Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


How Not To Hamstring A Beautiful Fleet Before It's Born

It comes down to performance and profile. Simple as that.

There's a lot of controversy about forcing the local nascent Harbor-20 fleet into the narrow confines or class rules and restrictive boat templates which fit Newport Beach (NPB) harbor. I am stating that it would be a tragedy to do this when there are only four boats (maybe) which are (more or less) class-compliant and two boats (for sure) which are rigged with spinnakers and one with a large-roach mainsail.

My first complaint against class regimentation is that it is championed by the local putative dealer and its NPB builder. These guys don't have a stake in sailing these boats - only in selling them. In regard to the latter, I'm saying that quick bucks during the current yachting recession should not be made the order of the day. What will sell these boats in the long term is how they sail and how they look.

Boats without spinnakers and full-roach mains may look and perform well in NPB. That's because spinnakers are out-lawed by the NPB harbor regulations for all boats: that's why those NPB boats don't have spinnakers - not by choice of the owners.

It should also be a matter of owner discretion as far as mainsail roach. I believe that mainsails on H-20's need a little more thrust to power them through the chop that often builds up in our channel, especially in light air. Boats with fuller-sized mainsails are just closer to being robust enough for our coastal sailing and racing venue. That's why full roaches are modern! Remember, the Harbor-20's were built (and codified) in 1990!

Electronics: Boats in NPB do not have GPS electronics, because NPB has wall-to-wall landmarks. And most of them are high walls! In thirty years of sailing in NPB harbor, I lost my bearings only once and that was hitting a dock in a pea soup fog. Racing in the ocean as they do 100% of the time, SBH-20F boats should be open on electronics as a matter of safety.

I understand the arguments for class purity and how it relates to re-sailability. I also understand the lure of one-design racing. But racing level, without handicap, has more attraction. IMHO.

I am speaking as one who does not have a portfolio. I do not own a H-20. For some reason, unknown to me, I nevertheless feel I am a stakeholder in the way your fleet shakes out. Perhaps I want to believe I may become a H-20 owner and sailor before my boat-owning and sailing days are over.

If that's the case, I'll say:

Make mine an Ocean-20!


  1. I realize there is a lot of confusion re spinnakers but for us to be a one design fleet ,which we just established, it requires all the boats to have the same sail plan. It would be greatly appreciated if you would be willing to comply at this time so as not to negatively affect our first one design race. Please be aware a lot of time and effort has got us to this point. We all need to sit down and discuss several issues and I assure you spinnakers will be at the top of the list.

    Thank you in advance for your understanding and compliance.

  2. I love the Harbor 20s! I want a blue one, with a full roach, spinnaker, and one of those little motor thingies on the back. Great, great boat! Let's go sailing, dammit.

  3. Doc, You know what I think you should name your boat?


    Whenever you win, you could disprove that old saying!

  4. Where you're sailing, you need to call it