The Harbor Report: A little about them good ol' boys

This week's story is going to be fun.

Anytime a story about Newport Harbor's "Good Ol' Boys" club comes to mind — and I can write about the likes of David Frasier, Ken Knight, Carter Ford, Duncan McIntosh and Roger MacGregor — I sit up in my seat with enthusiasm.

At the Balboa Yacht Club we have the "Wall of Recognition" that recognizes "members who have served as Distinguished Yachtsmen over a span of years in the world of yachting through excellence in racing and/ or to the credit and honor of BYC."

If the city of Newport Beach and harbor had such an award, I would nominate Barry Wood.

On Sunday, BYC will run its 43rd annual Harry Wood Memorial Regatta, which will be in Lido 14s. I could go into all the great things that Harry did for the sport of sailing, but this story is about a mentor of mine, Barry Wood, Harry's son.

Barry called me about a month ago.

"Hello, kid. I hear you are chairing the Harry Wood regatta this year," he said. "I just wanted to let you know that I have ordered the T-shirts that are given to all the competitors, and have picked up the Perpetual Trophies for updating and cleaning."

Barry does all this on his own dime. When I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, "Now this is what sailing and sportsmanship is all about."

Barry Wood is no newbie to Newport Harbor. He grew up in Long Beach, where he sailed Lido 14s with his father in Alamitos Bay and Newport Harbor in the early 1960s. He went to the same high school with Duncan McIntosh and lived down the street from him.

They teamed up and started selling Columbias and Islanders from Marina Shipyard. This explains how Barry always gets the best location at the Newport boat shows.

Shortly after that, Barry teamed up with Eddie Arnold and moved to Newport Beach, where they sold Columbias, Islanders, Hunters and MacGregors. When I called Eddie he told me they had worked together for 16 years.

"We never raced too much together because one of us had to man the shop" Eddie said.

One of the many things Barry could do well was sell MacGregor boats.

"We sold 50 of the 26-footers in one year" Eddie told me.

This made me pick up the phone and call Roger MacGregor.

First thing that Roger said was "no better guy in the whole world", "absolutely magic working with him," and "backbone of my business."

Roger then went on to tell me that Barry had sold more than 1,000 boats during the last 20 years.

Now, if you think about that and add all the other product lines that Barry has represented over the years, then use my simple math method, it would indicate that Barry has introduced over 2,000 people to the sport of sailing!

So when Duncan called Barry "The Sailboat Guy," that was kind of a punch in the gut to me because I always thought I was that guy. Duncan was right: I am not even in the same ballpark — yet.

When I got off the phone with Barry, he took great pride in how his whole family has competed in the Harry Wood regattas over the years; his and daughter Andrea's names are on the trophy. I was told this leads to a very competitive spirit between his other daughter, Heather, and grandson Nichols to have their names placed on one of the trophies.

So if you have a Lido 14, please come down to BYC this Sunday and join in on some of the true flavor of our harbor. The whole Woods family will be in attendance — Sheila, Andrea, Heather, Nichols — and the Bear himself will be at the trophy presentation. It would be fun if you all came by and gave the Bear a salute for going the extra mile for the sport of sailing and passing on the family tradition.

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Sea ya!

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

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