It's summertime in Newport Harbor, and I had promised earlier this year that I would check in with everyone.
My first stop was with one of my favorite people, Mandy McDonnell. Mandy is the founder of Paddle for Privates and, in my mind, the person you go to to find out what's going on in the paddleboard world. This season, Mandy is working for UC Irvine coaching their kayaking, stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and sailing classes. These classes are open to UCI students, faculty, staff and alumni of all UC schools. Lessons are available in 15-foot Capris and J/22 sailboats located at the Orange Coast College sailing base. Kayaking and SUPs are at the UCI crew base in the Back Bay; lessons are available along with sunset and full-moon paddles. UCI is also contracted with the city to run its sailing and paddling program. Mandy is one of the best instructors in the harbor and a fun person to be around. Great value here; just search "UCI sailing" and "SUP" for more information.
Mandy also referred me to Pirate Coast Paddle Company, located in the Back Bay. When referring Pirate Coast to me, Mandy explained that this group goes the extra mile to ensure your safety by offering you proper lessons before just pushing you into the harbor and wishing you luck. I was referred to contact Tim Lukei about the group's lessons, kids' camp and group events. The event that grabbed my attention was the SUP glow night tours. This group came up with the idea of placing lights under the boards that place a large phosphorescent glow around the boards at night. You might have seen these lights under some of the larger power boats over the years. This sounds like "too much fun" and you can reach Tim at Pirate Coast Paddle Company at (949) 278-0011.
My next stop was with Billy Whitford at the Newport Aquatic Center. If you want to take your paddling experience to the next level, you have to check out the NAC. This is where it all started in our harbor and, without a doubt, it offers some of the best coaching in the country. NAC offers a Kids Paddle Camp and Novice Rowing Camp. You can contact the NAC at (949) 646-7725.
Summer sailing in the harbor is under way with the American Legion Yacht Club's Sundowner Series on Monday nights, with 50 boats entered. In Harbor A fleet, it appears that Jim Kerrigan in "A Salt & Battery" has a small lead. In Harbor B fleet, Judy Weightman aboard "Amazing Grace" is in the lead at this time. In PHRF A, Roger Gooding aboard "Rhythm" is starting to stretch out into the lead. In PHRF B, the gorgeous "Whisper," Bob Dodds' boat, is in control, and in PHRF C, Dustin Arnold's "Tranquility" and Leo Vortouni's "Lydie" are in a neck-and-neck battle for the lead. In PHRF D, Mike Inmon's "Sleeping Beauty" and Geoffrey Girvin's "Mystery" are tied for first. The Sundowner Series is the first to start and the last summer series to finish in the harbor, so it still is anyone's race.
On Tuesday nights, it's the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's "Taco Tuesdays," with 52 boats entered. The awards for this event are given out after each night's race, so you will need to check the BCYC website for results. It's good to see the UCI J/22 and all the different PHRF boats out racing. I have been sailing in the Harbor 20 A fleet, where Bob Yates, aboard "Jubilee," has been sailing the most consistently over the last four weeks. In the Harbor 20 B fleet, Mark Hurwitz, aboard his boat "Miss Shell," has been finishing at the top of the fleet.
I then checked in with Amy Elliott at the Balboa Angling Club. She informed me that the yellow tail, white sea bass and halibut are running and most fishermen are doing well south of Newport. Last April, the winners of the Lily Call Tournament were Rob Meinhardt with a 1.98-pound bass and Kenny Knight finding a 3.89-pound corbina. Friday starts the YSH (Yellowtail, Seabass & Halibut) Tournament, which is one of the larger events of the year.
This weekend, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club is running the Star North American Championship with 42 entries. Star boats always catch my eye, and the bay has been active with the boats sailing out to practice each day this week. This event will attract the world's best, so make sure you find a boat to go watch this weekend. Thursday was the start of NHYC twilights, which always has a good turnout.
I will be sailing in the BCYC Ocean Series this Saturday aboard the J/109 Linstar — wish me luck. Last time you wished me luck, we finished second in class around Catalina.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.Copyright © 2015, CT Now