No matter how much I try to ignore it, fall is here and the 2011 sailing season is winding down. That means it's time for Newport Harbor's yacht club award banquets.
For me, the award nights are like the start of the holidays with all of your friends attending and remembering all the up and downs you had over the boating season. It also gives you time to start talking about what you have planned for next year.
Who knows? If you see your favorite competitor make his way to the awards' platform for the third time, you might just find the money for that new bottom you have been thinking about.
The first awards event this year is at the Balboa Yacht Club. "The Balboas" are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12.
The most distinguished award at BYC is the Sportsman of the Year award for "displaying outstanding sportsmanship during the yachting season."
Other sought-after awards given out this night will be the "Leo Collin Perpetual for sailing in the Sunkist, Twilights and Beercans." Also on the agenda is the presentation of The William & Ann Campbell Trophy for first place overall in the 66 Series.
BYC is also very proud to recognize Barry Wood for all his efforts in promoting "The Harry Wood Regatta," a race named after Barry's father. This is a unique award and I hope you can attend to get the whole scope on how the Wood family has earned such recognition.
The next event is the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's awards night on Saturday, Nov. 19. The big award at BCYC is the Commodore Domanski for Outstanding Committee Chair Recipient, and the Commodore Bussey for Most Active BCYC Family Recipient.
This year is also rather unique because BCYC and BYC, at each of its respective events, will be giving an award to this year's "Newport High Point Champion." This award is given to the top-scoring PHRF boat in Newport Harbor and it's my understanding that these two trophies will be something to behold.
On Dec. 3, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club will have its annual meeting. This is the night when the "mother of all awards" in Newport Harbor is given out: The Burgee of Merit, which serves as NHYC's highest honor awarded to a West Coast yachtsman.
The criteria for receiving the Burgee of Merit include competing in the Olympic Games, winning a major world championship or bringing unusual distinction to West Coast yachting in general.
Another prestigious award at NHYC is the Fletcher Olson Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the non-calm/junior sailors who have shown the most outstanding sportsmanship and leadership throughout the year.
By attending these events you will find awards that you never knew existed.
Next year, you could find yourself attending your club's fishing tournament, watching a crew regatta from the Coast Highway bridge, or joining all the C3 sabot parents screaming at their kids from the Lido Isle main dock. Attending your club's awards night might just get you to use your boat five more times next year.
Who knows? You even could volunteer to do race committee or buy that sail you need so bad.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be working on my list of Newport Harbor's 20 most interesting boats. Last year's response to this article was so strong that I was asked to do it again this year.
Look for it to appear on Fat Friday, Nov. 25. Also, if you want to review last year's 20 most interesting boats or learn who took home all the pickle dishes this year, keep an eye on my blog at http://lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.