Fun on the Water, Then and Now

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Since last week the fishing is improving from Ensenada to San Onofre.

The yellowtail bite has increased south of San Diego with the majority weighing in at 20-30 pounds. From the border to Dana Point there are occasional schools of barracuda, consistent decking of sand and calico bass and white sea bass being caught daily.

Squid for bait has arrived on shore, although a little spotty. Using live squid is best for white sea bass, which can also be caught at dawn and dusk. Some have been landed in the twilight hours. La Jolla and Oceanside have the best fish counts of yellowtail and bass.

With regards to last week’s article on fishing in Newport, I forgot to mention that prior to managing Port Orange, my Dad obtained his 100-ton commercial captain’s license at the age of 20. At that time, he was the youngest licensed captain in the nation. For one or two summers he, along with older captains, took customers fishing offshore from the sport boats at Port Orange.

There are a few boating events coming soon to Newport Harbor.

The largest yacht “rafting,” (side-tying together while anchored in the Harbor) will be Aug. 4 in the anchorage area. This event is hosted by South Shore Yacht Club. This event has included 30 or more boats tied together. All size and shape of vessels are welcomed. They will have a live band, in-the-water hot tubs, barbecuing, dancing and dingy races. This group always has an upbeat and energetic day.

If we can dial this in to our schedule, I’d like to launch Gypsy IV and tie up with them. If you’re included and see a blue and white 1968 17-foot Glaspar Seafarer, please come over and say hello. I’d love to visit about Newport Harbor, sailing, cruising and fishing. We boaters are a friendly group and never tire of “boat speak.”

Presently, the anchorage has been moved to the West end of Lido Isle from the Turning Basin (east end of Lido). On July 1, the anchorage was to return when the dredging of this area was to be completed. As of last Saturday the anchorage was still at the temporary location at the west end. The dredging was halted prior to completion – I suspect the project was slower than anticipated.

The City of Long Beach is re-evaluating whether the proper depth of contaminated sand has been achieved at their project site. Upon completion of their survey I hope our local project can continue. Without the dredge spoils barged to Long Beach the only other alternative our government allows is land disposal which would cost 10 or 20 times the Long Beach site.

Aug. 17-19, Stan Milie Yachts – and in the past, Basin Marine Shipyard – hosts a fishing tournament for Cabo and Hatteras Sport fishers. A good time is had by all.

Aug. 27-28 is the Catalina Church Mouse Marlin Invitational Fishing Tournament. The boat fee of $700 will be charged in Avalon to benefit youth programs. The tournament is approaching $1 million in donations. It includes the newer format of catch-and-release. Prizes are given for achievement. The event is nonprofit. They also will include yellowtail, white sea bass and halibut for prizes.

I bumped into Tom Schock the other day at Ardell Marina. Tom’s family designed and built more than 20 different sailboats, and have had the Boston Whaler and Grady White dealership for more than 50 years. Tom has crewed Monday nights for Tucker Cheadle on his Harbor 20. I’ve had the pleasure of growing up with Tom’s younger brother, Scott, sailing at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, and for as long as I can remember watching Tom win too-numerous-to-count races in scores of Schock boats.

We recently moved, and Judy and I looked through our lifetime of boating photos to separate from others to possibly include in my writing. I mentioned to Tom that I found a few photos of my Dad, Tom and others at the Thistle Nationals in 1959 at Huntington Lake in the High Sierras. Tom corrected me when I mentioned he towed his Thistle with his perfectly restored “Woody.” (I remembered seeing his Woody when he went to Newport Harbor High and I was still in elementary school.) He stated he was 15 years old and couldn’t drive. Tom and his crew of Orin Wright and one other member, I don’t recall his name, won the Nationals and were the only teenagers asked to compete. I don’t remember, maybe his dad, towed up the first catamaran sail boat I’d ever seen, which was about 18 feet and just completed by his father. They called it a Catalina Catamaran.

The wind that weekend was pretty strong and the 18-foot Thistles were extremely fast in these conditions. After the races, I saw Tom readying the cat to launch. He asked me, this 9-year-old who had been sailing with his older brother for a couple of years, if I wanted to test the boat with him and his crew. That was the first time I can recall that I thought I must be in heaven! It seemed to me at the time that we were achieving water skiing speed, which for me was over 20 miles per hour. The yelling, laughter and delight of achieving those speeds was nothing short of spectacular for all four of us aboard.

The Schock family also produced much larger sailing catamarans with Buddy Ebsen. But that’s a story for another time.

Ever since that time I have been a true believer in the merits of multi-hulled vessels. While these vessels’ achievements were slower than I expected due to them costing more to make than monohulls, the last 20 years or so have shown their speed and versatility for modern uses.

I was in the mooring, dock and seawall business for 30 years. For a time in the 1980s I designed a 65-foot catamaran powerboat with five staterooms and the space of a large home. I had hoped to build it and park it on my mooring in the “J” section adjacent to the American Legion. I wanted to live aboard and spend my summer weekends at Catalina enjoying the good life. I still haven’t obtained the funds for the cat, but I’d still like to build it and live on it. Living on a yacht in Newport Harbor is still less expensive than purchasing a home on the bayfront. If there are any dreamers out there like me; maybe we could partner up and start production to share with others our desired life’s dreams.

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

Steve Barrett is a marine consultant specializing in yachts and docks. He can be reached via

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