Friday, May 24, 2019

On the Harbor: The Transpac is coming in July

2017 Trans Pac Day Time Finish Aboard Horizon
This July 10,12 and 13 will be the bi-annual Transpac race from San Pedro, Calif. to Honolulu, Hawaii. I understand the start is just under 50 days away, yet it keeps me awake at night, and as you can tell, it’s on the top of my list...hence the topic of my column this week.
The Transpac race is run on odd-numbered years with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the race, coincidentally the race has 100 entries this year. Of those entries, 13 will be sailing from Newport Beach...that’s not a good number. Anyway, I would like to introduce our local competitors and reveal some insight into the local programs.

Hailing from the Balboa Yacht Club is Dan Gribble aboard his Tripp 56 Brigadoon, starting on July 10 in Division 6. The team has been working hard in preparation for the race by participating in this year’s Islands, Cabo Race and upcoming California 300. The crew roster has not been listed yet, but I will assume most of the crew has been on the boat in the previous races. The team is strong with some youth and experienced local sailors. The largest hurdle for this team is the boat’s rating: Brigadoon is not optimized for racing and leans heavily toward cruising.

Speaking of youth, from too many yacht clubs to list, is the Red Star Sailing Team sailing aboard the Columbia 32 Weegie. Skipper Charlie Welsh is competing with six crew members, including himself, all under the age of 25. There are some well-known family names on the roster and they are still within one of the unsaid rules of ocean racing, “Never go out to sea on a boat that is less than your age.” The crew has been practicing regularly, but the largest hurdle is experience and boat preparation. The crew roster includes Chandler Hill, Julia Lines, Michael Sabourin, Kate Shaner and Sam Wright.

J 44 Patriot is owned by Paul Stemler and sailing out of NHYC. No crew is listed yet, although I have seen the team out practicing, and they have already completed their safety inspection. These are indications of a well-organized team on a boat that sails to her rating very easily. Patriot will be sailing in Division 7 and starting on July 10. Her biggest hurdle will be Chubasco or better known around town as “Chubby” the S&S 67. I feel Patriot can take the top spot, but they will have to bring their “A” game.

North Wind 47 Traveler skipper Michael Lawler is sailing in Division 9 and starting on July 10. The crew roster includes Barbara Lawler, Mark Dorius, Fraser McLellan and navigator Jim Palmer. Traveler will be sailing for the Corsair Yacht Club.

Cal 40 Nalu V skippered by Mark Ashmore, is sailing out of the South Shore Yacht Club. I have noticed the boat appearance improving over the last year on her mooring in front of Balboa Island. It appears to be a family endeavor in a very tough class of 7 Cal 40s.

Cal 40 Callisto will be sailed by the Eddy family with a long history of Transpac races. Callisto is berthed in front of the LAYC and jumps at you from over 100 yards away as one of the cleanest boats in the fleet. She is well prepared and has a solid crew. The biggest hurdle will be the Cal 40 Viva. This will be one of many fun divisions to watch on the race tracker.

John Raymont’s Andrews 40 Fast Exit sailing for the Balboa Yacht Club in Division 3 has shown some exceptional speed and consistent finishes this season. They will be competing in the upcoming California 300 and are expected to finish on the podium again. In the Transpac, their biggest hurdle will be the planning boats such as the four J 125’s, a foiling Beneteau 3, Rodgers 46 along with a very well-sailed Andrews 56. Odds are very strong that the overall winner could come from this division. The crew roster is comprised of Alan Andrews, Richard Johnstone, Stephen Mader, Zack Maxam, Taylor Mullin and Shane Vowels.

The Santa Cruz 50 Horizon skippered by John Shulze is sailing out of the Balboa Yacht Club in Division 4 with 10 other Santa Cruz 52/50’s. The team is a little off the pace by not staying active, only competing in this season’s Islands and Cabo race. The laundry list is long and still growing as I stay awake between 2-5 a.m. each night wondering how we are going to pull out another division win. We will be ready and not even close to letting anyone else on our spot on the podium. Horizon’s biggest hurdle is a strong one-design class along with the Santa Cruz 52’s Lucky Duck and Triumph. The crew roster is Len Bose, Ben Amen, Craig Chamberlain, Kat & Andy Dippel, Roland Fournier, Kelsey Tostenson and navigator, Evelyn Hull.

Steve Sellinger’s Santa Cruz 52 Triumph is sailing out of NHYC. The boat has shown exceptional boat speed this season and is ready for the race. They will be competing in the upcoming California 300 and that result will be a good indicator for Transpac. The crew is yet to be listed, although I know who is on the boat and they will be tough.

The TP 52 Destroyer is owned and skippered by Jim Bailey sailing out of the NHYC. I truly envy Bailey sailing with his two sons and a very strong crew. The boat has sailed in every event this season and is ready. The biggest hurdle is just that, the world’s biggest, fastest boat is in this division, and if they place, that would be something to be very proud of. Destroyer will be going up against the likes of the 100’ Comanche, the R/P 66 Alive and a long list of boats I have never seen the likes of.

Team Bolt is sailing the N/M 70 Bolt out of the Balboa Yacht Club. This is not the first Transpac for the Reynolds family, although the boat is new to them and they have entered a very strong class, such as the likes of PyewacketGrand Illusion and Taxi Dancer. Team Bolt does have a chance at the podium, but the nine other well sailed 70’s are not just going to round down for them.

The SC 70 Grand Illusion is owned by Dave Clark and crewed by some of NHYC’s best. The boat roster is John Aschiers, Brian Bissell, Mike Blunt, Brooks Clark, John Fuller, Nick Madigan, Buddy Richley and navigator, Patrick O’Brien. This team can very easily pull the big pickle dish above their heads at the awards presentation.

Sea ya and Alohaaaaa!

Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for 
Stu News Newport.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

1981 Trans Pac : Hawaii race has a long and storied history (This story is four years old)

Horizon Finishing the 2013 Trans Pac

On July 16, I will be starting my 10th sailboat race to Hawaii.
Seven of those races have been aboard Santa Cruz 50s, and this year I will be a watch captain aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. Because of my passion for this race and these boats, I looked back into history and found the first Trans Pac these boats raced in was 1981, and it was a race to remember.
Seven Santa Cruz 50s made it to the starting line in 1981, and they were the talk of the waterfront that summer. All the boats at that time were very similar, and it quickly became a race within a race among Chasch Mer, Night Train, Hana Ho, Oaxaca, Octavia, Shandu and Secret Love.
Two of these boats were from Newport Beach. Hana Ho and owner Morrie Kirk were sailing for the Balboa Yacht Club, and Michael Braun sailed Shandu for the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club/ Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
These crews were among the best sailing talent our harbor has ever assembled — fierce competitors all. Now blend in the personalities.
The crew aboard Hano Ho was made up of Kirk, skipper; Peter Isler, navigator; Dave Ullman, watch captain; and Bill Herrschaft, Tom Willson, Kevin Kirk, Jim Laws and Dennis Riehl. Aboard Shandu was Michael Braun, owner; Peter Willson, watch captain; LJ Edgcomb, navigator and MacGyver; Dennis Durgan, watch captain; and Bob Burns, Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, Rex Banks and Gordo Johnson.
To get a better feel of what happened during this epic battle, I was able to contact Kirk, Isler, Ullman, Riehl, Durgan, Duffield and Johnson.
The race started July 3. The boats had a westerly breeze of 12 to 15 to take off on. By the time the boats reached Catalina, the breeze was at 15 to 18 knots and had lifted the fleet around the only make in the course without tacking. Of the SC 50 fleet, Chash Mer was first to round the west end of Catalina in 3 hours 12 minutes, followed by Shandu, Secret Love, Octavia, Oaxaca and Hano Ho at 3:19.
On July 4, the breeze had eased some. The night before, Shandu's cheek block on the steering quadrant broke and the crew had to use their emergency tiller. Navigator Edgcomb quickly put on his MacGgyver hat and went to working fixing the problem.
The whole time Edgcomb was down below in the very back of the boat, the boat moved along at 11 knots with a reefed main and No. 2 head sail up. His repairs to the steering system lasted for the remained of the race. This is not the only time Edgcomb would need to throw on his MacGyver hat for Shandu to make it across the finish line.
On July 7, as the sun was setting, the SC 50 fleet wanted to make this race a party and start a boat-for-boat race until the end some 1,217 miles away. Shandu and Secret Love had been in contact from the second night out, and at sunset, Hano Ho appeared from the north and the party started.
That pitch-black night, the fleet started noticing trade wind squalls forming from behind them. This is when the nights of terror started, Duffield and Johnson recalled. After the first night of squalls, Shandu and Hano Ho pulled out in front of Secret Love by some 35 miles.
Duffield said, "This is when the winds started a blowin'."
Ullman recalled, "There was carnage everywhere across the fleet that night." Oaxaca was 20 miles farther south than the two lead boats.
Dennis Riehl talking with Gordo Johnson
Dennis Durgan said, "That's one of the best Trans Pacs as competitive sailing goes. You needed good drives and trimmers."
The Santa Cruz 50s were new to the race course at this time. Later deeper and better-designed rudders were added, and these have made the boats much easier to control. In 1981, these babies were a handful, and both boats were pushing hard to gain an advantage.
Ullman said, " It was like being in a one-design race, on a short course. It was getting pretty tiring. No one would even get a lead over a mile. You would just push, push and push then get nothing."
At this point, the boats were 940 miles from the finish.
"The only way we are going to take the big spinnaker down is if God takes it down." Duffield remembered thinking.
Riehl the decision was made to let only the four best drivers take the helm that night..
Duffield said, "Night was so intense."
Durgan remembered, "Scary, scary sailing pushing the boats that much harder. It was nuts, crossing gybes on those nights of terror."
At morning's light, there was Shandu right next to the Hano Ho, Riehl recalled.
Keep in mind both crews are from Newport Beach and most of them where all good friends and had grown up together. From my understanding, this is when the crews picked up the VHF radio and started talking to each other. The conversion started something like this. Shandu: Hey, did you guys keep up your big chute last night? Hano Ho: Yeah we were hoping you would do the smart thing and change down to your smaller spinnaker. Shandu: Was it scary? Hano Ho: Ya think!
Dennis talking with Michael Brau
Over the next three days and nights the boats rarely lost sight of each other. If one boat jibed the other boat would follow. If the other boat would change spinnakers and set a staysail so would they.
Around 2 a.m., referred to as one of the "nights of terror," Shundu lost a spinnaker crane at the top of the mast that held the halyard blocks. The first thought by the Shundu crew, was to take the spinnaker down and make the repair when they had daylight.
Well Edgcomb did not agree and was not about to lose any ground to his good buddies on the other boat. He grabbed the boatswain chair — a device used to suspend a person from rope to perform work aloft — and headed up the mast.
Can you see Durgan's face as he sat at the helm and Edgcomb said he was going up the mast? Durgan had to have replied, you want to go where? Edgcomb "MacGyver" then went up the mast with a bunch of kevlar line to make the repair.
"It looked something like that osprey next on that power boat on the moorings in front of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club today," Gordo Johnson said.
MacGyver had done it again and as Peter Isler said, "It was all on" from there on in.
Going into the last day, Shandu was in the lead with only 205 miles to the finish, Hano Ho had 211 miles to go. As the boats sailed past the big island, the VHF radio banter continued with the Hana crew asking who was driving and why they did not have their big spinnaker up. Shandu had lost their big chute a couple of nights before and Hano Ho still had theirs.
The sun went down and the two boats split jibes in the dark as they grew closer to the finish line. When the two boats arrived at Kalaupapa point on the island of Molokai they both made their final jibe for the finish line under a full moon with dolphins jumping from their bows.
Riehl, aboard Hana Ho, remembers first surviving the jibe and then looking to his right and seeing Shandu just 200 yards away on their starboard side bow to bow.
Gordo Johnson explained the situation like this: "Have you ever wondered what your boat looked like while surfing down huge waves with the bow of the boat out of the water all the way back to the keel? Water flying everywhere as the boat dropped into its third consecutive wave. Well, he said with a laugh, Hana Ho was right next to us and I can't tell you how many times we exchanged the lead while the other boat caught the next wave."
Morrie Kirk the owner of Hana Ho said, "We were close to those guys that's for sure."
Peter Isler aboard Hano Ho said, "I was on the helm at the jibe at Kalaupapa point. It was very intense and exhausting. Both boats were pumping their mains on every wave and the lead changed a number of times."
This all went on for more than an hour as the boats crossed Molokai channel and approached Coco head when the wind started to lighten up and Hana Ho pulled away with their larger spinnaker. Hano Ho crossed the finish line 1 minute and 35 seconds before Shandu crossed the line. Shandu won on corrected time by more than an hour but as you can guess, they wanted to be that first Santa Cruz 50 to finish.
The two boats had matched-raced some 1,217 miles over the four plus days. What a race.
Let's hope we have wind this year.

I have always wanted to put this story together and like the end of a movie I would like to tell some of the outtakes of the interview I did.

Marshall “Duffy” Duffield: “ The food Bob Burns prepared was extreme high end craziness, awesome beyond approach. Abalone lunches, large shrimp prawns for an appetizer before dinner, huge perfect steaks. The food was so good it was like being in front of the plane, you never wanted to go back of the plane again.”

“Hewlett Packard had provided the boat with its first GPS system and for the first time we received two fixes a day. The lights would start blinking on the machine and we could look up and see the satellites. Today we have all this on our watch.” he said with a deep laugh. “ Before we could step off the boats the guys with their white lab coats came down and took the machines off the boat and back to the lab.”

“Being on edge in the dark, Gordo and I were on the same watch and he would stand behind me and update me on the apparent wind angle. This was the only way we could keep from crashing on the nights of terror”

“I am glad I got the opportunity to be apart of this crew”

Morrie Kirk was able to sail the race with his 21 year old son Kevin Kirk and had that type of finish.  “I will remember that race and it was a lot of fun”

Dennis Durgan: “These boats were like riding in the car wash with all the water going over the boats.”  “It was pretty scary with the guy up on top of the rig at 3 in the morning.”
“Talking to the other boat on the VHF if their dinner compared to our Bob Burns special.”, “ The top of the mast was torn off.” 

Peter Isler: “This was my first Trans Pac, the first one is always the best one.”
“ We had the Allman Brothers Mountain Jam blazing on the cockpit speakers as we crossed the 
Molokai Channel.”, “ The third night out we had ice cream.”

Dave Ullman: “ At the Kalaupapa light house it was flat out, spectacular race, we spent lots and lots of time talking on the VHF.”, “ With this type of match racing we had lots of fun by far my favorite memories of Trans Pac racing.”

Dennis Riehl: “ We ate well, I can’t even explain how fortunate I was to be selected to go with this group.” 

Gordo Johnson: “Those Bob Burns sleeper steaks were killer, all those flavors and all that food would just make me want to sleep.” 

Lets hope we have wind this year.

Sea ya

Trans Pac 2007 aboard the N/M 55 BOLT ( Written in 2007)

N31/29 W121 Friday July 13. Wow, Friday the 13th and the Nuts on "BOLT" are sailing the boat well and working hard.Now as I write this the crew is placing a reef in the main with the jib top up in 17 knots of breeze and we are heading straight for our waypoint. 
Yesterday at the start of the race Carson had a very good start at the  committee boat. Clear skies, news helicopters, chase boats all around us. The crew of Bolt all had smile's as we felt the freedom of the race starting and we were out of the gate so well. We laid Catalina on starboard tack with 21knots of breeze and our # 3 up. Long night with good breeze everyone was getting their sea legs and gearing up for battle. One funny moment came when Dan Gribble was coming down the companion way and his life jacket inflated and he found himself stuck between the galley stairs. You had to hear his voice "OOOOOOOMAN, That not right!”

Things are well on the boat as we are half way of day two living sideways.


N 29/57 W 125/40 Saturday July 14 1&1 at roll call today to say the less things at GREAT on BYC 1, I am referring to the boat as BYC 1 because the owner Craig Reynolds is the commodore of the Balboa Yacht Club this year, today. BOLT is holding up very well and everyone game face is on because we all no very well that early positive results are not necessarily good for the end game. The key to this one will be to hang in there when the results change. Everyone is back at full speed and the sea sickness is a thing of the past. Today we have been battling light breeze 5-10 knots out of the north we have the 1A up with a staysail and full main. Next couple of days will tell the story for us.  


N28/37 W128/10 Sunday July 15  Long day with lots of sun, some rain clouds, and light breeze. We spent most of the day gybing back and forth to try and keep on or course of 222. Mike Pinckney has done a good job keeping us in faze and or hopes up. We know we are skirting the high way to close, like Len has said, " It's the ticket we bought" and we are working hard in the light breeze. We just crossed LUCKY DOG with us heading to the left and the dog gybing behind us as we go into the night of day four. Roll call will be hard on us tomorrow, although the crew is gelling together and I am confident of our performance.

Bolt Crew

N27/42 W129/22 Monday July 16 Tough day on BYC 1 today we have a light breeze 1-4 knots, with the occasional fish swimming carelessly along, lots of sun, rich blue waters with misty white clouds all around. Yes, we got to close to the Pacific High and we are down to a very short stack. If we were playing chess we moved our queen out to early and have got slapped in the head. The odds of winning the game from here is very slim, but amazingly the crew on BOLT are in high spirits and made our play with the poker face of a pro. Our strategy is now to salvage what we can and find some wind some how some way and get to the finish intact.ALL IN ALL the BOLT crew is GREAT, happy and safe.
BYC 1 Out! 

N27/08 W 132/24 Wednesday July 18. After most of the day in light breeze we now believe we have found more breeze and have made it through the high! When the breeze came in, the crew jumped and we now have the 2A and a staysail up and doing 8 kt at the barn. The crew is in great sprits and many a good yarn has been spun.
We look to an a approaching weather system in hopes of more wind and MAYBE a chance to catch up although slim we can hope.
Its fun to sail with Carson and to have watched him grow up at Balboa Yacht Club. He shows good leadership skills and looks for advice to achieve his goal. He has stayed focused and wants to finish the race with a strong effort and good times.
Lets hope with a little luck we can get a day back on the leaders.

N 26/W139 Friday July 20. Good breeze and good times yesterday. Under clear skis and 17-23 Knots of breeze with the 2A up the competition began for the top boat speed. Pinckney took the early lead with a 16.8 knot ride, about 2 hours latter Gunner Torre took a Commanding lead with a 18.7. This contest is taken very series and holds all the clucking rights on the dock after the race. There has been many a time were I have wished for less wind for the rest of the race and have been VERY disappointed to be beaten. So when Pinckney came back at the end of the day with a 19.5 Gunner let out a load " shoooooot" when the number was read.Gunner was then out of his bunk for another trick at the wheel and looking for the next big wave.
Well, Pinckney has the top speed for now. Mike is one of the top sailor in the country and he has been a huge help to us on this trip. While in the high, Mike kept pushing looking for any wind shift, changing sails and keeping things on the light side. He always cleaning up and going the extra mile to get the best out of the boat. He has also been coaching our gov cup team so I have been taking notes on what makes those little boats go for next weekend club champs. We are very lucky to have such a person on BOLT this year.


N24/W147 Sunday. Hot! Hot! Hot! Slow going in light breeze was our weekend progress. 2A up most of the time with three to four gybes a day. While on board there is a lot of time spent in cleaning the boat, moving ballast from one side of the boat to the other, preparing meals and sailing.
Bud Elam is taking care of all food, ships operations, taking his watch and roll call. Bud starts his day at 6:00 PST with the position of the boat and spend the next two hours going through roll call and position reports and then updates the crew. After this task has been completed Bud moves on to feeding the crew breakfast and then making sure all the batteries are fully charged. Next Bud takes his turn on watch and its soon time for dinner and making water. We all have been feed very well and Bud is well organized and complete his task effortlessly. Bud is an interracial link to team Bolt and always in high sprits with an edge for competition.

Another part of the boat is keeping the engine running that allows up to keep the batteries charged, water maker running and the refrigeration cold. The man for this task is Dan Gribble. Dan the owner of Boatswains Locker and the key sponsor of the Governors Cup. Dan runs with German precision always on watch on time with coffee or water and keeps his mind on what makes the boat go fast.
We are now 560 miles to finish line and its looking like Wednesday sometime. Of course Dan and I have flights out that day and its not looking to good for us. NEXT is the Molokai Channel,normally always windy and one of the biggest challenge of the race.
BYC1 Out

N/23W/150 Monday July 23. Hard day on BOLT today. When you have made your move then, get crossed/passed, you still are looking for a chance to make a move. Now that people, from your class, are finishing the game is over and we still have two and a half days to get to the finish. Thats a hard day! Although the crew is working well together you would like to nock over the queen and play the next game. Not in sailing, we are playing it out, working every shift and making every sail change.
The person behind all these sail changes is our bow man Terry Young. Terry is by far the hardest worker on the boat and leads the charge on every sail change. He is up the mast, out on the spinnaker pole or hanging upside down from a spreader for fun. Thats Terry Young, BOLTS bowman and I would go to battle anytime with Terry on the Bow!

N21/W152 Tuesday July 24 Everything going well on BOLT Last night we had good breeze and a number of sail changes. With the thought of Mai Tais and our loved ones the crew of BOLT last night went through three spinnaker changes, six gybes and endless spinnaker and main pumping. We are now 250 miles from the finish line and down to the Cup Noodles and water with some apples and oranges, mixed nuts and we are working hard to get in.
Speaking of working hard Commodore Reynolds has been standing his watch, cooking, cleaning and talking his trick on the wheel. You can see our race results has not pleased him although with a deep breath, big smile and a reminder its time to change the spinnaker he is always in the game. Myself I can be so lucky to hear a crew member say "Hey DAD" maybe I will hear my son tell me I am sailing to low and to heat it up someday when I am the skipper of a boat in the Trans Pac. Its been a good time watching them banter in tense and in the lighter moments, the high fives and the private conversions. I can only hope I am so lucky.
This has been a good trip and good times. Last night at sunset, I could only see the outline of Craig " Hey Craig, THANKS" he replied with his deep laugh.

I will do a recap on the finish and lessons learned on my flight home.


American Airlines Flight 270 Hawaii to LAX Friday July 27. The movie is playing and there is a seen when the family in the story gathers around each other for a group huge. Well! Thats all it took for me before my eyes watered up and I came inches from the stuttered deep breath. I miss my son much it hurts deeply. I cant tell why the need to go to sea is within me and why I continue to allow this type of pain. Missing any moment during of the early father son is truly selfish on my part and unwise.

So why do inflect this type of pain to myself with the need to go to sea during these priceless years? For me it the ultimate battle with strategy, physical effort, team camaraderie, and tactical challenges. Strategy is the direction I find myself leaning towards be over the years my physical effort grows weaker each year.

Trans Pac The Yacht Race ( Written in 07)


I am all in for my seventh Transpac race and ninth race to Hawaii. What have I learned, how do I get ready and will I ever do it again?
Have I done well in this race? No! 3rd in a class of eleven SC 50’s was OK, but that was a Pacific Cup. In 1991 we won the fabulous 50's fleet Ok but not in the history book. So, what have I leaned?

I’ve always felt the race was made up in thirds with 1/3 boat preparation, 1/3-weather strategy, 1/3 sailing skills. In 2003 I had the weapon of choice a J 125 sailing double-handed. The mistake made was boat preparation. Even a boat less than four years old you need to take the rig down and have professional rigger inspect everything from the mast to the rudderpost. Our electric system was well managed and our sail inventory was complete. We lacked practice with the autopilot and shifting gears. We did however take proper precaution to keep the boat dry by resealing all port lights, hatches, stanchions, winches, sail tracks and pad eyes. The result was an incomplete race and a broken rudder bearing that made us return to the mainland after the first night of the race. In 1993 we did not monitor crew weight and at the end of the race we found one of the crew had brought his dive gear with him. That same year, we were throwing pounds of coffee overboard and a number of other provisions because we had horribly over provisioned the boat. Another mistake made is to over crew the boat; I think we had ten people on the boat that year. In latter years we were down to a lean crew of six and crew bag inspection. In 1995 at the end of the race we found a full water tank on the port side of the boat our results were improving although we where still not in the cheese. One of the largest parts of boat preparation is the proper attention to boat measurement for the rating system you are sailing in. Take the time and optimize your boat for measurement don’t assume your old rating has the proper weight of your boat this is a HUGE MISTAKE. Alcohol has NO place on a Transpac Yacht. Why do you think there are Mai Tais at the end of the race?

Only the driver and the sail trimmers are in the cockpit anyone else better be in the middle of the boat or weather rail, pee in the head, sleep in the middle of the boat and on the high side. Sails should be stacked on the weather rail. Constant attention must be placed on the movable ballast this race is weight sensitive and without this attention to boat preparation you’re just on another cruise to Hawaii or aboard a ship of fools.

How do I prepare, what to bring, and how to stay out of trouble. Once you have agreed and signed on as crew you are in the service of that captain. Make sure ASAP that you will get along with EVERYONE on the boat. You need to go the extra mile, make all the practices on the schedule, put in work party time and be ready. I go to the doctor and the dentist before a race. I bring a small shower bag for my new older age with Tums, sunscreen, Aleve, Deodorant and tooth brush. The boat should supply toothpaste, baby-wipes and soap. No later than the third day you need to start a hygiene routine. If your lucky your body will be on it’s normal routine and once you are you feel ALOT better. Oh yes, clean the toilet when your done with it, and most people really don’t care how hard you had to work in there. No later than day 5, and if your lucky its warm, you will have to man up and take the bucket for a salt water shower. The ship should have a bottle of Joy for bathing. KEEP YOUR STUFF IN YOUR SEA BAG!

The first six days are normally cold and at night I wear padded shorts, t-shirt, long underwear, fleece bottom and top and a heavy jacket along with my foul weather gear plus life harness hat, gloves, wet suit socks with wet suit slippers, no boots. I have a watch that glows at night, a small personal flashlight. I also have a water tight VHF and keep it on your body. You should also keep a good knife on your body. For the day I wear my padded shorts, T-shirt, Jacket, and foul weather pants, and harness. So in my bag you will find five pairs of underwear, four t-shirts, fleece, long underwear, two pair of padded shorts, extra pair of sunglasses. I place my foul weather gear, heavy jacket and life harness on a hanger. This will keep your bag small on arrival and expectable to the skipper..

I have a hard time having someone wake me up so I get myself up twenty minutes before my watch. I then make some coffee or have some dark chocolate, get dressed and make it on watch ten minutes early. When I am off watch, I sleep until I am charged up again. Keep on schedule letting people sleep late is not good for you our the crew as a whole. Wake your off watch partner up ten minutes before his shift and get back on deck until your partner is on watch. If your watch partner is late for shift you might ask them to please be on time or ask your watch captain to kick them in the butt. Being repeatedly tardy for watch for any reason is completely unacceptable, unless you are the Navigator and if that’s your partner you just have to deal with it. If it’s your turn to cook, you do it off watch, clean off watch, shit off watch.

Now the part on how to deal with the asshole. Every boat will have one and unless you are a watch Captain it not your problem. Keep your negative comments to yourself. Don’t get caught up in the conversation about who wins the pillow award or when is that guy going to take a shower, etc. If your watch is not responding to gear changes it is the watch captain reasonability and he is the one that must answer to the Captain. The golden rule is what happens on the boat stays on the boat. Keep your mouth shut and concentrate on your duties and back up your crewmates.

Keep moving during your watch if you sit still it makes it that much harder to get up again. Walk to the mast, look for chaff, clean the sheets up, trim, and keep your eyes on course, the wind, and boat speed. Ask yourself what sail will we go to next if it gets windy or if the wind goes down, what sheets will I need, pole trim, main trim keep your mind on sailing fast and talking about boat speed and the big puff coming in from behind is always good.

The Navigator and the skipper are the ones making the calls stay away from the navigator’s table that’s his space. Don’t eat your meals at the navigator’s table just stay away from that spot. If they are a good navigator they will give the crew a report each day. Personally, All I need is what place we are in. Some navigators will go into much more detail.

One of the two hardest parts about Transpac is that you will have to sail the first three days setting up for the weather ridge and you might be low in the results, keep fighting it really is a good thing. The other hard part is the last three days knowing what place you will finish in. If you’re in the tank that’s hard because it’s getting hotter and the boat is getting smaller. Keep in mind at this point you still have the personal challenge of the Molokai Channel and how well will you drive or perform at this point of the race is a big achievement. As you approach the last hundred and fifty miles, stay out of the sun off watch, drink a lot of water, get your rest, get ready for the big battle with the channel. There has been many of race I did’nt drive as well, as I new I could, and this bothered me more than what placed we finished.

Once the race is over and you can see straight again its time to clean the boat and hand it over to the delivery crew. You need to bust your butt and sweet it out and clean the boat up, get it done and party on.

Yes, I have always had a dream of doing the race with my son and I think I will keep race 10 for that reason. Of course if someone brings me an offer of a double handed on a very well prepared boat?... well, maybe?


The Holy Grail of yacht racing is underway (Written 07-19-11)

The Transpacific Yacht Race, simply known as the "Transpac," is the Holy Grail of yacht racing on the West Coast. The course starts in San Pedro and ends at Diamond Head, which is outside of Honolulu, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu —2,225 nautical miles away.
There is a tremendous amount of history to this event and much of this history centers around Newport Harbor. Monday, July 4, marked the start of the 46th biennial race to Hawaii. The first race was in 1906.
I went around town this week and asked questions about the race to a few of the Transpac veterans we have in our harbor. I first stopped by to see Dave Ullman. He was getting ready to make his 11th Transpac crossing aboard the Holua, a Santa Cruz 70.
"This is the best crew I have ever sailed this race with," Dave told me. "The race plays out within the first 36 hours. And if you hook up with group of boats on Day 3 and you are in the lead, it only gets better."
Dave sailed his first Transpac in 1963 aboard his father's boat, the Legend, which was recognized as one of the first "light displacement" boats to a first in class and 10th overall. The yacht had a long history at the Balboa Yacht Club and won the 1957 Transpac with Charles Ullman at the helm.
When I asked Dave what keeps bringing him back to the race, he replied: "It's the premier race on the West Coast and I have had some exciting finishes over my 11 races."
My next stop was with Tom Corkett.
Tom won the race overall in 1963 aboard the Islander. His Transpac victory that year is one of the classic stories. The way I understand it, Tom walked out of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club one afternoon, recruited five of his friends, and won the race. He was only 21.
afternoon, recruited five of his friends, and won the race. He was only 21.
Tom has raced in 14 Transpacs and has won his class many times over the years. He was aboard the Windward Passage in the famous 1977 race, and was dismasted in 1967 aboard the Salacia, his Cal 48.
"We were winning the race with 700 miles to go and we stuffed the spinnaker pole into the water," Tom said. "We jury-rigged the boat and still beat a couple of boats to the finish line."
When I asked him about what was his most memorable part of the race, he replied: "Your first land sight. There is nothing better."
My last stop was with Bob Dickson who has sailed in 16 Transpacs. He started in 1953. Bob's most memorable race was in 1965 aboard the Ticonderoga.
"We won the race, first to finish, with a 29-year-old," Bob told me.
The 1965 Transpac was one of the truly great Honolulu races with one of the closest finishes. Only five minutes separated Ticonderoga from the runner-up, the Stormvogel.
When I asked Bob what was the best part of the race, he replied: "Just finishing in Hawaii."
I will be back next time — my column now runs every other week — with an update of the race and the start of one of the classic battles in Transpac history. For more information on this year's race, go and look for the race tracker.
Sea ya!

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Speak Up Newport: What is the future of Newport Beach?

Will the recent creation of a Harbor Department headed up by Kurt Borsting fulfill the vision of Councilman Duffy Duffield?
Come find out at Speak Up Newport’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 12, when it presents, “What is the future of Newport Harbor?”
After 4 1/2 years on the City Council, Marshal “Duffy” Duffield has yet to fulfill his vision of the Harbor. Join Speak Up Newport to hear Duffield present his vision, what he has accomplished to date, and the challenges he has faced in pursuing his mission. Hear from our new Harbormaster Kurt Borsting on how he will implement this vision and manage the new Harbor Department.
Speak Up Newport Duffield
Click on photo for a larger image 
Submitted photos
Marshal “Duffy” Duffield, Newport Beach Councilman
Duffield has spent a lifetime on the water, both as an offshore sailboat racer, designer, and builder and operator of large power boats. He is the founder and owner of the largest electric boat company in the world – the internationally prominent Duffy Electric Boat Company, which dominates the leisure electric boat market on every continent. He is committed to steering a course for Newport Harbor which will assure it retains its long-admired peaceful, quiet, coastal nature.
Borsting became the Harbormaster for the City of Newport Beach in December 2018. He directs harbor-related programs and services, including moorings administration and management, Marina Park slip rentals, code enforcement, and harbor safety and maintenance activities. The Harbor Department team serves as the City’s ambassadors on the water, welcoming visitors to Newport Harbor and providing customer service to the boating community.
Speak Up Newport Borsting
Click on photo for a larger image 
Kurt Borsting, Harbormaster for the City of Newport Beach 
Meeting Schedule:
–5:15-6 p.m.: Reception with a complimentary light supper provided by The Bungalow with wine available for purchase.
–6-7 p.m.: Program and Q&A
There is no cost to attend and the public is invited. Reservations are not necessary.
For more information, call 949.224.2266 or visit
The Speak Up Newport meeting takes place at the Newport Beach Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach

Friday, May 10, 2019

On the Harbor: From angling to clean up

Plenty of activity in the harbor, this month of May 2019, so let’s dive head first into it. You had to have noticed last Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, everyone fishing in the 56th annual Lilly Call Tournament. This event takes place in the harbor with the first 75 anglers signing up getting to participate. From my view of the harbor, while traveling over the Pacific Coast Highway bridge at 8:30 Saturday morning, all the participants were starting to show signs of an “all-nighter” with the tournament starting at 12:01 Saturday morning. I had all the intentions of heading out to interview the anglers but the odds for me completing that task are about the same as winning the lotto.
So here is the next best thing – the winners: Bass in 3rd place was Jeff McDonald at 1.81 (weight), 2nd place Ryan Lawler at 1.97 and in 1st place was Davy Schweickert, crushing the competition with a 3.35 Bass. Corbina in 3rd place was Tim Humphrey at 3.64, Tommy Tupman lifted up a 4.14 fish for 2nd place, while Alyssa Corum brought home the winning pickle dish at 4.77. Over in the Halibut species Casey McCann caught a 5.57 for 3rd place, in second was Chris Scott at 6.05, while the winner was Patrick Serge, catching a 6.43 Bass. There were no grand slam winners this year by catching all three species.
The next two big events at the Balboa Angling Club are the White Seabass Seminar on May 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the clubhouse, then on May 25, the Annual Fundraising event. You can call the clubhouse for details at 949.673.6316. The Balboa Angling Club is the best value in town, and if you are looking for Junior programs for your kids this summer, this is a must call. 
• • •

Saturday is Opening Day for the Balboa and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Clubs, while the Newport Harbor Yacht Club celebrated its opening day last Sunday. From the different posted photos, I noticed the weather was perfect and the membership could not have been prouder of their new NHYC clubhouse. I always enjoy Opening Day and I am sure you will find me doing my yellow beard walk between the two clubs. You will have to come up to me and ask what I mean about my yellow beard walk.
For all of my readers, I have re-posted my Flag Etiquette column I wrote back in 2007 under the title “The True Yachtsman Guide to Flag Etiquette for Opening Day,” which you can find at I also posted a YouTube video of the yellow beard walk along with the best way home.

• • •
This Tuesday starts the summer sailing season with the famous Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club’s Taco Tuesdays. Each summer, I look forward to sailing in the weeknight races around the harbor. With the thought of summer sailing quickly approaching, the smile has already returned to my face. NHYC twilights will be starting on May 23. Life is good!
• • •
Next up on the harbor is the Balboa Bay Club’s “Underwater Clean Up” on Saturday, June 1 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Two hundred volunteers and 80 scuba divers collected 4,000 pounds of trash out of the harbor last year. Enjoy live music and tasty pupus that only the Bay Club can provide afterward. For more information, go to for more information.

I attended this month’s Harbor Commission meeting and overall, it felt like two steps forward and three steps back. I don’t have time to write about the items that concerned me, so I have to remember what my father told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” which is probably too much already. Okay. It is always good to see Chris Miller attending from Public Works to update the commission on eelgrass. Let me start out by saying, “Eelgrass is our friend.” in fact, the yacht clubs should make T-shirts with this written on the front of them for Opening Day. You all should know by now Newport Harbor is the only harbor in California with a specific plan which allows the city to permit dredging and impact shallow water eelgrass. Bottom line is it is very difficult for the city to survey the eelgrass and keep the plan in place with all the different government agencies. Short story, just remember “Eelgrass is our friend.”

It was also very comforting to see Lt. Corn from the Sheriff’s Department attending the meeting. The most heartwarming thing I watched was how Harbor Master Kurt Borsting reached out to the public and addressed their concerns. Borsting followed a mooring permit holder out of the meeting to explain to them, in person, on how he could help them with the new time limits on the public piers. Borsting also hurried up to catch me before I had left the meeting at its close. I have never witnessed this before and it left me with an encouraging feeling that we’re all working together to make our harbor better. 
Sea ya.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for 
Stu News Newport.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

FLASHBACK: The True Yachtsman Guide To Flag Etiquette for Opening Day

I wrote this story in 2007:

According to naval regulations, a flag officer is anyone who holds the rank of rear admiral and higher. Applying that reasoning to yacht clubs, only the commodore, vice commodore and the rear commodore have a clear claim to the title of flag officer. A past commodore has less of a claim, and a fleet captain, secretary and treasurer have no real claim at all.
Yachting and Customs and courtesies by Joseph Tringali.

When two boats are approaching the same gangway or landing stage, flag officers shall have the right of way in order of seniority.

Piloting seamanship and small boat handling “Chapman’s”

Distress: Though not official, flying the US Ensign upside down is universally recognized as a distress signal.

Transportation: Code flag “T” is used to call the club tender.

When cruising away from home waters, the wise yachtsman keeps a sharp eye out for local customs. It is a mark of courtesy to conform to local procedures and practices. While visiting at a yacht club of which you are not a member, observe the actions and routines of the local owner-members, and particularly the club officers. This is especially important with the respect to evening colors. Not all clubs strictly calculate the daily time of sunset, and some may be earlier than you would normally expect. If you will be off your boat at the time of evening colors be sure to take down your flags before you leave your boat.

That pesky clock which no one ever seems fully to understand is based on the concept of watches: not wristwatches, but ship’s watches. The ship’s day is divided into six four-hour ‘watches’ beginning with the period from 8:00 P.M. to midnight, which is called the ‘first watch’. For the record, the names of the watches are:
8:00 Pm to midnight First watch
Midnight to 4 AM Midnight Watch 135
4:00 am to 8:00 Morning Watch
8:00 am to Noon Forenoon Watch
Noon to 4:00 pm Afternoon Watch
4:00 pm to 8:00pm Evening watch

Now for the bells: A junior member of the crew, usually a cabin boy, was assigned to the task of keeping track of the length of the ‘watch’ by turning a sand-filled hour glass and to make this just a little more complicated, the glass needed to be turned every thirty minutes. The boy was ordered to ring the bell once for each time he turned the glass. Thus, one bell repents 8:30pm two bells 9:00 pm, three bells 9:30. Etc. At eight bells, four hours, the watch changed, and a new cabin boy took over, ringing the bell once at thirty minutes after beginning of his watch and continuing as described through the entire four-hour period.

Absolute purists will note the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm evening watch is usually dived into two ‘dogs’ known as the ‘first dog’ watch, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 pm and the second ‘dog watch”, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The word ‘dog’ in this instance has nothing to do with a four-legged canine; rather, it is ‘dog’ in archaic sense that we might today use the word ‘jog’ or ‘skip’. ‘ Dogging’ the watch allowed the crew to eat their evening meal, which generally was the only full meal of the day, between the hours of 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm. One-half of the crew was at the table while the other half was at work. No special arrangement is made for the bells during the dogged watch: they continue as before, adding one bell every half hour until the watch ends at 8:00 pm
One final note on ship’s bell is recorded by Lieutenant Commander Lovette and provides an interesting idea for yacht club New Year’s Eve party:
An old custom, once strictly observed, was that of having the oldest man in the ship, be he the admiral or jack-of-the-dust, strike eight bells at midnight, on December thirty-first. This was immediately followed by eight bells for the New Year and always struck by the youngest boy on board. It was, of course, the only time of the year when sixteen bells were struck.

Piloting seamanship and small boat handling “Chapman’s”
Yachting and Customs and courtesies by Joseph Tringali.
Yachting Protocol Guidelines by SCYA

Most yacht clubs have an area set aside as a memorial for the club’s past commodores. Regardless of the form it takes, the purpose of the past commodore’s memorial is something more than feeding the egos of the select few by recognizing a group of individuals whom most people remember vaguely and whom new members may know not at all. It is in the nature of a yacht club to maintain a closer tie to its roots than almost any other kind of club. The memorial, past picture books, photographs, is a continuing link with the club’s past. It is one of the many traditions, which make a yacht club unique

In the past I have noticed visiting yacht club with more than half of the participants flying the wrong flags in the wrong places. Yacht clubs should also ask the visiting club’s to bring their flag so that we can fly the visiting clubs flag. Proper flag etiquette shows other clubs and yachtsman just what your club is all about. Final words, Flags are not flown for appearance; they convey definite and well-accepted meaning. There may be some debate on whether or when a particular flag should be flown, the byword must always be, “ Less is more”

Flag Time
With few exceptions vessels shall make colors only between the hours of 0800 and sunset. All colors should be struck at sundown, which includes yacht club burgees, fun flags, fish catch flags, code flags for dressing ship, etc. For our opening day chairs, all boats displaying colors, private signals, code flags, etc before 0800 on opening day should be noted and assumed that all colors were flown overnight.

Private Signal: The owner of the vessel designs a flag. Usually a tapered, swallowtail pennant, but sometimes a rectangle or triangle. The tradition of the private pennant signal, or "house flag," currently used dates back to the 18th and 19th century when the sailing ship lines were at their peak. Many line owners were yachtsmen and carried their "house flags" to their yachts. Many members of the older yacht clubs have "house flags" that have been passed down for generations. It is flown in place of the yacht club burgee, from the bow staff on mast less yachts, or from the top of the mainmast on sailing vessels. On todays racing yachts they are flown under the yacht club burgee on the starboard side. Many private signals, particularly those of recent vintage, show symbols which are particularly related to the owners life; someone in computers might be distinguished by a cursor, for example; while others a play on words: the name "Seals" could be represented by a seal or a sun rising.

It is accepted practice that never more than one private signal is displayed at a time.
If a member does not have a private signal, one is recommended that is both simple and timeless in design and easily recognized from a distance to insure its continued use for future generations. Traditionally, initials were not used. May be flown by day only or day and night.

Bose Private Signal


All true yachtsmen should have on board an inventory of the proper flags and signals. The following is a list of suggested flags.

ENSIGN (mandatory)
Congress established the Yacht Ensign of 13 stars encircling an anchor in 1849. Also, the national colors (traditional Stars and Stripes) may be displayed in lieu of the ensign, particularly in foreign waters.

UNION JACK (optional)
A rectangular of the union of 50 stars on a blue field.

Usually a triangular or swallow – tailed pennant, which represents the owner’s yacht club.

The Catalina Conservancy Burgee may be flown in place of the yacht club burgee or beneath a yacht club burgee. The design of the Association’s Burgee was created in 1996.

OFFICERS Flags (mandatory)
A rectangular flag which represents the rank of the yacht club or association officer. Four flags are generally recognized in yacht clubs: Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, and Fleet Captain.

The Commodore’s Flag consists of a field of dark blue with white fouled anchor surrounded by thirteen white stars.

The Vice Commodore’s Flag consists of a field of red with white stars with a fouled anchor surrounded by thirteen white stars.

The Rear Commodore’s flag consists of a field of white stars with a red stars with a fouled anchor.

The Fleet Captain’s flag consists of a field of white with a dark blue fouled anchor.

PRIVATE SIGNAL (recommended)
Usually a tapered, swallowtail pennant, but sometimes a rectangle or triangle. The tradition of the private signal, or “house flag” currently used dates back to the 18th and 19th century when the sailing ship lines were at their peak. Many line owners were yachtsman and carried their “house flags” that have been passed down for generations. If a member does not have a private signal, one is recommended that both simple and timeless in design and easily recognized from a distance to insure its continued use for the future generations. Traditionally, initials were not used.

Owners Absent (recommend): A dark blue rectangular signal. When hoisted, it can often save the frustration of rowing across the cove or harbor only to find the owner has gone ashore.

Owners Absent (recommended): A rectangular dark blue signal with a white diagonal stripe starting from the upper corner at the hoist.

Owners at Meal (optional): A white rectangular flag for those who care to dine understand. Also so known as a do not disturb sign.

Crews Meal ( optional) A red rectangular flag for that crew who care to dine understand. This is one of the only signals flown on the port side.

International Code Flags (optional)
A set of these signals is both practical for cruising and necessary for dressing ship. May be displayed for signaling using the “International code of Signals” for definition of the codes.

Racing Pennant (optional)
A distinctive pennant has been designed by the Sea Cliff (N.Y.) Yacht Club as an identifying signal for racing boats. The field is blue, with white fluorescent strip in the middle, and red anchor superimposed.

The tradition for over the past 100 years in yachting is that the Club (Association) Burgee be displayed on the bow staff or the truck using a staff or “pig stick.” The reason for these locations is for maximum visibility under sail, as well as at anchor.
In recent years, yacht clubs have opted the starboard spreader as an alternative location for the Burgee to accommodate yachts whose trucks are encumbered with wind indicators and electronic gear. However, the Burgee must be hoisted to the spreader (or “two-blocked”). Other flags may be hosted beneath the club Burgee, in the following order: Association Burgee (if a yacht club Burgee is also being flown, Officer’s flag, owners Flag, other message flags. Yachts at anchor must display the Ensign on a staff placed in a socket located on the starboard stern rail or pulpit as close to the centerline as feasible.

All flags should be of proper size for recognition and identification.
The fly (horizontal direction) shall be a Minimum of one inch per foot of overall length of overall length of the yacht, with the hoist (vertical direction) equal to two-thirds of the fly. Length overall should include bow platforms for the better proportions.

BURGEE, PRIVATE SIGNAL, OWNER ABSENT, OWNER AT MEAL, GUEST, CREW AT MEAL AND INTERNATIONAL CODE FLAGS. The fly shall be a minimum of one-half- inch per foot of the height of the highest truck, measured from the waterline, and with the hoist two-thirds of the fly.

On the forth of July and other special occasions, yachts may dress ship when at anchor. The international Code Flags are displayed from the waterline forward to the waterline aft, using weights at the end in the following order arranged to the effect color patterns throughout: Starting forward:AB2 UJ1, KE3, GH6, LV5, FL4, DM7, PO 3rd repeater, RN 1st repeater, ST0, CX9, WQ8, ZY 2nd repeater.

NOW that you have read this what the hell do you do with this information? Keep this site bookmarked and refer back. Purchase the listed flags for the yachtsman that has everything. Show everyone next season that you’re a true yachtsman and take the time to fly the proper signals.