2 large yachts get OK to drop anchor

<i>This post has been corrected, as noted below.</i>

The Newport Beach Harbor Commission agreed Wednesday to let two large vessels temporarily moor in the harbor.

The yachts’ permits could be revoked at any time during their stay.

The commission voted 5 to 1 — with Karen Rhyne dissenting and Duncan McIntosh absent — to allow the 216-foot Invictus and the 130-foot Marama temporary mooring.

The Invictus plans to be in the harbor intermittently from Aug. 26 to Oct. 31, while the Marama will anchor Sept. 25 to 30, according to Harbor Resource Manager Chris Miller.

He said this will not set a precedent for other vessels. Commissioners Douglas West and David Girling reiterated that this was a one-time request and not a sweeping approval for all large yachts.

“It’s an opportunity to see how it works and how it doesn’t work,” West said.

Rhyne raised concerns about noise, diesel smoke from the generators, where the vessels plan to fuel and how they will affect the harbor bottom.

She told the commission she thought the vote was premature and more time was needed to study the effect the yachts would have on the area.

Three residents spoke out against allowing the ships into a harbor that usually sees 20- to 80-foot boats. One resident, Judy Cole, said that having the yacht mooring in front of her home on Via Lido is similar to having a 5-story, 200-foot motor home parked there.

Girling, who said he knows the owner of Invictus, and Commissioner Brad Avery, who said he knows the owner of Marama, spoke in support of allowing the vessels temporary mooring.

A subcommittee of Girling and Avery, with assistance from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Harbor Patrol, recommended that the commission approve the temporary mooring but with conditions.

Because of the size of each craft and Invictus’ 13-foot draft, the subcommittee recommended that both vessels moor in the turning basin at the west end of Lido Isle. The yachts will not be allowed to moor next to each other if their stays overlap.

Both vessels will pay prorated mooring fees calculated on the harbor’s $38-per-foot annual fee. Invictus’ owner also will have to pay for the installation of the ship’s own mooring.

[For the record, 9:40 a.m. Aug. 16: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Jude Cole’s last name as coal.]

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