Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Harbor Report: Checking in with a harbor checker

Deputy Sean Scoles from Newport Beach Harbor Patrol. (Len Bose / January 24, 2014)

By Len Bose
January 24, 2014 | 4:48 p.m.

It's been close to a year since I last checked in with Deputy Sean Scoles of the Newport Beach division of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol.
For those of you who have forgotten Scoles' duties, they include monitoring the mooring fields, keeping the moorings' maintenance schedule and waiting list, contacting derelict boat owners, and handling anything else mooring-related.
My first question was, "What's new in the mooring fields this season?" Scoles talked about the realignment of mooring fields D, C and A, which is almost complete. He explained that the fields have become more user-friendly because of their realignment — it's much easier to notice the cut-through lanes and maneuver around the moorings.
We discussed mooring maintenance topics, such as making annual checks to your mooring lines and ensuring that the sun, salt and chafe have not rotted them, as well as the importance of bird and sea lion repellent.
"Once the sea lions have marked your boat, they will keep coming back," Scoles said.
He explained the importance of checking your boat once in a while to make sure it's clean and that the batteries can operate the boat's bilge pumps. It's important to note that mooring permit holders do not have to keep a boat on its moorings.
One of Scoles' duties is to keep an eye open for derelict boats, whether on an offshore or a shore mooring. Recently, he and harbor resources supervisor Shannon Levin inspected the offshore moorings and plan to review the shore moorings the first part of February.
I didn't hear it in Scoles' voice, but he must be frustrated considering how long it takes government agencies to go from point A to B. Don't take me wrong. When discussing the state's Vessel Turn In Program (VTIP), Scoles' voice inflects nothing other than progress.
Just to review the timeline, the state awarded a $5,000 grant last July in the form of the VTIP program to Orange County.
The county received the funds this month, and now they must be allocated by the Orange County Board of Supervisors at its end-of-February meeting. No telling how long before $5,000 gets split among three harbors. Scoles said this is the first time the county Harbor Patrol has applied for and received this type of grant, and he remains positive that the process has started.
I then asked about the most common accidents on the harbor. Scoles explained that most are caused by skippers not paying attention.
"Issen glass, boats' plastic windows, can steam up, or your interior lights will produce a type of glare that reduces visibility," he said.
Should you get in an accident as a skipper, you should provide assistance, exchange information and, if you need a report, contact the Sheriff's Department. If you run over a mooring line or into a boat or dock, you need to take responsibility and contact the Sheriff's Department.
Scoles is on the water every day, and I wanted his take on the harbor after last year's dredging.
"The harbor has a much nicer flow of water," he said. "Everything seems so crystal clear lately. I have been down here for a while, and this is the longest the water has stayed so clear. Then again, we have not had any storms or runoff yet."
Scoles is a very easy person to approach and, in my opinion, the go-to guy in the Sheriff's Department. I have observed him to be a very good listener who presents himself as a friend of the harbor.
Saturday, I will be attending my good friend Peter Haynes' boat handling and sail trim seminar at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's open to anyone who wants to learn more about how a sailboat works.
Personally, I enjoy attending this seminar because it reminds me when to shift gears, no matter what boat I am sailing. Registration is $85 and includes lunch and an increase in your boat speed.
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Harbor Report: Get those challengers on the harbor

January Sunkist                                            Photo Curtesy of Sail Smile

By Len Bose
January 10, 2014 | 6:52 p.m.

The 2014 sailing season will be upon us before you know it, and this year, our local PHRF fleet needs your help. I will start to sound like a broken record, but I trust you still understand my meaning — local participation is at an all-time low. The next time you are going through one of the yacht clubs or West Marine, make sure you pick up the new Assn. of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs (AOCYC) racing calendar.
After you return to your workplace, open the calendar or look up AOCYC online and look for the Newport Harbor High Point Series. The first race is the Midwinter Regatta on Feb. 15 and 16 sailed out of the American Legion Yacht Club. Bill McNamara will be the principal race officer and has promised to set up proper windward leewards on Saturday and a random leg race on Sunday.
Call your crew or, better yet, call your skipper and tell them you want that Newport High Point burgee this year. Maybe, if we are really lucky, the AOCYC will present sailing vests to the winning crew.
So don't just let the crew of Amante, Tango or Pussy Cat wear those vests around town this time next year. Get on the phone and mark your calendar: Midwinter Regatta, ALYC, Feb. 15 and 16; 66 Series Race No. 1, Balboa Yacht Club, April 5; Ocean Racing Series No. 8, Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, July 12; Ahmanson Cup Regatta, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Sept. 20 and 21; and 14 Mile Bank Race, Newport Ocean Sailing Assn., Oct. 4.
Photo by Joysailing

I will be sailing the J 109 Linstar through the High Point Series and hope to see more of Marisol, Cirrus, Legacy, Campaign II, Harmony, Checkmate, Patriot, Heartbeat, TKO and Cursor, just to name a few.
If you are like me, you are just itching to get back out on the race course. The first event is the BCYC's Ocean Racing Series on Jan. 18. The way the weather has been, the odds are good it will be a real barn-burner. This event should give you a chance to get the crew out and do a few tacks and jibes. For you helmsmen, this will give you a chance to find those telltales again and remember all those things on your boat that you forgot to fix over the holidays.
For those of you who did not have a chance to sail in some of our harbor holiday races, you did not miss anything other than abnormally warm weather. The BYC Sunkist Series has almost been shut out with the breeze being absent the last two months. In October, we had enough breeze to reach the finish line and only a couple of boats finished in November. In A fleet, It's OK won the October race, and in B fleet, Doubletime was one of the few boats that stayed in the breeze to finish in November. Doubletime leads B fleet, followed by Marisol. In C fleet, Legacy and Berserk are tied for first and over in D fleet, Violetta has sailed well in the light breeze. In E fleet, Campaign has been doing well and keeping Madness and Little Crazy behind on corrected time.
The only breeze we have had over this holiday season has been in the bay. The BCYC Hot Rum Series has gotten in four races. In A fleet, Tim Harmon's blue-shirted crew aboard Cirrus has a commanding lead. John Szalay's Peterson 34 loves the light breeze and sailing in the harbor and has a good lead over second-place Maiden. In C fleet, Beverly Evans' rock-star crew aboard Harmony has been doing whatever it takes to keep Bob Wine's Carioca from correcting on them. The last race of this series is Jan. 12.
If you would like to learn all this sailing jargon I have been using and would like to learn more about racing sailboats, make sure you mark your calendars for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the BCYC. Fleet captain Paul DeCapua will provide "Sailboat Racing 101." This seminar is aimed toward first-time racers and will cover the basics…the rules of the road, starting, sailing the course and finishing. Simple explanations, combined with simple graphics, make the various aspects of racing easy to understand. Last time, we had more than 30 people attend and we already have 15 people signed up this time. We will also encourage some of our club skippers to attend and look for new crew members. The best part is, it's free! Just go to or call (949) 644-9530 to RSVP. I will be there, so make sure you say hello to the happy bald chubby guy with the Reyn Spooner on.
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Harbor Report: Nonboater is a natural on the commission

By Len Bose
January 3, 2014 | 8:37 p.m.

I thought I would start the New Year by talking to Harbor Commissioner David Girling. When I first heard his name accepted by the City Council as a harbor commissioner about a year and a half ago, I had my concerns of how a nonboater could relate to our harbor.
During his time as a commissioner, he has stayed on task and brought a new perspective to the council that I find refreshing and productive. I had a chance to talk to Dave on the phone just before New Year's.
Dave's father, Bing Girling, was an Air Force pilot, so Dave moved around a lot as a child. In 1978, Bing retired from the Air Force, and he and his wife, Vickie, moved to Balboa Island. Dave attended USC, obtaining his degree in business administration. He later completed his MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.
During this time, Dave worked on Wall Street in the mortgage business, then worked in a start-up business before moving in 2008 to Newport Beach, where he and his father started Girling Real Estate Investment Group.
One of the first tasks he was given as a harbor commissioner was developing recommendations for the best public use of the Lower Castaways. The Lower Castaways is located on the east corner of Dover Drive and Pacific Coast Highway.
Dave is the chairman of this subcommittee, and we are fortunate to have him. With his business and real estate background, he is without a doubt the best person for the job.
"This a unique parcel," Dave explained. "We want to make sure we do implement the best use for it, so we are being very deliberate about it." This subcommittee is also working with Newport Beach's Parks, Beaches & Recreation Department in developing a recommendation.
If I grasped the concept Dave was explaining to me, this area will be developed in a number of steps. The first step will be to tie the Upper Castaways bike and hiking trials and create a type of recreational hub with restrooms and parking. Step two could be the development of its harbor uses, such as public docks for human-propelled vessels.
Dave hopes to have his recommendations presented to the Harbor Commission in March or April. His next step is to look for more public outreach before making his presentation to the Tidelands Management Committee and City Council.
Dave was also given the task of public outreach for the Harbor Commission this year.
"I have always been a big believer that I don't have the different perspectives on things that other citizens may, so I welcome the input from the citizenry on different issues," Dave said. "The only way you can get that input is to reach out to them and let them know what you are working on."
Since Dave has become a harbor commissioner, he has joined the Newport Aquatic Center and can be found rowing a single scull around the harbor in the early mornings.
When I asked him how he sees the harbor in 20 years, he explained, "I see the harbor becoming more efficient rather than change." We then talked about dredging, public docks and the mooring fields.
We then spent some time talking about upcoming topics that should be kept on the front burner for every harbor user. The first is the RGP 54 and the shallow water eelgrass mitigation plan. Another is the bulkhead and pierhead lines in conjunction with the current overhang regulations. These issues need community input, and Dave expressed the importance of the commission's outreach on these matters.
Dave is an easy person to approach and talk to. The best part is that he really listens to your concerns and if he agrees with you, something might even get done.
Sea ya.

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