The 2014 sailing season will be upon us before you know it, and this year, our local PHRF fleet needs your help. I will start to sound like a broken record, but I trust you still understand my meaning — local participation is at an all-time low. The next time you are going through one of the yacht clubs or West Marine, make sure you pick up the new Assn. of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs (AOCYC) racing calendar.
After you return to your workplace, open the calendar or look up AOCYC online and look for the Newport Harbor High Point Series. The first race is the Midwinter Regatta on Feb. 15 and 16 sailed out of the American Legion Yacht Club. Bill McNamara will be the principal race officer and has promised to set up proper windward leewards on Saturday and a random leg race on Sunday.
Call your crew or, better yet, call your skipper and tell them you want that Newport High Point burgee this year. Maybe, if we are really lucky, the AOCYC will present sailing vests to the winning crew.
So don't just let the crew of Amante, Tango or Pussy Cat wear those vests around town this time next year. Get on the phone and mark your calendar: Midwinter Regatta, ALYC, Feb. 15 and 16; 66 Series Race No. 1, Balboa Yacht Club, April 5; Ocean Racing Series No. 8, Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, July 12; Ahmanson Cup Regatta, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Sept. 20 and 21; and 14 Mile Bank Race, Newport Ocean Sailing Assn., Oct. 4.
I will be sailing the J 109 Linstar through the High Point Series and hope to see more of Marisol, Cirrus, Legacy, Campaign II, Harmony, Checkmate, Patriot, Heartbeat, TKO and Cursor, just to name a few.
If you are like me, you are just itching to get back out on the race course. The first event is the BCYC's Ocean Racing Series on Jan. 18. The way the weather has been, the odds are good it will be a real barn-burner. This event should give you a chance to get the crew out and do a few tacks and jibes. For you helmsmen, this will give you a chance to find those telltales again and remember all those things on your boat that you forgot to fix over the holidays.
For those of you who did not have a chance to sail in some of our harbor holiday races, you did not miss anything other than abnormally warm weather. The BYC Sunkist Series has almost been shut out with the breeze being absent the last two months. In October, we had enough breeze to reach the finish line and only a couple of boats finished in November. In A fleet, It's OK won the October race, and in B fleet, Doubletime was one of the few boats that stayed in the breeze to finish in November. Doubletime leads B fleet, followed by Marisol. In C fleet, Legacy and Berserk are tied for first and over in D fleet, Violetta has sailed well in the light breeze. In E fleet, Campaign has been doing well and keeping Madness and Little Crazy behind on corrected time.
The only breeze we have had over this holiday season has been in the bay. The BCYC Hot Rum Series has gotten in four races. In A fleet, Tim Harmon's blue-shirted crew aboard Cirrus has a commanding lead. John Szalay's Peterson 34 loves the light breeze and sailing in the harbor and has a good lead over second-place Maiden. In C fleet, Beverly Evans' rock-star crew aboard Harmony has been doing whatever it takes to keep Bob Wine's Carioca from correcting on them. The last race of this series is Jan. 12.
If you would like to learn all this sailing jargon I have been using and would like to learn more about racing sailboats, make sure you mark your calendars for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the BCYC. Fleet captain Paul DeCapua will provide "Sailboat Racing 101." This seminar is aimed toward first-time racers and will cover the basics…the rules of the road, starting, sailing the course and finishing. Simple explanations, combined with simple graphics, make the various aspects of racing easy to understand. Last time, we had more than 30 people attend and we already have 15 people signed up this time. We will also encourage some of our club skippers to attend and look for new crew members. The best part is, it's free! Just go to bcyc.org or call (949) 644-9530 to RSVP. I will be there, so make sure you say hello to the happy bald chubby guy with the Reyn Spooner on.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.