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The Harbor Report: Fixing up for the races

February 28, 2013|By Len Bose

Spring is approaching, and the boats have returned to Newport Harbor. With this year's Islands Race, Cabo and Transpac all on the horizon, a large number of race boats have gathered here in Newport Beach for their annual maintenance.

The most interesting megayacht is not in town for our local offshore races, but it sure appears it can run with the big dogs. The 77-foot Sparkman & Stephens-designed Aandeel (formerly known as Sleighride), now 82 feet, has received a refit, with five feet added to its overall length. Up-and-coming yacht designer Adam Voorhees received his first contract to design the refit. Performing the refit was our own Westerly Marine from Santa Ana, with owner Lynn Bowser directing his crew at Newport Harbor Shipyard. When I approached the yacht, Lynn gave me a warm welcome and took a couple of minutes to introduce the boat to me before he had to get back to work applying the keel to the boat. According to a good friend of mine, the boat was lifted to its maximum height with the shipyard's travel lift; they had just four inches to spare above the keel height to the bottom of the boat when applying the keel.

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For those who have not heard of Westerly Marine, they have long been one of the world's best custom-boat builders and have been able to stay in business in Costa Mesa until about 10 years ago, when they moved up to a larger location in Santa Ana. They did the work on Windward Passage's keel change and have produced a couple of Morrelli & Melvin 65-foot cruising catamarans over the last two years. I also noticed local Harbor 20 sailor Len Connelly working on this project. Len has been working for Westerly Marine for close to 20 years and plays a big part in producing some of the world's best yachts.

My understanding is that the original owner wanted an ultra-light boat, exceedingly fast, that could blow the hatches off any racing boat. The new owner, who lives in the Santa Barbara area and will keep the boat in the Ventura area, wants the same and more. Come on by the shipyard and take a look; she is truly something to behold.

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