This week I had an opportunity to talk with another favorite sailor of mine, Betty Andrews, who invited me aboard her Bristol Ranger 33, the Antares. The pride she has in this boat is equivalent to grandparents' pride in their grandchildren.
Betty made eight trips to Catalina last season for roughly a total of 35 days.
"We had some of the best sailing last season that I ever recall," Betty said.
You have to understand that she is one of the few sailors who not only sails home from Catalina, but also sails to weather going to the island.
"Why not?" she told me. "If the wind is up, it's time to go sailing. We had to reef the main five out of the eight trips we made last year."
It is really cool to watch the Antares sail into Catalina at White Cove and within an hour have the canopy up, the flopper stopper deployed, and cold beverages in all the crew's hands. Kind of makes you want to buy a boat.
May 7 was opening day for most of our harbor's yacht clubs.
It was the fastest 12 hours of fun I have had in a while.
I arrived at Balboa Yacht Club at 8 a.m. to serve as a judge in the club's yacht inspections. About the same time, the Lido Isle Yacht Club was starting its ceremonies with a parade down the streets of Lido Isle. As I drove past the South Shore Yacht Club and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, the parking lots were filling up fast with their members.
The day could not have started out any better for me. I was teamed up with Nissa Myer as my partner to judge sailboats 40-feet and under. A smile came to my face when we were assigned to inspect Doris and Don Stoughton's boat, the Lioness. I had seen Don on the boat every day after his return from the Newport-Ensenada race, and I knew he had done all the work himself.
Doris was placing the finishing touches onboard Lioness when Nissa and I approached and asked for permission to come aboard. After an hour-long inspection it was obvious that the Stoughtons were ready for the 2011 yachting season.
Before leaving a vessel I have inspected, I make it a routine to ask the first mate where the lifejackets and first aid kit are located, which VHF channel should he use in case of an emergency, and can he read the GPS and give latitude and longitude over the VHF.
It's just one of my silly ideas to make sure everyone is ready for the season.
Now for the awards
The hours were flying by and Balboa Yacht Club Commodore Peter Bretschger started the award ceremonies. This is always a favorite part of opening day because people are starting to loosen up and have way "too much fun."
The awards were announced.
The winners included: Odyssey, owned by Susan and Skip Kenney, which tied with Huck Finn, owned by Linda and Drew Lawler, for the award for sportfisher over 40 feet; Time Out, owned by Chris Webb, for sportfisher under 40 feet; Promotion, owned by Paul Blank, for powerboat under 40 feet; Kamakani, owned by Diane and Michael Coon, for sailboat over 40 feet; Fleur de Mer, owned by Wendy and Dennis Potts, for sailboat under 40 feet; Honeymaker, owned by Baret Yahn, for powerboat under 20 feet; and Dorado, owned by Derek New, for vintage boat.
New's Dorado also won the award for best overall boat, which is the best part of the day.
When Commodore Bretschger said, "I really want one of these custom burgees someday, maybe next time. This year overall award goes to Derek New and his boat Dorado," the whole family jumped out of their seats.
The tradition continues in our harbor. Have a great season, everyone. It is time to go yachting. Follow me on Twitter @boseyachts for your daily harbor observations.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.