The Harbor Report: Sailing in paradise

Newport Harbor's 2010 summer sailing season is starting to set into a red sky. When waking up Saturday morning, the sunrise looked red through my eyes as I stumbled, moaned and groaned. While looking for my Excedrin migraine pain reliever, 7UP and sunglasses — in that order — I realized that I had survived one of the most vicious rum squalls since around this time last year. That's correct, it was Long Point Race Week 2010, and "I am on a boat, hawwwa." Next, I had to step down, with only one eye open, into a very skinny shore boat and make my way to breakfast at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's (NHYC) outstation at Moonstone on Catalina Island.

Now everyone and their brother in the Southern California sailing world was doing their best impression of a zombie while waiting in line for breakfast and coffee. About the only response I got from anyone was a very low-pitched "hey." I sat down with my crew, and took a couple bites of my breakfast and downed about half of my coffee when both of my eyes opened, and, with two deep breaths of air, I thanked God that I was alive and in one of this world's most beautiful places.

One of my crew members started to laugh as we recalled the antics of the previous night and life started returning to our bodies.

About this time my mind went back into race mode and I started to wonder about the mistakes I had made on the racecourse the day before. I then noticed I was sitting next to the crew of the Bolt. I asked the owner's son, Carson Reynolds, if he had tacked over to starboard when the westerly breezed finally filled in, or did he sail into it for a little while?

"We tacked as soon as the new breeze reached us," he replied. "We noticed that the larger boats were tacking over to starboard and felt like we might have gone over to starboard a little early, but then, 10 minutes later, we were lifted and going straight to the finish line. What did you do, Len?"

I sailed into the new breeze and then decided to wait for a sister ship to tack so we could cover their breeze.

"Did it work?" Carson asked.

"No, we lost further ground on the whole fleet," I replied. "How did it work for you, Carson?"

"Oh, we won," he said.

It was time to change gears and get ready for my favorite race of the year, from Long Point to Bird Rock (at the Isthmus) and back to Long Point. I truly enjoy the racing tactics of sailing alongside Catalina Island and taking in the stunning scenery of the island's steep cliffs, marine life and the changes of the water's color.

Another entertaining moment came before the start of this race when a crew member of a grey-colored boat let out his own impression of a "Rebel Yell." Seems he sailed into that rum squall a little farther than some of us did the night before.

The day's breeze started out a little light and turned into what the brochure for this race had promised — "epic sailing." I just wish I had noticed more of the right-handed wind shifts sailing up to Bird Rock. I kept sailing back into the island, hoping to gain some of the ground I had lost, but it just never paid off for us. Of course, the run from Bird Rock is a dream. Within this dream, I could not find any wind shifts large enough to make up any ground on our competition. That had to have been the most consistent breeze direction I had seen, down the island, in years.

On Sunday we had enough of a breeze to make it home. We sailed to a second place overall onboard John Schultz's yacht, the Linstar. The wind was light and it took some effort to figure out if heading high off course back to Newport Beach would pay off. Looking at the results, it appears that it did.

And, speaking of results, congratulations must be given to Tom Corkett of the NHYC onboard the yacht Mirage for winning this year's event overall and ORR class A. Other big winners were Craig Reynolds from Balboa Yacht Club aboard Bolt, winning ORR class B and the Boys from Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Geissman, Plant and Shampain, winning the PHRF Division.

The Bell Trophy is awarded to the winning team from Balboa Yacht Club or Newport Harbor Yacht Club racing in the Long Point Race Week regatta. NHYC had lowest cumulative points of the two yacht clubs and is this year's Bell Trophy recipient. Congratulations, NHYC. I also need to give a shoutout to Bronny Joy Daniels and Joysailing for all the photos she takes every year. Thanks, Bronny. It makes the event that much more fun.

We will back next week with a story about the proposed mooring fee increases.

Sea ya!

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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