I made three rather interesting stops while making my way around the harbor this week.

My first stop was at the new North Sails loft, located within the MacGregor Yachts facility on Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa. I went there to meet with my friend Zack Maxam and fix one of our spinnakers we blew up on this year's Ensenada race. I was introduced to Dolph Gabeler, one of North's master sail makers.

Gabeler told me about his work for the Ocean Institute and the tall ship Pilgrim. Gabeler and has been offering free lessons on Pilgrim sail repair at the North loft in Costa Mesa. "If there is anyone out there that would like to learn how to repair these square sails and learn the art of traditional sail making, please give me a call," Gabeler said. This program sounds very interesting and might even give you a chance to go sailing aboard this fine vessel. You can reach Gabeler at (949) 645-4660.

My next stop was the Newport Harbor Shipyard, where I met the manager, Jesse Salem. I was bringing in my listing on a gorgeous 45-foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssey sailboat. After I reviewed the work that was needed with Salem, he said, "Hey, Len, you need to come check the yard's new water recycling system." It quickly became obvious that the shipyard had spent a lot of money on a new water treatment system. "When the city dredged the Rhine Channel, they got everything clean, so that sent a sign to us to do everything we possible can to keep it clean," Salem said.

One of the largest expenses for any shipyard is filtering and recycling the water it uses. Newport Harbor Shipyard has just purchased and installed the OilTrap ElectroPulse water treatment system. This system uses electrocoagulation technology to remove heavy metals, solids, oil and grease and other contaminants from the yard's water. I cannot even begin to explain how this system works, although I did pick up on a few things.

The shipyard has four deselecting sumps that collect the water from the shipyard and the dry storage. This water is sent through the water recycling system and then reused within the shipyard. This type of recycling is referred to as a closed system, where the shipyard continues recycling the same water.

You have to give credit to the folks at Newport Harbor Shipyard for going the extra mile for us, because maintaining this system will not be inexpensive. Removal of one cubic yard of the hazardous waste that comes out of this filtering system costs the shipyard $2,300 to haul away. The yard estimates that it will produce 15 cubic yards of hazardous waste per year. Then you will have to add in the cost of the electromagnetic cells that will need to be replaced almost every month along with all the chemicals to balance out the water. As a harbor user, I would ask the city to give the owners of the yard a tax break on their permits for installing such a recycling system.

My last stop was this month's Harbor Commission meeting. Reports were given by the chairs of the floating docks and water taxi ad hoc committees. It was my understanding that the pilot program for the floating docks would cost about $150,000 to $200,000 for six floating docks. These docks will be about 50 feet in length and six feet wide. There will be three systems of floating docks, with two docks per system. The program will last for one year and over two summers. Should we do this? In my opinion, yes.

The idea of making a better mooring system and reducing the footprint of the mooring fields is smart money.

The water taxi report came in a little differently, with four boats needed at a estimated cost of $150,000 each. Throw in $200,000 for employee salaries over two years, updating stopping points to meet city code, maintenance on four boats over two years and other marketing expenses, and my simple math estimates that $1 million would be needed for a two-year pilot program.

Should we do this? In my opinion, no. This just does not seem like money well spent. It was reported that Mayor Rush Hill has instructed the Harbor Commission to look into the concept of the city owning its own dredging equipment. I like this concept; I'm just not sure if this type of equipment should be outsourced. More to come on this topic.

Sea ya.

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