I started this week by taking my bicycle ride on the beach trail, and as the crisp winter air touched my face, I looked out over Catalina as a boxer looks at his next opponent.
This weekend is the Mid-Winter Catalina Island Race (formerly known as the first race of the Whitney/Times/Bogart Series). It's one of my favorite races of the sailing season.
This time of year we always get our best breeze, and when sailing to the island, the first thing you usuallly notice is how green it is. I have to assume we will miss that this year because of the lack of rain.
I am just hoping for some good breeze so that we have an exciting run down the back side and do our normal one foot on the beach as we round the east end of the island before heading to the finish. The race starts and finishes at the Port of Los Angeles harbor entrance, and we round the island on our left side or to port of the boat.
Just as I started to pick up the wind direction on the water, my phone rang and people began calling me about the upcoming Midwinter Regatta hosted by the American Legion Yacht Club on Feb. 15 and 16. This is the first race of the Newport Beach High Point Series.
Already entered are Linstar, Amante and Baraka. I have heard that Roy Jones' Tango, Chuck Brewer and Joe Carter's Heartbeat, Taylor Grant's eXigent, Tim Harmon's Cirrus, Paul Stemler's Patriot, Gerald Madigan's Berserk, Brian Dougherty's Legacy, John Szalay's Pussy Cat and Peter Bretschger's Adios all plan on participating, just to name a few.
I can't explain how important it is this season to compete locally and support Newport Harbor's PHRF fleet. It has also been suggested that this year's winning High Point crew will receive sailing vests. Remember, you have to play local to win.
My mind wandered as I rode toward Newport Harbor, recalling last week's interview with Capt. Brian Blair and his comments about our harbor's only commercial sea wall, located between the Bluewater Grill and the Cannery restaurants.
Why have we kept this sea wall at the deepest point into our harbor, where the water is the most stagnant and the land side continues to turn into primarily residential use? With the devolvement of Lido Village and the old City Hall area, how will our marine industry continue to access this sea wall?
About this time, I stopped riding my bike and called Harbor Commissioner David Girling, who is also chairman of the subcommittee for the development of the Lower Castaways. Fortunately, Girling was a good listener as I tried to explain the need for another commercial sea wall and how the Lower Castaways is the perfect location.
Girling thanked me for my call and encourages more of our harbor users to contact the commissioners about their harbor concerns and to attend the next Harbor Commission meeting, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers.
My next stop was our local shipyards. I noticed the Choate 48-foot Amante and the J-124 Marisol getting work done to their bottoms. The 78-foot Nordland Shanakee was also out of the water getting ready for the upcoming season at the Newport Harbor Shipyard.
While at Basin Marine, the first thing that grabs your eye is the 62-foot light-yellow Viking sportfisher. I am not going to lie: That is one good-looking yacht, and I am sorry I did not remember its name.
The J-122 TKO was replacing its bottom paint and getting ready for the upcoming racing season. Speaking of good-looking yachts, earlier this week I also noticed Manaaki, the Friendship 40-footer, leaving Basin Marine after receiving a buff and wax to its hull.
I would have thought it received a new paint job. Every time I notice Manaaki on the water, I have to do a double take.