats system makes his job a lot easier. Knowing which fuel tank is feeding the generator and how much fuel each tank will take makes it easier for our harbor fuel operators to keep fuel from over flowing fuel into the bay. I also asked Matt what was the best way to rotate new fuel into the boat? “Once you understand how much fuel you are burning I recommend only caring enough fuel for your trip and a reserve of about of 1/3 of your tank. For example, if you hold 400 gallons, which weighs 3000 pounds, and are only going to Catalina there is reason to carry all that weight. Just carry what you need and some in reserve, then give me a call or just text me on your return. I will have you boat ready for you before your next scheduled departure” Matt explained. You can reach Matt by calling Hills boat service at (949) 675-0740 or you can call him directly at (949) 795-3483. He’s a great guy and has never done me wrong.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my harbor report in June of this year I made the observation of a storm brewing regarding the increase of our harbor’s tidelands permits. It appears that the different stakeholders in our harbor have not dissipated away like a weather system. It now looking more like they are organizing and increasing their audience. Now blend in the formation of two newly formed political action committees (PAC), The “Coalition to Preserve Newport Harbor” and the “Stop the Dock Tax” PAC. Pilot columnist Jack Wu described the PAC’s in his column “Politics is getting in the way of business” dated July 28. Mr. Wu is an accountant and political activist. I am a Newport Harbor “seat of my pants” sailor that describes storms in a different manner.
Before a sailor heads out to sea in a long distance race they spend hours going over the weather to determine the fastest route to the finish line. One source of information we use is the surface weather analysis chart. Using this analogy I am going to try to describe how to use this chart as a comparative and offer my best forecast of the approaching weather system. The surface analysis chart allows the sailor to read sea level pressure fields and they keep barometer on board to plot their location and monitor it in case of any sudden changes. While reviewing our chart it was noted that an increase of costs in maintaining our harbor has occurred, like everything else, over the last decades. As the economy slowed a low pressure system,
the city’s tidelands permits fees, quickly built and swallowed up the mooring permit holders with a 300% increase in their permits over 5 years. This seems to have fed the low pressure system because now the city is proposing a 833% increase to the marina operators tidelands permits. As this low pressure system builds over our harbor two high pressure systems in the form of the two PAC’s described above have formed.
The sailor then looks at the isobars or isobaric analysis which are the lines on chart, lets call this the money. Following the money or obtaining a forensic accounting done to get an accurate picture of what the expenses truly are and trusting our elected officials to spend our money wisely plays a big part in a sailor mind on picking the right course. Every good sailor also reviews yesterdays forecast in the form of appraisals and applies this information into a routing program. The problem with the routing programs is that each program will give you a different route to follow. The last thing sailors want to happen is our boat/money fall into a “TROF”.
The key to watching this weather system will be the the transition zone. I have sat for days in a High pressure system racing to Hawaii and sailed in a low pressure system down the coast of Oregon and I don’t ever want to be caught in those situations again. I have found in the difficult races sometimes its best to hire the experienced navigator. In this case would that navigator be called an arbitrator? Please keep mind I am the “seat of my pants” sailor who has lost more races than I have won. I just try not to make the same mistake twice. As this race continues I will have to really more on my radar and my mast head fly.