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The Harbor Report: Digging Doug's work on the harbor

May 16, 2013|By Len Bose
  • Irene and Doug West aboard "Islander."
Irene and Doug West aboard "Islander." (Courtesy Len Bose )

As I work my way around the harbor each week, I always look for people I would like to emulate. One such person is Doug West, and I have said this before about Doug and his efforts as chairman of the Newport Beach Harbor Commission. He wants to help and improve our boating activities and harbor. "I want to become part of our community," he explained during an interview this week. So for my own selfish reasons, I wanted to learn about the man and ask him a few questions.

Doug grew up in Michigan and, as a child, spent summers in Nantucket Sound and Martha's Vineyard. At the age of eight, he took his first sail aboard a friend's 26-foot wooden sailboat. "That's the day I got hooked on boats," he said. "I still remember that sail." He later attended Michigan State University and then spent three years in the Peace Corps in Jamaica, working in the fishing industry building boats.

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On his return home, he enrolled at Michigan State's College of Law and then went to work at the Ford Motor Co. in the litigation department and product liability. In 1982, he was recruited by Toyota and continued to work his way up the food chain, where he spent his last five years in government relations in Washington, D.C. and then retired in 2006.

Doug has three children from a previous marriage and met his , Irene, in 1986 when they first moved to Newport Beach. After living in Japan for a year and Washington, D.C. for five years, he and Irene returned to Newport Beach upon his retirement from Toyota.

Ever since moving to Newport Beach, Doug has owned power boats and now owns a Tiara 36 by the name of Islander. Each year, he and Irene return to Martha's Vineyard, and for most of his boating life, he has cruised Nantucket Sound. "I have two oceans and one boat," he told me as he started to describe his boating life. "I really love coastal cruising." He and Irene have spent a lot of time cruising Southern California from Santa Barbara down to San Diego and countless trips to Catalina. While describing Catalina, Doug said, "It's like another world over there." The two of them take an annual Catalina cruise each year for 10 days and even make it to the back side of the island to spend time in Little Harbor.

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