Friday, July 29, 2005

Catalina Cruise, Part 5 (Newport)

Part 5: Newport Beach and Harbor

Entering the harbor, we soon found ourselves in the middle of a hundred miniature sailboats all darting about the harbor. Two of the local yacht clubs were conducting childrens' sailing classes; at least a few dozen of the little Sabots belonged to the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Instructors in Boston Whalers motored about the harbor to try to keep some order while passing on tips to the six- and seven-year-old mariners in the square-ended craft.

Above is pictured our destination, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Newport Harbor.

At right is Hagar in her overnight berth at the check-in dock.

Also very visible in the harbor were every manner of sail and power craft and even representatives of a squadron of electric “Duffy” boats. Some of them appeared to be privately owned or rented; others seemed to be operated by professional skippers, with customers relaxing around a table set with snack tidbits and drinks. More athletic folks enjoyed running up and down the walkways that bordered the harbor.

Check-in at the club was quite simple; we simply gave our club affiliation and boat information to one of the receptionists in the office. I believe one of our skippers was offered the option of signing in to use the restaurant and bar, but decided not to bother since we planned to have our dinners on board and still had a lot of food onboard.

Unfortunately, not having much time at the club (and arriving on a weekday) meant that we didn’t get to see much of the place or meet the members. I had particularly hoped to meet Rod Woods, the friendly and helpful Vice Commodore who arranged for our visit, and thank him for his club’s hospitality. Perhaps another time that will happen; certainly they have a beautiful and active facility and by far my biggest regret was not having time to explore the area further and meet folks.

One of the ladies in the office gave us the location of the nearest supermarket, about a third of a mile away, and I went off with Capt. Al on a steak run. Besides some nice steaks we returned with lots of other goodies for the galley and grog locker. Most of the treats were a big hit, although one crew member turned out not to be a big fan of grapes. I got the discount price by entering my phone number into the checkout machine even though I'd forgotten my Von's card.

That evening we had a bluegrass concert and humor-fest on the ship’s boom box and learned various “facts” about country, folk, and bluegrass music mixed in with some pickin’ and strummin’ and singin’, quotes from Shakespeare, and other odd bits. Unfortunately, the batteries faded just in the middle of the story about a horse just retired to a luxurious life in green pastures, rolling in and eating the grass. That one will just have To Be Continued.


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