Friday, January 18, 2019

On the Harbor: Meet our new Harbormaster Kurt Borsting

Newport Beach Harbor Master Kurt Borsting

I have to assume you all know that Newport Beach’s Harbor Department has a new Harbormaster, Kurt Borsting. Borsting started on one of our harbor’s busiest weeks during the Christmas Boat Parade and from my first observations, he has an astute awareness of the tasks assigned to him and the Harbor Department.
Borsting returned my call within the hour and granted me an interview with him in the upcoming week. His quick response is always a good sign on who you will be dealing with in the future. The day following this month’s Harbor Commission meeting, I caught up with him.
Borsting is married with a son and daughter; he grew up in Long Beach’s Belmont Shores area, where he lives today. He attended Cal State Long Beach, where he studied political science and later attended graduate school in the Midwest. He had been previously employed by the City of Long Beach, where he worked as the superintendent of marine operations. This included Alamitos Bay, Shoreline and Rainbow harbors along with the city’s launch ramps.
While describing the similarities between Newport Beach and Long Beach, he mentioned both communities are residential in nature with activity in and around the neighborhoods. The types of use are very similar with youth activities, rowing, fishing, and active yacht clubs.
One of Borsting’s first tasks will be to maintain and boost the Harbor Department’s public information efforts, by reaching out to the different stakeholders, such as the Newport Mooring Association, and yacht, rowing and fishing clubs, while attending the different association meetings around the harbor. He mentioned the different communication lines his team will be tapping into from the staff on the harbor to the MyNB app. “All of these strategies will add up to real quality public information,” Borsting said.
When discussing how his team will be serving the harbor, he said: “We have to stay focused and hope to be the ambassadors of this harbor.” We also talked about helping guests into Marina Park or picking up a mooring, proper use of our pump-out stations and understanding Title 17 better.
While discussing Title 17, Borsting expressed, “It’s critical that we get the community active in the different outreach meetings while reviewing Title 17.” The City Council has instructed the Harbor Department and the Harbor Commission to bring forward their recommendations to update Title 17 of the City’s codes this year.

We also talked about state and federal grants that the harbor can apply for, and I was very encouraged with Borsting’s understanding of these grants and how to maintain them. He said this month, the Harbor Department will be receiving an oil spill and response trailer that was obtained by a grant from California Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife will be in town this month to properly train the Harbor Department staff on the trailer’s equipment. On a side note, I hope that the sheriff’s department is invited along with the different marina owners and dockmasters from around town.
We discussed code enforcement out on the harbor, and it was encouraging to hear that the Harbor Department is still moving forward in training staff to become code enforcement officers. Along with the Harbor Commission, an NOAA representative is invited to instruct the Harbor Department on how to deter sea lions next season. Borsting felt that these are all helpful steps toward maintaining our harbor.
Over the years, I have interviewed five different sheriff’s harbormasters, along with a number of harbor commissioners and harbor resources staff. My gut tells me that with Borsting, we have a harbormaster who has the skill set, is a good listener and is easy to approach. Only time will tell, but my confidence is high that we are moving forward in the right direction.
Before I go, please note that this weekend we will be experiencing the second part of our King Tides. There will be a lot of flooding this Sunday and Monday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. due to all the rain this week and flotsam. Be sure to keep an eye open on what’s in front of you while traveling through the harbor. 
Sea ya.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.

Duncan Forgey Recollections of sailing in Newport Harbor: Flight of the Snowbirds

A restored wooden Snowbird
No. 419, a double blue new Snowbird named “Too Blue.” I knew this day would be really big. A perfect summer day in Newport, the Flight of the Snowbirds would be starting in a few hours. The Flight, a tradition in Newport Harbor since 1936, was up to some 200 participants. For competitive young sailors of that era, winning the Flight was like a gig at Carnegie Hall. Some sailed simply for the fun...others to claim rights to be the best in the bay. A good showing here was historical and word would spread rapidly in the sailing circles.
Jim Warmington was one of the finest young sailors in our town. Even before I could swim, I crewed for years with him. I weighed 45 lbs. with a life preserver on, allowing Jim to strategically move me about the 12-foot sloop like a sack of sand. His style of racing was one of perfection. The anticipation of wind changes, trimming the sail, tacking and hiking positions were part of a choreographed dance that Jim knew at a young age. 
Newport Harbor’s tradition of sailing is a privilege for youth growing up with the harbor. Prior to the 1960s, Newport Beach was not known to be a premier setting on the world sailing scene. Older Newporters like Bill Ficker, Don Edler, John Kilroy, along with the finest boat builders, sailmakers and other sailors, would soon put Newport on the racing charts. K-38s, L-36s, Thistles, Stars, custom ocean-racing yachts and America’s Cup racing would soon become part of Newport Harbor’s traditions. Sabots, Snowbirds and Lido 14s were perfect training vessels for future sailors. The bay was alive with activity.
Dr. Albert Soiland

Yacht clubs date back to the early 20th century. Dr. Albert Soiland visited Newport Bay in 1906 and being familiar with great ports throughout the world, he saw a potential for Newport Beach’s marshy estuary.
In 1916, he founded and became the first commodore of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. This resulted in each subsequent generation being a little more sophisticated than the previous. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new group of competitors hit the water vying for the power position among the harbor’s youth. This group included Burke Sawyer, one of the early gold “S” winners for Snowbirds; Bill Twist; Ron Merickel; Dave Ullman; and Bruce McClaire. All summer long in regatta after regatta, these and many more sailors zig-zagged up and down on the waters of Newport.
Now, this group had moved to larger boats, so I felt it was my turn. If I put everything that Jim taught me to work, I could be a contender. In the start to any race, steel nerves and a stopwatch are your best friends. A matter of mere seconds puts you in the lead, or turns a boat around to re-cross the starting line. The skipper must interpret a language of horns and flags, and anticipate the right place to be at precisely the right time. In the 60 seconds before the start, a sailor must tack, luff or jibe to ensure a good start. There was a great deal of young testosterone in the water, because the good girls, like Patsee Ober and Leslie Messenger, were still years from becoming equals in sailing.
Balboa Yacht Club opened its doors in 1922 as the Southland Sailing Club and the oft-forgotten Balboa Island Yacht Club began in the summer of 1923 when some kids talked Joe Beek into a ride in his boat. Beek saw an interest in their eyes and formed BIYC with 35 original members. Lido Isle Yacht club was incorporated in 1928 but was not operational until 1947 due to poor lot sales, the Great Depression and World War II. 
At the starter’s horn, my bow crossed the line within seconds, putting me in the top 20. “Jim [Warmington] would be proud,” I tell myself, thinking this may be the passing of the torch. The fleet spread out and dominated the bay. The Flight was one of the only events that had “right of way” over the venerable ferry boats. We beat our way toward the first mark west of the Lido Isle Yacht Club. Passing some landmark homes on Harbor Island, Bay Island and the Peninsula, the boats completed the long haul into the wind at the mark. “Too Blue” executed a perfect tack and I hollered down a couple potential poachers with a loud “starboard” and kept my key position. Heading east, the little boat rocked and rolled as my crew, Al Schneider, and I sat back creating a perfect plane. Going with the wind always felt really good.
The beginning of sailing in Newport Harbor was modest at best. But after WWII, the transformation of Newport Beach was in full swing. Large sailboats like the Pioneer and the Goodwill sat impressively in the west turning basin. Other schooners tied up where the future Balboa Bay Club would be built. Sailboats like SantanaSiriusChubascoKialoaNam SongSea Drift and many more became the “holy grail” for wide-eyed young Snowbird sailors like me. “One day we will sail the Trans-Pac,” we dreamed.
Flight of the Snowbirds

By the time the fleet reached the east end of Lido and passed the Warmington house, my blood was boiling with competitive juices. I was in the Top 10. It was at this precise moment that I lost control and my thoughts passed into that unpredictable mindset known as “cocky.” A Top 10 finish was well within reach, I kept telling myself.  “Go! Go!”
A local yachtsman wanted to teach his son how to sail, so he created the Snowbird design. Its tremendous popularity over the next 90 some years showed that it was the perfect boat for that purpose. In 1926, the design became public and Jim Webster of the NHYC built four, which sold for $200. G.Y. Johnson Boat Works of Newport built an early wood version, Donald Douglas tweaked it a bit making a faster version and A.E. Hansen built 10 for use as rental boats in Balboa. Roland Vallely maintained one of the largest fleets of Snowbirds in the bay for his rental business. By the mid-1950s, the wooden versions were wearing out, so Bill Schock of W.B. Schock Company started building fiberglass Snowbirds. Much faster, this version of the Snowbirds became even more popular.
Jim Webster’s early Snowbird, circa 1930

Neck and neck with the best skippers in the harbor, my thoughts were speeding as we made the turn around the east end of Lido. Mimicking Mario Andretti, I chose “a straight line is the shortest distance between two points” strategy and took an inside track.
However, once in front of the large two-story homes on Lido’s east end, it felt as if I had thrown an anchor overboard. The wind stopped and “Too Blue” came to a virtual standstill. Sitting in the doldrums, I watched as almost the entire fleet took an outside position and passed us by. By the time we reached Elmer Hare’s house with his classical plank boat “Dorsal,” all had tragically changed.
I remember very little about the rest of that Flight because it was like hiking up a mountain with a broken leg. All the pride, knowledge and perceived glory I anticipated was gone. Crossing the finish line among the last 30 boats put well over 100 in front of me. So much for a great start.
“It is about the entire race and it is always the smartest skipper, not the fastest boat that wins,” Jim had taught me. As I limped home late that afternoon, this kept pounding in my head accompanied by a vision of him sailing Newport Harbor with the intensity of a high-wire walker over Niagara Falls. 
Duncan Forgey, a lifelong resident of Newport Beach, now makes his home in Hawaii. He is a monthly contributor to StuNewsNewport.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Harbor Report: It's good to be king.

By Len Bose

Sunday July 17 is the start of the 81st Flight of the Lasers and when people like Brett Hemphill, David Beek and Gator Cook call me up to ask me to write a story about “The Flight” I am all over it.

First call I made was to Seymour Beek to find out as much about the race as I could. Beek first sailed in the race at the age of seven, I did not happen to ask Beek what year that was but the race started in 1936. The race first was known as the Flight of the Snowbirds, which is 11 foot monotype sailing dingy. The Snowbird was a class in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Beek’s best finish’s were in 1948 and 49 with two-second places to Gil Kraemer and Dick Deaver respectively. These were the years when as many as a 160 boats would be on the starting line at the same time. To finish in the top fifty would be quite the accomplishment, but to finish second during this time,with all the past Olympians 0n all those boats, needs some serious respect and acknowledgment.

Beek refers to the race as “The Flight” because over the years the race has been sailed in the Snowbirds from 1948 to1970, Kites 1972 to 73 and now Lasers from 1975 to present. The Laser also happens to be an Olympic class boat.

In 1954 Tom O’Keefe won The Flight and I had a chance to talk to him over the phone. “ At that time The Flight was the largest one design race in the world. I recall once I got into the lead there was a news reel boat filming the race and later played the news reel in the theaters.” O’Keefe said. “ I also remember all the power boats in the bay blowing their horns at the finish line when I won the race. It was a big deal at that time. O’Keefe recalled a story about a competitor who's boat did not measure in to the rules and this person had won a number of different regattas that summer. There was someone who took offense to this competitor and swam from Balboa Island and tipped the boat over just before the start of the race. O’Keefe recalls the harbor department following the swimmer back to the beach he had come from. “I still have the silver plated bowl I won as the take home trophy that year, I will always remember all those boats.” O’Keefe said.

Next I checked in with Chris Raab who had won The Flight in Lasers in 99, 02 & 03. “ This race meant everything, I needed a new sail really bad and the winner received a new sail. My father was at work and he did not have time to trailer my Laser down from Long Beach so I remember sailing my boat from Long Beach to Newport, at the age of 15, so that I could practice a couple of days before the event. Dude this race meant everything to me, it was huge!” Raab said.

I had to pick up the phone and call the man himself Jon Pinkney who has won The Flight more than anyone else with seven wins. Like all the past winners the first thing he said was “ It was the big event, the biggest race on the bay at the time, and I wanted that new sail. Out of the 100 boat that started the winner was the king.” Pinckney said.

Pinckney recalls the 1990 Flight, which was one of the windiest, as the one that got away from him. “ Phil Ramming and I came off the starting line ahead of the fleet. Ramming had just tacked off of O mark to starboard and lee bowed me back to the right side of the course. Ramming then made it in front of the ferry, that was headed into Balboa Island, and I had to sail around it. I was never able to catch him after that.” Pinckney said. This was some twenty-six years ago and Pinckey was telling the story as if it was yesterday.

When I told Pinckney and Raab about the winner of this years Flight receiving a new sail they both got rather quite. I’ll let you know if I see Raab on his Laser this week before the start. Sailing Pro shop is donating the new sail along gift certificates, the entry is free thanks to the Newport Chamber of Commerce. There are several categories that people can enter, such as the youngest skipper, parent child, couple, oldest skipper, and bragging rights.

Entry and information can be found on the website,

Boat name of the week “ Chill Vibe”

Sea ya

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

The Harbor Report: The importance of sailing stories "Flash Back"

Andrew & Len Bose 2013 Midwinters

By Len Bose
February 21, 2013 | 2:01 p.m.

This week's column is more for me than for all of you.
I am sure you have heard and lived it yourself: Life is too short to go boating without your family and friends.
Tuesday I stared at my blank computer monitor for about 20 minutes, thinking of something to write for this column. Then, while looking out of my office window, I noticed the large, dark clouds of a winter storm approaching.
My phone rang. It was my mother, looking for assistance to take my father to the hospital. As we traveled south on Coast Highway, I glanced out to sea. The look of the approaching storm shook me from the inside out this time. I took a deep breath as my emotion started to rise in me like the ocean's tide.
Over the last 15 years my mother and I have made this trip many times, but this time felt different. The parking lot was full, and we ended up on the top level, where you can see out over the harbor. The dark clouds were coming in from Catalina, and it was only a matter of time before the forecasted downpour would be upon us.
While in the hospital's emergency room, we always seem to talk about the same topic: sailing.
This time, my father thanked me for sending him photos of my son Andrew and I sailing our Harbor 20 in last weekend's Midwinters. He always talks about when he and I learned how to sail a Hobie 16 off the 18th Street beach and reminds me of all the moored boats I ran into.
Quite often, the story comes up of when we beat one of our best friends in the Ancient Mariner regatta back in the 1970s. It always feels good to laugh together at these familiar stories in these situations.
As doctors and nurses came in and out of his room, we talked about his grandson's junior sailing classes and the expression on the boy's face when he returned from one of his lessons after he flipped his Sabot for the first time. This was followed by concerned laughter.
We also like to bring up one or two stories from our many Catalina trips. The story that seems to get the biggest laugh is about one of our failed attempts to make it through the surf in a dinghy while heading back to the boat.
This story always gets my mother into the conversation, with her saying something about me being a genius, and how I almost took out our whole family. The laughter will grow louder as we all recall wading back to the beach to retrieve the turtled dinghy, with its outboard sounding and looking more like a blender.
Of course, we also have our Duffy electric boat stories from when one, or all, of us had a little too much fun at dinner.
I've asked on more than one occasion, "Hey Dad, do you remember which dock we tied the boat to?" When she hears that story, my mother normally just puts her head down and shakes her head from side to side, and I see a half smile appear on her face as she pretends to hide it.
The harbor and boating has become a big part of our lives. We continue to observe the tide come in and out, and the dark winter storms do the same. What I had not realized is how often I watch them alone.
This last weekend I sailed the first day of the Midwinters by myself because I thought I would be faster in the lighter winds. It turned out that I was wrong, in more ways than one.
I am hoping that this winter storm will pass with little incident and my father will return home and regain his strength. I still want to tell a few more stories about the next Harbor 20 race with him and his grandson.
Sea ya.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

The family chain.

Who said "Life is easy, when time grows shorter?"

Thursday, January 10, 2019

For Sale: 1982 Santa Cruz 50 ALLURE ASKING Only $ 165,000

This Santa Cruz 50 is hull # 20 and has made it to the top of the fleet on many occasions in her lifetime. ALLURE has always been known as one of the magical hulls produced by the wizard. She is one of the only boats to have a keel change. She is very attractively priced and can be prepared for offshore racing with little effort. I have sold eleven of these ’50s in my career with eight Trans Pac’s and over twenty Mexico races aboard Santa Cruz ’50s. There is still no better boat for sailors, over the age of forty-five, to go offshore on with the chance of winning in comfort. Already a fleet of nine SC 50 + have entered this year's, Trans Pac. FAST IS FUN! Sailing in evenly handicapped divisions makes for closer competition.

Friday, January 04, 2019

On the Harbor: Remembering my buddy, Commodore Josh Walker

Josh Walker 2002 Ensenada Race
It has been a very long time since I have had the wind knocked out of my sails and just as I was approaching the finish line to the end of 2018, WHAM I took a hard round down to weather. You know the type when the spinnaker pole digs into the water and everything feels like it’s crashing down on you.
Well, that’s pretty much how I felt when I heard that my good friend, Josh Walker, had passed away this last week of December 2018. The first thing I reflected on was how Walker always greeted me with a long drawn out “Lenny Bose.” I’ll probably always look for him each time I enter the Balboa Yacht Club for many years to come.
I recall the first time I noticed his wife, Carrie, and Josh on the main dock at BYC. Josh was returning their Catalina 36 to the mooring when Carrie had noticed that she had left her car keys on the boat. It was a long time ago to quote Carrie and Josh’s conversation across the water as Carrie desperately tried to convince Josh, who was about three rows deep into the moorings, to return to the dock to return her keys. The banter was funny and full of love, yet someone not knowing they might have seen it differently.
In the early 2000s, we spent a lot of time with the Walkers at Whites Cove in Catalina. The Walkers had two very young granddaughters, Katie and Megan when my son was 4 or 5 years old. We both spent most of our time during these warm summer days making sure the toddlers did not leave the confines of the grassy area of the Whites way station. While the kids would play in this tropical paradise, Josh would always remind me to keep a sharp eye out for my son’s advancements toward his granddaughters. Again, the banter was fun and full of love.
In 2002, Walker took his turn at the helm of the Balboa Yacht Club as Commodore and referred to himself as “The do nothing Commodore.” Yet, that’s not what I remember. I recall the club was digging itself out of some financial difficulties from previous years. Walker had taken the helm when no one else would, on a very dark night at sea, with a huge squall overhead. He came out from under the financial squall on a port pole hauling the mail straight at the mark. Speaking of squalls, Walker joined me that year in the 2002 Ensenada Race: the following are my excerpts from that race.
Forecast for the day was 15 to 20 k4 SW with locally stronger gusts in the afternoon. Showers or thunderstorms likely. The Newport to Ensenada 2002 was our first race with our new boat, a 1999 J 125 named LUCKY DOG. At 10:45 a.m., LUCKY DOG’s call sign was changed to BYC-1 as Commodore Walker stepped aboard from the club’s race dock. Right off the dock, a rain squall came through which sent everyone diving for their foul weather gear. But we can’t complain, nor can we wipe the smile off our faces. The next 13 hours were some of the best sailing I have ever experienced in the Newport to Ensenada race.

As the LUCKY DOG’s knot log recorded a 15.8, the GPS told us we were really doing 16.7. I looked over for Commodore Walker’s reaction to this sudden surge in boat speed as we headed down this rather large swell just off Oceanside. I thought I might catch the Commodore’s eyes wide open with hands gripping the boat tight. The opposite was the case: “I’ve never gone this fast before,” he said, smiling ear to ear as he ground in the spinnaker for the next wave. Along with his game face, Commodore Walker brought along some of the best quotes: “Bring it on,” “We’re boiling,” “We’re going to be finished before 1 a.m.” – those were only some of the comments made by this exceptional competitor.
Another moment I observed was during Nick Scandone’s Paralympics Skud 18 campaign in 2007-08 when Walker gave generously monetarily and timewise to support Scandone’s campaign to bring home the gold medal from China.
Walker is remembered by all as “the most generous guy you will meet” as well as “honest and fair.”
Unfortunately for all of us, he would often say while leaving BYC, “We are walking not talking.”
Well, Walker, if I had known you were departing us, I would have asked you to stay around for another 75 years. Hope you don’t mind me keeping the way you greeted me all these years...I plan on doing the same with my friends.
Sea ya.