The Harbor Report: Merriment on Newport waters

One cannot help but smile on the water in Newport Harbor.

On the night of July 8, I grabbed my camera and got in my dingy then headed out to the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Twilights. (The week before, when sailing Beercans, I noticed more than 15 Lehman 12s out racing.)

"Now that looks like fun," I told myself on arriving at the club, where I started to notice a number of familiar faces.

Chris Rabb and his daughter Kayla were there. John Virtue had his two daughters with him, and every once in a while I would see one of them stick their heads above the rail and then duck back down.

I promised Seymour Beek that I would not write about him, but he was hanging with the boys and he appeared to be having a good time. I then noticed one of the coolest things I have seen so far this summer. It was Nick Madigan sailing with his daughter Kate and having way too much fun sailing against his son Jimmy in another Lehman.

I can't describe how much fun it was watching the Lehman fleet and it kind of felt like a flashback from "back in the day" watching Chris Rabb work the "lido lift" so effortlessly and winning the two races I watched from start to finish.

When I left, Chris was second from the pin at the start of race No. 3 , and hit the first shift again. One could see the mojo just dripping from Chris last week and I assume he won the third race also. The best part of the night was watching all the parents sailing with their kids and just keeping it fun.


Saturday was the Balboa Yacht Club's 66 Series, races No. 3 and 4. The wind was light and shifty out of the south, and the racing was very close. While at the top mark I thought it was funny how many times the skippers would call for the spinnaker hoist and how many different ways I would hear this command.

You have your "Hoist" and your "OK Set" but my favorite is "hoist, hoist, hoist!" If you have not volunteered for race committee in a while you should do so because it's kind of like commentating a sporting event on TV and I want to tell you that I have learned a couple of things by watching. The yachts Tango & Radical Departure traded 1st place in class A while Amante won both of class B races. In Class C Pussy Cat won the first race and Good Rhythm won the second race. Whistler was the bridesmaid in both races.

Sunday was fun. My son Andrew and I went over to the Lido Isle Yacht Club to watch NHYC's Summer Gold Cup. With 179 boats entered there was plenty to watch, not that all the boats were on the bay at the same time.

NHYC must have done this before, because everything over on the C3 racecourse seemed to go well.

One of my big lessons this weekend was how to become the proper "Jr. Sailing Parent," and I found these four rules written by Bill Sanberg who is a sailing coach back east:

Parent Don'ts

• Don't help your child rig or unrig their boat. This is something they need to learn themselves, and they're probably embarrassed by your "help."

Don't berate an instructor, especially in front on the sailors. This immediately undermines their authority and thus their ability to do their job. If you have a problem, seek out the program chair or a member of the committee. It will be far more effective.

Don't go to regattas and scream and cheer when your child or your program's child rounds a mark in a high position. How do you think this makes the kids at the end of the fleet feel? Like losers.

Don't make the first question you ask your child after a regatta, "How'd you finish?"

It should be, "Did you have fun?"

There are some exceptions to this. If they are older and committed to (racing), it's OK to ask how they did. These are committed racers, and winning is fun. However, don't grill them for information. It will come out. Discuss, don't preach.

I know that I am running out of room so I will just give quick notice that the Balboa Yacht Club "Club Championships" are this weekend. I had to withdraw today because I have a sea trial this Sunday. I really wanted that parking space back at BYC.

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