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“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Toni Morrison
Horizon Finishing the 2019 Trans Pac Photo courtesy of Ultimatesailing.com
By LEN BOSE
Like I had mentioned a month ago, the 50th anniversary of the Transpac race takes place on July 10, 12 and 13 with the smaller boats starting first. Over the last two weeks, I have been forced to prepare the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon for the race. The Transpac is 2,100 miles from San Pedro to Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, our harbor has five entries competing in four different divisions. I thought it might be interesting to interview some of our harbor’s skippers before the start of the race.
My first call was into the Staff Commodore from the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Dave Clark, who will be sailing his recently purchased Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion historically known as G.I.
G.I. has a long history in the Transpac and has won the King Kalakaua Trophy, for first overall on corrected time three times in 1999, 2011 and in 2015. Clark and I sailed in the 1983 Transpac together aboard Amante, and it’s interesting how a type of brotherhood occurs with your crewmates over the years.
This year, Clark has recruited Buddy Richley as one of his watch captains. He is the owner of Amante and also sailed with us on the boat in 1983. Clark has skippered in a Transpac before aboard his Santa Cruz 50 Adrenaline. This time, it’s rather special because his son, Brooks, will be joining him. The Clark family has a long history competing in the race with Dave’s father, William Clark, who competed in 1949 aboard Gallant and in 1957 aboard Kialoa. It’s kind of interesting to note that in 1949 aboard Gallant, Henry Buckingham was a crew member. Today, I assume Buckingham’s son, Jim, will be crewing aboard G.I., which is kind of cool. There have been rumors that Clark has been going the extra mile in provisioning G.I. for this year’s race. When I asked Clark about the menu, he kind of chuckled and was quick to respond that his wife, Shelly, was doing all the hard work. G.I. doesn’t have an oven, so most of their meals are vacuum baked and pressure cooked, which I have found out is a skill within itself. The race’s first meal is always the most difficult to swallow, because as we leave the California coast, the boats are close – reaching and tipping over quite a bit. “We will be serving something simple and easy to eat, like burritos, the first night out. We are concentrating on meals that you can eat with a spoon or a fork, rather than needing a knife to cut the meals,” Clark said. He also told me about the Aloha party, which is a greeting party at the finish of the race. “We have the previous owners, the McDowell family, greeting us,” Clark said...which just adds to the story even more.
Next up is Carson Reynolds aboard the Nelson Marek 68 Bolt. This will be Carson’s and his father Craig Reynolds’ fifth time sailing together. The companionship between the two is unique and priceless. I had a chance to sail with the two of them in 2003, and have always envied their relationship and the experience sailing the race together. The Reynolds family also has a long Transpac history, and if I recall, Craig’s grandfather also competed in the race as a skipper. Carson, who is a new father himself, feels strongly about his father and son relationship, and hopes to inspire his children in the same manner. The race team Bolt will be in a very competitive division with the strongest competitor being Roy Disney aboard Pyewacket. Bolt has taken to the strategy of being the lowest-rated boat, the boat with the smallest sails comparatively, and is betting on the big breeze to take the corrected time finish. I have always felt this a very strong strategy and hope we all have the breeze this year. “Because of our larger beam, we are hoping to perform well in the close reaching and that’s what we are concentrating on,” Reynolds said.
I was also able to contact Dan Gribble, the owner of the Trip 56 Brigadoon. When I inquired about his task list in preparation for the race, Gribble replied: “It feels like the list is still growing, but we are going to make it. I have my safety inspection later today.” Provision wise, it sounds like Brigadoon is the boat to be on with all of its meals being catered, packaged and well thought out. “No freeze dry food for us...remember the boat weighs 40,000,” Gribble said. When asked which point of sail the boat performs well at Gribble replied: “We will like the blast reaching with a big breeze and try to hold our own on the run. We have one of the bigger boats in our division.” Brigadoon will be returning to California after the race, and next year will be heading out to cruise the South Pacific.
J 46 Patriot
The last Newport Beach skipper I talked to was Paul Stemler, sailing his J-46 Patriot. Stemler competed in the 2015 race and finished at the top of its division, and at the close of the race felt that he could now check that off his bucket list. Well, his son, Pierce, has a different idea this year, and convinced his father to enter. The interesting part of the story is that most of the siblings of the previous crew have signed up this year. Stemler is hoping for a daylight finish, as his greeter is the Commodore of the Transpac Yacht Club, Tom Hogan, whose son, John, is sailing on the boat. This team has gone the extra mile preparing for the race and should do quite well.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.
Did I get your attention? If I did, then you should consider attending the presentation by Speak up Newport with speakers City Councilman Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and Harbormaster Kurt Borsting. The program takes place on Wednesday, June 12 from 6-7 p.m. with doors opening at 5:15 p.m. at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Drive.
Items on the agenda will include: Why the Harbor Commission and the City’s Harbor Department should be included within the city’s charter and placed on the 2020 ballot. What is the status of dredging in the harbor? What changes are proposed in the Harbor Code? What is being done to deal with increased use and crowding in the harbor? What harbor improvements are contemplated? The Harbor Patrol Sheriff is also called the Harbormaster. How is a harbor managed with two Harbormasters?
Unfortunately, my mind does not work quick enough to ask intelligent questions during presentations, and normally they don’t occur to me until about 3 o’clock in the morning, when I have completely digested the speakers’ talking points. If you are wondering if I keep a bottle of Tums next to me on my nightstand, yes, I do...the Costco size bottle.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in Duffy’s vision of our harbor. Although the route is difficult – filled with unlighted, fixed telephone pole channel markers along with many shallows. This presentation might not be the time for questions, but rather a time to listen and take in the concept, then review, research and discuss the issues with other harbor users before presenting your or other organizations’ concerns.
I’ve made a list of questions for the different topics that will be discussed during this presentation and will be looking for the answers. For example: What is the status of dredging in the harbor? My first thought is not just the cost, yet it is a major component of the cost, and that is, where can you place the bad stuff? Another question is how will harbor dredging in the Upper Bay, around Balboa Island and in front of the Balboa Yacht Club affect the City’s eelgrass plan and RGP 54? If you are a waterfront homeowner and you are considering dredging your slip sometime soon, will this affect you? I know, and I hope you also know that “eelgrass is every harbor user’s friend,” and the harbor has had an extraordinarily good crop return over the last few years. This year, because of the amount of rain and runoff, how is our grass growing?
Changes proposed in the Harbor Codes or Title 17. If you would like to do a little research before the meeting, go to the City’s website and look over some of the proposed changes. Just Google “Newport Beach Title 17 Review” note “Working Draft Revisions” and take a look. Also, note that there is a Harbor Commission “Ad-Hoc” outreach meeting on June 24 concerning Dredging Permits. I only gave the preliminary revision’s second draft a quick review, but a couple of items jumped out at me. The Harbormaster can at any time board a boat and inspect the holding tank without warning. So, if I am one of the Harbormaster’s minions and you are racing in a twilight summer race, I can inform you that I want to inspect your holding tank right now. But what happens if the boat owner tells the minion to “Go pound sand?” What happens then? I understand the intent of the code, that it should be reviewed again. Another item I noticed in Title 17 is you can’t throw dead animals in the bay. Again, I understand the intent, yet I still recall I had a dead cormorant stuck in my rigging one time, and found pigeon and seagull nests on boats before, and quickly threw them into the bay. Now, I guess I will have to get a Hefty bag out and drive the refuse all the way up to the Huntington Beach disposal yard? I will also be taking one observation much more seriously and lobby to change the multiple moored boats permit or system to be just in front of the NHYC or BYC and open up the whole harbor.
Next topic is, “How to deal with increased use and crowding in the harbor.” I’ll be very interested in the approach and how it will be enforced.
Next up, “What harbor improvements are contemplated?” This is always interesting, yet my first thought is, let’s complete the tasks in front of us now before we spend too much time on any new ideas.
Lastly, there is a topic I questioned over a year ago and that is, “How is a harbor managed with two Harbormasters?” I snicker to myself when thinking of this question, but will be looking for a clear explanation.
Please come to this meeting, then contact me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and together let’s go find the answers.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.