Friday, December 20, 2019

On the Harbor: Some nautical history

Courtesy of Newport Harbor Yacht Club
(L-R) Hook Beardslee and Barney Lehman in proper yachtsman attire in the 1920s

While writing a story that is taking a lot of preparation and research, I found these tidbits when I was digging into some of our harbor history books. I found some interesting and quite funny information that I wanted to share with you.
In the early 1900s, boating was all but nonexistent. The harbor’s breaking entrance and shifting shoals made entering and leaving a hair-raising experience. Groundings and shipwrecks were common. Other Southern California yacht clubs referred to Newport Beach yachtsmen as “sandhogs” because of the shallow and mud-ridden bay. In 1928, if a sailor managed to get through the harbor entrance, he still had to keep from hitting the mudflats and sand bars. The first one-design boats were the Snowbirds and the Star class. One of the first names that jumps out at you was Hook Beardslee, who dominated the Snowbirds, Star and Rhodes 33 class in the early 1920s and 1930s. Knowing the tides, swallows and mud flats played a big part in being successful back in the day.

Opening the Harbor, 1936
I found it intriguing as to what was common with today’s dredging project. I read that Lynn Swales, a staunch Republican, accompanied a contingent of harbor boosters to Washington to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt to see about getting the bay dredged. Roosevelt was an ardent yachtsman, and we think that is probably why the bay was finally dredged. After the determined George Rogers illuminated the last bureaucratic roadblock delaying the project, work began in January 1935 with the final cost of $1,835,000.
The 200 men on the project were supervised by the army engineers of the War Department. The sand was dredged from the bay and transported to large steel pipes to the oceanfront beaches. Wooden bridges were built to prevent cars from crossing over the pipes on Balboa Boulevard. Bulldozers pushed a 15-foot high dam of sand next to the wooden boardwalk to keep the dredged sand on the beach and away from the homes. Before the dredging, ocean waves were only 100 feet from the boardwalk, but now the beaches extended out 300-400 feet. This accounts for the wide beach we see today on the oceanfront side of the Peninsula.
Four dredges worked simultaneously to remove approximately 8,500,000 tons of sand and 50,000 pounds of rock. The 750-acre water area of the lower bay was stretched to a depth of 10 feet, anchorage area in front of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club to 15 feet, the main channel to 20 feet and the entrance channel to 25 feet. Many tons of rocks were used to extend the West Jetty to 2,830 feet and the East Jetty to 1,673 feet.
In her book Newport Bay: A Pioneer History, Ellen K. Lee describes the harvest gala opening ceremonies: President Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key on his White House desk and the Coast Guard cutter Hermes, outside of Newport Harbor, sounded its cannons to signal the beginning of the most impressive yacht parade Southern California has ever seen. In the lead was the yacht Memory, skippered by her owner George Rogers, an honorary captain of the port. The 3,600 residents of Newport Beach had little idea of the future ahead for the harbor they had created through the years of work and sacrifice. For the moment, they thanked George Rogers, having erected a monument in his honor at the shores in the West Jetty.
Yachting Etiquette
Yachting and Racing: One of the greatest pests of the yachting fraternity is the individual who will inject his presence into a group after the race, and cry loudly about everything that occurred. He should be made to understand that the club ensemble is not interested in anyone’s personal grouches. The place to protest or kick about a decision in a race is to the proper committee and in the proper place.
The Lehman 12s, 1972
I found this story and had to laugh. “Good sailors of all ages don’t want to sail against hackers.” While people line the shores of Newport Bay every Thursday evening to watch the Beer Can races – a summertime spectacle – the best show is over on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club racecourse, where upwards of 30 Lehman 12’ dinghies convene for the NHYC’s Twilight Series.
The entry list looks like a Who’s Who of American yachting: Argyle Campbell, Henry Sprague, Bill Ficker, Dave Ullman, Bill Lapworth, George Twist, Bob Davis, Buzz Tupman, Tom Schock, Peter Parker, Chris Colby, Leroy Sutherland, Pat Allen, Roger Welsh, John Ferrier, etc.
The Lehman 12 is totally non-rescuable, meaning that if you capsize, you are not only out of the race but you’re going to require some assistance to boot.
Oddly, this seems to be the big selling point of the Lehman 12 – an old turkey enjoying more popularity than any other racing class in the southland. Good sailors of all ages don’t want to sail against hackers, and the very nature of the Lehman 12 is such that it automatically keeps the hackers from buying them.
Strange as it may seem, the Lehman 12 may have all the things (to a different degree to be sure) that all the world’s most competitive one designs have: capsize readily, and it’s even more uncomfortable to sail when it’s windy than when it’s light and wet.
Nearly every sailor at NHYC has tried his skill at Lehman 12s at one time or another. Club rules however are rigidly enforced allowing no modifications, so the boats remain very competitive within the class.
Sea ya next year!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

ALL IN! "2006 FLASHBACK with Nick Scandone"

On Thursday June 8 about 10:00 A.M. the phone rings “ Len it’s Nick, can you go to Connecticut with me on Monday for nine days? Jerry Thomson hurt his shoulder and I need someone to help me out. There is a boat you can use in the race” It took me about two seconds, “I’m in, just let me run it by my family”. About two hours later I called Nick to let him know I was all in and to go over the schedule and what I needed to bring. First thing Nick told me was gloves and a good spray guard top. At first I thought I could pull out a top five finish but I was soon informed at Beercans that night that I would be lapped by Nick and would have my tail handed to me. I thought it was good idea to practice on Nick’s back up boat that was still at Balboa Yacht Club that Saturday. Getting into the boat I kind of felt like one of those big headed sports cartoon commercials. After about three hours of practice I learned four things I needed. Gloves, Spray top, learn how to drive this thing straight and how to get my big head under the boom. At this point I still had dreams of placing in the top seven. Like any good one design boat, a lot of time is needed for boat preparation and leaving the dock in good order. If you’re setting on sheets, halyards and dock lines and extra parts it makes for a tough start, which I came to learn very fast. The 2.4mR is not all that easy to sail. At a leeward mark rounding you have to move the mast aft, tighten up your outhaul, put on your back stay, retract the whisker pole, main & jib in, and keep the boat going straight. Try it sometime and you will see what it entails.

June 12& 13. Nick and I land at JFK and make it hotel without getting lost and over to the Noroton Yacht Club the following day to rig Nicks boat and get it ready for the race. After washing, silicone waxing and Mclubing all the moving parts Nick was ready for the race. Just then Peter Wilson came up and said hello to Nick and introduced himself. This is when I first saw the boat I was going to use this weekend. Expecting an old dog barley able to get out of it own way I was presently surprised to see a very lightly use one year old boat. Just then Tom Sergo, the owner of the boat, came up and introduced himself. Everything looked like brand new from sails to extra parts and everything was made available to my use.

Its amazing the respect you get when your hanging out with the world champion and Rolex yachtsmen of the year. After Tom left I looked at Nick “ Great, I said, now I have to worry about what I am going to break” Nick laughed and we pushed the boats over to the crane and splashed the boats. Nick and I are out about a mile offshore catching the last race of practice that day. After the race Nick and I elect to stay out and do some straight line tuning. We had been sailing for about thirty minutes and Nick is circling back to line up next to me when BLAM! . Nick, “ What the hell was that?” I said “ What do you mean what the hell was that, what the hell is a rock doing way in the hell out here”. We return back to the yacht club and on hauling out I find out that I will need a fiberglass guy. Just as we haul the boat out Nick looks over and asked Gene Hinkel if he can help me with my blunder. By half way through the next day Gene had repaired my boat and it looked like new. Nothing better than hanging out with the Yachtsman of the year especially when you have to call the owner of the boat and tell him you just sailed his new boat into a rock. Fortunately, Tom was way cool about it and even let me continue to use his boat.

June 15
1st day racing with wind coming in from the north, over the land, and creating large shifts, with a strong current through out the day. 1st race is blowing 12 to 16 from the north with the swell beginning to build. Big starting line and starting in the middle of the line most of the day, heading to the left side of the course and tacking in the shifts to stay in the middle of the course so you don’t get killed from one side or the other or over stand because of current. I missed the first two big shifts just trying to drive the boat in 16 knots of breeze, trying not to hit anyone and sail. Nick was in third and second most of the race and on the first beat he over stood the weather mark, because of the current, and lost five boats and finished tenth in that race.
2nd race 1st day, wind now up to 17 with puffs to 21. Nick takes off with the top four boats and these guys are in their own league and take a big lead and hold it to the finsh with Nick taking a 4th this race. Way back in the fleet I round 11th after the first beat and while heading down the first run the wind stays around 12 to 15 no problem. Just I approach the leeward gate and pick the right mark of the gate and try to get in on the inside of Peter Wilson we get hit by a 21 knot puff that brings back memories of the old IOR days with the rolling from side to side now just 10 boat lengths from the mark I go in to this HUGE round down and no idea were I will end up. Looking for the weather side to hold on to I some how come out of the roll, flat and flying at the mark and leave Pete about three boat lengths behind and going to the left mark. Somehow I think Pete was just trying to keep out of my way, when I got to the mark I was in fourth place and started on the second beat and again blew it at the end of the beat and rounded 9th and proceeded to lose two boats on the run and had my best finish of 11th in the windiest race. So, I thought the first race was 17th this race was 11th, I should make it to 7th by the third race. I was OK with this.

3rd race I get rolled at the start and tack away and then don’t see a starboard tacker and have to-do a last second tack, go back to the right and someone else tacks on me and I am in the back of the fleet that fast. I round the weather mark after missing a huge shift way way in DFL, dam embarrassing!! And complete the 1st run DFL. On the run I notice these huge 40-degree puffs coming in from the left side of the course. The whole fleet went to the right gate and since I was DFL I was going left. I was the only one out to the left by so far you had to call it something other than a flyer, maybe slingshot position. Yea that’s it sling shot position! During this time Nick has stayed in second place although at the 1st weather mark he had hit the mark and waited to do his circle until after the clearing mark. Nicks closest non-able sailor Bruce Miller was telling Nick he had to have cleared himself before the clearing mark? Nick went down the run holding onto 2nd place and took off to the right side of the course. Nick said, " I was in second when the left started to come in and I was going to wait until it shifted back and the wind just kept going left". Nick rounded 15th and the wind was now blowing around 18knots and we were all wet and cold which made it double for Nick. At this point Nick saw this race as his throw out and retired from the race. Mean while out on the left side of the course for the first time of my life the "Sling Shot” was working. I kept looking under my boom and I was now ahead of everyone in the back of the fleet and as the wind kept going left the next time I looked under the boom I was ahead of everyone other than the top three. I said " Ok time to SHUT UP AND DRIVE" and not going to look under the boom again until one of the top three boats crossed me everyone else was way back and could not even come close to me on starboard. Then it happens, I lose my steering with the foot peddles and go head to wind in 20 knots of wind in these little boats in a HUGE swell spitting salt water like a bilge pump. I was lucky and brought handheld VHF and called for assistants. Betsy came right up and gave me an idea on how to hand steer. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel I figured out how to control the boat and completed the race. Unfortunately I lost the whole fleet again practicing my 360 off to the left for five minutes and held on to my DFL. Came to find out that about five boats had dropped out because the conditions.
So off to West Marine for some 5200 and try to make the repair to the steering system. It looked good for the next day? That night I had a chance to meet everyone who was now at the event and try to wash all the salt water out my mouth. Good times meeting everyone from Canada, Puerto Rico, and around the U.S. Getting washed around in that little bath tub they call a 2.4 meter does work on you and the no-see-ums were coming out big so we elected to head back to the barn early that night.

June 16
Race day 2 three more races that day and Nick had his game face on. The forecast was for light winds out of the west. We had to wait a long bit for the wind to come in and it did from the north again. It filled to about 13 and lumpy. This time the leeward pin was favored and I hit it at full speed and might have crossed the fleet but I was still unsure of the boats and everything I had gone through already so I just stayed on starboard until everyone had tacked. Nick played it safer than me and started about five boats up and like always had great speed. He found a small shift and had been on port a short time and was coming across back on starboard heading back for the left. I was looking under my boom and it was to close for me to cross the starboard boats and I tacked back to the left and was doing just fine with the top of the fleet being just on my weather hip. Just then my steering goes out again and I go spinning out to the left again like a firework, into the hack bucket again. Nick goes on to win the race by a mile; Nick then takes the second race again by a mile. The third race Nick hangs and takes a forth in a dieing breeze and wins the day handily. Back at the dock everyone wants to know how Nick does it. I have seen Nick’s talent before when I was the sailing coach at OCC. The great battles I used to watch between John Pinckney, John Shadden and Nick was some of the best sailing I have ever witnessed. Nick always seeming to have the edge off the wind and proving that he was truly one of best. Watching this fleet of 2.4 with all the past champions, new champions and Americas Cup past winners Nick again is one of the boys and is truly the guy to beat. What world champion isn’t? Although this time Nick is racing for something more!

June 17
Race Day 3 the forecast is very light breeze and we stay ashore until 1:30. This time instead of 5200 I tried epoxy on my steering bloke problems and I lose my steering again on the tow out and am about ready to throw in the towel. About two hours later everyone is towed back to the docks without a race being run this day.

June 18
Race Day 4 The forecast is better this day with the wind being projected at 6-10 out of the west. Nick took a look at my steering system and came up with a fix for the boat. This is after almost the whole fleet came by and gave their opinion on how to fix it the afternoon before. After the first day Nick had placed himself in a big whole and we had missed the extra two races needed for a second throughout. The first race I was on the upper third of the line and was told the current would be keeping us from the starting line. At the start I thought I had hit it perfect and the boat was working. I look up and Nick is crossing the fleet again and I get a very late call I was over early, so I was back in the hack barrel again. The wind was light and after clearing myself I was able to get off to the right and work myself back up to 8 the place and lose 4 boats on the run to the finsh. I still can’t get myself in the top ten. Nick has another great race and again wins by a mile. 2nd race of the day. The wind is now around 12 knots out of the west and Nick and I want the pin. Peter Wilson is on my hip and I am not about to push Nick at the pin end and we all come off the line well. After a short time of straight lining Nick has pinched me off and I am starting to get rolled by Peter Wilson on my hip. Nick and Pete go on to round 1st and 2nd and finsh with Pete getting the win and Nick in 2nd. I again Hack up the last run and lose four boats at the finsh line and get 13th. 3rd race of the day. The wind is dying and is moving to the northwest. This time I have my hopes up because I have a great start at the committee boat and have most of the fleet is ahead but well to leeward of me. Nick takes advantage of a small left shift and crosses. We lose a couple of boats using the current and jibing at the weather mark. Nicks in forth and I am in 7 at this point. Nick goes on and gets 6th and I hack up my last run and drop back to 12.

At the awards everyone is in good sprits and everyone is helping each other place their boats on the trailers and a number of competitors are shipping their boats over to Finland for the up coming worlds the end of July. Going over the race Nick again is surrounded by the competitors and asking him what there should have done here or there on the racecourse that day. Nick places forth in the regatta overall and wonders if he should have pushed the third place person at the starting line harder. He and Peter Wilson were down to the last race and who ever won this race between them would be the US Nat champion.

Observations and lessons learned.

1. Nick is fast and well respected.
2. Its good to hang out with the king.
3. Peter Wilson has found a niche in single-handed one design racing and is the perfect salesman for the fleet.
4. Nothing better than an old fashioned SAILING CLUB!
5. Check the chart out before sailing in new waters
6. Ask the people around the club where to sail and not sail.
7. When sailing a single-handed boat you have to remember to SHUT UP AND DRIVE
8. Betsey Alison is an outstanding coach that works extremely hard and truly cares about what she is doing.
9. When chartering a boat or before any big event you have to go through your boat from stem to stern.
10. Nick Scandone is a class act. He is the perfect ambassador for yachting. You can only wish for a public servant with the same passion, respect, and the support to others. Newport Beach, California, United States of America, the World! Needs Nick Scandone as their representative. This is the perfect opportunity that only comes around once in thirty years, to promote and support the perfect ambassador to the sport of yachting. Don’t get caught in five years wishing you should have helped!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

"Boatmageddon II" Coming to the Harbor in 2021? This story was first dropped in 8/2011

I first wrote this story in 2011, I dug it back up so that you can refresh your memories to the scale of the equipment.

Three quotes come to mind this week. “They’re here”, “ You want to put what where?” and “It only going to hurt for a little while”. I am referring to the Lower Bay Dredging Project in the Rhine Channel. The estimated impact for this project is from now until the end of the year and I thought the X games are exciting to watch.
Its true, I thought nothing is more exciting than watching the Fun Zone Harbor boats i.e. “Tiki Boat” “Queen”or “Belle” blast through the C3 fleet in front of The Lido Isle Yacht Club. Now blend in the dredging scows being tugged down from the Rhine Channel and you can see some parents starting to come out of their seats? Fortunately, Harbor resource manager Chris Miller has been doing a stellar job keeping the lines of communication open between all the different harbor users. Before the Scows start their route out of the Harbor the Brusco Tug Captains announce a “Security Alert” over VHF channel 16. I have silly idea, what if the tug captains had a Twitter account? Last Tuesday the wind was up and there was over 12 sabots that capsized. If the scow came through at that time it would have been scary! As a parent, I am a lot more comfortable with the tug captain pushing a toxic scow past my kid than the operator of the “Belle” or “Queen” running at 7 knots past the leeward mark off Lido Isle Yacht Clubs dock any day.

You can find all the information for  Rhine Channel project at Let me now first point out the obvious. Stay away from Dredging equipment, be it in the Turning Basin or in the Rhine. In the Turning Basin, around the larger “Pile Driving” barge, the Brusco tug is kept in gear and is moving a lot of water around. In The Rhine Channel there is just no room for safe passage. Even if you are on a paddle board, duffy or Lido 14 make sure you go in the other direction. Don’t be the person that falls in the river after a winter storm! Maybe we should call it Boatmageddon?
The dredging will take place Monday trough Saturday during working hours. Boaters need to keep in mind that the Tugs can still move a scow out of the harbor at anytime of the day. Keep in mind “ Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear” and a tug could be returning an empty scow at anytime? It would be just my luck to get trapped in the upper end of the Rhine channel overnight. We also need to note that after each phase, the larger “Pile Driving” Barge, the one that in the turning basin now minus the two scows attached, has to go up The Rhine and replace the pilings. 

Like I said “you want to put what where?’ If you absolutely, positively have to enter Boatmageddon remember you can use the guest docks at 15th and 19th street and walk to your destination from there. Remind your guests to keep their voices down when you leave and return to the boat. Also keep in mind if you have to go to the local shipyards before the end of the year you better get up there before September 8th.
Should you want to read my stories weekly, I like to call it “Len Bose un-edited” go to 

Sea ya

Sunday, November 24, 2019

2019 Harbor 20 Fleet 1 Arthur Strock Award Winner.

The Arthur B Strock Service Award may be awarded to members who have performed outstanding service for the Harbor 20, Fleet One organization. This years winner Bob Yates
I first met Bob Yates when I started sailing Lido 14’s in the early 2000s and was quick to recognize that his boat was perfectly tuned and always well prepared for the days sailing. Because of his advanced skill level, I always assumed he had sailed all his life and was surprised to learn he did not start sailing until he retired at the age of 50. “I crewed a bit in my younger days, but my first real boat was a “junker” Lido 14. I was a fifty-year-old beginner.  I raced it about forty times and never won a race. One day the boat fell apart and a friend loaned me a better boat. I immediately won two races. The next day I went to W. D. Schock and bought the Lido which I sailed for the next fifteen years,” Yates said.

2019 Arthur Strock award winner Bob Yates
Yates has been a Lido 14 and Harbor 20 fleet one champion and placed second twice in the Lido 14 Championships to names like Gaudio, Leweck, and Raab. “That was painful,” he said. In 2002 and in 2009 Yates won the Harbor 20 Fleet Championships and felt his crew members of Phil Thompson and Patrick Kincaid played a big part in his success. “Old age and treachery” just won’t cut it anymore,” he said. One of Yates’s many mentors was Dave Ullman, “ When I moved to Newport, I met Dave Ullman who’s loft was right down the street.  He was still putting on sailing clinics, and I memorized every word. He is one of the smartest dudes I ever met. Neat guy too,”

Yates feels that today’s sailors are the best that have ever sailed in our harbor in the same one- design boat the Harbor 20s. This year Yates took the helm of H20 Fleet 1 as fleet captain and never looked back. He won the fleets “Rain or Shine” award by sailing in more high point events than any other sailor in fleet one. He also won the H 20 A Fleet High Point Trophy by attending the most races and having the best results. That’s on the water, off the water Yates started the H20 sailing clinics for beginning sailors than organized the sailing for the blind and veterans sailing programs out of the American Legion.
He will be returning as fleet captain in 2020 and for all is outstanding efforts Yates will be receiving H20 Fleet 1’ Phil Thompson mentorship award and H20 Fleet 1 top award the Author Strock Award for members who have performed outstanding service for the Harbor 20, Fleet One organization. The H20 awards presentation is November 23rd at the Balboa Yacht Club. It was kind of funny when he was helping me place the engraving plaques on the awards this last weekend he started to realize that the awards banquet was all about him this year and well deserved. 

I had a few more questions for Yates and asked how he prepares himself for race day? “Get a good night’s sleep beforehand. It is tough on us old guys,” Yates said.  Then thought of what he feels is important to pass on to new sailors at his clinics “Every student is different. An instructor’s goal must be to get into the student’s mind and make sense to them. Find a way to give them the key information and motivation that will allow them to succeed,” Yates said. My last question was   Do you have a favorite moment in sailing? ” Roy Woolsey ( a true legend in sailing and in life itself)  and I were sailing our Lidos home from BYC late one Wednesday night and the wind shut off completely. We spent about four hours “camped” in front of the fun Zone. The Harbor Patrol finally towed us home at about 2 am. Our wives did not believe us, Yates explained.

Yates believes in racing hard and having a good laugh about the day after it’s all over. He has helped me tune my centerboard in my Lido 14 and bend my Jib boom on my H20 with his magic tree in his back yard. He loves the sport of sailing and will do everything in his power to increase your enjoyment and participation.

Sea ya


Friday, November 22, 2019

On the Harbor: Harbor Commission meeting

Winter is coming are so are the changes to title 17
I attended this month’s Harbor Commission meeting and before I left the house, I informed my wife that the meeting might go late into the night. “Okay, I’ll have your dinner on the stove waiting for you,” she said. I decided not to ask what she was cooking because it would have been that much more difficult to leave the house. I confirmed my suspicions when I noticed the meeting packet was thicker than a George R.R. Martin novel. No, the harbor is not on fire but there was a lot of information to fly over for one night, and I am not much into binge-watching harbor commission meetings. 
There has to be a redneck joke here somewhere?
First on the agenda was a Marine Activities Permit Application for SoCal Cycleboats Inc. A Cycleboat is a pontoon boat that is propelled by 10 patrons peddling, which turns the paddle wheel behind the boat. There has to be a redneck joke here somewhere? Not too sure how maneuverable and how quickly these babies can stop. Yet, I am not worried that you will see one planing down the middle of the harbor. My understanding is that this concept has done well on the Sacramento Delta. Personally, I would be surprised to see this idea work here in Duffyland. But hey, I never thought that windsurfing would catch on in the early eighties.
So, let’s get to the first part of the evening’s “meal” with Chris Miller, public works manager, with an update on the future of the Lower Bay dredging project. You are probably thinking, I thought we just did that? Well, that was the 2012 phase I. The 2021 phase II is penciled in to start once the city figures out where to find 23 million dollars. You might be thinking that finding the money was the dragon to slay; the real problem is disposing of the sediment which is estimated at 850,000 cubic yards. Of that 850,000, about 100,000 cubic yards is unsuitable material which is very difficult and expensive to dispose of. The options available at this time is an on-site sediment treatment facility, future port fill, upland landfill disposal, Long Beach CAD site, or creating a Lower Newport Bay CAD site. A CAD site is a Confined Aquatic Disposal plan by digging a hole in the harbor 450 feet by 450 feet and 47 feet deep. If I heard Miller correctly, this is not a new concept and is preferred by many government agencies. The CAD project is by far the best solution to this problem, although I feel there has to be a better place in the harbor rather than in the middle of the five points area. The time frame for this concept is 10 years for the CAD to be open which will allow marina and waterfront homeowners to dispose of any type of sediment. This will be a huge savings rather than barging the sediment out to sea. Other options for disposing of unsuitable material are not available in the near future, or just far too complex and expensive at this time. The CAD portion of the dredging project will be discussed in a public scoping meeting at 6 p.m. on December 4 in the Friends Meeting Room at Central Library. If you are a concerned harbor user, then this is the time to express your concerns to city staff.
Not to scale   Don Logan Photo

At first glance, my concern is where will the dredging equipment be kept when work is not being done? Will it stay onsite or will it be moved to a staging area? How much area will the dredging equipment cover? Having dredging equipment stationed at the proposed site for 10 years will disrupt many if not all of the harbor users I am in contact with every day.
Well, if the second course of the meal did not fill you up, let’s now move along to the next course of Proposed Changes to Title 17 Municipal/Harbor Codes, that our Harbor commissioners and City staff have spent 21 months reviewing and discussing with the community and the stakeholders of the harbor. The recommended changes to Title 17 will go in front of City Council for final review and a vote in the early part of next year. When opening this document, my attention span lasted for maybe 10 minutes, when I was quickly overcome by the 100+ pages of red lines. For the most part, the grumpy old man comes out in me, because I’m not always for change and certainly not recommending change by new city staff that has not been on our harbor for over a year. That is my first impression, then overnight I start to understand staff views and concerns better. Quite often I take the easy way out by paying closer attention to community activist Jim Mosher who always seems to recognize the devil in the details. From my observations, this topic needs about three more harbor activists similar to Mosher. In my simple world, these changes are similar to updating the Racing Rules of Sailing, which takes me two years to understand.
If you are looking for the recommended changes to Title 17, you can go to then scan down to Working draft revisions.
At this point, it was 9:30 p.m. and I was full and could not take in another bite. Other items on the agenda included offshore mooring extensions, creating a subcommittee to work with other commissions to explore a community pool at Lower Castaways Park (don’t get me started now on this topic) along with commissioners and staff updates. I don’t intend to make light of what’s going on in the harbor at this time, so please take this as a call to action that your participation is needed now more than ever.
Sea ya!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.

Friday, November 08, 2019

" There is a new Lawman in town"

Justin "Lawman" Law
The year was 1997 I was 35 years old and weighed about 200 pounds and was sailing in a sabot during the BYC Macho Mens regatta. The class I was in was called “Super Sized” or something like that. I had knee pads on and could not figure out just how to position myself in the boat to make it go any faster, so I just stayed on my knees in the middle of the boat. While rounding K mark and heading towards the finish a wide-eyed 12-year-old kid, with the gleam in his eye of a young white shark, who had started ten minutes behind me in the “Bitesize” fleet. Rolled jibed his boat perfectly and jumped from rail to rail in his sabot then streaked by me as if I was a speed bump on 16th street. The thought of luffing him was fleeting to no avail and I did get a quick glimpse of the boat name has he flew by “Lawman” was on the side of his boat. The Lawman never looked back as he won the event that day and I don’t think he has looked back since.

Justin “Lawman” Law was born in 1985 and started sailing at the age of 3. “When we moved to Corona del Mar we lived across the street from Ed Carpenter. He bought my first sabot and together with my father, Larry, we refinished a 1970s Holder sabot in the garage and then I started sailing.” Law recalled. As a junior sailor, he finished second in two different sabot nationals then attend Newport Harbor High School where he teamed up with his long-time crew and good friend Adrienne Patterson. During the early years and winning many High School regattas the team of Law and Patterson became F.J. National Champions and still sail FJ’s 19 years latter together. Law then packed his seabag and headed to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. During his four years of college, Law was an Honorable Mention sailor his freshman year and All American sailor the next three years while becoming a finalist for “Sailor of the year” his senior year. There is only three finalists noticed each year so it’s very close to being an award it’s self. During his last year in college, he started a 470 Olympic Campaign 
“Today this not the best time to start an Olympic Campaign, I had never learned more about sailing than I did at this time of my life,” Law said.

On his return home from college he became the head coach at NHYC and Newport Harbor High sailing teams. During his first year as coach at Newport Harbor High School, his Alma mater, the team won the High School National Championships. “ Which was one of the coolest things ever,” Law said with pride in his voice. 

I already knew the answer to this question when I asked him what type of sailing event does he prefer to compete in? “ Team racing, it is like chess on the water. You have to be fast and know what to do next. I really enjoy the aggressiveness and tempo of team racing along with having teammates.” Law said. The “Lawman” has been on the winning team of the Baldwin Cup which is our harbor’s most prestigious team racing event five times to my count. His most memorable win was the 2015 ISAF Team Racing World Championships in Rutland Great Britain.

My next question was, What personal characteristics keeps you on the top of most of the sailing events you enter? “ I have put a lot of time on the water, be it Catalina 37’s, Harbor 20’s, Sonars. I really love being competitive, obviously, I am way too competitive, I would not have been so successful without that competitive drive.” That drive was a big part of the NHYC winning this year Lipton Cup with Law on the helm for the first time. He had been apart of two other Lipton Cup teams in the past sailed in J 105’s. The Lipton Cub has a long and distinguished history in California for skippers and crews which including the names of many world’s best sailors. “ This year Lipton Cup, SDYC does a great job at this event and the boats are all very well matched. Many of the team had done the Lipton Cup before and did an outstanding job which allowed me to concentrate on the tel tails and the J-105 heel angle, the boats get overpowered pretty quick and there is only so much you can do, so if you can drive to a certain heel angle you are going to be pretty fast. Over the regatta, we focused on our starts and improved them over the regatta. Being aware of having space and speed on the starting line.

Some of our success was due to that three members of our crew had sailed Catalina 37’s all summer together were aware of our heel angle, wheel time, down-wind lanes” Law said.

While I had Justin on the phone I took this opportunity to try to increase my sailing performance on our harbor and asked him what to focus on while racing and how to sail better in our harbor? “ One needs to focus on controllable’s, there are many variables in sailing some are controllable. For example what you are doing before and during and after the race, preparing your boat equipment, how are you preparing yourself mentally and physically. Being dressed appropriately, eating and drinking enough. It really all comes down to thinking about the things that you can control”. “When sailing in Newport Harbor it is very wind-driven, I like to watch the progression of the day, watching the flags. Over the years the harbor does come to be predictable so it’s trying to remember what works and what does not. Then making sure that you do just that and not get distracted from what works. Remembering the Lido Lift, remembering not to go deep right in the Lido corner, Looking for the lefty just below the NHYC moorings. Newport is an amazing place to sail,  it is a very predictable and easy place to sail” Law said.

 I took this last tidbit of information onto the racecourse last weekend I did rather well with it.  “If you were to draw a line from the tip of Lido straight towards Bay-Island and you are on port tack and below that line, you will probably get headed down into Lido. Where one will run into the Lido Lift, but if you are above that line sometimes you will get that little lefty twist, so you do not have to own the right” Law explained.

So what’s next for the Lawman? I would like to do more keelboat invitational yacht club events like the NYYC Resolute Cup. With a win there one receives an invite to the NYYC Invitational which is the largest Corinthian event for yacht clubs. “That’s the one I want next”

I’ve been very fortunate to sail with Law to Hawaii, twice down Baja and one extremely challenging and memorable run down the coast of California aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. Just so happens we won all four events and I continuously remind him that he makes sailing fun.

Sea ya

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Flashback: The Harbor Report: Looking back at the top fleets FLASH BACK from 2016

This week I thought it would be interesting to go back some 50 years and recall who brought home the pickle dishes back in the 1940-1960’s. I placed a phone call to Seymour Beek and Dave Ullman and asked them what where the most active fleets, names to look for and where to look.  I then headed over to The Newport Harbor Yacht Club and The Balboa Yacht Clubs 
library’s and started my research. I focused in on what I thought was the most active fleets from that time frame and came up with Snowbird, Rhodes 33, Star and Snipe fleets to report on.

The Snowbird was best known for “The Flight of the Snowbirds” now known as the “Flight of The Lasers”. The first year of the race was in 1936 with 32 entries and Dick McKibben was the winner. By the time the 50’s rocked in the entries had grown to 163 boats on the starting line. Names to look for where Ronnie Miracle, Steve Titus, Barton Beek, Janet Power, Tom Frost, Dan Thompson, Jeff Allen, Dick Deaver and Henry Sprague III. The list did not stop there with people who won the right to fly the Gold S on their sail. Joe Beek donated the  Perpetual Trophy known as the “Gold S” and first awarded in 1949. I looked for the trophy at the NHYC and did not find it, but I understand the other names you would find on it would be Clark King, Bob White, Bill Lawharon, Fred Schenck. The boat was used in the 1932 Olympics and then became a popular for junior sailors in our harbor. She was about 12 feet long with five feet of beam. She weighed in at 275 pounds

The Rhodes 33 was built with the intention of sailing in and around Newport Harbor. They are 33’ long, 6.8 at the beam and weigh in at 5,800 pounds. The CR on the sail dates back to their original name the Coast Rhodes. The big pickle dish is named the Lester C and the fleet competed for the Lowe and Mark Healy Perpetuals High point series. Past Champions of the fleet where Connie Wurdemann aboard “Midship”, Hook Beardslee’s sailed “Seebee”, Bill Joyce’s “Crispin II”, Tommy Thomas with “Nimbus”, Bob Collins with his boat “Josephine VI”, Strat Enright in “Witch”, Marianne and John Pearcy with “Whim”, Hallett Throne in “Manana”, Phelps Merickel in “Marlan, Bill Taylor sailed “Mistress” and Bud Edgar with “Madness”. As I researched the fleet one name always came to the top of the list Harlan (Hook) Beardslee sailing the #8 boat “Seebee” . I found this quote in the NHYC History book “ The Rhodes class always showed up with a sizable fleet, but the race was usually for second when Hook was sailing”. Other names I found in past results where Jack Hillman, George Fleitz, W.G. Durant and Tom Myers.

It seemed that after you grew out of the Snowbird you then sailed a Snipe. The Snipe is 15.5 Feet, 5’ beam and the hull weighs 381 pounds. The class goes back to the early 40’s in Newport Harbor. In 1946 Bob White and his twin sister Betty ( now Mrs Alan Andrews, the same person I comment on sailing her Ranger 33 “Antares” to Catalina most weekends.) won the Snipe World Championships that year in Chicago and got 2nd in junior championships. That same year Ken & Bob Davis won the Snipe Internationals. In 1953 & 1954 Tom Frost and Fred Schenck won the Snipe Class National Championships. In 1950 & 1956 Clark King won the Championships, blend this all together, can you imagine how strong the Balboa Snipe fleet was at that time. Look over our harbors top sailors and its like reading a who’s who in sailing. Other top Snipe sailors from this time frame where Dan Elliott, Don Ayres, Max King, Jim Lewis, Dick Deaver, Ted Wells, Smyth and Greene. Can you imagine sailing Snipes in our Harbor back then in our summers series and on the starting line you have all those national champions?

The Star boats came to Newport Harbor when Bill Ficker and Mark Yorston won the World Championships in 1958. The Star boat is 22.7 feet long with a beam of 5.8, she weighs 1,480 pounds. The fleet was most active between 1958 through 1968 with other big names from our harbor winning the world championships. In 1964 Don & Kent Elder won the worlds and brought the race back to NHYC in 1965. The Newport Fleet was one of the most competitive fleets in the world with such names as Rollins, Saint Cecero, Metcalf, Sandy McKay, Bill Boland, Dick Hahn and Erwin deMocskonyi.

There is so much sailing history in our harbor it just makes me want to try that much harder.  

Man I love this place.


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

Friday, October 25, 2019

On the Harbor: Getting to know OC Sheriff’s Harbormaster Lt. Chris Corn

OC Sheriff’s Department Harbormaster Lt. Chris Corn and his wife, Donna
It always makes you feel kind of good inside when you notice a local kid “doing good,” and that is exactly how I felt after interviewing Lt. Chris Corn from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Corn is tasked with the county’s Harbormaster role in Dana Point, Huntington Harbour and Newport Beach.
Corn was born in Santa Maria and moved to Huntington Harbour at a young age where he grew up exploring the Harbour. After graduating from Marina High School, he joined the Navy and served in Desert Storm. He became an electronics technician stationed at Miramar and Long Beach, then after seven years in the service, he joined the Sheriff’s Academy. One of his many different assignments was as a deputy patrolman on Newport Harbor for eight and a half years. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Donna, for 31 years and lives in Costa Mesa. Many of you might recognize Donna, who had worked at West Marine for several years, and can actually answer your boating questions.
One of my first questions to Corn was how the role of the Sheriff’s Department has changed since the city has taken over the management of the moorings and when the should public call the Harbor Department with their concerns or complaints. “Our roll has not changed that much. We don’t manage the moorings any longer, however, we still enforce all the same laws and all the same municipal codes throughout the harbor. We are still enforcing laws and saving lives, fighting fires...that’s all the same. If a citizen has a complaint, by all means, please give us a call,” Corn shared.
When asked about the different training the harbor deputies take part in, Corn replied: “Everyday our guys are training, from boat handling, boat fires, towing, homeland security, the list is quite extensive. We tow anything from small boats to helping the Catalina Flyer get back into their slip. We routinely do large mock emergency drills with the city’s fire department.” I was also glad to hear the Sheriff’s Department also received a California State grant and received two spill trailers with one being stationed in Newport Beach and the other in Huntington Harbour.
Lt Corn recognizing Deputy Terry Smith 52 years of service

The Sheriff’s Harbor Department is also responsible for managing the moorings in front of Bay Shores, 23 navigational buoys and most of the Back Bay. When asked which emergencies keep you up at night Corn quickly replied, “Boat fires are my biggest concern. It’s dangerous for the boater and our personnel. It’s a fine line between putting out the fire and not sinking the boat.”
Then I inquired as to what boaters should keep in mind, now that we are approaching the winter season. “Remember your boat maintenance and safety equipment schedule. We get a lot of calls in the springtime when boaters return to their boats when fuel filters get plugged and wire connections have gone bad to lights and pumps. It’s also a good time to check your mooring and dock lines. The Santa Ana winds are always due to blow through this time of year and we can get those monster clearing westerlies after a winter’s storm has passed over us in December, January and February.”
So what is Corn concerned about with the harbor over the next 10 years? “The harbor is not getting any larger, yet it seems we are adding more and more vessels each year. Vessel traffic and boater safety are my concerns for the future,” he said. We went on to talk about how many more marina operators are updating their marinas with larger slips which we both felt impact harbor traffic.
What about upcoming public outreach programs scheduled for next year? “We plan on doing something similar to ‘Coffee with a Cop’ and we plan on calling it ‘Day on the Dock,’ where the public will be invited to the Sheriff’s Harbor Department for a tour of the facility and meet the different staff members to get a better idea of our tasks and challenges for the upcoming year,” he said.
Corn has been on the job as the OC Harbormaster for two years and if I was to guess, the Sheriff will be promoting him up the ladder soon.
“This has been my dream job since I was hired on some 25 years ago, hoping to spend at least two more years here. It’s always at the will of the Sheriff,” Corn said.
Over my 12 years as a harbor reporter, I have interviewed six Harbormasters, and Corn is becoming one of the best among them, along with the same ranks as Long and Alsobrook. Corn is approachable, and he attends most harbor meetings from Huntington to Dana Point. I tease him about the nine different yacht club opening days he attends in the hot sun and in full dress uniform each year. He’s a good one, and if we are lucky enough to keep him for the next two years, our harbors will most certainly benefit.
Sea ya!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Harbor Report: New harbormaster has plenty on his plate. Flashback

Middle of the dock in Green is our new Harbormaster Lt Mark Alsobrook, surrounded by his team of deputies and professional staff.
 By Len Bose
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.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist for the Daily Pilot.