On the Harbor: with the weather warming up, lots of racing and a boat show

By LEN BOSE

To steal a baseball slogan “I Live For This”…with the weather forecast reaching the 70s and just three weeks away from the start of summer sailing.

Activity within the harbor is beginning to blossom with the Newport Beach International Boat Show, and the Palmer & Baldwin Cup this weekend. While reviewing last week’s Harbor Commission’s meeting, there is plenty of activity in the harbor with things just beginning to warm up.

Speaking of “warming up,” the temperature in the City Council Chambers was a bit hot during the last Harbor Commission meeting on Wednesday, April 10. After months of discussions, special meetings, accusations and threats of legal action, the Harbor Commission will be recommending to the City Council a mooring permit increase to meet the market value of a mooring permit. There has not been a price increase for a mooring permit for close to 30 years, and that’s what popped the thermometer in the turkey, or staying with my baseball analogy, throwing a spitball causing the ball to react unpredictably. I don’t keep my boat on a mooring; I have never had the means of purchasing a mooring permit. I do pay $700 a month for a slip for my Harbor 20, which is a steal compared to other locations around the harbor. To get straight to the point, I’m sure I’ll get “called out looking” for saying I feel the proposed market rate is fair.

Today a 40-foot boat on a mooring is paying $133 a month; at the end of six years it will be $480 a month. I’ll get brushed back from the plate, probably even beaned, from my friends with mooring permits for writing this, but remember we are playing in the best stadium in the world. On a sidenote while at the ballpark, don’t heckle the umpires – it’s just lame and accomplishes nothing.

There were three or four people during public comments who called out the commissioners; one came really close to getting ejected from the “game.” What was strange, is most of the people in the stands left the game early on that night. The next topic to “Step on the Hill,” was to form an ad hoc committee to review the utilization of the public docks which should be rather important to mooring permit holders.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Newport Harbor Yacht Club

NHYC Baldwin Cup

Talking about the moorings, while at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club this week to watch the Palmer & Baldwin Cup, the first comment I picked up on was, “look how beautiful the harbor is with all the mooring removed.” I just felt like I got “a base on balls,” and trotted down to first. During these events, the mooring balls and boats are removed from the NHYC mooring field. I led off by talking to many of my friends who were watching the Palmer Cup which is like watching an Old Timers Game. Each competing skipper must be 60+ years old and the crew 50+. Looking over the competition, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s team named Fire was favored to win.

This event was a 3v3 team racing event; I don’t have enough room to explain team racing. Let’s just say it brings out a very high level of skippers’ and crews’ skill level. NHYC team Fire consisted of Bill Menninger and Bob McDonald, Chris Raab and Buddy Richley, Phil Thompson and Jamie Hardenbergh. Team Fire dominated in round robins, yet in the finals against the San Diego Yacht Club it did go the distance which was a best of three series. This had to make the win that much sweeter for the home team. The Baldwin Cup started on Thursday and runs through this Saturday. Compared to previous years the teams are now 2v2, but the past it had been 4v4. Looking over the competitors, I’d have to bet it will come down to the Newport Harbor and San Diego yacht clubs. There will be some exciting racing going on in the harbor this weekend.

Next “on deck” is the Newport Beach International Boat Show. I walked the show this week, and I was taken back by the Sun Country Yachts’ display of their new yachts. I’m not a huge fan of Sunseeker, although I am an admirer of Prestige and Riviera. Walking down the main gangway, this display reminded me of looking at a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, as every yacht was gorgeous, followed by Silver Seas’ display of Princess, Tiara and Cruisers yachts. I was extremely pleased to see how many sailboats are at the show this year. South Coast Yachts has a large display of Beneteau sailboats. Walking past these boats, I admired the large cockpits and placed myself in Catalina, just hanging out watching the day go by from the cockpit of these new designs. Denison Yachts is displaying Defour and two Catamaran lines, along with the Jeanneau dealer showing their new models. All my favorites are at the show: Fleming, Offshore and Mag-Bay. I also noticed a couple of Downeast-style yachts with Eastbay and Sabre. Unfortunately, Hunt and Hinckley Yachts were a no-show this year. Of course, Duffy Electric boats will be unveiling their new 20’ hardtop.

I strongly recommend attending the boat show this year as it looks like the weather will be perfect. If you are a Duffy owner, just take your boat to the public dock next to the Elks and walk over to the show.

Sea ya

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


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