The Harbor Report: Loosening the belt again at boat show

I am writing my column aboard a 757 headed to Miami in an effort to sell a 2009 Tiara 3900 power boat. As I review the boat's specification sheet, in preparation for the boat's inspections, my mind returns to a few of the observations I noticed around the harbor last week.

I started at the Newport Beach boat show at Lido Village, and one of the first things I noticed was that most of the yacht brokers I have worked with over the past 25 years have all gotten older and seem to be pulling their pants higher.

Now, this could be because yacht sales have been rather depressed over the past seven years and we all have had to tuck in our shirts and tighten up our belts. After last week's show, I felt that for the first time in a long time, I can let my belt out a notch or two.

From my perspective, this spring's show appeared to have more yachts and prospective buyers than I have seen in a long time. For some time now, our harbor brokerage inventory has receded faster than my hairline. As I walked around the show, I was encouraged by the increase in inventory being presented by a number of Southern California new-boat sales representatives. In my business, seeing new boats being commissioned in our local shipyards is a good thing.

I was working the show at the Pacific Yachting Club display, where we exceeded our sales goals by obtaining more new members than we had expected and were well received throughout the yachting community with the introduction of our power boat club.

It was also very encouraging to have as many readers stop by and say hello and tell me how much they enjoy reading my stories. I was asked questions about everything from eelgrass to tidal gates. One reader even said, "You make it so much easier for me to stay informed about our harbor. Thank you."

Any time I receive compliments like that, I am good for a couple more years writing about our harbor.


Last Saturday, team Linstar, the sailboat I race on, participated in the BYC 66 series. This was the second of five races in the Newport Beach High Point Series. Brian Dougherty's J105 Legacy sailed another good race and has taken over the lead in the series. At this point, we have a three-way tie for second among Tango, Amante and Adios.

Out on the water, it's starting to feel more like spring with cool, crisp, strengthening westerly breezes rolling down our coast, which will make the upcoming Ensenada race that much more exciting.

This year's Baldwin Cup felt more like an America's Cup than ever before. The intensity and the excitement of four-on-four team racing kept me at the edge of my seat. I knew all the names of our local skippers and crews, and when they walked by me on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club docks, it felt like I was back in the media center during a press conference at last year's America's Cup.

I have one shout-out that has to be given to Jennifer Lancaster, Justin Law and Nick Steele. While I was walking back to my car after the Baldwin Cup, I looked out over the harbor and noticed the winds had picked up to close to 20 knots. Just then, two inexperienced Hobie 16 sailors, with the boat's main battens hanging out of its sail, flipped over and sent the skipper and crew into the cold water.

After they struggled to right their boat for some time, it quickly became apparent that they were in big trouble. Just then, after a long hard week of racing, Lancaster, Law and Steele hopped into one of the club's inflatables and helped the sailors return safely to shore.

Next time you see one of these three, please say, "Well done," because going that extra mile and helping distressed sailors is what makes this harbor so great.

Sea ya.

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

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