The Harbor Report: Sleeping Beauty's owner a true prince

When you're on the harbor sailing every week, one of the first things you notice is, people who sail more than you. One such sailor is Mike Inmon, in his light blue Venture 23, Sleeping Beauty.

I am sure you have noticed Sleeping Beauty over the last four years. It's hard to miss with its huge square top main and bowsprit. Mike first purchased a similar boat back in 1979 when he was a boat dealer for MacGregor in New Orleans. He only owned the boat for six months before he sold it and purchased a larger MacGregor. The years passed, and Mike and his wife Judy moved to Marina del Rey to run the MacGregor dealership. One day, Judy was looking for a Venture 23 and found one that had been kept in a shed in Arizona and had not seen daylight in 30 years. "It had original upholstery and looked like it was brand new, other than the trailer and outboard," Mike told me.

He purchased new sails, cleaned up the bottom and rigging, then went sailing. Mike sails Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights throughout the summer and our harbor winter series, about 100 races a year. When I asked him if he had any secrets when sailing the harbor, he said, "I try to get on the race course an hour early and look at the wind and tide. I go to certain parts of the bay and check out the racing marks and come up with a plan on how I will round that mark." During the summer, he has the bottom of the boat cleaned once a week and races with a different number of crew, depending on which night he is racing.

I asked Mike if he had a favorite night. "I enjoy them all for different reasons," he said. "Monday nights, American Legion Sundowner Series, are fun because most of the time, we have an upwind leg and we are racing similar boats our size. BCYC Taco Tuesdays are well-run races with a good turnout. I enjoy South Shore Yacht Club's Wednesday nights, because that's the club we belong to and most all the boats are the same size as my boat — plus, the food is good after the racing. Thursday nights are fun because we get to race with the big boats in the harbor."

For the past 34 years, Mike has been selling new boats, and has always sold MacGregor Yachts. Today, he is involved with selling the new MacGregor 70s and plans on racing the new boat next April in the Ensenada race. Over the years, Mike has sold an average of about 40 MacGregor sailboats each year; that's 1,360 boats in his career. As the last remaining salesman at MacGregor, he also took part in most of the factory dealers' sales. That number is off the charts when you consider how many boats MacGregor has sold over the years. In my mind, this places Mike as one of our sport's unsung heroes for introducing sailing to more people than anyone else.

Next time you notice Sleeping Beauty sailing in the harbor or at the yacht club after racing, make sure you say hello to Mike and his crew, then give him a big thank you. Because if you think about it, this is the type of sailor who continues to promote sailing and has done more for our sport than anyone else before him.

Thanks, Mike, and we will sea ya on the harbor soon.

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

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