2004 Duffy 21' Classic
Saturday, September 26, 2015
" Lightning" Is very clean boat and fast. I have commented to the owner while coaching from the water " You have boat speed to burn." She features a Two sets of sails, rebuilt motor Electric Motor, Rewired Boat, Battery Charger, Fresh Bottom Paint, Cockpit Cover and Jib Sock, Paddle Boom Crutch, Pop-up Mooring Cleats, Tiller Extension Lock, Cockpit Cushions, Cockpit Table. Commissioned to race the Newport Beach One design fleet. White hull with blue and red strips.
Did I say she is FAST!
September 26, 2015
I left off on my last column with informing everyone that we have a new Harbormaster Lt. Mark Alsobrook and I liked what I saw. This week I was able to interview Alsobrook over the phone.
The new harbormaster grew up in the Bay Area and obtained most of his boating experience on his family's boat fishing in Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. He has been a resident of Orange County for the last 20 years and before the family came along he had his own 30-foot sport fisher.
While attending Cal State Fresno he took criminology courses and in 1997 began serving in the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Like all deputy sheriff's he started working in the jails and worked his way to a watch commander position at the Intake Release Center in Santa Ana. In 2011 he made sergeant and worked at community programs and services where he oversaw county-wide drug education efforts.
In 2013 Alsobrook was promoted to lieutenant and has been our new harbormaster for the last three months.
Since we recently had a tsunami advisory I thought I would start there and ask what he had learned.
|Lt. Mark Alsobrook|
"We have a very detailed tsunami response plan," he said. "Any time we can put a plan in action gives us an opportunity to improve.
"Our action plan was implemented in all three harbors, Newport Beach, Dana Point and Huntington Harbor, and everything went smoothly. We have done a self evaluation along with sending the details to the county."
I first noticed Alsobrook at last months Harbor Commission meeting when he commented to the group that he would like to report back next month on Harbor Patrol activity, so I asked what type of topics will he be covering.
"We should be working hand in hand with the Harbor Commission," he said. "We both have the same overriding goals to create and environment so the harbor can be enjoyed by as many people as possible in a safe manner that is ecologically responsible."
I took the opportunity to request more information on noise complaints and code enforcement response.
"The best changes and ideas will be coming from the operators, users, residents and businesses. They have to be heard," he said. "There has to be open communication, sometimes the better ideas come are the grassroots ideas that develop from the community."
I asked what the responsibilities of The Orange County Harbormaster are and what might be his biggest task for the rest of 2015 and 2016. Alsobrook took a rather deep sigh, not sure where to start.
"The short answer is my primary task is to make sure that the deputies and professional staff have the training and equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively," he said.
As for his biggest task in 2015-16, he brought up El Niño and the effects of the expected downpour.
"Boaters should check on their bilge pumps, mooring lines and dock lines," he said. "We all understand that the amount of debris has been building up inland and when the rains hit we are sure to get the big flush. This is going to be a rodeo."
My next question was how can boaters help the harbor department.
"With amount of traffic, boaters need to understand their own capabilities. Not everyone knows the rules of the road — boaters should consider being defensive drivers. Also, personal responsibilities should be kept in mind, for example: personal flotation devices; drinking water; communications; being prepared for breakdowns. These things should be thought of before shoving off," said Alsobrook said.
Our last few harbormasters have been very good, unfortunately three out of four of them retired and one was promoted after only two years into the job. I asked Alsobrook, how long he was planning to stay around?
"I plan on staying as long as they let me stay — I am 10 years from retirement. The harbor has always been a goal of mine. I am just grateful that I can fulfill my dream of working in the harbor department," he said.
|Photo taken from "The Log"|
I joked with him for a little bit suggesting he will be promoted within the next two years. I asked my contacts around town, how they felt about our new harbormaster, they all said he is a good one.
When I said, "Hello, this is Len Bose," to start our interview, he said, "Hello, Len," with such a positive voice inflection that I felt like I was talking with one of my best friends. Make sure you say hello to our new Harbormaster Lt. Mark Alsobrook before he is promoted.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist for the Daily Pilot.
Monday, September 21, 2015
I introduced myself to the Newport Beach Harbor Department, in my continued effort to promote boating safety. Here is a write up:
I met with Deputy James Davis, who has been with the Orange County Sheriff Department for twenty seven years, with the last six years in Operations/Patrol for the Harbor Patrol Division from Dana Point to Newport Beach.
Q. What part of your job interests you the most?
A. . Rescue. That’s why I’m here. We train hard and when everything goes like clock work, there is no better feeling.
Q. What is some of the most difficult and important training you go through?
A. All of our training efforts are important. Fire fighting has to be at the top of the list. All of Southern California understands how fast fire can spread and we plan on being ready to keep that from happening
Q. What are some of the most common mistakes made by Newport Beach boaters?
A. Reading the weather conditions and matching those conditions to their skill levels. These winter and spring months can produce some very challenging conditions that not every boater is prepared for.
Looking forward and proper training for what the day will bring are some of the most common mistakes..
Q, What is your busiest time of year?
A. . There are actually two busy times of the year for the harbor. The first being winter, due to the Christmas Boat Parade and larger weather systems coming through that make for more rescues. The second being our summer season due primarily to the increased boating traffic..
Q. What area of the bay do boaters seem to have trouble navigating through?
A. All in all Newport Bay is a very friendly area to the boater. Skippers will forget to look at the tidal charts and under estimate the distance from the jetty by the height of the rocks. On a high tide the rocks are lower in the water and the jetty distance is closer than it appears. The Back Bay has some shallow areas that the boater must stay focused on while navigating this area. These areas change with the tide flow so what was navigable one trip may be to shallow for a vessels draft the next.
This will be a three part series with the Harbor Department. So come back next week to hear some great launch ramp stories
Welcome back to our three part series with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol and Deputy James Davis.
Q. I noticed a patrol boat in the Back Bay the other day. Why are you patrolling this area?
A. First, we regularly operate in the Back Bay so we can maintain a familiarity with the area. Second, we are there to make sure there are no violations taking place. We are also ensuring that people are not beaching their boats and getting to close with the wildlife. We also check on the dredging gear whenever we transit the area
Q. What are some of the more common violations you encounter?
A. Speeding has to be the most common followed by lifejackets for the kids and proper registration.
Q. Do you have problems with nuisance radio traffic?
A. We are very fortunate, in that nuisance radio traffic is not large problem. The Coast Guard stays on top of that and we back them up when needed. Most people know to do their radio checks on Channel 9.
Q. What are some common courtesies skippers should keep in mind while operating their boats?
A. Not pushing your right of way would be good start . You could be in a crossing situation with another vessel and notice the skipper has been distracted or does not understand the course of a sailboat. If the skipper would just give way to the other vessel the possibility of an accident could be avoided. Sometimes we see this occurring with the people rowing or skippers making sudden course changes without looking. This minor courtesy would increase all boaters safety while on the water.
Q. Do you have any good launch ramp stories?
A. OOOOOYEAH! A skipper was instructed, to “ JUST FLOOR IT” so they did and placed the boat, not on the trailer, but in the bed of the pick up truck. You can’t help but notice the same mistakes occur over and over again. So we focus on drain plugs, tie downs, and safety issues and inform the boaters of our observastions.
Q. While patrolling, do you ever get out of the boat and walk around?
A. Absolutely! In the summer months we will get out at the ferry lanes and the Rhine Channel and interact with the public as much as possible. The public is really our eyes and ears as to what is occurring in the bay and they are the ones we depend on for information about problem we may not normally encounter during normal patrols. We also maintain a presence in the areas where there is a higher likelihood of people operating their boats while under the influence.
Q. How do you stay focused on the “Dog Watches” when it’s cold and not a lot of activity?
A. We call them the “Midnight Shifts” and there is plenty to do. As you know we are on duty 24/7, 365 days a year with several different shifts throughout the day. We focus on noise, water movement and anything out of place. As for the cold weather we do have an enclosed steering station and heat to help us out.
Q. Do you have other tools to help you out at night?
A. Yes, We have night vision and thermal imaging equipment. There are times when a house has been broken into and Newport Police has asked us to come by and with the thermal imaging equipment attempt to locate people who might be hiding to the rear of the residence or on the docks.
This was part two of a three part series with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol. So come back next week to hear about patrol techniques, how to keep sea lions off your boat and what call Deputy Davis does not look forward to responding to
Welcome back to the last part of our three part series interviewing Deputy James Davis.
Q. What are some of your different patrol techniques for night and day?
A. Well let’s start with the evening shifts, the areas we patrol at night are no different than during the day. We still patrol off the coast and inside the harbor, but we may concentrate our efforts around those areas that are more heavily trafficked such as the Rhine Cannel and the Turning Basin looking for something out of the ordinary. We frequently check in with security guards, live-aboards, and transient boaters to see if everything is OK . Again these people are our eyes and ears. In the mooring areas we are also looking for anything that is not lit up, again we are looking for anything out of the ordinary, small wakes etc. In the Back Bay we are always looking for wildlife that might be injured, people that have gone aground that don’t have a radio or anyone in need of assistance. In the Federal Channel we have the large charter boats and we are frequently in communication with the skippers to ensure there are no problems. We also spend a lot of time looking off the water; we are looking at the homes and businesses and constantly trying to be aware of fire hazards. During shift change we communicate with the oncoming shift and advise the deputies of what has occurred during the prior shift. Like any good ocean racing team there is lots of information to share between watches.
Q. What’s the best way to keep sea lions off your boats or dock?
A. What I am finding out is a strong physical barrier works well. The key is to stop it before it starts, so don’t wait until the sea lions find your boat or dock take preventative action if you notice sea lions in your area.
Q. What is the best way for the boater to approach a public dock with a number of fishermen on the dock?
A. We have had problems with this issue recently.. In response to the problem the Harbor Patrol in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game developed a Task Force to address this issue and it seems to be working. Our suggestion is for a boater to pull up a short distance from the dock and ask the fisherman to make room and give them time to bring their lines in. If this does not work give us a call and we will come by and help you out.
Q. What call would you fear to hear?
A. An airplane down from John Wayne airport. We have trained for this scenario and I would prefer never to use this training.
Q. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
A. Within the next three years I will be retiring from fulltime work, but I plan on continuing part time. This is how the department keeps the continuity though out the years.
What I will continue to do, if they let me back on their dock, is to report back monthly with Sergeant McCormick for any local notice to mariners and to keep everyone informed.
Friday, September 18, 2015
2015 # 415 Harbor 20 for sale. ASKING $ 32,000
Still smells like new, only sailed three times. Featuring new Torqeedo electric motor, Cockpit Cover and Jib Sock, Boom Crutch, Pop-up Mooring Cleats, Bow Chocks, Ensign and Staff, Safety Package, Tiller Extension Lock, C-Foam Cockpit Cushions. Commissioned to race the Newport Beach One design fleet. White hull with blue strips
For Newport Beach prospects this boat has been in the water long enough to sail in the up coming fleet championships in October.
Friday, September 11, 2015
By Len Bose
September 12, 2015
I attended this month's Harbor Commission meeting Wednesday night and I wanted to update you on what was on the agenda.
First up was Newport Beach Planning Manager Patrick Alford to review the terms of the Newport Dunes Settlement Agreement. This agreement outlines the operational characteristics of the launch ramp for trailered boats. The agreement states that there must be a minimum of 120 parking places for vehicles and their trailers in close vicinity of the launch ramp.
The ramp must be open seven days a week. When I called the marina office they informed me that the ramp is open 24 hours a day. I have heard, from a very reliable source, that there has been times when people have been turned away from the launch ramp during special events at the Dunes.
Alford has received complaints about the launch ramp being closed, and when he contacted the Dunes management, he said he was told that errors where made by employees during those special events.
To my understanding these closures have been very rare. I have only heard about one on a major holiday years ago. But who should you call if you showed up to the ramp and it was closed or if the parking requirements where not at minimum standards and you where turned away? Newport Beach city code officers are responsible for policing the settlement agreement.
From my observation, the launch ramp is run well and exceeded my expectations. There are launch services and operators to help you with many of your boating needs.
Pete Swift, from Swift slips, recently informed me that they have a great working relationship with the Dunes and are launching four times a week there. One thing I did learn recently is that there is a rather deep drop off at the Dunes so if you have to do a deep water launch you should talk to the launch operators.
My gut still tells me our harbor needs more than one trailerable boat launch ramp, preferably city owned. Finding that location is like placing a square peg in a round hole and I know of only two places, both in the upper bay, that there is still space left.
One is in Castaways lot just north of the Pacific Coast Highway bridge. The second is North Star Beach next to the Newport Aquatic Center. Both of these areas are basically impossible to place a launch ramp in because of traffic concerns but unfortunately they're about the only place still open around the harbor.
|18th Street Beach Launch|
My other concern is we have lost the ability to launch small trailerable sailboats, unless you are a yacht club member, in the lower bay. I have mentioned many times I was introduced to our harbor by being able to launch our Hobie Cat from the 18th Street beach. I have always held a deep belief that we need to keep accessibility to the harbor for the novices new to our sport of sailing and boating.
The good news is, we still have plenty of places to launch kayaks, SUP, and other small boats that do not require trailers. Eighteenth Street is still open, North Star Beach appears to be the best place in town with a ton of free parking, the small beach next to the Lido bridge on the north side is still well used.
The Castaways lot appears to be a desirable location, although there has been a fence placed around the seawall area and posts placed on the south end — I assume to keep trailerable boats from launching.
|North Star Beach next to NAC|
Also on this week's Harbor Commission agenda was the review of objectives for the upcoming years. I will review these objectives once they are all established. If you have any harbor concerns it's time for you to contact your favorite commissioner or council member and let them know what you are thinking.
My concern is the ability to streamline our permits for new docks and develop an eelgrass mitigation plan for new docks.
One last note before I go — we have a new sheriff in town. Lt. Mark Alsobrook, of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol, recently took the helm has our new harbormaster. At first glance, I like what I see.
He and Deputy Sean Scoles attended the meeting and promised to keep in touch by making a quarterly report to the Harbor Commission. This is huge and long overdue in my opinion.