Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Harbor Report: Gate may hold key to harbor's future

Jim Dastur, "a very peaceful man who does not get emotional while expressing his views."

By Len Bose
March 28, 2014 | 5:48 p.m.

A couple of years ago at a Harbor Commission meeting, the topic of replacing some of our harbor's 18 miles of seawalls an estimated cost of $500 million was discussed.
Of course, the cost is what first grabbed my attention, along with how the commissioners responded to the topic. It was then that Marshall Duffield introduced me to the concept of a tidal gate and started to explain how these gates can protect the whole harbor.
Jump forward two years, and the idea of replacing seawalls was still being discussed at this month's Tidelands Management Committee meeting. Attending the meeting as concerned harbor users were Duffield and someone I was introduced to at the beginning of the year, Jim Dastur.
At this year's Tidelands meetings, Dastur has always presented himself as a very peaceful man who does not get emotional while expressing his views on why he feels that the city should proceed with a study on the feasibility of a floodgate at the entrance to our harbor. During this month's meeting, the committee gave Dastur the time to review his reasons on why a study is needed regarding tidal gates. Sitting next to me was Win Fuller, a local resident and active harbor user, who looked at me and said, "This guy is making the most sense."
After the meeting, Duffield walked up to Dastur, introduced himself, shook his hand and gave him a warm pat on the back. This is when the idea of talking to Dastur first came to mind, and I proceeded to ask him for an interview, which he graciously accepted.
Dastur has lived on Balboa Island for 22 years. He was educated as a civil structural engineer and worked in marine construction. He has worked on most of the big commercial docks in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. He also has taken part in the retrofitting of all the major bridges in the Bay Area. For three years, he was the head director of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Construction Institute. Dastur was also contracted by India to consult on the building of a nuclear power plant with a seawater intake system — not to mention the fact that he was also the interim CEO of the company that worked on the replacement of the New Orleans levees.
Dastur is the type of person who prefers not to talk about himself, but when he said, "I am talking from a lot of experience," I wanted him on our team. While discussing the replacement of our harbor's seawall, he said, "Rising the walls will not do the job. Unless the walls go way deep, way deep, all you are doing is preventing the water from coming over the top."

To proceed on this topic, you have to ask yourself which government agency, from around the world, is providing you with enough facts that our sea level is rising and by how much. It was reported at the Tidelands meeting that by 2050, the projected sea level will rise by 1.38 feet, with a 1% chance that tide height will be 9.09 feet and a 10% chance that it will be at 8.79 feet. Right now, our mean sea level is at 2.65 feet, and by 2050, it is projected to be 4.03.
Now look at today's water table on Balboa Island at plus three or plus four and consider that the water table could raise to plus six or seven within the next 30 years. This means that if we only replace our seawalls, the water won't come from over the top of the seawall but from under the ground.

It has been said, by one of our council members, that no politician will recommend to pay for a $200,000 study for a tidal gate. Dastur explained to me that "a study needs to be done to see if it is feasible. Before you throw out the concept, we should look at the study. The gate has to be looked at when you look at the harbor holistically and not confuse the gate with the condition of the seawalls."
A couple of things you should understand about tidal gates. Yes, they are very expensive. It would take about 10 years to build the gates. The gates are not up all the time. They would be on the bottom of the harbor channel and would only be raised about four and five times a year for about four hours at a time. In the future, they could be used as many as 15 times a year.
There is much more information on this topic to share with you, and I will post it on my blog. For what it's worth, I am in favor of urging our City Council members to have further discussion regarding tidal gates and would request that they consider moving forward with a study.

Thank you for your column in the Daily Pilot. As more people get interested in the issue, the greater possibility of an informed decision.
Warm regards.

Sea ya.

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jim Dasturs recommendation regarding the Balboa Island seawall.

The following is a letter sent to the Tidelands Management Committee from Jim Dastur.  When Jim talks I listen:

Dear Tidelands Management Committee:

Ever since the news broke, almost 3 years ago, about a plan to possibly spend upwards of $70,000,000 for new sea walls for Balboa Island, I have been trying to understand the need for and the details behind this evolving proposal. To the extent that I have knowledge of and experience in marine construction and engineering cost estimates, I have tried to put in my two cents worth. I am truly thankful to City Council members for having given me the opportunity to participate through my appointment to the Citizen's Advisory Panel to the Tidelands Management Committee.(TMC)

A lot of new, useful information has been provided by City staff during the last 3 meetings of TMC. I find it difficult to respond to facts and figures presented at the meeting without taking the time to understand and digest them over a period of time. My current understanding of the situation, along with my personal/professional opinion, for what it is worth, is as follows:
1. Balboa Island is protected from sea erosion and tidal flooding by a concrete wall, owned and maintained by the City. The total length of the wall is approximately 13,200 feet (+/-). The elevation of the top of the wall varies from a high of 9.1' to a low of 7.7'. 
2. Of the 13,200 feet of wall, about 3,800 feet (along the Grand Canal and the West end of the big island) has
deteriorated to the extent that it would be prudent to replace it within the next 5 to 7 years. There is no impending emergency to replace this section of the wall immediately, although planning, engineering and permitting needs to be addressed and is being addressed currently. The remaining 9,400 feet of wall has at least 20 to 25 years of useful life left, with normal routine maintenance. (This conclusion was supported by the City's consultant at one of the TMC meetings) With competing claims for scarce tax dollars, it would be a non-starter to consider any replacement of this section of the wall, any time soon.
3. There is general consensus that the sea level has risen in the past 20 years and is continuing to rise. The top elevation of 7.7' for a significant portion of the existing sea wall poses a present and imminent danger of swamping the island during a king tide combined with an ocean surge and a heavy rain storm. The probability of this happening may be small, but the consequences would be catastrophic. This issue needs to be addressed on an expedited basis.
4. The political football as to who should pay for any or all of the costs associated with these issues is finally being kicked around. The suggestion that Balboa Island property owners be required to pick up a substantial portion of the costs associated with sea walls, further muddies the already murky waters.
5. Current thinking and planning is for the City to put all issues - the entire 13,200 feet of the sea walls, ferry terminal & fuel dock, bridge retrofits, etc. - into one package for permitting and financing; this leads to the daunting $72,000,000 number. It also forces a design decision for 75% of the wall that does not need to be made for the next 25 years.
Based on the above premises, I would like to put forth these ideas for your consideration.
A.  As a first order of business, engineer and construct a cap addition to the 9,400 feet of wall that has a remaining life expectancy of 25 years, so that the top elevation is 9'. This can be accomplished along the lines of the cap addition done to the Little Island's South Bay Front. This would not entail any extraneous issues such as access to private docks and the beach, permitting for encroachment, ADA issues, home-owner views, etc. The total cost associated with this, per the City's estimate of $250 - $300 per foot would be $2.4 to $2.8 million. The cost for this should be borne by the City. Do not have this issue tied up with planning or permitting for a new wall.
     The reason for opting for a height limit of elevation 9.0 is that this 9,400 feet long wall will be replaced at some date in the distant future. At that time, we will have a better understanding of how fast the sea is rising as well as what is being done holistically about rising sea level for the rest of the inner harbor.
B.  Proceed cautiously with the planning, engineering and permitting of the 3,400 feet of new wall. The total cost associated with this, per the City's estimate of $3,800 - $4,000 per foot (I believe this number already has contingencies built into it and does not need additional contingency on top of that) would be $14.4 to $15.2 million. Since this is a new wall and expected to serve for the next 75 to 100 years, the preferred top elevation should be 10'. The City should be able to find the money, from the tidelands fund and supplemented by the General Fund, to get this done over the next 5 to 7 years.
C. Its is premature and counter-productive to reconfigure the entire ferry landing for future high tides. Re-grading the sidewalk and Agate street to provide protection up to elevation 9' can be accomplished at minimal cost out of the General Fund. The same applies to retrofitting of bridges.
The above course of action reduces the monumental $72,000,000 problem to a more manageable $15,000,000 to $20,000,000 problem that addresses issues for the next 20 to 25 years while we continue to look for holistic solutions for the entire harbor, for the future beyond.
I am available to meet with anyone of you if you are so inclined, to discuss my views in detail.
Thank you for your indulgence in reading this presentation.
Jim Dastur

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last Harbor Commission meeting of the year.

Harbor Commissioner and Cruiser director Paul Blank  “Eel Grass, the more we have the more we can disturb” 

About fifty people attended the last Harbor Commission meeting of the year that was convened on Saturday, December 10th at 8:30AM aboard Seymour Beek’s car ferry “Admiral.”
Harbor Commissioner Paul Blank was assigned the task of cruise director and outlined the cruise around the harbor. Our first topic was derelict vessels on the different offshore mooring around the harbor. Commissioner Joe Stapleton took over the mic and defined what a derelict boat is, according to Stapleton, a vessel must propel itself too and from the Harbor Department docks. By completing this task the vessels owner is proving the boat is operational. Other definitions I have heard over the years also included that the vessel is not taking on water and or in disrepair. Stapleton went on to praise Harbor Resources Analyst Shannon Levin on all her hard work she has done maintaining the Vessel Turn In Program (VTIP) which is a grant from the state of California with a value of $120,000 per year. This grant allows boat owners to relinquish their vessels title to the city for demolition and to date the City of Newport Beach has removed twenty-eight boats over the last two years. It is my understanding that the City has applied again for the VTIP program for next year. Mooring permit holders by now should all know that they do not have to keep a vessel on their moorings any longer. 

Next topic up was our harbors ten waste pump out stations. Commissioner David Girling explained that the problem the city is having is that boats operators are using the waste pumps to pump out their bilge’s. Quite often these bilges have toxic waste in them along with shape  objects. The shape objects are breaking down the pump systems and is the number one cause for their malfunction. Please note that while operating the pump system to note and follow the written instructions. My opinion is that we should have marine recycling centers around town so that boat operators have a place to dispose of types of hazardous waste rather than using our waste pump out stations. 

About this time the ferry was approaching channel marker 11 off of Bay Island. When City Council member elect Brad Avery was asked to talk about the navigational markers around the harbor. Avery was quick to point out that the Coast Guard is responsible for the maintenance of these channel markers and are the only ones that have permission to remove them when damaged. We have seen this problem twice now over the last ten years with the Coast Guard taking over a year to remove these damaged markers. These oversized commercial markers truly are a threat to our local boaters and need to be replaced with a smaller buoys around our harbor Avery explained. 

Recycling center

As we made the turn heading west around the number 11 channel marker Commissioner West was asked to review the new RGP 54 and Eel grass mitigation plan. “ This project has been done with no little expense with as many as six or seven state agencies involved. “ said West. Today Harbor Resources has received fifty applications with only a hand full of residents able to complete the process. “ There is still some red tape in the process and more work to be done, the devil is always in the details.” said West. Because of the RGP and the Eel Grass Medication plan dredging companies are willing to return to our harbor, at this time there are only two companies working our harbor. What now needs to be remembered is that Eel Grass is now our friend and as Commissioner Blank asked the crowd to repeat a number of times during the cruise “ Eel Grass, the more we have, the more we can disturb!” I am tempted to make some T- shirts with this saying on them and give a couple to Blank.
Why are these boats in our Harbor?

Alternative Anchorages was the next topic on the agenda and of course we are referring to the temporary anchorage in front of Lido Village or Z Mark. Over the last two years it has been very successful and with the addition of a public dock off of Central Ave, right next to the Elks Club, I am going to assume it will not be temporary much longer. Please note that this anchorage will not have raft ups and the noise levels will be closely monitored.

Other topics that where discussed was the public walk way starting from the previous Ardell property heading west rapping around the harbor and ending up by the Cannery. Harbor speed limits, boat overhang and all the different harbor users meeting together and reviewing their individual needs with each other was also discussed on the cruise.
Why are these boats in our Harbor?

Next up was the four acre Lower Castaways property that is designated as a Marine Protected Area by our States Department of Fish and Wildlife and will most likely be turned into a park. The only access to the harbor will be for manual propelled crafts. You might not know it, there is access to the harbor now on this site and from what I have heard one of the hottest fishing spots in the harbor.

Our last topic was Launch Ramps and where can the city place another one in our harbor. Commissioner McIntosh is chairing this task and said “ I have no clue, we have been talking about this for years. The problem is not only the ramp it is the parking. If you have any ideas please let me know.” The need for a second launch ramp in town is tremendous and the only way I see it happening is we are going to have to want it. The only place that I have found is next to Newport Aquatic Center. Told you we are going to have to want it! On a side note, the launch ramp at the Dunes was a night mare the first night of the boat parade this year. With the low tide at an extreme many people where not able to launch their vessels. I feel we need to do better at this matter.

Boat name of the week “Admiral.”

Sea ya

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Harbor 20 Fleet One Photo's

One photo is worth a thousand words? Well then, Fleet One has a lot to say in 2016:

Friday, December 09, 2016

For Sale : Perry 56 Stealth Chicken

Designed to be a performance cruising sailing yacht this thoroughbred has the lines of a blue water grand prix racing vessel. Prospects need to be reminded that this vessel was not built on a production line. Rather by a group of craftsmen taking great pride in their work and a clear understanding of the worlds oceans and demanding conditions. Only the elite yachtsmen will notice the quality in the design and build of this fine sailing vessel. This is the type of yacht that will stay in ones family for generations.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Harbor Report: Councilman with a nautical background

Newport Beach Council Member Brad Avery

By Len Bose

I had a chance this week to talk to one of our newest Newport Beach City Council members, Brad Avery.
I first met Avery in 1979, when he started at the Orange Coast College Sailing Base, and I was attending a big boat sailing class aboard the boat Scandalous.
As we set sail and headed out into the harbor, the boat was greeted by a rather big puff of wind. As it leaned over in the breeze, I and most of the crew put two hands onto the boat. Its Genoa sail needed to be skirted and lifted over the boat's lifelines.

As the call from the helmsmen to skirt the sail was requested, most of us sat tight and looked around for who would be the first to stand up and walk out on the pitching foredeck. Just then, a flash went by me, and the Genoa was skirted.
Avery returned to the cockpit and was also attending to the mainsail. I thought to myself, OK, that's how it's done.

Avery had been doing the big boat thing from the time he was a kid on his father's 8-meter racing sailboat. Avery's father Chuck was one of the first yacht brokers with David Fraser in 1965 in the Lido Village area. Another yacht broker, Ed Cox, was also working in the same office.
Cox opened one of the first sailing clubs in the harbor, and Brad Avery was 14 at the time, washing boats as a part-time job.

"That's how I got into teaching sailing," Avery said. "The sailing instructor did not show up one day, and Cox walked down the dock and said, 'Drop that brush, kid. You are the new sailing instructor.'
"As a kid I would hang out at Richard's Market; they used to have a huge bulletin boat with a chart of the Pacific with pins with boats names that where competing in the TransPac. This is only way we could follow the race at that time.”
Sailing Ship Ticonderoga is one of the vessels Avery sails in the Caribbean

After graduating from Newport Harbor High School at the age of 17, Avery packed his sea bag and flew down to Panama, where he signed up as a crew member and sailed through the canal and cruised the Caribbean. On his return to Newport Beach, he immediately stepped on another boat headed back through the Panama Canal and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.
Avery spent some time backpacking around Europe and then sailed back. The next season he returned to the Caribbean and once again to Europe to sail in the Mediterranean. After about three years, Avery returned home and attended school at USC.

After graduating, Avery started working as the director of sailing at the OCC Sailing Base, where he has been working ever since.
I knew Avery had a strong interest in the history of our harbor, so I asked about his favorite stories about the harbor.
"When I got out of journalism school, I had a chance to interview Hans Dickman, who immigrated from Germany after WWI," he said. "Dickman told me a story of riveting submarines during the war before he came over to the U.S.
"Because of the Great Depression, Dickman was able to purchase some waterfront property next to the Cannery, where he opened up his shipyard to repair wooden fishing boats. Another great part of this story is after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, Dickman found an old market's archway that he placed on a custom trailer and towed it down Pacific Coast Highway.
"The archway was attached to a building already in place, and a Newport Beach icon was born. That whole area was very commercial in those days, and it was a small town at that time."
When asked about some of the changes he's liked around the harbor over the years, Avery said, "That's what I like best about the harbor; the city has done very well to keep the character of the harbor. The iconic buildings, like the Cannery and Pavilion.
"Iconic institutions like the ferry are still there. The mooring fields are the same. Major components of the harbor are still the same, which is really nice."
Avery addressed any concerns about the harbor's future. again pointing out the importance of keeping the harbor's character.

"It's the constant erosion of that character, with the pressure to build maximum square footage of the building next to the water, that is the concern," he said. "We will always have to manage that in the degree that we can. Access to the harbor is of importance with public docks, anchorages, water quality and to find a way that a couple of dredging firms can exist in the harbor so that dredging can be ongoing."
A reminder that at 9 a.m. Dec. 10, the Harbor Commission will be taking other civic leaders and interested members of the public on a two-hour harbor tour aboard one of Balboa Island car ferries.
Boat name of the week: “Galatea."

Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist for the Daily Pilot.