Place the finishing touches on your boat, go for a sail, put your favorite shirt on, break out the band, your red Solo cup, and head down to the yacht club.
That was the order of business within our harbor last week as we celebrated the opening days of the 2012 season.
The events started on May 9, with 38 boats sailing in Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Opening Day race from Long Beach to Newport. The weather was clear with a southwesterly breeze that provided us with a close reach down the course.
Everyone was out sailing, from Windward Passage to Calegama. I was helming Roy Jones J 133 Tango and, as we crossed the finish line, we all looked back in as Windward Passage and Ragtime were close on our stern.
Seeing these two boats sailing in the same waters made me flash back to the stories I read of their close TransPac finish of 1973, when the Australian splinter Ragtime beat out Windward Passage by four minutes in a 2,225-mile race to Hawaii. This time it was Windward Passage beating the splinter in this 14-mile opening day race by two minutes.
Lido Isle Yacht Club started its opening day on May 5 with an annual parade around the Isle. I later noticed a photo of the club's Commodore Carter Ford and Judy Weightman saluting the camera in perfect yachting tradition as they toured the parade route.
Wish I could have been there for that one; seeing the photo makes me smile.
May 6 marked Newport Harbor Yacht Club's turn. The crowd responded in droves. For me, the height of the day was when 15 members of USC's marching band were on the main dock and started playing "Tusk."
On May 12, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), "the friendliest club on the bay," became "the proudest club on the bay" in receiving the 2011 SCYA Club of the Year and YRUSC Yachting Service Excellence awards.
Down the dock, the Balboa Yacht Club (BYC) celebrated its 90th opening day with Commodore Judi Gorski, BYC's first female commodore, christening the club's new committee boat Defiant, then commenting on the club's commitment to yachting and our harbor. With the sound of the cannon shot echoing throughout the harbor on this sunny day in May, the 2012 season was now officially open!
That means it's time for Monday nights at the American Legion, BCYC Taco Tuesdays, BYC Wednesday Twilights and Thursday beer cans.
Special attention must be given to the dredging equipment this season, which is a good thing.
Please note that this year's beer cans will have a course change. Odds are pretty good that beer cans will be more like the winter's Sunkist Series, with starting inside the harbor, a sprint out to the Balboa Pier and then finishing back inside.
Special attention is due, and another cannon should be shot for Duffy Duffield, Carter Ford, Don Stoughton, Bill Moses, George Hylkema, Mark Sites, Chip Donnelly and the other members of the Newport Mooring Assn. who saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and volunteered thousands of hours in realigning our mooring fields.
A well done from the harbor users would be appreciated the next time you see any of the above mentioned. They got it done, and this week you will start seeing the mooring being realigned.
For more photos and comments, please go to my blog site at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.