The Harbor Report: The numbers are in for Newport winter

I have been out on the harbor a lot lately, sailing my Harbor 20 and showing boats. Therefore, it must be that time to update you on the past winter's race results, upcoming races and some of my harbor observations.

While walking through the shipyards this week, I could not help but notice our harbor's larger racing sailing boats being pulled out in preparation for next month's Newport to Cabo race sponsored by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. At last count, there are 35 boats entered in this year's race. The first item I noticed, while walking through the yards, was that all of these finally tuned racing machines had been sitting in the mud in their slips.

You can't help from saying to yourself, "That's bad," and by the fifth time you hear yourself say that, you can only hope that Harbor Commissioner Doug West and his team can find a way to obtain a usable RGP-54 dredging permit. If you are not familiar with what a RGP dredging permit is, please refer to my Jan. 24 column "The eelgrass is greener with state blessing."

This year's winter series has wrapped up, with most of the events being sailed in light winds, which was the exact opposite from last year. Over at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Rhonda Tolar's Farr 40, "Wild Thing," won Class A in the Hot Rum series, while "Violetta" won Class B and "Sleeping Beauty" won Class C. The club's Ocean Series is already underway, with Paul Casanova's Santa Cruz 50, "Flaca," leading the series, followed closely by Jeff Burch and his Tripp 33, "Hot Ticket."

This is a long series, and I am sure the leader board will change many times. One of the standouts in this series is Karl Pomeroy's new J/70, "Zero to 60." Karl and his crew have been all father-and-son teams, which is always heartwarming to watch.

Just up the street, Balboa Yacht Club has completed its Sunkist Series. Tolar, again with "Wild Thing," won Class A, with "It's OK" following in second and "Dare" in third. In the Thistle Fleet, Joel Buffa was this year's winner, and over in the Laser Fleet, Gator Cook took home the first-place prize.

Next in the Lido 14 Fleet, Kim McRae won A Fleet, and in B Fleet, Dave Smith won, followed by Steve Mueller in second. In the adult sabots, it was fun to see Nancy Mellon win this series. The big winners in the Harbor 20 A Fleet were Debra and Peter Haynes, followed by Carter Ford in second and John Whitney in third. In B Fleet, Gregg Kelly took the top honors with the Blatterman/Cazier team coming in second. The winner in C Fleet was Scott Barnes; next was Steve Sellinger, taking second.

Across the harbor was the NHYC Winter Series, which had 22 Harbors 20s in A Fleet, 21 in B's and five in C's. You can do the math: That's a huge turnout this year, and to no one's surprise, Diane and Bill Menninger continue to lead the fleet and won the winter series in A Fleet. Bob Yates sailed very consistently and was able to overtake Team Haynes for second place.

In B Fleet, Kelly sailed a good series and won, followed by Thomas Hartmann in second and Helen Duncan in third. Scott Barnes won the C Fleet and it looks like he will be "Movin' On," which is the name of his boat, to B's very soon. The Lehman 12's had a fleet of 12 boats, with Perry Emsiek staying in the front most of the time. The Finns had a good turnout, with Bill Bissell winning that class.

I also had time to look around the harbor this week. It appears that the New Port Marina project is back on track. That's the building that is going in between Woody's Wharf and the Crab Cooker. The place has been sitting still for most of last year, and I have seen some activity since the start of the year. I have also received word that our harbor master, Lt. Tom Slayton, is going the extra mile to show visiting yachtsmen that Newport Harbor is "the friendliest harbor in Southern California." Slayton has been in contact with Harbor Commissioners David Girling, Doug West and Paul Blank to discuss this task.

I also heard that Letty Giang is working on a public forum on SUP safety, with dates penciled in for April and May. More to come on this topic as the dates get closer. If you would like more information on this topic, you can always reach me at or follow my blog site at Midwinters this weekend; remember it's the first race of the Newport Beach High Point Series.

Sea ya.

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

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