Gray clouds and rain over Newport Harbor. (Len Bose)
By Len Bose:
Winter time in Newport Harbor, frost on the shingles of the homes and a crisp breeze in your face in the morning. I have picked up a couple of shifts as dock master in a new marina in town, and I normally start my day by walking the docks and looking out over the harbor.
From this part of the harbor, I can see who is going to the shipyards for their annual maintenance, the fishing fleet heading out to sea with the lone deck hand just starting to warm up by getting to task and removing the chill from his bones. I am also surprised to see about 10 people shuttling to and from the public docks to their moored boats. These early-morning harbor commuters always seem to have wool beanies on their heads, with their knees tucked into their chests. To me, it appears these boaters, especially the people rowing, can never make the crossing fast enough to escape the morning cold.
This time of year does feel good, but I am ready for spring and the start of sailboat racing season. With the sun turned down this time of year, we only have one or two races a month and everyone seems to make it out to the race course. Last week at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club Winter Series, we had 34 boats on the water sailing our Harbor 20s, and the wind was light to nada.
This year's leaders in the NHYC Winter Series, sailing in A fleet, are Bob Yates and Patrick Kincaid sailing Jubilee, followed by Anne and Kurt Wiese aboard Ping and Mark Conzelman and Phil Thompson sailing Shana's Secret. In B fleet, we have a close series between the Geissmans, Whitneys and Corketts, all within six points of each other. I am sure all three of these teams will be wondering if Porter and Chris Killian will show up the last day of the series in February. In C fleet, team Haynes, sailing Spirit with Debra at the tiller, is holding a commanding lead over Emile Pikafidis aboard Party Globe and Katy and Patrick Scruggs sailing Summerwind. No pressure on Debra Haynes; I just noticed Spirit headed up the street for a new paint job this week.
Over at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, we have had the Hot Rum Series going on this winter with 19 PHRF big boats in attendance. It appears that Russel Grant, aboard his new boat Wild Thing, a Farr 40, is outpacing the rest of the fleet. Bob Wine, aboard his Harbor 25, Carioca, is in second, followed by the old harbormaster himself, John Szalay and his Peterson 34, Pussycat.
Speaking of BCYC, they have a couple of sailing events coming up soon that I highly recommend for your consideration. On Jan. 28, Fleet Captain Paul Decapua will be holding an "Introduction to Sailboat Racing" seminar. This seminar is perfect for the boat owner who is looking for new crew this season and for the novice looking for a chance to get on the water.
On Feb. 27, BCYC will also host a "Coastal Safety at Sea" seminar. These seminars are always good to attend, and each time I complete one of these safety programs, I bring something new back to the boat. It also leads to more conversation with your boating friends on how to better prepare for your day on the water.
So what's new around the harbor this week? I leaned that there is a public work dock for morning permit holders at the Basin Marine on C dock. You will need to call ahead to Basin Marine and ask for some dock space. You can stay for two hours, and the space can hold anything up to 40 feet.
There will be a new public dock coming this year at the end of Central Avenue, located next to the Elks Lounge and the 55 bridge. The use for this pier will be for 30-foot-and-under boats, dinghies, and the ability to tie up for three hours and head over to any of the shops in Lido Village or West Marine.
Harbor Resources has a new product to sell for people who have a slip and have been waiting for the RGP 54 and the Newport Beach Eelgrass Mitigation Plan. Please keep in mind that the Harbor Resources department has moved its office to City Hall; the phone number is still the same, (949) 644-3034.
Remember, this coming week, there is a King Tide; that means there is a lot of water coming in and out of the harbor. Also, if you and any of your friends need a slip in town for a month or less, this will be perfect for the people coming in for the Ensenada Race. Please keep me in mind at email@example.com.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.