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The Harbor Report: Tips for the Christmas Boat Parade

December 13, 2011|By Len Bose

I felt honored to be part of the crew who delivered the Balboa Yacht Club's new Committee Boat from San Francisco to Marina del Rey.

I wanted to make one shout-out to our captain, Richard DeWolf: "I will go to sea with you any time." Without a doubt, Rich is the most qualified and trusted skipper I have sailed with.

Now that I am home safely, let's talk about what is going on in Newport Harbor this week.

That's the 103rd annual Christmas Boat Parade, which runs from Wednesday through Sunday.

If you are like me, it's kind of a "bah, humbug!" type of thing. Do I really have to go freeze my butt off and fight the traffic?

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Then I look at my family and think it's time to start "Feelin' Christmas-Sea in Newport Beach." Life is too short to live like Ebenezer Scrooge. It's time to "Go Big and Go Newport," and we do the Christmas Boat Parade in this town.

I also happened to receive a phone call from this year's parade chairmen, Don Lawrenz and David Beek, whose great-grandfather was one of the founders. At last count there were more than 70 boats entered in this year's parade.

A couple of new features to note this year: For the locals, bleachers have been added in the Balboa Fun Zone, where the parade is expected to pass by around 6:34 p.m.; and if you go down Dover Drive and pull into the parking lot for the Reuben E. Lee, you should have good access to the parade around 7:44 p.m.

I also enjoy walking along South Bayfront on Balboa Island to view all the decorated homes. I find it easiest to bring my bike in the car, drop the family off at the Balboa Island bridge, park in Irvine Terrace, find a place to lock my bike, then walk down South Bayfront.

While onboard a boat if I am not in the parade, I let the parade go by, then wait about 30 minutes before I leave the slip and do a harbor cruise. I try to avoid the parade traffic the best I can. If I have to watch the parade away from my slip, I hang out in the Linda Isle lagoon or between Harbor Island and Linda Isle.

Keep one of your VHFs on Channel 68 for the most updated information, along with following the parade on Facebook and Twitter.

Hey, Don or David, why don't you let me write posts on Facebook and Twitter? Also, make sure you keep a lookout for Peter Barbour and his under 30-foot boat in the parade. I feel Peter has more fun than anyone else on the parade route. Make sure you yell a big "thank you" to Peter this year.

The Ring of Lights awards are for our harbor's waterfront homeowners and were judged Monday night. Phil and Mary Lyons of Harbor Island won the 2011 Sweepstakes award.

Checking out all the waterfront homes is one of my favorite features of the parade. My understanding is that the Balboa Island South Bayfront homes go all out for this event, Lido Isle and the south Peninsula homeowners are getting more into the spirit, and my Ebenezer Scrooge award this year goes to the homeowners on the upper Balboa Peninsula and our local restaurants. I hope these two groups step it up next year!

It should be a perfect Christmas Boat Parade this year. Make sure you start "Feelin' Christmas-Sea in Newport Beach."

Sea ya!

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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