Friday, April 26, 2013

The Harbor Report: McMuffin or not, a terrific race

The Band

By Len Bose
April 25, 2013 | 9:32 a.m.

As most of you already know, Friday is the start of the 66th Annual Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race.
If you are reading my column before 10 a.m., you still have time to head out to the Corona del Mar cliffs to watch the starts from 11 a.m. to noon. If you are looking for the real character of the race, go to the public dock at the end of the Balboa Peninsula. Don't go all the way to the dock's edge because the fisherman will be rather bunched up after all the sailboats have gone by, too close to the dock, and snagged their fishing lines. That's not the type of tight lines they were looking for. What you will see and feel from the dock is the intensity and excitement that this race truly has to offer.
It's easy to spot the difference between the all-out race boats and crews from the weekend warriors who are just out for some good times with family and friends. The all-out race boats will be sleek and move through the water like knives, producing little to no wake.
The crews will be gathered in the cockpit, and everyone will look like attendees at a board meeting dressed in similar-styled suits. Go ahead, wave to them and say "looking good"; they will not respond to your friendly wave and good wishes, but rather will give you a grunt and shake their heads like you are just pointing out the obvious.
If you had a water toy and tried to shower a sleeping sea lion on a moored boat, my bet is you would get the same response.
Most of the fleet fits in the "weekend warrior" category, and there are many different subcategories. The first subcategory I always notice is the one made up of the novice sailors, and God bless them, because that's how our sport grows.
It's easy to spot the novices; they will all have their foul weather gear on before pushing off the dock. Their seasick patches, below their ears, have been placed on by their spouses the night before. Eyes are wide open like they were driving through a police sobriety checkpoint. One can imagine the "Gilligan's Island" theme playing over and over in their heads as they approach the bell buoy at the harbor exit.
Another subcategory is the "win the party" crews. These crews are all in costume, and in past years, I have seen everything from O.J. driving a white Bronco, past presidents, the Rat Pack and Rastafarians.
You should be able to hear them coming down the bay, music blaring, beverages in hand. Make sure you wave to these crews and give them your good wishes; their response is normally a loud "haaaaaaa, whoooooo."
Their boats' watch system, when the crew goes down for some sleep, normally starts earlier for these crews than for other boats, since most of the "win the party" crews are a little slow from the night before and are starting to wonder if that Sausage McMuffin they ate an hour ago was a good idea.
You will also notice the spectators throughout the harbor. One cannot miss Da-Woody, a boating photographer who rides around in a boat that looks like an old woody wagon. Religious folks are always out on the water trying to convince the racers to change their paths. Then blend in all the boats going out the jetty at one time, and you have the Ensenada race, baby!
I will be sailing on the J 109 Linstar, and we have "the band" back together as crew. If I was to place myself into one of the above categories, we would be 50-50 all-out racer and win-the-party boat. I am too old now for the party the night before, and I gave up Sausage McMuffins a long time ago, but that's another story.
Wish me luck again, because it's been working. Last week, we sailed to third place in the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Ahmanson Cup aboard Linstar. I'd also like to give a little shout-out to my friend Chris Raab, who finished fourth just behind us.
Remember to go to my blog site at for an update on the Newport Beach High Point Series.
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Harbor Report: A busy two weeks on the harbor

BCYC Team Stella Maris

By Len Bose
April 18, 2013 | 4:06 p.m.

The harbor will be bustling these next two weeks with the 40th Newport Boat Show and Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Ahmanson Cup Regatta this weekend, not to be outdone by next weekend's 66th Annual Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race and the Balboa Angling Club's 50th Annual Lily Call.
This last Wednesday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours previewing this year's spring boat show at Lido Village. As I walked down the main dock, I started to feel like years past when confidence was high within the marine industry. Andy Estiri from Sea Furniture was busy assembling his dock display of helm chairs, upholstery work and stainless steel hardware. Duffy Electric Boat Company has a large in-the-water display of their product line just below the main ramp.


As I walked down the docks I started calling my clients, informing them that there was something for them to see at this year's show. Some of the standout boats I noticed were the 1970 Hinckley Bermuda 40 "Black Irish," the 54 Eastbay "Scout" and the new Fleming 65. There was a number of clean, smaller express cruisers, sport fishers and even a couple of sailboats. Over the last couple of years, I have had that "bah humbug"-type feeling. This year, the show feels like it has something for everyone. I give it a thumbs up.
This Saturday and Sunday is the NHYC Ahmanson Cup Regatta, which is the third race of the Newport High-Point Series. This race is a little unusual in that it is run as a pursuit race. The smallest boat starts first, which is me on the J 109 Linstar, with your handicap time as your head start. Just think of the 1980s arcade game "Pac-Man"; for us, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are the Santa Cruz 70s OEX and Retro. If they catch us after our head start and eat us up, we lose. The winds are forecasted to lighten up this weekend, so it does not look too promising for us.
Ahmanson Series Photo fron Joysailing

We are sailing in the Ahmanson in an effort to get ready for the following weekend's Ensenada race. I've gone through all of the Linstar emergency gear and should have our Man Overboard Module (MOM) back this week after being repacked this year. I am sure all my readers understand that MOMs need to be repacked annually. There is an interesting story developing out of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club for this year's race. Commodore Tom Madden, aboard his Hylas 46 Stella Maris, has invited four BCYC junior sailors and their fathers to crew for him on this year's race. This should make for some good stories and good times.
Something tells me that there will quite a few moms on the buses that are available to take down to the Hotel Coral and racers can sign up for rides back. Seventy dollars round-trip and $50 one-way sounds like a great deal to me. Let's hope that this warming trend does not stay around for long and we have some wind this year. Because aboard Linstar, we "wanna race" and place our name on that two-year lease on the Lexus IS F Sport for winning the best corrected time.
Now while all us silly ragheads are out sailing under a full moon, the true harbor user will be competing in the 50th Annual Lily Call fishing tournament. The tournament is scheduled for April 27 and 28. According to the Balboa Angling Club's website, "This is a 4# line class tournament held inside Newport Bay. Qualifying fish are Corbina, Spotfin and Yellowfin Croaker, Calico (Kelp) Bass, Sand Bass, Spotted Bay Bass and Halibut. This is one of our most attended tournaments and is limited to the first 150 entries." If you have never been down to the Balboa Angling Club and looked through their history of past winners of this event, you are missing a big part of this harbor history.
Linstar Last weekend

Please wish me luck again this week; last week, it worked. Alan Andrews joined us Saturday aboard Linstar, and we won our class in the BCYC Ocean Series. On Sunday, Craig Fletcher sailed with in my Harbor 20 to a second-place finish in the Lorin Weiss Series. Life is good in Newport Harbor!
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

FOR SALE: 2001 Bayliner 3788

SHE IS A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY WITH HER TWIN STATEROOMS, CUMMINS DIESEL INBOARDS WITH ONLY 650 HOURS, AIR, REVERSE CYCLE HEAT, GENERATOR, MAJOR ELECTRONICS, FULL CANVAS AND READY TO GO......... She is an updated version of the original 2788 Command Bridge with a fresh appearance and a new two stateroom interior. Built on a conventional modified V hull with a relatively flat 10 degrees of transom deadrise, she is a good looking boat with more than a hint of European sudan styling. Large cabin windows make her salon open. Her galley is up and her master stateroom has a walkaround center berth. Hatches in her salon sole provide access to her engine compartment. Topside, her flybridge accommodates five adults and a long overhand shades her cockpit. Molded steps, instead of a ladder, make reaching her flybridge easy and safe. Additional features include a swim platform, transom door, opening side windows, foredeck sun pad and a tub/shower to her head. She is a wonderful opportunity and she is here for your inspection. 

ASKING: $ 145,000

FOR SALE: 2001 C & C 110

It may be impossible to have both cruising luxury and performance in the same boat, but the C &C 110 comes as close as can be achieved in the search for the right blend of compromises. With refrigeration, ample fresh water, and two comfortable staterooms, a couple can cruise for several weeks without needing to visit port. The Value is in the early design and quality construction, which will allow you to sail, and take the family to the island’s safely. When viewing this C & C 110 please note the overall appearance Refrigeration, Radar, Chart Plotter, Windless, Dingy with outboard. This is the type of yacht you can be proud of in front of the Yacht Club. HARD TO FIND! GREAT VALUE  ASKING $129,500 Located in Newport Beach

Just moments from the Newport Boat Show!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Harbor Report: Leaving Costa Mesa for calmer waters

Tattoo Yachts New 22 Footer

By Len Bose
April 11, 2013 | 8:58 p.m.

Two years ago, almost to this date, I interviewed Roger MacGregor and his daughter, Laura MacGregor Sharp, at their boat building plant located on Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa. The story was titled "The dawning of the age of fiberglass," and now, after some 50 years and 45,000 boats built, the MacGregors have decided to stop production of their 26-foot sailboat at their plant.
"Dad's not closing the doors," Laura explained over the phone this week. "He continues looking forward and plans on building custom-ordered 70-footers. Both my parents are in good health. They are both like Energizer Bunnies. They just keep going and going."
Two years ago, while walking through the plant with Roger, I did not listen to him closely enough when he said, "Over there is our mold shop, and on the other side of that wall, our neighbors are putting in a three-story retirement community." Two years later, the expense of updating the mold shop to meet today's state and city requirements has become rather tiring. Laura and her husband, Paul, have decided to continue production of the 26-footer and a new 22-foot trailerable sailboat in Stuart, Fla.
"The city of Stuart targeted us and went out of their way to obtain our business and made a huge effort in making us comfortable with our move," Laura told me. "Here, we are targeted in a way that makes it impossible for us to stay. In Stuart, it's like a flashback to the 1960s and '70s in Costa Mesa. On every street corner, there is a marine business, and we feel welcome again."
When you think about it, the MacGregor family has done more for the sport of sailing than anyone else by producing an entry-level boat. "If I had a dollar for everyone that came up to me and said I learned how to sail on a MacGregor 26, my kids would not have to work," Laura said. "We want to keep that section of the market and have made a few changes to the boat."
The new line is called Tattoo Yachts, and you can find them at "With cars getting smaller, the boats need to be lighter," Laura explained. "The towing weight of the new 22-foot is half the weight of the 26-foot."
As a yacht broker who has specialized in the sailboat market, I owe a big thank you to the MacGregor family for giving so many people the experience of a weekend-type cruising sailboat.
With this news, my concern for our harbor continues to grow, and I have said it many times before. What is going to happen as residential use encircles our harbor and forces out marine industry? Will we still have shipyards, restaurants, boat rentals, yacht clubs and boat launch ramps? Will my grandchildren get to race on the harbor, or will the race starting signals be too bothersome and loud for all the residents in their high-rise condos?
Myself, I'm going to look forward to the future like Roger MacGregor and design a kite I can fly from my Harbor 20. This way, I can still find wind 100 feet above the water after the high rises have surrounded us.
Fortunately, the sails that I have now should be good enough to get my name on the Lorin Weiss Series trophy this weekend as I sail out of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Wish me luck — I'm going to need it!
Should you wish to read the three-part story of Costa Mesa boat building and follow-up story to last week's Baldwin Cup, go to my blog site at
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Is NHYC team "Thunder" immune to the curse of the Bambino?

Today is the final day of the 2013 Baldwin Cup sailed just off the front docks of NHYC. This type of spectating is referred to as a stadium venue that can only be pulled off by NHYC. This format offers the spectators the ability to view the whole race course from land and in this case in front of NHYC. Teams are rotating in and out of boats right in front of you. This gives you the chance to see and feel “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” right there with the competitors.  After a come from behind victory yesterday I had a chance to over hear BYC team member Peter Fallon taking with his teammate Kelsey Gram “ Man I am still shaking after that one”.

Over the last two days and some 100 plus races the top four teams are starting to define themselves. At the top of the heap is NHYC “Team Thunder” with Brian Bissell, Caleb Silsby, Gale and John Pinckney, John Whitney, Michael Menninger, Perry Emsiek and Reid Vitarelli. In second place is Larchmont Yacht Club from New York, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club from Oyster Bay New York is in third. Yale Corinthian from Branford Connecticut and SDYC trying to stay in the top four.

With todays predicted light winds it appears that the start of the race will be everything. As the wind died yesterday there was a lot of teams rounding the second mark in 1,2,3rd place which is a winning combination and difficult to lose from while the breeze stays light and your sailing H20’s.

The racing today will start with the completion of round 2 and then straight into the final four. At this point all four teams, that make the cut, will be starting fresh. In other words its a whole new ball game at this point. If NHYC is ever going to win this event its this year. Team Thunder has been sailing strong as a team and their boat handing has been superb. 

This team largest obstacle is their “curse of the bambino” and the fans on the dock know it. If NHYC loses the first race of the semi finals the dock will so quite you will be able to hear a seal fart. I am starting to shake my bottle of Zantac already. 

Sea ya on the dock?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Baldwin Cup 2013 Day 1

Should you decide to head down to the NHYC today and watch the team racing keep a couple of things in mind. 

Parking the car at NHYC is challenging and then you have to grasp whats going on out on the water. You will see three racing going on at one time. Just in front of the club, assuming the wind will be out of the same direction as yesterday, was the top part of the digital N course.

At the first two marks of the course the teams are just starting to get into it and by the time they reach the bottom part of the N they are really going at it. If its still a close race its all out war as the two teams of four work their way to the finish line.

Unfortunately this is the furthest distance from the dock and as a spectator you have to pay attention to grasp the game. I trying my best to understand and still have no clue whats going on.

I will be back today, the atmosphere around the club is intoxicating or that could have something todo with the .25 beers??

Sea ya 

FLASH BACK: The dawning of the age of fiberglass

The Crew of Wizard Yachts

(Rumor around town is someone could be leaving soon 4-6-13)

This story is going to be a good ride, maybe even better than the third wave I caught in the 1991 Transpacific Yacht Race, or Transpac, approaching the finish off Diamond Head.
As the boat, a Santa Cruz 50 now named Flaca, dropped into the third consecutive wave and the shape of Ko Ko Head disappeared under the horizon from the huge wave, with sheets of water rising 12 feet on either side of the boat, a crew member shouted "26.6 knots," as we surfed down this tropical wave.
I thought to myself, "Go straight, go fast and don't touch the helm."
Now, what does this introduction have to do with this story? Absolutely nothing, it's just one of my fondest boating memories.
This week I met with Roger MacGregor at his boat manufacturing plant on Placentia Street Costa Mesa. I was there to discuss the history of building sailboats in Costa Mesa. While I was in Roger's office, I could not help but notice the excitement and inflection in his voice. And I thought to myself, this is Roger's third consecutive wave, this is one of his fondest boating memories, and while writing this I better "go straight, go fast and don't touch the helm".
I hope you stay onboard with me while I tell this three-part story and notice the relation between the fiberglass boating industry and today's economy.
All yachtsman understand that God created wooden boats and man created fiberglass. In June 1947, Wizard Boats Inc., of 2075 Harbor Blvd., started building laminated fiberglass plastic Boats. The company had 280 dealers throughout the world and made seven different sizes of power boats, which measured between 8-feet and 17-feet-long. Wizard Boats shipped 1,700 units in 1952.
I then found a July 1973 article from the Los Angeles Times. It was headlined "Million Boat Building Industry"' and was about fiberglass millionaires. In the article, the writer introduced W.D. (Bill) Schock, at age 52, as "The grizzled veteran of the new breed of fiberglass millionaires…."
While talking to Roger MacGregor it was my understanding that, at 24, Richard (Dick )Valdes started Columbia Yachts and started building the Columbia 29 from a Sparkman Stevens design. Dick was the second person to start building sailboats in Costa Mesa and, as Roger described it, this was the start of "The Wild West."
At about that time Roger MacGregor had produced a class project at Stanford Business School on how to put together a boat manufacturing business. Roger, who was working at the Ford Motor Co., had purchased a wooden Highlander Hull from W.D. Schock and started to build his first trailer able sailboat in his garage.
"I recall the first barrel of resin coming into town" Roger said.
At 38, he and his wife Mary Lou opened a little shop on 17th Street. While talking to Roger, we walked over to Laura (MacGregor) Sharp, who said: "We grew up sleeping in the back of the car while mom and dad built boats at night."
Then, after the company was building a boat every two weeks, Roger left his job and went to work full-time building sailboats.
"The harbor was full of wooden boats and those boat owners were our target market," Roger said.

Next to arrive was Jensen Marine's Cal Boats, and the list grew fast. McGlassen, Newport, Islander, Luhr's, Crysaliner, Hans Christian, Gil's Catamarans, Montgomery, Clipper, Pacifica, Aquarius, Westsail, Chapman 7 Kalligian, Ackerman, American, Dirmar & Donaldson, Duffield, Westerly, Bristol Channel Cutters, Willard. The list of support companies was even longer. As Roger said to me more than once "It was the Wild West."
Next week I am going to talk about saloon fights, the fires, beach parties, teamsters and the manager of a mold shop working from the saddle of his white horse.
So remember, "go straight, go fast and don't touch the helm" next week — the ride only gets better. I also need to give a big shout out to Mary Ellen Goddard at the Costa Mesa Historical Society. If you like this story, please stop by and leave a donation in the jar and thank her for me.
Before I go, I need to go over some Harbor News. The Baldwin Cup is being hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club Thursday till Sunday. This is a fantastic Team Racing event sailed in Harbor 20s in front of the NHYC. This is a must-see and more information can be found at
In other harbor news, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. and Visit Newport Inc. have announced an inaugural send-off fiesta on Sunday .ahead of the 64th annual Newport Beach to Ensenada International Yacht Race, affectionately called the "N2E." The fiesta, to take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Balboa Fun Zone and nautical museum, will features mariachi band performances, a fireboat escorting the race's 2009 and 2010 winners, and a "I want to be a Chihuahua" costumed dog parade. For more information, go to
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

The 'Wild West' days of the boating industry

August Hansen Costa Mesa Ship Builder

The year was 1979. I was 19 years old, and would drive to the ARCO station on the corner 18th Street and Placentia Avenue to avoid the long lines elsewhere because of the 1970s gas shortage.
By smelling the fiberglass resins in the air, I knew that this area of Costa Mesa was the boat-building capital of the United States.
What I did not know was that people in the boating industry referred to Costa Mesa as "Costa Mecca." Its boat-building companies produced about 90% of the 40,000 sailboats built each year in the U.S.
Roger MacGregor can remember the days when the roads would be jammed with trucks hauling out sailboats to all parts of the world.
"You couldn't drive down the Placentia without getting stuck behind a truck with a 'wide load' sign on the back," MacGregor recalled.
Turns out 1979 was the industry's last good year. Things started to go downhill afterward. So let's talk about the years 1968-1979, which Roger called "The Wild West."
From my count, there were 27 boat builders during that period, and more than 20 companies that supported the industry.
"On Friday night, everyone would meet at Zubies after work for a beer," Roger said.
This was around when the Punk Rock group The Vandals came out with the hit song "I Want To Be a Cowboy." How many cowboy boatbuilders, do you think, used to beat up on the punks at The Cuckoo's Nest?
Anyway, I do recall those good times. Roger also told the story of a large beach party in Dana Point that MacGregor Yachts and Hobie Alter, of Hobie Cat fame, threw for the marine industry.
"Things got out of hand real fast. The band was on a trailer and ended up rolling down a cliff," Roger recalled, rubbing his face.
More than 3,000 industry people attended the party where a number of pigs were roasted.
Good times.
"How in the heck did we ever live to today?" I asked Roger.
"Oh, that was nothing, Len. You should have seen the fires in these boatbuilding factories," he replied.
In fact, one boat builder had so much fiberglass resin on the floor that they refused to allow the Fire Department to inspect their site.
"I remember seeing the Fire Department opening a window and running the ladder inside through the building so that they could inspect the place," Roger said.
During the good times we had all types of people building boats — surfers building catamarans and hippies in VW buses. One time the Teamsters showed up at the gate to unionize the workforce.
That was an interesting time, Roger recalled.
"Once the workforce was informed they would have to cut their hair and leave their surfboards and hemp at home, that idea was voted down rather quickly," Roger said.
Another funny story was how Roger's mold shop foreman would ride a large white horse to work every day, and would run the shop from the saddle. The soundtrack to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" played in my head while Roger told me this part of the story, and I could not help but smile.
Follow me on Twitter @Boseyachts for daily Newport Harbor observations. I will inform followers if I see the Coast Guard doing safety inspections, or if there is a new yacht in town.
Maybe just if the left or the right side of the course is favorite during twilights or beercans. It's time to grab my sea bag and sail in this year's Newport to Ensenada race.
Sea ya!
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Rapid recession hit boating industry hard

This column is the last of a three-part series reviewing the history of boatbuilding in Costa Mesa.
"I never noticed an industry fall so fast and so complete," Roger MacGregor, founder of MacGregor Yacht Co., recalled.
The year was 1980 and the screws were tightened on credit. Kind of sounds familiar to today, doesn't it?
"The federal clamp down on consumer credit is not only taking its toll on the housing and auto industries, but on Orange Country multi-million dollar boat building enterprises," John Longwell wrote in a May 1980 article headlined "Boating Blues."
The article included quotes from Bob McCafferty of Down East Yachts, Buster Hammond of Islander Yachts, and Dick Valdes of Lancer Yachts. They all explained the cutbacks they were taking to survive through the lull.
Interest rates were at 18% and "either the buyers settle for a smaller boat or they wait."
Valdes was quoted as saying: "Sophisticated money is waiting out the market, [and] even though they have the money they're taking a wait-and-see attitude."
One of my favorite quotes in this article was from Duncan McIntosh: "You have a weeding-out process that we go through from time to time. I think this may be one of the worst we've ever had. Never before has financing been completely shut off. But I don't think it's as bad as a lot people make it out to be."
Builders were then facing rising property values, stricter enforcement of fire codes, rising political opposition to the housing of manufacturing on Costa Mesa's West Side, where haphazard zoning had produced a mixture of residential and industrial uses.
Another problem in 1980 was that "Fiberglass boats don't rot."
It appears that the boating market can be saturated from time to time and this is what McIntosh was pointing out in his above quote. By 1985, most of the boat building industry had left Costa Mesa and had just shut their doors, or sold their companies to large corporations who ended up closing shop by 1989.
After 1995, the industry found its second wind and new boat sales took off like setting the 2.5 spinnaker.
I found a great quote from Tom Schock, owner of the W.D. Schock Corp. In a 1998 Los Angeles Times article, he maintained that the sailboat industry had been in a terrible recession since 1985. Sailing became too expensive and time-consuming, and stressed competition instead of family fun.
Just after saying this Tom went on to build the Harbor 20s, and the Lido 14 fleet had a resurgence. New boat sales lasted until 2008.
"So what will happen next?" I thought to myself while interviewing Roger MacGregor.
I probed for the answer because I know Roger is a much smarter man than I am.
"We are about due for some type of technical break through," he explained. "Something radical, cosmic weight reduction and maintenance reduction."
Therefore, if the market follows history, we should see a comeback within nine years. I hope it comes back sooner with the introduction of hybrid technology, new types of drive systems and the further development of different laminates.
I am also counting on a more mature new boat buyer to come along. We all know we are living longer. Maybe grandparents will be the ones purchasing new boats and introducing Catalina and the yachting scene to their grandkids? Let's hope so.
I had better get back to work and "go straight, go fast and don't touch the helm."
It appears it will be some time before the next wave appears. I will be the one continuing on the same course and sailing with my head out of their boat. So follow me on Twitter (@Boseyachts) for daily Newport Harbor observations.
Before I leave this week, I need to give a big shoutout to Deputy Glasgow of the Newport Beach Harbor Patrol for helping me tow a boat in after it overheated. Thanks for the help, you did an outstanding job and we got our boat home safely!
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Harbor Report: Grab a front seat for Baldwin Cup

By Len Bose
April 4, 2013 | 9:19 a.m.

Starting today and through this weekend is the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's sixth annual Baldwin Cup Team Race sailed in Harbor 20s. This event was conceived by NHYC Staff Commodore Bill Palmer and has quickly turned into one of our harbor's most prestigious sailing events.
Attending the regatta this year are the Royal Thames Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Seattle Yacht Club, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, Southern Yacht Club, St. Francis Yacht Club, Balboa Yacht Club, Yale Corinthian Yacht Club and two teams from Newport Harbor Yacht Club. With each team bringing four teams of two people, the docks will have 96 sailors from around the world, with the Royal Thames team coming in from London.

It's been very busy at NHYC for well over a month now getting ready for this event. The club has gathered over 100 volunteers working on boat preparation, media and race management. At my last count, there are 22 Harbor 20s in front of NHYC at this time. Each boat has been gone through by the club's "pit crew" in preparation for the race. Mike Nash, the chairman of the media and marketing subcommittee, said, "We give the boats a full dressing-up." This includes a complete detail from bow to stern, buff and wax to gel coat repair, running rigging, mast tuning and, in some cases, replacement of the standing rigging, which are the wires that hold the mast in place. Most of us Harbor 20 owners get in line and hope the club asks if they can use our boat. In fact, the club places a photo of the owner in their boat so that the competitors understand that they are borrowing boats.
"The club is in a very unique location, being in the middle of the harbor, and has the ability to offer a type of stadium observation of the regatta from its docks," Mike explained to me. "There will be over 150 races with announcers providing play by play on the front dock, we will also be posting interviews of the competitors on our Facebook page. You will be able to watch the event from home or work on the club's HD cameras, along with following a GPS tracking of the races provided by Kattack via the club's website at Although, "the best place to watch from will be the main dock with other sailors around you," Mike explained with great enthusiasm.

While watching from the main dock, keep in mind that team racing is a challenging form of sailboat racing. In each match, two teams of four boats are pitted against each other on an "N" shaped course. Oddly, the team with the least amount of points wins unless there is a tie, in which case the team that crosses the finish line first loses. The resulting tactics in this format are complex. It requires instantaneous decisions and superb boat-handling. Teams will have the same color jib, and all the excitement is normally around the turning marks, which are quite often within shouting distance from the main dock.
The big change this year, on the race course, is that the mooring balls will be removed. Over the last five years, there has always been an East Coast team that has won the regatta, and out of those five years, the New York Yacht Club has won three times. The winning team gets its yacht club name placed on the Baldwin Cup. When I asked Mike what second place receives for their efforts, he replied, "Ah, Len, there is no second."
I will be riding my bicycle down to the club and watching each day. The competition, the spectators, the warm Southern California weather, the 25-cent beer make you feel like opening day at a baseball game. Time to go raid my change jar and head down to the harbor to watch some world-class sailing and cheer for a West Coast team. For a list of all the sailors and updates from the event, go to my blog at
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Team Rosters

Balboa YCAlex Steele
Balboa YCCarson Reynolds
Balboa YCChuck Simmons
Balboa YCGreg Newman
Balboa YCKatie McDowell
Balboa YCKelly Buchan
Balboa YCKelsey Gram
Balboa YCPeter Fallon
Larchmont YCClay Bischoff
Larchmont YCDanny Pletsch
Larchmont YCDavid Dowd
Larchmont YCEwell C Potts
Larchmont YCJason Carroll
Larchmont YCJohn Baxter
Larchmont YCMegan Magill
Larchmont YCMolly Baxter
New York YCBrian Doyle
New York YCChrissy Coolidge
New York YCDerby Anderson
New York YCErik Storck
New York YCGarrett Woodworth
New York YCJoy MacDougall
New York YCKaity Storck
New York YCScott Hogan
NHYC LightningAdam Deermount
NHYC LightningBill Menninger
NHYC LightningCasey Hogan
NHYC LightningGreg Helias
NHYC LightningJeff Gordon
NHYC LightningJustin Law
NHYC LightningPeter Stemler
NHYC LightningTommy Leach
NHYC ThunderBrian Bissell
NHYC ThunderCaleb Silsby
NHYC ThunderGale Pinckney
NHYC ThunderJohn Whitney
NHYC ThunderJon Pinckney
NHYC ThunderMichael "Mighty" Menninger
NHYC ThunderPerry Emsiek
NHYC ThunderReid Vitarelli
Royal Thames YCGuy Brearey
Royal Thames YCIan Dobson
Royal Thames YCJames Bouyce
Royal Thames YCJohn Dallimore
Royal Thames YCMurray Chapples
Royal Thames YCThomas Brennan
Royal Thames YCTom Heywood
Royal Thames YCWilf Vavill
San Diego YCBrad Rodi
San Diego YCBrian Haines
San Diego YCChuck Sinks
San Diego YCJulie Servais
San Diego YCMikee Anderson
San Diego YCRex Cameron
San Diego YCTyler Sinks
San Diego YCWhit Batchelor
Seattle YCAnthony Boscolo
Seattle YCDalton Bergan
Seattle YCJen Morgan Glass
Seattle YCLindsay Bergan
Seattle YCMallory Fontenot
Seattle YCMike Karas
Seattle YCW. Andrew Loe III
Seattle YC
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCAl Constants
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCAndy Herlihy
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCJoel Hanneman
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCKyle Shattuck
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCLiz Herlihy
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCRobbie Dean
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCTim Fallon
Seawanhaka Corinthian YCTim Wadlow
Southern YCDwight Leblanc
Southern YCGerard Sonnier
Southern YCJackson Benvenutti
Southern YCJennifer Watkins
Southern YCJohn Alden Meade
Southern YCJohn Loe
Southern YCSarah Fanberg
Southern YCZak Fanberg
St. Francis YCChris Raab
St. Francis YCChris Trezzo
St. Francis YCCraig Healy
St. Francis YCGeoff McDonald
St. Francis YCHarrison Turner
St. Francis YCMario Yovkov
St. Francis YCRuss Silvestri
St. Francis YCScott Sellers
Yale Corinthian YCAvery Patton
Yale Corinthian YCEd Stewart
Yale Corinthian YCJaime Ewing
Yale Corinthian YCJoe Morris
Yale Corinthian YCMolly Carapiet
Yale Corinthian YCNicole Breault
Yale Corinthian YCPhil Stemler
Yale Corinthian YCThomas Barrows