Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Harbor Report: Where there's a Wills, there's a way

Harvey Wills of Western Marine Marketing

By Len Bose
November 28, 2014 | 1:43 p.m.

This week, I had a chance to catch up with my good friend Harvey Wills. Wills and his wife, Patty, along with his son, Whitney, run Western Marine Marketing, which represents everything marine-related from vinyl flooring products to Pettit boat-bottom paint.
I met Wills my first day polishing boats in 1979, when I ran into him at the local marine hardware store. I asked someone in the cleaning product aisle which wax he would use on his boat. After a couple of quick questions, he handed me the best cleaner for my task and went on his way.
Wills' grandfather Wes Smith of Newport Beach co-founded the Southern California Yachting Assn. His father, Harry Wills, owned a boat-building business in Santa Monica and became one of the first distributors of Pettit boat-bottom paints. The family had a 28-foot Herreshoff, which they would use for weekend racing or trips to Catalina.
Harvey Wills' first job was maintaining boats in Santa Monica before there were slips and boats were kept on moorings. Wills then went to work for the Newport Supply Co. in Santa Monica and eventually moved to Newport Beach to run a store for the same company on Mariners Mile. He then was picked up by the Andrew Brown Co. and started selling different boat-bottom paints.
In 1978, Wills started Western Marine Marketing.
"When my feet hit the ground every morning, I am calling on marine distributors, marine dealers, fuel dock owners and boat yards," he said enthusiastically about his daily routine. "Every six weeks, I drive to Northern California and visit every shipyard from here to Napa."
Over the years, I have seen Wills at every boat show I have ever attended, and we have always shared our observations on the marine industry.
"Boat shows are still a great venue for face-to-face contact and a chance to touch and feel the boats and receive information on what product best fits your needs," Wills told me.
When it comes to bottom-paint questions, Wills is my go-to man. He has seen everything at every shipyard up and down this state and across the country.
When I asked him how the marine industry was doing, he replied, "The level of business is growing. We might be a bit slow in California. The market seems to generate from the East Coast to the West Coast. People are buying boats again."
I thought it would also be a good idea to ask Wills about some local harbor issues. "The most important issue is making sure our harbor is user-friendly," he said.
We then went on to talk about the fact that we only have one launch ramp in Newport Beach.
"It's a nice facility," he said. "It's a great facility, but on a holiday, it's a mess over there. You can wait over a half an hour to launch a boat."
We agreed that is not an indication of a friendly harbor. In fact, the owners of the launch ramp have been known to just close the ramp during special events and tell people to go to Huntington Harbour or Dana Point to launch their boats.
We also talked about stacking boats in large racks like at the Newport Harbor Shipyard and the importance of the mooring being affordable for people to be able to own a boat.
Harvey and the rest of the Wills family are among the best folks in town, and I always look forward to running into them.
Sea ya.

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Harbor Report: And the boating awards go to

BCYC awards ceremony with Commodore Paul Konapelsky and Lori Everson                   Photo courtesy of
By Len Bose
November 21, 2014 | 12:43 p.m.

Winter has to be approaching, because I just picked up my collection of Christmas Reyn Spooners from the dry cleaners and received the names of award recipients from around the harbor.
Nothing is better than starting the holiday season with your yacht club recognizing your efforts and presenting you with a sought-after award. Each year, I go through all the awards and read the past recipients and pick out the awards that I want to try to win next season.
One award I would really like to get my hands on someday is the Newport Beach High Point Series trophy. Over the last two years, the Richley family has wanted the award more than most, and they took it home again, sailing their Choate 48 Amante in all four of the completed races this season.

Over at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, the Mayol family took home the Commodore Bussey Award for the most active yachting family. Watching the whole family come up to receive the Bussey award is always a priceless moment.
John Szalay, sailing his Peterson 34 PussyCat, took home the Miller Perpetual for the most PHRF awards. Alan Horowitz received the Officers and Directors 1962, the award of merit for outstanding service to the club. I have had my eye on this award for the last couple of years and need to step up my game if I ever hope to get my name engraved on it.
The big award at BCYC is the Elmer Carvey Memorial Scholarship (until 1982 the Balboa Bay Club Yachtsman of the Year), now awarded to the yachtsman who most contributed to the organized yachting community. Past winners of this award have been Cooper Johnson, Jim Emmi, Ted Kerr, Hobie Deny, Lorin Weiss and so many more.
This year's winner is my good friend Peter Haynes. I have never met a person who goes the extra mile for our sport like Haynes does every year. Haynes plays a big part in the Harbor 20 Fleet 1 organization, and without him, BCYC would have a difficult time putting together its club championships. Well done, Pete!
The winners at Balboa Yacht Club this year include Christine Robertson, winning the Pluck Award for volunteering and working hard around the club. Gator Cook took home the Leo V. Collin Perpetual for competing in the Beer Cans, Twilights and Sunkist. This award has always been a favorite of mine and always brings to mind one of my favorite people, Leo Collin. Enjoy the Irish coffees, Gator, because, if I recall, part of the award is all the fixings to make Leo's favorite drink.
The most sought-after award at BYC is the Sportsman of the Year, which dates to 1939 and is given to the racing skipper who consistently displays outstanding sportsmanship. Past winners include Barton Beek, Bill Ficker, Bill Taylor, Dave Ullman and Alex Irving. This year's winner is Tom Purcell, one of the owners of the racing yacht It's OK. Congratulations, Tom, and well deserved.
The extravaganza of all awards ceremonies this year will be the Harbor 20 Fleet 1's "A Night with the Stars" on Dec. 5 at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. I believe the event has sold out and promises to be one for the record books.
Shana Conzelman, the event's chairwoman, and her team have been working hard. With entertainment by the Fred Zeppelin orchestra, this event will be the stairway to heaven. Knowing Conzelman, it would not surprise me if there were search lights in front of the club that night. I am looking forward to this one and another fast-approaching sailing season.
Remember, on Black Friday I will post Newport Beach's 20 most interesting yachts on
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Harbor Report: West Marine will point the way

Matt Jessner Newport Beach West Marine General Manager

By Len Bose
November 14, 2014 | 3:09 p.m.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be interesting to walk into West Marine and talk to the different department managers.
Matt Jessner, the general manager, has been with the company for four years. He started at the Long Beach store and arrived in Newport Beach a week ago.
Jessner enthusiastically explained that the Newport Beach store is the largest West Marine on the West Coast and "the leading edge of the new face of West Marine." He said the new face is all about product knowledge and keeping a large inventory in electronics, fishing gear, apparel and rigging.
When I asked him why customers should come into the store rather than shop online, he replied, "You will receive professional service with expert advice on which product will best meet your use."
I then was introduced to Bryce Fuller, the electronics manager. Fuller has been with the company for seven years and at the Newport Beach store since its opening one year ago.
When I asked Fuller what was the best-selling electronic item, he quickly pointed out the Simrad Evo 2 Chartplotter/Multifunction display with touch screen. I asked him what might be the best holiday gift, and he replied, "There is so much to consider. One idea would be the Flir One. We are one of the only stores that has this product on hand. The Flir One is a case for the iPhone 5 and is an infrared camera attachment."
West Marine Rigging Gorden "Gordo" Christie

To me, this looks like a perfect gift for boaters who would like to read the temperature of their engine's cooling system or their first mate. Fuller also provided me with a couple of other holiday gift ideas when I brought up safety at sea: handheld VHF radios and a personal lifejacket AIS beacon that can be seen on your new chart plotter.
An even better thing to wear on your lifejacket is a personal locater beacon, or PLB. This device uses satellites to pinpoint that unfortunate crew member who unexpectedly went for a swim. I am going to buy one for myself for the upcoming sailing season.
Next, I walked over to Keri Hynes, who runs apparel and has been with the company for eight years. Her favorite product in the store for the holidays? "I like the Luci inflatable solar lantern," she said. "They come in different colors and only weigh 4 ounces."
The Newport Beach store has a ton of clothing, and this time of the year, the best deals can be found in summer wear. For example, Reyn Spooner and Tommy Bahama are marked down.
Hynes was quick to point out that this store carries women's tall Bearpaw boots.
"We do our best to listen to our customers' needs and then match them up with the best products," she said, adding that a customer might need a furry blanket for the upcoming boat parade or be preparing for next year's Trans Pac race to Hawaii.
I asked her opinion on the best value in sunglasses. "We sell a lot of Maui Jim and Costa sunglasses," she said. "Both companies are quick to respond to their customer returns should they break a lens or frame. If I was to pick one, it would have to be the Costa."
Continuing through the store, I met up with Dawn Davis, who manages the fishing gear. Davis has worked in the fishing industry for 11 years, and I noticed she knew more about fishing than I do about sailing.
She is another employee who pays close attention to her customers' requirements. Whether you are a beginner or advanced angler, she can set you up with all you need from gear to bait. When I asked her what she had behind the counter that would be difficult to find this season, she pointed out the two-speed Penn Fathoms reels, sizes 15 to 60.
My last stop was with my good friend Gorden "Gordo" Christie in the rig shop. Gordo has been working in the rig shop since the store opened.
"We can do anything with line, wire and chain," he explained while ordering me parts for my Harbor 20's mast. "If we do not have what you are looking for, we can get it for you."
I walked out of West Marine feeling that this team is ready to help. The store is becoming the hub of the harbor. I continually run into customers or industry people there.
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Harbor Report: Continuing our spin around the harbor

Should she stay or should she go now?

By Len Bose
November 7, 2014 | 2:39 p.m.

Join me now as we continue around the harbor in preparation for the Harbor Commission's special meeting set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 15.
In my last column, I began a list of the questions I plan to ask at different stops along the commission's harbor tour. We stopped with RGP 54, regarding dredging and eelgrass mitigation permits, which will be discussed just as we approach the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
As the ferry continues up the Balboa Peninsula, the next waypoint is the Cheyenne (ex PlayStation). This vessel is intended to be support for a deep-sea submarine. The owner will not like what I have to say but it’s time to revoke her special mooring permit. She has taken up a large foot print of our harbor for long enough and its time to throw in the towel on this one.

Our next topic will be jet packs, and this is all but decided with the Harbor Commission recommendation to prohibit them in the bay. The City Council will discuss the water-propelled vessels Jan. 13 or 27. And you will have a chance to meet our newest harbor commissioner, Bill "Skip" Kenny, who, I feel, will turn out to be very productive.
Next up is Marina Park, and I assume Harbor Resource Manager Chris Miller will lead this discussion. My question will be: Is there room for a marine recycling center at this location? I will also try to understand if dry storage will be available for mooring permit holders and other harbor users.
19th Street Pier

As we work our way toward the Rhine Channel, the next two waypoints will be the 19th Street Pier and the Newport Bay Marina. The 19th Street Pier has a new public restroom, and I just wonder how often the local residents might complain about late-night guests at the public docks. I will need to check in with a couple of my friends who live on their boats in the surrounding moorings for their input.
The Newport Bay Marina has been working hard to complete this project, and we will just need to wait and see if all of the requirements that the city made are being followed.
As we do a 180-degree turn, it might be a good time to ask Harbor Patrol Officer Sean Scoles about noise complaints in this area of the harbor, make note that there are two public docks in the Rhine and ask if we have enough commercial working space at the end of the Rhine for the future.
Our cruise will now head under the Lido Bridge, and the next two topics will be alternative anchorages and Lido Marina Village. I have good friends on both sides of the debate about whether to make the North West Lido Channel into an alternative anchorage area.
This is the exact spot where I asked my wife to marry me some 24 years ago, and I have to say I really like the idea of installing day moorings in Big Corona as an alternative anchorage. Commissioner Brad Avery will lead this discussion.
As for the Lido Marina Village, two thoughts come to mind: That is a lot of big-boat slips that could support more large charter boats than we already have, and the developer has promised that's not the intention. Make sure you note the proposed public pier alongside the sea wall just northwest of the Elks Lodge. It's a perfect spot for a new public pier.
Next, we will travel east down Mariners Mile, and our waypoint is to discuss Vessel Overhang. This will be a difficult topic to cover while on the ferry.
As we proceed past the Orange Coast College Sailing Base, it might be a good time to ask if there is another public dock that very few harbor users are aware of nearby.
Next, we will round Bayshores and head toward the PCH bridge. The next big waypoint is the Lower Castaways. Commissioner David Girling is chairing this for the commission and doing an outstanding job.
I have to wonder how this area's plan might change now with the new City Council. I have always felt this area is best served as a marine industry launching point, but very few people have agreed with me. It's a huge topic, so pay close attention to Girling on this one.
As we head back east down Balboa Island, note all the shore moorings' derelict boats on the beach. Good time to ask about the state's VTIP program.
This will be a fantastic opportunity for you the harbor user. I hope you can make it.
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Harbor Report: Preparing questions for harbor meeting and cruise

Balboa Ferry Special Harbor Commission meeting November 15, 2014

By Len Bose
October 31, 2014 | 2:41 p.m.

I have written about the Harbor Commission special meeting set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 15.
It will convene in a conference room in the Harbor Patrol facility at 1901 Bayside Drive and then be moved to one of the Balboa ferries waiting at the Harbor Patrol visitor's dock for a tour of the harbor.
Copies of the route with waypoints to be called out on the tour can be found on my blog site, Commissioners will address the waypoints on which they are most well versed. The ferry has a capacity limit, and guests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
In an effort to familiarize you with the waypoints, I thought I would take the time to share my observations, concerns and the questions I will be asking at the different waypoints during the harbor tour.
We will start at the Harbor Patrol Office. Let's hope Deputy Sean Scoles attends this meeting because he is easy to approach, loves the harbor and does an outstanding job.
I would ask Scoles: 1. What is his definition of a derelict boat? 2. How does the mooring waiting list work? 3. Can people pass on a permit if they do not like the location, and how many times can they play the pass card? 4. Can two mooring permit holders trade permits to obtain a more usable location for themselves? 5. How did the VTIP program work this year for our harbor? 6. How many boats can a mooring permit holder keep tied to a mooring at one time?
Most of these questions relate to city codes or policies, but this will be a good chance to hear how these two departments define them.
Assuming we head over to the M Street public pier first, I would have to ask an attending council member if the city has received and filed the recommendations made by the Harbor Commission last year regarding public piers. For example, have the park rangers enforced the rules, optimized the available space and considered the Adopt-a-Dock program? To be fair, the Harbor Resource Department has made improvements to the public docks this year by replacing benches and walkways.
It would be interesting if we then could go out of the harbor entrance and over to Big Corona to discuss that area as an alternative place for day moorings and, at the same time, do a quick overview of a tidal gate.
I should just stay on track and, as the ferry moves down the Balboa Peninsula toward the Fun Zone, point out what I see as a derelict vessel and see if it fits Scoles' definition of a derelict boat.
Next up will be the Balboa Ferry Landing, and I assume we will talk about sea-level rise. This will be a good time to ask Harbor Resource Manager Chris Miller where our harbor's data points are so we can observe them ourselves during the upcoming king tides this winter.
We will then go past Bay Island to view the new bulkheads/seawalls. At this time, the water is ebbing and the harbor is almost at low tide. What you should notice is how the steel wall was finished, and there should be little residue from the retreating tide line. The bulkhead cap will be noticed along with the expense of changing the docks to meet the new height of the seawall.
Continuing up the Balboa Peninsula and just about at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, we will come to the waypoint RGP 54. Miller and Commissioner Doug West will lead this topic, which regards dredging and eelgrass mitigation permits.
From my point of view, these guys are staying on task and are the best people for the job — although I will ask if the Coastal Commission considers the upper bay's eelgrass as part of the lower bay's eelgrass percentage for the whole harbor.
Interesting stuff, huh? We are barely halfway around the harbor. Please place Nov. 15 on your calendar and attend this meeting. Next week, I will review the rest of the harbor with you.
Sea ya.

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