The Harbor Report: Cruising by the Boat Show

As a yacht broker I walk the docks of Newport Harbor, introducing myself to boat owners and just getting a hands-on feeling for how the boating market is doing. This week, I report on my dock-walking and point out some of boats that caught my eye, along with what's going on in the shipyards and repo marina.

I am sure you all have noticed that it's Boat Show time. While one walks around the show, the phrase that comes to mind is "quality, not quantity." And, to get to the bottom line, yes, it is worth going and taking a look at what is being offered. But if you are looking for a sailboat, stay at home because there are only about five sailboats in the show. If you are looking for power, there are a number of mid Sport Fishers being shown along with a number of my favorite, Downeast/lobster-style boats.

When you first walk into the show, you must go aboard the red Hunt 52 from Global Yachts. I am not sure if all of the Hunt 52s are this well thought-out or commissioned. That's because Gordon "Gordo" Johnson, one of our harbor's top yacht commissioning consultants and captains, has done his magic here again. Now, if only I can get one of the 22-foot Newport Classic Boats "Runabouts" into the gauge of the Hunt 52?

While at the show, stop by and introduce yourself to Rudi Gern from Newport Classic Boats, and take a look at the line of boats he is producing in Costa Mesa. These are one of the sexiest lines of boats I have seen in a long time, and did I tell you where they are built at? That's right, Costa Mesa! You have to take a look at one of these boats and place her behind your house on the water and name her "Locals Only."

I have one last tip for attending the show: On the weekend there is free parking at City Hall and across the street on the west side of Newport Boulevard.

Newport Shipyard appears to be busy, with a number of large yachts in for service. I noticed a 64-foot Nordhavn, a 59-foot Michelson and a 70-foot Ferretti, all in for annual maintenance. As I walked out to the end of the ways, I noticed a local racer having to sail his boat back to his mooring. You had to see the relief on the skipper's face when I told him I would help him off the dock.

Looking across at South Coast, it appears that Dennis Rosene and Joe Carter are putting a new bottom on their Far 40 "Radical Departure." I then stopped at Larsen Boat Yard and the place looks like new again. When shopping for work on your boats make sure you stop by and see Abe or Marshell. These guys have been around the harbor longer than I have and their work is equal to that of Basin and Newport Shipyards.

As I continue my tour around the harbor, I stopped at our local repo marina to see what they have. Please be advised that repo boats prices are lower, but the expenses are always high because these boats always need a ton of maintenance. They do have some interesting products at this time, with two fairly clean 36-foot and 38-foot sailboats along with two 32-foot and 36-foot Sport Fishers. The rest of the inventory is just junk, in my opinion.

Another interesting thing that Dave Beek at Island Marine Fuel told me is is the repo guys are stopping by his dock, about five boats a week, and filling up before heading to the great repo yard in Long Beach. So, if you think about it, there must be more slips available in town?

My last stop was Basin Shipyard, and the crew was emptying out the yard with the mid-week completions as the new customers were arriving. There was a survey being completed for a purchase and it's always fun to watch the other yacht brokers do a double take, as I am taking photos for this column and talking into my tape recorder. I also noticed one of my favorite sailboats in town, "ANTARES," Betty Andrews' pristine Ranger 33 getting a new bottom.

That's it for this week. Give me a call or send me an e-mail if you want a more in-depth report about my harbor observations, and I am sure you are all keeping an eye on Jack and his "Padle4Life" this week?

Sea ya

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

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