The Harbor Report: The best of 2013 on the harbor

As we wait for winter to finally arrive at our harbor this year, two things stay constant on our calendar.

The first is that it's time for me to pull out all my Christmas Reyn Spooners and recognize this year's harbor award winners. This past weekend was the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club award banquets.

For me, these banquets are the perfect way to enter the holiday season. You gather around your sailing friends, reflect on the previous season and look at the awards that you want to compete for in the upcoming season. Half the thrill is reviewing the trophies and looking back at the past recipients.

The Newport Beach High Point Series trophy was presented at the Balboa Yacht Club awards banquet this past weekend. This year's winner is Amante, sailed by the Richley family, with Buddy Richley accepting the award.

Buddy will end up being presented this same award at the Lido Isle Yacht Club's awards banquet and the Assn. of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs' awards presentation. The idea of this harbor tour is to remind our PHRF racers that this is the big kahuna of awards. The history of the trophy dates back almost 20 years.

Some of the big winners at BYC this year were Erik Berzins, winning the Pluck Award for volunteering and working hard around the club. Greg Newman took home the Leo V. Collin Perpetual for competing in the Beer Cans, Twilights and Sunkist.

This award has always been a favorite of mine and always brings to mind one of my favorite people, Leo Collin. Enjoy the Irish coffees, Greg, because if I recall, part of the award is all the fixings to make Leo's favorite drink.

The most sought-after award at BYC is the Sportsman of the Year, which dates back to 1939 and is given to the racing skipper who consistently displays outstanding sportsmanship. Past winners include Barton Beek, Bill Ficker, Bill Taylor, Dave Ullman and Alex Irving. This year's winner is Harrison Vandervort. At the age of 16, he is, I believe, the youngest person to have won this award. Congratulations, Harrison, and well deserved.

I attended the BCYC ceremony last weekend and have to give a big shout-out to Lori and Andy Everson, who are the award chairs. I have been to many of these events and, without exception, I have never had a better time than I did last weekend. It felt as though I was at an old sailing club event with constant laughter, slaps on backs and smiling people filling the room.

This year's big winners at BCYC were the Pickell family, taking home the Commodore Bussey Award for the most active yachting family. It was fun to watch the kids, Samantha and Derek, receive their different junior awards and Sarah Pickell receive the Willie Williamson Memorial for being the most generous senior to the Junior Board earlier in the night. Watching the whole family come up for the Bussey award was one of those priceless moments.

Rhonda Tolar took home most of the sailing awards this year for her Farr 40 Wild Thing. My good friend Mary Bacon received Officers and Directors 1962, the award of merit for outstanding service to the club, for the second year in a row. Mary is a great mentor, and I hope to get my name placed on that award someday.

The big award at BCYC is the Elmer Carvey Memorial Scholarship (until 1982 the Balboa Bay Club Yachtsman of the Year), now awarded to the yachtsman who most contributed to the organized yachting community. Past winners of this award have been Cooper Johnson, Jim Emmi, Ted Kerr, Hobie Deny, Lorin Weiss and Peter Haynes — the list reads on and on and includes Newport's best yachtsmen.

This year's winner is Len Bose, and I cannot describe how honored I am to place this award on top of my trophy case.

There are more awards to come with the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's annual meeting and Lido Isle Yacht Club's awards banquet. And let's not forget that Harbor 20's Fleet 1 will also be passing out some pickle dishes soon.

Good times, good friends and one fantastic harbor.

Sea ya.

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

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