Sunday, February 17, 2019

On the Harbor: NHYC’s Islands Race, BCYC’s Midwinters make for a busy weekend on the water

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone out there?         Photo by Don Logan

Are you ready to rumble? NW winds 15 to 25 knots with gusts up to 30 knots is the weather forecast for this weekend’s Midwinters regatta and Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s (NHYC) Islands Race. No, I am not going to give you a weather forecast. For some reason, I just wanted to let you know I will be freezing my cojones off as the Horizon team starts the sailing season off by sailing around Catalina and San Clemente islands, and finishing in San Diego this weekend.
The Islands Race is nothing to be taken lightly. Once you are past Catalina, you are in the outer waters and one must reach inside their foulies and grab all their courage and boldness, hence the use of the word cojones, to compete in the ocean’s outer waters. This time of year we will find out our skill level three boat lengths into the race.
I enjoy this race because I am always a little intimidated by the weather conditions. I also like how clear and crisp the air is along with the view of Catalina, and how green the island is this time of year. Once we round the west end of Catalina and I look back at the island with the snow-capped mountains in the background, it is as spectacular as viewing the earth from space. Breathtaking is always a good choice of words to describe this scene because we are normally setting our 3A spinnaker and tight reaching in 30 knots of wind, and I take a number of huge freezing waves in the face.

To say the least, the crew is normally a little bunched up while power reaching in a big breeze until we reach San Clemente Island when the wind normally moves more behind us and the boat gets faster and flatter. I am always surprised by the population on the island, which is all military and possibly extraterrestrial life because there is always loud explosions and flashes of light that appear from nowhere while rounding this island. Extra precaution is needed at this point of the race because the island becomes a lee shore while sailing around it. A lee shore is dangerous because should you lose power, the wind will blow onto the island, which is bad and can ruin your whole day. Once past the east end of San Clemente, and a couple of the military exclusion zones, the race often becomes a sleigh ride into San Diego which is why we take all the pain to get to this point.
• • •
At home and in the harbor this weekend, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC) will be running the Harbor 20 Midwinters which is a two-day regatta this Saturday and Sunday. Call me crazy, but I will be trying to make it home, leaving the boat in San Diego until the weather clears on Tuesday, to compete both days. Yea, wet zombie sailing on Saturday, but after a little more sleep, I should be a little closer to my game on Sunday. The Fleet has a Class Championships scheduled for March 1 - 3, so we should see more competitors with their game faces on for the Midwinters. The Class Championships will be sailed a little differently than most fleet races with all the competitors from around the country sailing on Friday to qualify for the two different fleets, Gold and Silver. The first goal for my wife, Jennifer, and me and the most stressful will be to qualify for gold. My plan is to be at one with the harbor and let the water flow around us. This is a big change for me because my normal strategy is to pound my feet on the cabin sole and whine like the “Only Child” I am. That’s why my boat is named “Only Child,” and why Jennifer does not talk to me until we get back in the car at the end of the day when I have one of my tantrums.
• • •
On the Horizon, no pun intended is the NHYC Cabo Race, which I will talk about more in a future column, as well as the Ensenada Race. Please mark your calendars for February 28 at BCYC at 7 p.m., where I will be speaking at a racing performance seminar for the Ensenada Race. Bruce Cooper, the owner of Newport Beach Ullman Sails loft, and I will be covering everything from sail trim, watch systems, food preparation, and instrument calibration. Hope you can make it.
Another item to keep a look out for is the public outreach for the revision of Title 17 of the city codes that govern our harbor. I plan on bugging you again regarding this topic because the last thing that we need is the chair to turn around after taking attendance and ask Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? That’s kind of funny if you recall the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and why he was rumored out that day. 
Sea ya!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for 
Stu News Newport

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

On the Harbor: About guest moorings and the N2E

Horizon starting the 2018 Ensenada Race   Photo by

I am sitting in my office today, Saturday, Feb. 2, watching the approaching winter storm front approach; it is due in about 13:00 [1 p.m.] today. With winds reaching some 40+ knots, a number of local sailors are up in Cabrillo Beach waiting for the front to pass over before starting the Los Angeles Yacht Club’s Around Catalina Island Race. This race is one of my favorite races of the season, yet sitting at my desk, still in my robe, with a fresh cup of hot coffee, I am feeling pretty good.
That was up until I had noticed that the Newport Beach City Council at its January 22 meeting had passed a rate increase for guest moorings, raft up permits and mooring extensions. I am feeling like I would rather take on the approaching winter storm front.
Guest mooring was a flat rate of $27 a night; last year we had a winter rate of $18 a night at $1.25 per foot. So let’s do the math. You have a 40-foot boat and you would like to stay in Newport Beach for a night...which tallies to $50, plus a $17 application fee, which takes you to $67. Should you have a bit of a problem and you tangle up the mooring sand line, that will cost you $102 to replace it. So, after every guest mooring rental, the Harbor Department is going to check the sand lines. Let’s say, I am a cruising boater and can get a guest slip – I said slip not a mooring – at Long Beach for $46 a night, and I can get a guest slip in Dana Point for $46, so you know what I am going to do. That’s right, I am going to sail past Newport Beach and show them my pet bird. I always thought the concept around Marina Park and the change in the Harbor Department were to make Newport Beach a friendlier harbor? Now, it appears that the Harbor Department patrol will be carrying bananas aboard the patrol boats.
This price gouging will really affect the local harbor users more than anyone else. For example, we have a number of nonprofit organizations within our harbor that use our guest moorings for boats that they use on a daily basis, or that they are storing donated vessels on. Their mooring fees have just doubled starting on February 21, 2019. Other harbor increases will include a fee to evaluate the possibility of extending a mooring length from zero to $326. Should you want to gather a few friends together for a raft up in the East Anchorage that will now cost $62. If you have a sea lion problem on your moored boat and the Harbor Department deploys a sea lion deterrent, that will cost you $136.
I just hung up the phone with one of my better sources for harbor information and I was surprised to hear that they felt these increases were all in line and comparable to other locations around California. I must just be getting grumpier in my old age and with my concerns regarding the reduction of smaller slips, and the demand and costs increasing for them. My gut tells me we are decreasing the accessibility to our harbor, and to me, that is more uncomfortable than going to sea in the approaching winter gale.

Speaking of going to sea, the 72nd annual Newport to Ensenada Race on April 26 - 28 is starting to show up on my long-range radar. This year, I have volunteered to speak at five different locations regarding race planning, how to sail the course and review how to get your boat home safely. Please mark your calendars for February 28, when I will be speaking, along with Bruce Cooper from Ullman sails, at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club at 19:00 [7 p.m.].
Some people might wonder what keeps me returning to this race, as I have participated in 33 of them. I have to say, it’s all about the good memories from no wind to gale force...the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat. Quotes from past crew members: “Why do we do this to ourselves?” and “We are going to be there before the bars close.” Sleeping in Volkswagen vans to the suites at the Coral Hotel. Falling off donkeys, both statue and real, or waking up with a new hat on. It’s all been good times and I want more while I can get them. That’s why I sail this race and stay for the party.
Sea ya!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.