Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Harbor Report: Hear the cannons? It's yacht season again

By Len Bose
May 9, 2014 | 3:31 p.m.

By now, I am sure you have all heard the squealing sounds of the buffing wheels, as people clean and wax their boats for their yacht clubs' opening day.
Opening day in the harbor started last weekend with the Lido Isle Yacht Club, American Legion Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club. This weekend, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club will start the yachting season with a loud roar of their signal cannons.

The sounds of the different signal cannons echoing throughout the harbor means it's time for summer activities to start. This is my favorite time of year, when I can sail almost every night of the week.
Last week, the American Legion Yacht Club started the Sundowner Series, which runs to the end of August. This has turned out to be one of the best-attended series of the summer by starting first and keeping it fun. Last Monday night, 43 boats made it out to the starting line, with almost all of the race participants returning to the club for its Cinco de Mayo party.
Next week, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club starts its Taco Tuesdays. This too has become a fantastic summer event, with team Wild Thing creating one of the best after-race parties the harbor has to offer. Team Wild Thing is led by Rhonda Tolar, who has found some of the best raffle giveaways, from dry shirts to my favorite: a box of Hot Tamales candy. In the Harbor 20 fleet, we have as many as four races, and if you show up a little early, we will have three or four practice starts.
The first couple of races this season, I will try to find an extra dinghy and bring out some marks to indicate the three-boat-length zone at our turning marks. Another idea will be to find a couple of sailors who have a solid understanding of the rules and can be on the water to help participants with their questions, boat speed and tactics. If you are not a Harbor 20 sailor and would like to catch up on rules and ride along with us, be sure to drop me a note or call. I have a lot of other silly ideas we might try this summer, so please keep in touch.

On June 12, the Twilight Series start on Thursday nights at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. This event always brings out the best in the Harbor 20 fleet, with over 40 boats entered last year. One of my favorite Thursday night features is that the fleet gets a lot of guests, which include a number of sailing All-Americans who have recently graduated from college. Add this to the normal blend of the Harbor 20 fleet sailors, and everyone shows up with their game faces on.
Another item I like to keep in front of everyone is the Newport Aquatic Center. If you want to learn to row or paddle, you have to check out the NAC. This is where it all started in our harbor, and, without a doubt, it offers some of the best coaching in the country. NAC offers a Kids Paddle Camp and Novice Rowing Camp. You can contact the NAC at (949) 646-7725.
If you want to spend more time fishing this summer, contact the Balboa Angling Club. For a junior to join, it's only $25, and it gets your kids out of the house and onto the harbor. The next event at the Balboa Angling Club is the open house on May 10 starting at 1 p.m. There will be a few guest speakers and food and refreshments for everyone.
The BCYC Lorin Weiss Series, sailed in Harbor 20s, will wrap up on the 18th. In A fleet, Penny and Rod Graham, sailing Lido's Heartbeat, and Debra and Peter Haynes, aboard Spirit, will fight it out to get their names on the first-place bell. In B fleet, Hollie and Lee Sutherland have a good lead but will still need to keep an eye on Mark Conzelman. In C fleet, Kathryn Reed and her brother Ted aboard Wood In It Be Nice have a very strong lead and appear to be adding their names to the new trophy this year.
Sea ya.

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

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