Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Harbor Report: More about the moorings (and money)

Logo of the Newport Mooring Association 
By Len Bose
March 20, 2015 | 2:17 p.m.

The talk around the harbor over the last month has been all about the moorings. I can picture city staff members saying to themselves, "Just when I thought we were out, they pulled us back in," which is a little different from the "Godfather" movie quote.
At the end of January, the newly elected City Council requested that the Harbor Commission review the current fees for offshore and onshore moorings. By Feb. 11, the commission had formed an ad hoc committee to do just that.
The first of the committee's meetings took place Feb. 23 at the OASIS Senior Center and focused on the transferability of mooring permits. About 50 people attended, and they expressed concerns not just about transferability but also annual fees, transfer fees and mooring accessibility.
In November 2010, the City Council decided to triple mooring fees and stop the practice of private mooring transfers. Under this ordinance, the permit holder was given the ability to transfer the permit twice over the next 10 years. When 2020 arrived, the transfer of permits for a price would be a thing of the past. Should a permit holder want to give up a mooring permit, he or she would have to surrender it to the city.
Before November 2010, people obtained a permit for as much as $1,000 per foot or more. (Now the cost is down to about $250 a foot.) So if you received a 50-foot mooring permit, you had spent $50,000. That is a lot of money to lose.
This is the simple version; this topic is unbelievably complex when you dive into the details.
The second meeting about the moorings took place March 9, with 93 people attending. The focus was on fees and the dramatic rise in the rates over the last five years. The goal is to come up with a consensus on what will be fair for the permit holders and the city.
Again, this is a very complex issue when you start establishing fair-use fees for Newport Harbor moorings. There are a number of ways of making this argument, including using comparable mooring fees in California and establishing a ratio of mooring to slip fees. What makes sense to me is using the consumer price index (CPI) by looking at the payments from 1977 and adjusting to 2015.
Since the devil is in the details, other topics are bound to surface over the next couple of months. For example, how should the city define a vacant mooring and rental mooring, what type of entity may hold a mooring permit, how many moorings can one person have, how often can a permit holder transfer his or her permits within a year? Also, what will be a fair cost to transfer mooring permits, and has the mooring waiting list ever worked properly?
A lot of time can be saved by using a proposed amendment — drafted by the Mooring Master Plan Subcommittee of the Harbor Commission in 2009 — to the Newport Beach municipal code pertaining to mooring permits. My sources tell me this document is ready to go with the addition of a fair fee schedule.
From my armchair, the work has been completed and should not be slowed down by committee. The third meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 23 at City Hall to revisit mooring fees and transfers. Remember, this is your harbor; attend and express your concerns.
Attention mooring permit holders, especially in the D field: On April 2, the Harbor Resource Department will hold a drawing for 12 dingy racks in the parking lot of the Basin Marina. Complete your entry form before April 1 to get your name placed in the drawing.
For more details, contact Shannon Levin with the Harbor Resources Department at
Sea ya.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Harbor Report: Stretching those sea legs again

The Santa Cruz 50 Horizon finishing the 2011Trans Pac race to Hawaii.
By Len Bose
March 13, 2015 | 7:50 p.m.

It's time for me to go to sea again.
Over the last eight months, I have been managing a three-boat racing program that includes the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon, J 109 Linstar and my Harbor 20 Only Child. Most of our team's focus this year has been on Horizon with the recent Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Islands Race, which took us around Catalina and San Clemente islands and finished in San Diego.
On March 21, we will start the NHYC Cabo race, which starts in Newport Beach and finishes in Cabo San Lucas. These two races are in preparation for the Trans Pac Race to Hawaii starting July 16.
The logistics of preparing for these events, let alone getting the boat ready, is overwhelming. Fortunately, our skipper, Jon Shampain on Horizon, takes the load of getting the boat ready. Boat preparation and provisioning is a crucial part of the overall success of a sailing program.
Shampain has kept on top of Horizon's maintenance schedule over the last eight years. This year, we updated our electronics, plumbing and safety equipment and continued on our sails rotation plan. While I worked on the transfer of all of our FCC communication licensing, I am not going to lie — Sue West from the Gordon West Radio School helped me with all of these licenses.
Other tasks included race registration, hotel and flight reservation, customs, permits, safety gear updates and crew apparel. Why these few tasks took me so much time, I have no idea, and don't get me started on what I had to do to obtain a Mexican Temporary Import Permit (TIP). If you find yourself needing a TIP before this year's Ensenada race and are down to the wire, you can contact me, and I will tell you how I accomplished this task. All this said, we are ready for Cabo, and I am already working on Trans Pac.
Back to the fun part of all this: racing downwind on arguably the best boat for the job. Horizon sailed well in the Islands Race, winning a second-place finish in class and 11th overall. At the start of the race, the weather forecast indicated that we would be able to finish, although we would have to work hard to make it to the finish line before the wind shut off.
Our approach to Catalina was picturesque. The island was covered in dark green foliage, and the crisp winter air allowed us to see Santa Barbara Island and San Clemente Island as we rounded the west end of Catalina and headed toward San Clemente Island.
Under a very bright full moon, the wind had picked up to 24 knots while we ran down swell as we rounded San Clemente. The moon would hide behind the spinnaker as we maneuvered Horizon through the waves.
As we approached San Diego, the winter breeze began to dissipate while the larger boats were finishing. Unfortunately for us, the breeze filled in from the north, and we had a long beat upwind to the finish. This allowed the bigger boats to correct out over us on our handicapped times, but hey, that's yacht racing.
With the thought that it is bad luck to win the race before the big races, we are very happy with our results, and our mojo bag is full.
Rio100 "Thats a lot of sandwiches"

My picks for this year's Cabo San Lucas race are as follows: In the big boat class — and I mean big boat — we will see the 100-foot Rio100 being sailed by Newport Beach resident Manoush Moshayedi for the first time on this coast, racing against the 74-foot Wizard, owned by David Askew, Tom Holthus's 65' Bad Pak and Frank Slootman's 63-foot Invisible Hand. These four boats will be battling it out for the first monohull to finish, with the advantage going to the largest of the four, Rio100. Because the forecast appears to be light I will have to go with Rio100 to correct out for class and overall win.
Three large multihull boats will be on this year's race course, with the fastest of the fleet being the Mighty Meloe. Next, we will see the 70-foot class, which is always too close to call, with boats like Brack Duker's Holua, Roy Disney's Pyewacket and James McDowell's Grand Illusion being the favorites.
If I had to pick one of these, I would go with Grand Illusion, whose seasoned crew makes very few mistakes on the racing course.

The class breaks have not been posted yet. Two very strong contenders are Craig Reynolds' TP 52 Bolt and Bob Pethick Rogers' 46 Bretwalda 3. In the Santa Cruz 50 and 52 class, the favorite is Team Linstar aboard Horizon, which will be challenged by three other Santa Cruz 50s and two Santa Cruz 52s.
In the PHRF class, if nothing changes before the start, the easy winner will be the J 125 Timeshaver sailed by Viggo Torbensen. This boat is always difficult to beat, no matter what class it ends up in. Without it in PHRF, the next favorite would be Ross Pearlman's Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets.
To follow the race, go to and look under "Tracking," or follow Santa Cruz 50 + Horizon on our Facebook page.
Wish us a strong downwind breeze and following swell.
Sea ya.

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

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Harbor Report: Not a stellar time for harbor's sea stars

Hill's Boat Service has just launched its new fuel tanker. The vessel's name at this time is Tanker II. (February 27, 2015

By Len Bose
February 27, 2015 | 4:58 p.m.

Not sure how many of you were on the harbor last weekend and noticed all the Pleuroncodes planipes, or red crabs, doing their thing. By Monday afternoon, it appeared that they had little to no life left in them.
I contacted Michelle Clemente, Newport Beach's marine protection and education supervisor, to get the scoop (no pun intended) on all the red crabs.
"They are typically associated with warm water," Clemente explained. "It's a type of mating ritual, and they got cooked when they landed on the sand. It's a little bit warm for them to be out of the water."

Clemente informed me that this was not unusual and happens during the El Niño years.
While I had Clemente on the phone, I asked about sea stars and baby sea lions.
"Well, I am not bringing you very good news, Len," she said. "All of our area's sea stars have disintegrated from a mysterious wasting syndrome, and we are not quite sure how this all came about."
You might recall my interview with Clemente last July, when she informed me about this wasting syndrome and explained that it had just made its way from the East Coast to our local waters. She sadly informed me that there are no longer any sea stars in our area.
We then switched over to why all the baby sea lions have been dying.
"The nursing mothers have to head farther out to sea for colder water and food," she said. "By the time the mothers have returned, the pups have gone off looking for food on their own, but many pups have not developed their fishing skills yet.
"Last week, I called Animal Control to pick up a baby sea lion, and they had picked up seven that day already. It's been a tough winter for the sea lions."
On a happier note, Clemente informed me that the city's Traveling Tide Pool van is working. The van features two touch tanks and a display tank and is available for field trips and school outings. Our local yacht clubs should keep this in mind for their junior sailing classes or opening days.
Speaking of opening day, Hill's Boat Service has just launched its new fuel tanker. The vessel's name at this time is Tanker II, and it has been on the drawing board for more than seven years. The owner of the fuel dock is Gary Hill, who started building the boat July 1 in Santa Ana.
The boat is 34 feet long with a 10-foot beam and 4.4-foot draft. The vessel is built from steel and is double-walled to meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations.
"There has never been anything built like this over the last 40 years," Hill said. "Our old tanker was built along Pacific Coast Highway in the 1940s and did not meet Coast Guard regulations as of Jan. 1."
Matt Cox will continue to be one of the vessel's skippers. You have to give it up for the Hill's service team completing this project through all the government red tape. Make sure you give a wave to Matt next time you see him in the tanker. This tanker will probably be around for as long as we continue to use diesel and gasoline fuel to propel our boats' engines.

Richley Family Amante

Last weekend was the start of the Newport Beach High Point Series for our local P.H.R.F. boats. The American Legion hosted the Midwinter Regatta with 18 boats showing up at the starting line. Five long races were completed on wet, blustery days with most of the teams shaking the cobwebs out of their boat-handling skills.
The Richley family, aboard their Choate 48 Amante, has taken the lead in the series with Team Linstar and Milton Santos behind the wheel in second. In third place is Suzanne Schuler aboard her boat Violetta.
The next race in the Newport Beach High Point Series is the Balboa Yacht Club's 66 Regatta on April 18 and 19. For complete standings, go to
Sea ya.

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