On the Harbor: an early morning cruise


I took an early morning harbor cruise this week, just to remind myself how many different faces the harbor has throughout the day. I started my cruise from one of the first slips in the harbor entrance near channel marker six. Walking down the gangway, the dense fog plays tricks with you with the foghorn sounding, unable to see or recognize the clear instructions from the crew of a whale watching boat to its passengers, which I first thought was coming from a nearby dock. Never comfortable on the water with a thick layer of fog over the harbor, I postponed my departure.

Twenty minutes later the visibility increased to 50 feet, so I pushed off the dock and started to work my way further into the harbor towards the ferry crossing. While passing by the Balboa Yacht Club’s mooring field, I always scan through the field looking for my favorite yachts. I first looked for one of my all-time favorites – the 61-foot Nordland “WASABI” standing tall in pristine condition. Looking through all the boats, I noticed the Ranger 33 “ANTARES” looking ready for opening day. I am not a fan of many of the newer power boat yacht designs, because in my opinion the large windows along the sides of the hull whose shapes resemble a floating billboard, just don’t do it for me. I have a hard time looking at them, yet I assume it looks much better when you’re aboard one and looking out.

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Photo by Len Bose

Hunt 63 Ocean Series – a gem within our harbor

I put my head down and quickly shook it, then looked ahead towards green channel marker 11. There she was appearing as an angel descending from the heavens, slowly revealing herself as the layers of fog lifted upwards into the warmth of the sun. She immediately grabbed my attention, reminding me of the time I first noticed a Raquel Welch poster of the One Million Years BC movie, or Farrah Fawcett’s red swimsuit poster. The profile of this yacht was now etched into my mind, resembling many other Ray Hunt designs that are in our harbor. The Hunt 63 Ocean Series has captured this old man’s heart with this proper true yachtsman design flowing from bow to stern. At first glance, she projects the appearance of a personal yacht that can be owner-operated, a true family boat. She comes from royal pedigree of Hinckley Yachts, first noticing the rounded corner windows of the salon, the wide side decks for moving around the yacht, and the curved stairwell going from the aft cockpit up to the flybridge. I can picture the granite countertops – satin-finished teak with high gloss trim. She is POD-driven and can reach speeds of 31 knots. If you are looking for a range at 10 knots, she can stretch out to 877 nautical miles. I can already picture her at Catalina this summer anchored in the Moonstone Beach (Cove) with the entire family aboard.

As I continued my cruise I had to wipe down the windows, as they had fogged up; it must have been from my heavy breathing or the need to pick up all the traffic in the five-points area of the harbor. In the early morning proceeding into the Lido Channel, you quickly recognize that this time of day is all about the rowing teams, and it’s always has been this way. But its challenging, because one is aware of their inability to turn or stop along with a boat’s stealth qualities. Should you find yourself on the harbor in the early morning hours, keep your phone in your pocket as there is a lot going on around you that you should keep aware of.

Another item I noticed is that this weekend is the Balboa Angling Club’s Lily Call fishing tournament. This is the super bowl of the in-the-harbor fishing tournaments with the best of the best entered, and many of the competitors were out on the harbor looking forward to going back to their favorite spots. It’s game day on the harbor with very few smiles.

Speaking of very few smiles, I have a very special bird I would like to present to the kids on the Lido Bridge that dropped the water balloon on the top of my boat while I was traveling underneath them. The impact sounded like someone had dropped a brick on me, and got my heart rate up so much that I called the Harbormaster. I forgot how early in the morning it was and I am sure I awoke him. That was about the time I realized I had not thought through my actions, so now I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself. I find I am rather good at that on the harbor, and remind myself just to breathe and notice all the snow on our surrounding mountains. Before I leave you this week, remember that the staging for the boat show is going on and there are many floating docks anchored out around Z Mark in the turning basin.

Sea ya.


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


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