Tidings from the Waterfront

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The Merrimac
The Merrimac

Thank you for the nice emails I’ve received about my recent columns. Bob reminded me that “Silverado” (which I wrote about last issue) had a glass window below the water line in the bar saloon down below for viewing the undersea world.

Bill noted he had the first 30-foot Vega motor sailer which was designed by Bill Crealock. Denny mentioned she mailed my Ditmar and Donaldson column to Mrs. Donaldson and then reminisced and corrected me that Don Donaldson did the designing.

Last Friday, January 4, was one of the few times lately that I’ve been able to take my shirt off while working on “Sundance” at the marina. The warm weather let me know that So-Cal still gets warm in the “dead of winter.” Do we live in the greatest harbor or what?

This last Tuesday, I did a sea trial outside the harbor and again it was shirts off warm. I’ve included a photo of what our area allows on the 8th of January. Yes, that is also a So-Cal gal wakeboarding with her male friend. Eat your heart out East Coast and Mid West neighbors!

A few weeks ago I mentioned the “Merrimac,” which was built in Costa Mesa and is for sale through Newport’s Ardell Yachts. While heading out to the ocean Tuesday I saw it on a mooring off the Coast Guard pier and snapped a picture (oops – minus the bow) to show off the beautiful look and design. Dennis Moran is the go-to broker with the listing.

There were a few people outside the harbor on the “Western Pride,” out of Davey’s Locker, which had a dozen or so fishermen aboard searching for their dinners. We saw a school of porpoise jumping off in the distance and the Bell Buoy off the jetty was full of sea lions. The wife of one of my clients was so enamored in past outings with the sea lions on the buoy whenever we leave the harbor on their 56-foot Sunseeker; she always asks to please make sure our course includes a short stop to watch them. Sometimes they are sleeping soundly and other times it’s a friendly battle for the smaller ones to find room on the buoy.

There was a slow rolling four foot mild swell a few miles out and no wind chop which allowed for a calming ocean effect. Surfers may have been disappointed but the boaters enjoyed one of the most beautiful days, and the sight of snow capped mountains in the distance was breath-taking.

I notice from other reading material that the new huge dock tax is still noteworthy. While everyone, except city staff, still have a bad taste in their mouth, time is of the essence to promote and insist that this new money is only used for maintenance dredging. There is two to three feet of muck on the bottom in the majority of our harbor with more coming from our “upper bay wildlife refuge” due to the rains in the Back Bay. Our government has spent more than 30 million dollars ensuring those poor little creatures back there have nice habitat. It’s a novel expenditure but let’s not forget the humans.

The little bit of dredging we’ve witnessed in the lower bay is commendable, but a large portion of the money came from the county and feds. We’ve received no money from the Coastal Commission (they’re takers, not givers!). These other funds were conditional that from now on the city is to maintain the harbor and not to expect or even ask for federal money in the future. The feds created this wonderful harbor and there are still state and federal controls, but the cost from now on is on us. Let’s unite and lock the new taxes up for the badly needed dredging. Most people I’ve asked would never even consider swimming in the bay. Let’s change this back to a clean sandy bottom which we would swim in again!

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

Steve Barrett has more than 50 years boating in Newport and performs systems checks and repairs on yachts. Email him at [email protected].


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