Bring it to Tony.
That's what parents and coaches have been telling young sailors for more than 30 years.
Tony Burica repairs Naples sabots — the 8-foot boats popular in Newport Harbor — with unrivaled care and craftsmanship. As the summer racing season winds up, Burica, 83, begins another year of patching, sanding and painting.
But this may be his last.
As soon as he can find someone to take over his Victoria Avenue shop, which Burica built by hand, he'll retire to spend more time with his wife, Tereza. But local sailors say nobody can replace him.
"He's like old-world craftsman, and that's very difficult to find these days," said champion sailor Mark Gaudio, 54, who brought his sabot to Tony when he was a kid and whose son does the same.
Burica immigrated to the U.S. in a five-year odyssey from Croatia, his homeland. At one point, he and a friend sailed across the Atlantic in an 18-foot wooden boat they built from scratch.