Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Harbor Report: Proud Bird is classy and smart

By Len Bose
May 23, 2015

Last year I ran out of time to complete my annual story on Newport Beach's 20 most interesting boats. I came up with the idea of blending our interesting boats into my column throughout the year. Now that the year is almost at the halfway point, I decided I had better get started.
When I walked past Deidre and Steve Bird's fighting softened yellow, 38-foot Buddy Davis convertible Proud Bird the other day I stopped, turned around and went back to introduce myself.
I first noticed the boat about four years ago while walking the docks and then again this spring at Basin Shipyard while she was hauled out for her spring maintenance.
Proud Bird is one of four 38-foot convertibles that the legendary Buddy Davis designed and built in Nanchese, N.C. Davis had an extraordinary reputation for building very seaworthy and smooth-riding boats. Best known as a master at capturing the Carolina look, Davis designed and built boats that were known for their sharp entries and dramatic bow known as the "Carolina Flare."

The Birds' first boat was a 25-foot center console Grady White used as a transition boat and after a couple years they started looking for a new boat online. They found the Buddy Davis 38, then known as Last Chance, in Vero Beach, Fla. After many questions they obtained an acceptance of offer, sight unseen, and headed to Florida.
It was love at first sight for the Birds while they made their way through the sea trial and surveys. After the completion of their deal they took the boat down to Fort Lauderdale and placed it aboard the yacht transport ship from YachtPath. Three weeks later Proud Bird was splashed in Ensenada, Mexico, and the Birds then brought her home to Newport Beach.
Proud Bird is now often seen at Whites Cove in Catalina, cruising the harbor or fishing our local waters. The boat is powered by twin Detroit Diesel 485 horse powered 6-71 TI engines. She has a 14-foot beam and displaces 35,000 pounds. Her cruising speed is 18 knots with her top speed reaching 22 knots. She is known for her modified V hull that provides a soft ride that can be wet although it sits comfortably at anchorage.
Her teak interior is satin finished to the highest of standards that shows a grace, beauty and craftsmanship rare compared to today's new boat construction standards. When entering the main salon I had to take a step back to admire the attention to detail and yet simple functionality of this vessel.

To starboard is a large L-shaped settee with a custom high-glossed teak convertible dining table. To port are two campaign-style armchairs with an entertainment center and electric panel hidden within the interior teak cabinetry.
Continuing forward and to starboard is the down galley with teak and holly cabin sole. The galley features a side by side sub-zero refrigerator/freezer with teak-faced doors. Other features include a microwave, large stainless steel sink, stove top and plenty of storage.
Moving forward and to starboard is the guest stateroom with upper and lower berths, locker and privacy door. Across and to port is the head with stall shower and large vanity.
In the bow of the boat is the owners stateroom with a centerline double island berth, hanging locker. This stateroom is to die for and looks comfortable from the moment you lay eyes on it from the boat's cockpit.

The cockpit layout is designed with the fisherman in mind along with the proper yachtsmen. The engine room is accessible from the cockpit along with a tackle station.
The fly bridge helm station is trimmed in teak along with the custom teak helm chairs. Forward of the helm station is a large beautifully appointed bench seat.
Buddy Davis built some 400 yachts between 28 and 78 feet. Proud Bird is only one of four boats built by Davis that I have seen on our West Coast.
To my eye, Proud Bird is a work of art and is why she has been added to Newport Beach's most interesting yachts list. Make sure you give her the whistle of beauty along with two thumbs up to the Birds next time you see her cruising down the bay.
Sea ya.

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

ALL IN! "2006 FLASHBACK with Nick Scandone"

On Thursday June 8 about 10:00 A.M. the phone rings “ Len it’s Nick, can you go to Connecticut with me on Monday for nine days? Jerry Thomson hurt his shoulder and I need someone to help me out. There is a boat you can use in the race” It took me about two seconds, “I’m in, just let me run it by my family”. About two hours later I called Nick to let him know I was all in and to go over the schedule and what I needed to bring. First thing Nick told me was gloves and a good spray guard top. At first I thought I could pull out a top five finish but I was soon informed at Beercans that night that I would be lapped by Nick and would have my tail handed to me. I thought it was good idea to practice on Nick’s back up boat that was still at Balboa Yacht Club that Saturday. Getting into the boat I kind of felt like one of those big headed sports cartoon commercials. After about three hours of practice I learned four things I needed. Gloves, Spray top, learn how to drive this thing straight and how to get my big head under the boom. At this point I still had dreams of placing in the top seven. Like any good one design boat, a lot of time is needed for boat preparation and leaving the dock in good order. If you’re setting on sheets, halyards and dock lines and extra parts it makes for a tough start, which I came to learn very fast. The 2.4mR is not all that easy to sail. At a leeward mark rounding you have to move the mast aft, tighten up your outhaul, put on your back stay, retract the whisker pole, main & jib in, and keep the boat going straight. Try it sometime and you will see what it entails.

June 12& 13. Nick and I land at JFK and make it hotel without getting lost and over to the Noroton Yacht Club the following day to rig Nicks boat and get it ready for the race. After washing, silicone waxing and Mclubing all the moving parts Nick was ready for the race. Just then Peter Wilson came up and said hello to Nick and introduced himself. This is when I first saw the boat I was going to use this weekend. Expecting an old dog barley able to get out of it own way I was presently surprised to see a very lightly use one year old boat. Just then Tom Sergo, the owner of the boat, came up and introduced himself. Everything looked like brand new from sails to extra parts and everything was made available to my use.

Its amazing the respect you get when your hanging out with the world champion and Rolex yachtsmen of the year. After Tom left I looked at Nick “ Great, I said, now I have to worry about what I am going to break” Nick laughed and we pushed the boats over to the crane and splashed the boats. Nick and I are out about a mile offshore catching the last race of practice that day. After the race Nick and I elect to stay out and do some straight line tuning. We had been sailing for about thirty minutes and Nick is circling back to line up next to me when BLAM! . Nick, “ What the hell was that?” I said “ What do you mean what the hell was that, what the hell is a rock doing way in the hell out here”. We return back to the yacht club and on hauling out I find out that I will need a fiberglass guy. Just as we haul the boat out Nick looks over and asked Gene Hinkel if he can help me with my blunder. By half way through the next day Gene had repaired my boat and it looked like new. Nothing better than hanging out with the Yachtsman of the year especially when you have to call the owner of the boat and tell him you just sailed his new boat into a rock. Fortunately, Tom was way cool about it and even let me continue to use his boat.

June 15
1st day racing with wind coming in from the north, over the land, and creating large shifts, with a strong current through out the day. 1st race is blowing 12 to 16 from the north with the swell beginning to build. Big starting line and starting in the middle of the line most of the day, heading to the left side of the course and tacking in the shifts to stay in the middle of the course so you don’t get killed from one side or the other or over stand because of current. I missed the first two big shifts just trying to drive the boat in 16 knots of breeze, trying not to hit anyone and sail. Nick was in third and second most of the race and on the first beat he over stood the weather mark, because of the current, and lost five boats and finished tenth in that race.
2nd race 1st day, wind now up to 17 with puffs to 21. Nick takes off with the top four boats and these guys are in their own league and take a big lead and hold it to the finsh with Nick taking a 4th this race. Way back in the fleet I round 11th after the first beat and while heading down the first run the wind stays around 12 to 15 no problem. Just I approach the leeward gate and pick the right mark of the gate and try to get in on the inside of Peter Wilson we get hit by a 21 knot puff that brings back memories of the old IOR days with the rolling from side to side now just 10 boat lengths from the mark I go in to this HUGE round down and no idea were I will end up. Looking for the weather side to hold on to I some how come out of the roll, flat and flying at the mark and leave Pete about three boat lengths behind and going to the left mark. Somehow I think Pete was just trying to keep out of my way, when I got to the mark I was in fourth place and started on the second beat and again blew it at the end of the beat and rounded 9th and proceeded to lose two boats on the run and had my best finish of 11th in the windiest race. So, I thought the first race was 17th this race was 11th, I should make it to 7th by the third race. I was OK with this.

3rd race I get rolled at the start and tack away and then don’t see a starboard tacker and have to-do a last second tack, go back to the right and someone else tacks on me and I am in the back of the fleet that fast. I round the weather mark after missing a huge shift way way in DFL, dam embarrassing!! And complete the 1st run DFL. On the run I notice these huge 40-degree puffs coming in from the left side of the course. The whole fleet went to the right gate and since I was DFL I was going left. I was the only one out to the left by so far you had to call it something other than a flyer, maybe slingshot position. Yea that’s it sling shot position! During this time Nick has stayed in second place although at the 1st weather mark he had hit the mark and waited to do his circle until after the clearing mark. Nicks closest non-able sailor Bruce Miller was telling Nick he had to have cleared himself before the clearing mark? Nick went down the run holding onto 2nd place and took off to the right side of the course. Nick said, " I was in second when the left started to come in and I was going to wait until it shifted back and the wind just kept going left". Nick rounded 15th and the wind was now blowing around 18knots and we were all wet and cold which made it double for Nick. At this point Nick saw this race as his throw out and retired from the race. Mean while out on the left side of the course for the first time of my life the "Sling Shot” was working. I kept looking under my boom and I was now ahead of everyone in the back of the fleet and as the wind kept going left the next time I looked under the boom I was ahead of everyone other than the top three. I said " Ok time to SHUT UP AND DRIVE" and not going to look under the boom again until one of the top three boats crossed me everyone else was way back and could not even come close to me on starboard. Then it happens, I lose my steering with the foot peddles and go head to wind in 20 knots of wind in these little boats in a HUGE swell spitting salt water like a bilge pump. I was lucky and brought handheld VHF and called for assistants. Betsy came right up and gave me an idea on how to hand steer. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel I figured out how to control the boat and completed the race. Unfortunately I lost the whole fleet again practicing my 360 off to the left for five minutes and held on to my DFL. Came to find out that about five boats had dropped out because the conditions.
So off to West Marine for some 5200 and try to make the repair to the steering system. It looked good for the next day? That night I had a chance to meet everyone who was now at the event and try to wash all the salt water out my mouth. Good times meeting everyone from Canada, Puerto Rico, and around the U.S. Getting washed around in that little bath tub they call a 2.4 meter does work on you and the no-see-ums were coming out big so we elected to head back to the barn early that night.

June 16
Race day 2 three more races that day and Nick had his game face on. The forecast was for light winds out of the west. We had to wait a long bit for the wind to come in and it did from the north again. It filled to about 13 and lumpy. This time the leeward pin was favored and I hit it at full speed and might have crossed the fleet but I was still unsure of the boats and everything I had gone through already so I just stayed on starboard until everyone had tacked. Nick played it safer than me and started about five boats up and like always had great speed. He found a small shift and had been on port a short time and was coming across back on starboard heading back for the left. I was looking under my boom and it was to close for me to cross the starboard boats and I tacked back to the left and was doing just fine with the top of the fleet being just on my weather hip. Just then my steering goes out again and I go spinning out to the left again like a firework, into the hack bucket again. Nick goes on to win the race by a mile; Nick then takes the second race again by a mile. The third race Nick hangs and takes a forth in a dieing breeze and wins the day handily. Back at the dock everyone wants to know how Nick does it. I have seen Nick’s talent before when I was the sailing coach at OCC. The great battles I used to watch between John Pinckney, John Shadden and Nick was some of the best sailing I have ever witnessed. Nick always seeming to have the edge off the wind and proving that he was truly one of best. Watching this fleet of 2.4 with all the past champions, new champions and Americas Cup past winners Nick again is one of the boys and is truly the guy to beat. What world champion isn’t? Although this time Nick is racing for something more!

June 17
Race Day 3 the forecast is very light breeze and we stay ashore until 1:30. This time instead of 5200 I tried epoxy on my steering bloke problems and I lose my steering again on the tow out and am about ready to throw in the towel. About two hours later everyone is towed back to the docks without a race being run this day.

June 18
Race Day 4 The forecast is better this day with the wind being projected at 6-10 out of the west. Nick took a look at my steering system and came up with a fix for the boat. This is after almost the whole fleet came by and gave their opinion on how to fix it the afternoon before. After the first day Nick had placed himself in a big whole and we had missed the extra two races needed for a second throughout. The first race I was on the upper third of the line and was told the current would be keeping us from the starting line. At the start I thought I had hit it perfect and the boat was working. I look up and Nick is crossing the fleet again and I get a very late call I was over early, so I was back in the hack barrel again. The wind was light and after clearing myself I was able to get off to the right and work myself back up to 8 the place and lose 4 boats on the run to the finsh. I still can’t get myself in the top ten. Nick has another great race and again wins by a mile. 2nd race of the day. The wind is now around 12 knots out of the west and Nick and I want the pin. Peter Wilson is on my hip and I am not about to push Nick at the pin end and we all come off the line well. After a short time of straight lining Nick has pinched me off and I am starting to get rolled by Peter Wilson on my hip. Nick and Pete go on to round 1st and 2nd and finsh with Pete getting the win and Nick in 2nd. I again Hack up the last run and lose four boats at the finsh line and get 13th. 3rd race of the day. The wind is dying and is moving to the northwest. This time I have my hopes up because I have a great start at the committee boat and have most of the fleet is ahead but well to leeward of me. Nick takes advantage of a small left shift and crosses. We lose a couple of boats using the current and jibing at the weather mark. Nicks in forth and I am in 7 at this point. Nick goes on and gets 6th and I hack up my last run and drop back to 12.

At the awards everyone is in good sprits and everyone is helping each other place their boats on the trailers and a number of competitors are shipping their boats over to Finland for the up coming worlds the end of July. Going over the race Nick again is surrounded by the competitors and asking him what there should have done here or there on the racecourse that day. Nick places forth in the regatta overall and wonders if he should have pushed the third place person at the starting line harder. He and Peter Wilson were down to the last race and who ever won this race between them would be the US Nat champion.

Observations and lessons learned.

1. Nick is fast and well respected.
2. Its good to hang out with the king.
3. Peter Wilson has found a niche in single-handed one design racing and is the perfect salesman for the fleet.
4. Nothing better than an old fashioned SAILING CLUB!
5. Check the chart out before sailing in new waters
6. Ask the people around the club where to sail and not sail.
7. When sailing a single-handed boat you have to remember to SHUT UP AND DRIVE
8. Betsey Alison is an outstanding coach that works extremely hard and truly cares about what she is doing.
9. When chartering a boat or before any big event you have to go through your boat from stem to stern.
10. Nick Scandone is a class act. He is the perfect ambassador for yachting. You can only wish for a public servant with the same passion, respect, and the support to others. Newport Beach, California, United States of America, the World! Needs Nick Scandone as their representative. This is the perfect opportunity that only comes around once in thirty years, to promote and support the perfect ambassador to the sport of yachting. Don’t get caught in five years wishing you should have helped!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Harbor Report: Take time to meet the Skipper

Skipper Tim and Fairwind
By Len Bose
May 9, 2015

I recently sat down with a man who needs no introduction, Timothy Bercovitz — better known as "Skipper Tim."
If you sail on Monday night's American Legion Sundowner Series, or in any of the wooden boat regattas up and down the Southern California coast, you must have noticed the 40-foot Mariner wooden hull ketch Fairwind.
Fairwind and Skipper Tim are rarely seen apart, having had one of our harbor's longest love affairs — over 31 years. I recall first meeting the couple close to 20 years ago before the start of a race I was competing in. While sailing toward the starting line I, rather rudely, informed Skipper Tim that I was racing and asked him to sail away from the starting line.
That's when he told me he was also racing. Insert foot, Len. I smiled and went on my way.
Skipper Tim was born in Pyongyang, Korea, in 1931 — his mother was there as a medical missionary. His first meeting with water came after a long train trip across Siberia and Europe when he took a steamer voyage from England to the United States in 1934.
As a young boy, he learned how to sail in a small dingy on Lake Piscataquag in New Hampshire.
Skipper Tim

"We borrowed a bean pole from the garden, an old bed sheet, and some clothesline and went sailing," he said.
In 1956, he moved to California and quickly found Newport Beach and the harbor. He sailed with Ted Ponders on his 36-foot schooner named Albatross. He later crewed on the 90-foot schooner Diosa del Mar and other large boats by the name of Ranger and Lady Ada.
Skipper Tim has owned a 28-foot wooden cutter, which he kept in a slip in the Fun Zone, and later a 36-foot wooden Angelman ketch that he kept on a mooring. This all occurred before he met Fairwind. She has berthed at the American Legion Yacht Club since 1994.
Tim has sailed in more than 25 Ensenada races, and when he first started to race he would go into the American Legion bar and ask "Big John," the bartender, if he could leave his car in the parking lot for a week. For a small donation he was allowed to park his car. This lasted for many years until he was asked to join the Legion.
This was back in 1990 and Skipper Tim has been a pillar at the American Legion ever since, serving as a chaplain, commodore and sergeant of arms for many years. Last year, he won the American Legion's Yachtsman of the Year award, and a couple of years back he was honored by the Southern California Yachting Assn. with the Old Timer of The Year award.
Skipper Tim, who refers to himself as a "God-fearing person," has raised money for Children's Hospital of Orange County by participating in the CHOC Follies over the last 18 years. He has also participated in the Sail for Visually Impaired.
"God introduced me to my boat Fairwind. He has given me the means to live in this area and to be a part of my yacht club. This is a great way to give something back," he said.
Skipper Tim is one of the good ol' boys of our harbor, and I am honored to have him on my friends list. It's simple to add him to your friends list. Just say, "Hello, Skipper" the next time you see him around town, and you will get one of the warmest heartfelt welcomes you have ever received.
While interviewing him, at least five very pretty ladies said "Hello, Skipper" as they walked by. It's good to know the Skipper.

Jet packs in the harbor? Absurd
I have to use this cliche’ for this next topic “ Really! Are you kidding me.  Two and possibly a third City Council member have disregarded our Harbor Commissions recommendation to not allow Jet packs in our harbor. This is a no-brainer, lets see how many more oxymorons I can use to describe this decision. Lets try “controlled chaos”, “organized mess”, “deafening silence”, “serious joke”, “leading from behind.” This is not an oxymoron but I have to leave with “Square peg in round hole.”  Jet packs do not fit in our harbor, it’s that simple. For once council needs to listen to the recommendation made by the Harbor Commission. Make sure you attend this Tuesday nights Council meeting at 7:00 PM.
Mark your calendar for 7 p.m. Tuesday, when the City Council will vote on this topic at 100 Civic Center Drive.
Sea ya.

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

Friday, May 08, 2015

Jet Packs: Letter to Mayor and Council Members

Honorable Mayor and City Council Members,

Attached is another copy of the letter we sent earlier in the week with 5 additional pages for a total of 146 signatures. While this is just a sampling, it is clear that Newport Beach property owners, residents, local business owners, owners of marine businesses, harbor workers, yacht club members, sailing club members, sailing program directors, past harbor commissioners, boaters, professional yacht captains, marine insurance & financial brokers, owners of the 2 largest shipyards in Newport, kayakers, SUPers and other harbor users overwhelmingly agree that the Jetpack type businesses or personal watercraft DO NOT BELONG inside Newport Harbor. Most are surprised that Jetpack America was ever permitted in the first place. Only a handful of people we all spoke to were “on the fence” or against the ban- 2 of whom happened to be friends of Dean O’Malley’s. Even the attendees at Diane Dixon’s town hall meeting on Monday night overwhelmingly supported a ban. These are the people that know our harbor the best and they deserve to be listened to. These citizens pay property taxes, residential and commercial pier and mooring permit fees, business taxes, licenses and permits, marina slip rentals, boat rentals etc. Our quality of life, quiet enjoyment and safety need to be put ahead of the minority of visitors or residents who happen to enjoy the experience. They can still enjoy it outside the harbor or in another harbor that is more compatible.

It is not enough to regulate the activity- the Jetpack business hasn’t followed the existing regulations and enforcement is not realistic. The alternate proposal that has been included in the most recent staff report today is offensive. One operator, let alone two at the same time in the same place is inappropriate. There is NO compatible place in Newport Harbor for this type of business. We urge you to follow the educated recommendation of the Harbor Commission and the vast majority of residents and harbor users and vote to ban ALL water propelled vessels above the surface of the water. Thank you again for your consideration,
Judy and Don Cole.

Letter Number #2
Honorable Mayor and City Council,

Jetpack America’s Operation Plan has an emergency protocol for when one of its customers is knocked unconscious!  Unfortunately, there is NO emergency response plan for if and when a flyer crashes into someone else in harbor, injuring, killing or knocking them unconscious.  What more is there to say?  After months of study, debate, and hearings by the Harbor Commission and its ad hoc Committee, public comment, emails and letters, as well as City Council study sessions and meetings, no one on the City Council can pretend to be unaware that jetpacks pose an unacceptable safety risk to jetpack customers, but more importantly to the other users of the harbor.  Under the Municipal Code, commercial activities that “create a hazard to safe navigation, or otherwise interfere with the rights of others to use the waters of Newport Harbor” should not be permitted.  (Municipal Code, Chapter 17.10, Section 17.10.050, subsection D).

Likewise, no one on the City Council can pretend that jetpacks do not create excessive noise and wakes that have significantly interfered with property owners' right to quietly enjoy their homes and businesses, as well as negatively impacted the public’s right to enjoy beaches and the shoreline around the bay, free from the unremitting noise of jetpacks.   (Mun. Code, Chap. 17.10, Section 17.10.050, subsection A [Commercial activity permits should not be granted if the activity is “likely to create noise which would adversely affect use or enjoyment of waters of Newport Harbor by members of the public, or interfere with the right of those who own property near the waters of Newport Harbor to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of that property.”]).

Much has been made of the fact Jetpack America has been in the harbor for several years, sort of a plea of entitlement as a successful “long-standing business."  In view of the Municipal Code, however, granting Jetpack America’s permit was a mistake in the first place.  Cast in the best light, if the Harbor Resources Manager had realized the disruption and inherent danger to other harbor users, and the likelihood the excessive noise would impact everyone around the harbor, following the Code would have led him to deny the permit. The permit was granted, however, before we even knew what jetpacks were.  Once we saw and heard them, the surprised and appalled property owners around the bay, the boaters, swimmers, and other harbor users had little recourse but to endure them.  Not that we didn’t protest.  Harbor businesses and residents, and other users of the bay have complained about safety, noise, wakes and law-breaking by Jetpack America almost non-stop.  We’ve written emails and letters and made phone calls to the Harbor Resource Manager and staff, Harbor Patrol, spoken at Harbor Commission meetings, and complained about jetpacks in City Council meetings.  It obviously wasn’t Jetpack America’s sterling reputation in the harbor that prompted the City Council to study whether they belong here.  Dismay and controversy have followed Jetpack America wherever it has gone in the harbor and for as long as it has been here.   

Unless the Council compounds the mistake and continues to ignore the City’s Municipal Code, it cannot vote to continue to allow jetpacks in the harbor.  It is unfortunate, however, that a review of the Staff Report in “support” of the proposed ban on jetpacks confirms prior suspicions that Jetpack America has something of an inside track on a "way to get to yes.”  Jetpack America's arrogant Operation Plan has a starring role in the Staff Report, and it contains many claims and promises. It confirms Jetpack America intends to operate just as it has been, all day, seven days a week, but also that it intends to add even more jetpacks to operate at the same time.  Jetpack America promises to “instruct” its “pilots,” presumably its customers, that they must fly under 5 mph in the harbor.  In contrast, Jetpack America advertises that customers can fly 30 feet high and exceed 30 mph.  Who is kidding who?  Suggesting flyers who are instructed to stay at 5 mph will do so is laughable.  After the first “training flight” when customers take the throttle and control their own speed, the entire objective is to fly as high and as fast as possible until they crash.  Jetpack America certainly doesn’t use the “kill switch” to stop them now from exceeding the speed limit, and I doubt it would commit to doing so in the future.

Jetpacks belong in the ocean outside the harbor.  Despite Dean O’Malley’s claim he just can’t make Jetpack America work outside the harbor, apparently another jetpack business already operates successfully in the ocean.  Jetpack America brags that its equipment works just as well in the ocean:  “The jetpack can operate in most weather conditions, including moderately high seas and moderate winds.” (from Jetpack America’s Operation Plan). The truth is Mr. O’Malley would just prefer to impose his operation on everyone else in the harbor rather than find a way to be successful and keep his customers safer out past the jetty.

I urge the City Council to do the right thing and vote to ban jetpacks in Newport Harbor.  There is nothing charming about them.  Thank you.

Pam Whitesides
resident, property owner, and harbor user

Please write in your letters!