As I headed out around the harbor this week, I realized I have not written about this year's opening days inspection winners. The time put in by these owners in preparing their vessels is overwhelming and should be recognized each season.
I have always been an advocate of preparing my boat for inspection on opening day but not with the intention of winning an award. I do it for the peace of mind that my boat will be ready for the upcoming season. One of my biggest fears is that the boat will have a major breakdown while at sea with my family and guests aboard.
The other benefit for me is the inspection marks a completion date for my spring maintenance.
This year at the Balboa Yacht Club, Pam and John Duley won the best overall boat with their Bertram 48-foot Wasabi. The Duleys have a long history of maintaining and keeping their boats in Bristol condition. Their previous boat Marlineer was a standout vessel in opening day inspections and made jaws drop when seen in Catalina.
After the Duleys sold her, they spent the next two years looking for the proper vessel that would meet their taste and desired use. They found a clean Bertram 46 and proceeded to do their magic aboard their new boat.
"The boat was very clean to start with," John Duley said. "We came in and changed the interior decor, replaced the forward hatch, painted out the bilges and updated the head system. We also updated our electronics and went through the boat's steering system and charted out the location of all of our thru hulls."
I have to give it to the Duleys for maintaining their boat themselves. They are true yachtsmen. John's last comment was almost identical to mine in regard to why he enjoys participating in opening day inspections: "It places a time frame on when everything must be completed."
Other winners at BYC were Michelle and Randall Waier with their Little Harbor, Grateful Hearts. Chandelle Humphries' Grand Banks 46, Hokule'a, Deidre and Steve Bird aboard their Buddy Davis 39, Proud Bird, and Mary and Craig Fritzsche's Catalina 36, Just Kidding.
Over at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the Hill family won the sought-after Shirley Meserve award aboard the yacht Colnett. It's my understanding that this award is given to the yacht that is best prepared to go to sea. Everything on the vessel from ship systems to safety gear is organized and understood by the crew.
The following description was given to me by part-owner and highly sought after marine surveyor Bunker Hill. Colnett is a 42-foot motor cruiser built in 1924 and commissioned in early 1925. She was built for her original owner, Mr. Vaughn, by Seacraft Shipyard in Wilmington. She was constructed to Edson B. Schock Design No. 307.
The hull is carvel planked with cedar on bent oak frames. Her cabins are built of select teak with tongue and groove decks. The original power was an Eastern Standard gasoline engine. Changes from the original drawings include a modified window layout, an aft mast stepped to the top of the upper deck and fitted with a crow's nest viewing platform.
Other winners at NHYC were Karen and Tom Linden's 46-foot Marlineer Rascal which took home the Commodores Trophy. Susie and Brian Burke's Offshore 62-foot Hau Tree, the Beneteau 47.7-foot Impasse and Bob McClair's J/32, Esprit.
Refreshing this year was that the overall winners for both BYC and NHYC were maintained by the owners. Watching and seeing the owners of these two fine vessels take home the inspection awards was encouraging.
Next time you see Hill or John Duley around town make sure you give them a proper "Well done." Who knows, you might be able to strike up a conversion with them and learn a couple of yacht maintenance secrets.
And I have said before: Ask your yacht club and its members to form a competition based on removing Mylar balloons out of the water.
Last week while sailing around Catalina aboard Linstar in the Cabrillo to Dana Point race, we picked up four bundles of balloons. We sailed past four bundles before we started picking them up. Take a photo of your catch and then properly dispose of the balloons. Send your photos to me and I will post them on my blog site.
Maybe I can find a sponsor to give us an award and we can recognize the club or person who has brought in the most helium balloons this year.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.