Friday, March 21, 2014

The Harbor Report: Coming home with fresh ideas

Team Linstar at the 2014 Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten. (Len Bose / March 21, 2014)

By Len Bose
March 21, 2014 | 3:46 p.m.

I made it back last week from the 34th Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten, where I observed a couple of fresh ideas on how to better promote yachting events.
First off, the regatta was spectacular. I highly recommend that you place it on your bucket list.
One innovative idea, which I could not help but notice, was the use of drones. They were about the size of a Frisbee, hovering above the regatta and the various parties, filming all of the activities.
If you would like to view the beauty of this Caribbean island, along with the types of boats in the event, google "Heineken Regatta drone." It's truly amazing.
As for how the Linstar team did, we got our behinds kicked. We were not ready for the bigger breeze, and our charter boat was a little less than desirable. We were respectable in the Gills Commodores Cup, which is a one-day warm-up race for the Heineken, placing fifth out of 10 boats in our class.
One of Newport Harbor's past sailing teams, Stark Raving Mad IV aboard Jim Madden's J/125, sailed like pros and won their class with three firsts and a second.
Gino Morrelli of Morrelli and Melvin Design and Engineering sailed on the Gun Boat 62 Elvis. With five of these 62-foot boats on the starting line, this became one of the most interesting spectacles of the regatta.

Gun Boat Start
So what's new in Newport Harbor?
At last week's Harbor Commission meeting, two ad-hoc committees was formed. Taking the lead in the water taxi request were Commissioners Doug West, Joe Stapleton and David Girling. Commissioners Karen Rhyne, Duncan McIntosh and Brad Avery were assigned to study how to add floating docks as a replacement for our offshore moorings.
I hope I am wrong, but I just get the feeling that our harbor commissioners will bust their buns and submit their reports, which will just be received and filed by the City Council.
I attended last Wednesdays Tidelands Management Committee meeting and the key topic was the seawall around Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and Collins Island. It appears the city will be moving forward with a consultant starting in the very near future.
Under consideration is a ten foot wall added to the outside of the existing seawall. At this time the existing seawall has an average hight of seven and a half feet. The city will start with its public outreach and will have displays around the islands showing the height difference. Another concern is whether or not to raise the height of the boardwalk. This will be the hot topic around town for the next ten years, make sure you inquire the public works department for more information.

Let's talk about what will happen in our harbor this spring. Amy Elliott, secretary of the Balboa Angling Club, sent me a press release updating me on the 51st annual Lily Call being hosted by the club from April 26 to 27. This year's entry fee has been reduced to $40 and is limited to the first 150 anglers.
This light line fishing tournament inside the harbor is open to the public. Anglers will be fishing for croaker, bass, corbina and halibut.
I say this every year: Join the Balboa Angling Club, one of harbor's best values.
The next big sailing event is Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Baldwin Cup from April 4 to 6. It is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. The Baldwin Cup is a four-versus-four team race event in Harbor 20s. This regatta is sailed in front of NHYC and can be watched from its main dock.
Staff Commodore Phil Ramser, this year's chairman and one of my favorite people on our harbor, was quick to mention the new free phone app that will provide regatta updates and Texas Corinthian Yacht Club's plans to make its first visit to the Baldwin Cup.
I told him about the drones I noticed at the Heineken Regatta and encouraged him to use them to film his event.
If anyone can pull this off it's NHYC.
The angles these drones can obtain, while filming this regatta, will make it easier for the spectators to understand team racing better and enjoy the event that much more. I'm already on the edge of my seat.
Sea ya.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BAC Awards Greg Taite with Outstanding Angler of 2013

Greg Buttons

Newport Beach, CA – At the Balboa Angling Club Awards Banquet the Outstanding Angler of 2013 was awarded to Greg Taite for the second year in a row.  It was a close race to the finish as he edged out Vick Sommers (Outstanding Angler of 2012) and his buddy Tim Humphrey by a single angler point. 

The Awards Ceremony the club’s button race was heated as a total of 51 buttons were awarded.  Most notably, Jim Duncan who received his button for a Shark Release put him at a total of 70 buttons – the most buttons of any club member.

The Balboa Angling Club also had seven World Records set by members including young Michael Sanford who is now the World Record holder for his 41 lbs. 8 oz. in the Male Small Fry Category.  Pete Binaski set two records for his Barracuda on 12# with a 9 lbs. 8 oz. and on 30# with a 6 lbs. 8 oz. catch.  Bo Nelson also set two World Records for Barracuda on 16# with 6 lbs. and on 20# with a 9 lbs. catch.  Vick Sommers broke another World Record with his 53 lbs. 4 oz. Halibut caught on 12#.  In the Fly Fishing Category for World Records, Jeff Caprine landed another World Record with his 4 lbs. 14 oz. Corbina caught on 2x Tippet.

The First Flags were captured by the following:  Dan Fultz for his 63 lbs. 10 oz. White Seabass caught on January 4, 2013; Greg Taite for his 21 lbs. 2 oz. Yellowtail caught on March 17, 2013; Nate Shill for his 33 lbs. 6 oz. Tuna caught on June 15, 2013; Clarke Smith for his 21 lbs. 1 oz. Dorado caught on July 12, 2013; and finally Bill MacCorkell for his Marlin Release on August 12, 2014.

Also awarded were Annual Trophies.  These are the trophies awarded to the angler who had the highest weight of each species in each line class (they must be at least ½ button weight).  A total of 58 awards were presented at the ceremony.

Fish of the Month was also awarded to the largest fish on any tackle for the month;  January – Dan Fultz White Seabass 63.60 lbs.; February – Vick Sommers Halibut 33.02 lbs.; March – Greg Taite 22.40 lbs. Yellowtail; April Bo Nelson 23.62 lbs. Yellowtail; May – Mike Osgood 54.36 lbs. White Seabass; June – Charlie Albright 61 lbs. White Seabass; July – Vick Sommers 53.27 lbs. Halibut; August – Charlie Albright 156 lbs. Marlin; September – Johnnie Crean 135.50 lbs. Marlin; October – Tim Humphrey 3.08 lbs. Calico Bass; November – Greg Taite 3.16. lbs. Sand Bass; December no fish were weighed in.

A total of 5 Club Records were broken with Dan Fultz’ White Seabass 63.60 lbs. on 80#; Dave Elm’s Halibut 44.67 lbs. on 30#; Charlie Abright’s White Seabass 61 lbs. on 12#; Vick Sommers’ Halibut 40.50 lbs. on 8#; Vick Sommers’ Halibut 53.47 lbs. on 12#.

Special Trophies were awarded to Dan Fultz for The First Member to Break a Club Record with his 63 lbs. 10 oz. White Seabass caught on January 4, 2013.  The Most Tagged/Released Marlin by a Member’s Boat – Kea Kai with 7 releases.  The First Marlin of the Season by a Woman was awarded to Kathy Ecklund.  The Most Tagged and/or Released Marlin went to Charlie Albright with 4 releases.  The Most Species Caught on Fly Tackle was awarded to Jeff Caprine.

All in all it was a great day at the Balboa Angling Club with temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s.  The sun was shining on all the members and award winners for the year 2013.  Congratulations to all the BAC Anglers who attended our Annual Awards Banquet.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

I want to go where it's warm.

Start of the 2013 Heineken Regatta

If you follow me on Facebook you already know I am in St. Maarten for the 34th Heineken Regatta. Yea, I know it kind of sucks to be me huh? The crew of Linstar  have all been invited to attend this years event from the boats owner, John Shulze.

This regatta really does not match up to a Trans Pac, race to Hawaii, Sydney to Hobart, or Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas race. This event is all about the party, the best way to describe this regatta is to think of Newport Harbors and Balboa Yacht Clubs Long Point race to Catalina times ten. The only physical demands required is that you have to wake up and participate in the sailing event before the next party.

The event has grown over the last ten years with two hundred and ten boats participating this year. Crews will be arriving from: Russia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, France, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Uruguay and the USA. Then blend in all the participants from the Caribbean islands and the fun meter will be at full tilt, no pun intended.

On my return home, I will immediately have to start writing my next column and I would suspect that it will be on the Heineken Regatta. That does not mean things are quite within Newport Harbor as spring approaches.

The Midwinters regatta, sailed back on February 15 and 16th, was the start of this years Newport Beach High Point Series. Roy Jones J 133 came out of the gate with a bone between its teeth and won the event overall. In second was Brian Dougherty J 105 Legacy. Brain’s team has been together for a long time and has decided to race out of Newport this year and compete for the high point. In third was Peter Bretschger J 120 Adios who also sailed very well that weekend.  The next high point race is the 66 series April 5th out of Balboa Yacht Club.

On March 7th and 8th is Newport Harbor and San Diego Yacht Clubs Islands race. I am almost bummed I am missing this race this year. I purchased new foul weather gear for this event and will not need it in the Caribbean, just kidding. This event starts in Los Angeles harbor and sails around Catalina and San Clemente islands before finishing in San Diego. Last years race was some of the most challenging sailing I have ever participated in. This year most eyes will be on the two large trimarans Orma 60 and Orion the MOD 70. I count close to forty boats entered and it looks like the seventy footers will have a good race between themselves with six boats entered. If I had to pick a winner, this far out, I would have to go with Pyewacket the Andrews 70 owned by Roy Disney.

In the Harbor 20 fleet the season is well underway. With the Midwinters and Schock regatta already completed. Later this month BCYC Lorin Weiss series will be starting March 16th , I am sure you all recall I just happened to have won Weiss series last year? The Earl Corkett will be the next high point event sailed out of Newport Harbor Yacht Club on March 23. I am going to take a guess that Helen and Warren Duncan have taken the lead in Fleet 1 high point series at the time of writing. 

Just one last thing I would like to encourage you to attend, before I take off for some place warm, and thats “Understanding the Racing Rules” seminar presented by Peter Haynes at the Bahia Corinthain Yacht Club on March 15th, go to to register. This is open to everyone and I do not care how good a sailboat racer you think you are. You will learn something by attending this seminar and I can almost guarantee that you will improve your performance as much as if you took a little blue pill. Just remember to call a doctor if you win four races in a row. 
"Hello doctor I have just won my forth race and the next regatta is  in two week"

I am thinking to much of green bottles!

Sea  ya

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Harbor Report: Can harbor proposals stay afloat?

By Len Bose
February 28, 2014 | 10:04 p.m.

While making my rounds around the harbor this week, my thoughts kept reflecting back to the comments made by Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill at the 33rd annual Mayor's Dinner.
As most of you have already read, the mayor spoke about a pilot project to replace the current mooring can system with floating docks. He also discussed the need for a water taxi and hopes of adding two more public docks in the harbor.
Aside from the two new public docks, which are in motion and, by my observations, should be completed within the next three years, my first reaction was negative. I flashed back to junior high school, when I was promised Coca-Cola from the drinking fountains during our school elections
A water taxi service has been studied and tried before, and the idea of floating docks would never make it past all the government agencies. My glass of Coca-Cola was not half full; it was half empty.
I then thought back to a couple of conversations with people I feel have a good understanding of our harbor. One of the first comments I recalled was from a Nov. 15, 2012, interview with John Cazier, staff commodore of the Balboa Yacht Club.
"This place would be a different world if we took all these moored boats and placed them onto a floating marina," he said. "Floating docks are a big change to try to institute. Every square foot of water out there is worth a lot of money, and we are using it very badly."
I also recalled a conversation with Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, reviewing the need for reducing the size of our mooring fields and making our mooring system more user-friendly. Duffield has a well-thought-out concept on how this system can work and has considered almost every variable.
My observations regarding the floating docks come down to finding the captain who will get on this boat and ride it to the finish line. This is a very difficult request, asking for a captain to go find a crew for this journey.
Most of our harbor's doers are still feeling the sting from their efforts regarding mooring and the marina permit process. Does the harbor need a new mooring system? Yes, but from my chair, this makes famous single-handed sailor Joshua Slocum's efforts look like a Duffy cruise around our harbor.
As for a harbor water taxi system, my glass of Coca-Cola is still half empty. In 2009, there was a Water Taxi Exploratory Committee that included some of our harbor's smartest people. Michael McNamara was the chair, serving with Richard Luehrs, John Corrough, Chandler Bell, Mark Silvey, Gary Sherwin and John Robinson.
This committee completed a 100-page analysis called the Water Taxi System Conceptual Feasibility Analysis. Unfortunately, I do not have the patience to read through this document three or four times before I can understand how all this information should be used.
Should we have a water taxi? Yes, but it's going to cost a whole lot of money, and in this case, if you build it, they may not come. I will try to post this report on my blog site, or you can just email me and I can send you a copy.
As a harbor user, I feel fortunate that we have the mayor's attention. I just have to ask if it's pointed in the right direction.
I would respectfully request that our City Council stay focused on helping the Harbor Commission and Harbor Resources department complete our RPG 54 and eelgrass mitigation plan so that we have a usable dredging permit.
Council will also be hearing a recommendation from the Harbor Commission on how to maintain our guest docks. Let us not forget the work being proposed at the Lower Castaways. Please keep in mind we will need to dredge the harbor again, and I like the idea of having our own dredging equipment.
I feel it comes down to keeping the harbor user-friendly and guest-friendly. I always tell my customers, before you walk into West Marine and just start buying things for your new boat, ask yourself: Will you use those items the next three times you go boating? If not, you just might not need that item at the moment.
Sea ya.

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