From the Boathouse: After taxes, a treat in the harbor

Ahoy!

April means different things to different people — like making the last minute tax-filing deadline, or the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race — but to me, April means the Newport Boat Show.

In my column last week, I mentioned how a couple of states have capped their vessel sales tax to try to lure more boat sales to their states. Additionally, did you know that the large boat shows in Florida generate more for the state's economy in a few weeks than the citrus industry generates in a whole year? So yes, boating is an economic powerhouse.

This week, we have one of the largest boat shows on the West Coast, and it's also known as the premier boat show. You should plan to visit the 40th annual Newport Boat Show, which began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday.

You can see the temporary docks and floating boats in Newport Harbor off the Lido Marina Village. At the village, the boardwalk is lined with vendors' displays selling accessories, insurance, towing packages and much more. Additionally, you can bring your dog to the show, but just keep Fluff-Fluff on a leash and pick up any deposits left behind.

This show hosts the bigger yachts; vessels can range up to 100 feet in length and have multimillion-dollar price tags. Just keep me off the docks if I have my checkbook in my pocket.

More than 200 boats will be on display. It will be a great time for walking the docks to view the spectacular yachts. Duncan McIntosh, the show organizer, managed the logistical challenge of getting all the boats into the lagoons and docks before the show started this week.

I highly recommend that you use the free off-site parking and free shuttles that depart every 15 minutes. There are two locations for free parking, and during the week, you can park at the Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, 798 Dover Drive. If you are planning to visit the show Saturday or Sunday, then park at the Hoag Health Center on Superior Avenue. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the show by boat, since no tie-up spaces are available.

You can surf to http://www.newportinwaterboatshow.com to find out hours and ticket prices to go on the docks.

Tip of the week is that the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race has a new location for the annual kick-off party that is always held on the Thursday night before the Friday start date. The party was held for decades at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, and now the event will be at the Harborside Restaurant, in the Balboa Pavilion on the Balboa Peninsula.

Balboa Village will come alive on the evening of April 25, with the restaurant featuring gourmet tacos that you can wash down with Stella Artois beer or Mount Gay rum. This will be a great event, and I hope that everyone knows about the change of venue, since I suspect many people will show-up at BCYC.

Hopefully, the race crews and spectators will not be nursing any hangovers the following day for the start of the race. I will be announcing the starting classes at the end of the Balboa Pier, where I will be situated on the upper deck of Ruby's Diner. I have been promised a great sound system that will broadcast on the pier for all to hear what is happening on the water. The start lines are located directly off the end of the Balboa Pier, so you will have an excellent view of the classes battling to cross the start line first.

Then it will be up to Mother Nature to determine when the boats will cross the finish line in Ensenada. I will have my annual weather and sea condition report next week. The racers are praying for flat seas and strong winds as they determine, depending on the wind's direction, how to approach the Coronado Islands, in Mexican waters just south of the international border.

Sail safe with extra caution when passing the islands, and never sail in between the islands. Lately, there have been a few race boats crashing on shore, and a deadly accident occurred during this event last year after a boat hit the islands. Recently a sailboat washed ashore on San Clemente Island.

We want every crew member onboard the boats to keep safety at the forefront. Skippers need to review the safety procedures and lead a safety discussion with all crew members before you leave the dock.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast to coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network at noon Saturdays and replaying throughout the weekend. See times at http://www.BoathouseTV.com, http://www.facebook.com/boathouseradio and http://www.twitter.com/BoathouseRadio.

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to mike@boathousetv.com or go to http://www.boathousetv.com.

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