The Harbor Report: Fleets take to the harbor this weekend

This weekend is the H20 Fleet Championship, which will be raced out of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in the turning basin.

Looking at the entry list, there could be easily 40 participants spread out between two fleets.

In the A fleet the edge has to be given to Diane and Bill Menninger, who have won the last two championships. But don't tell that to Karen and Gary Thorne or Anne and Kurt Wiese.

Over in B Fleet, Rolly Pulaski and John Whitney have recently qualified to sail in As, which should make for a good battle for Carl Cheadle and Max Moosmann aboard Summer Dream and Jeff Gordon and Reid Vitarelli sailing Tres Unos.

It would not surprise me if Joe Carter comes out and wins the first couple of races. He has shown some serious speed recently and if he can put the whole puzzle together, he will have a good chance at wining B Fleet. But my money is on Team Cheadle.

I will be sailing with my good friend Marry Bacon aboard Rascal II. Our goal is top five this year. If we can sail just a little more consistently, we should be able to keep the attention of Team Cheadle and Gordon.

This year is a little different because the moorings are still out in front of NHYC, giving us a lot more space.

Another difference I have noticed this summer is the current. Because of the recent dredging, the water is moving faster in different locations than in past years. To see a survey of the depths around the harbor, visit my blog, lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.

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Bike cruise brings random thoughts

I took another long harbor cruise on my bicycle Wednesday, with my attention focused on our public piers and waste pumpout stations.

I also observed a couple items that should be brought to your attention, along with a fantastic recommendation made by Gary Hill. To see a map of the harbor with a list of these items, visit my blog.

Before I tell you about my cruise, I would like to give a big shoutout to my friend Carter Ford. Carter led a group of people a couple years ago in a long effort in updating our public piers and did an outstanding job.

The time has come to take a second look and not just sit back and say, "Well, that's done." It's time to check on the maintenance of the docks and keep them user-friendly.

I rode to all 11 public piers and talked to some people. Rather than describe my observations at each pier, I am going to make some general recommendations.

The most common problem is code enforcement. The time limits for docking dinghies is being abused on most of the piers. A couple are due for a high-pressure wash and repainting of the time limits. Also, I found out that car loading zone time limits are not being monitored.

Other ideas I heard was to place running water on some of the docks, and add bike racks and more blue meter parking. I think the city should give a discount to mooring permit holders for the parking permits.

Public dinghy racks at 15th Street would also be put to good use, as would used fishing line canisters like we see at the launch ramps and other marinas around Southern California.

I was thinking about locations for additional public docks when Gary said to check out the public park at Lido Village next to the Elks Lodge. It's a perfect location, one the council should strongly consider.

After I talked with Gary, I rode down to the Fun Zone and Balboa Village and noticed that the Newport Landing fuel dock has reopened. I introduced myself to the new operator John Balian. John is selling Viscom fuel for $3.99 per gallon for diesel and $4.99 a gallon for gas. You have to wish him the best in today's marketplace and tidelands permit increases.

It was also interesting to see all the different signs around town. Three caught my eye: "Slips for Rent" and "Stop the Dock Tax" and the biggest, the Lido Yacht Expo. Come down this weekend and support our local marine industry. I noticed a lot of good quality boats at the show when I walked through this week.

Sea ya!

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

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