Hawaiian Chieftain, a packet-style sailing ship built in Lāhainā, Maui, last visited Long Beach in December 2017. She is owned and operated by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport (GHHS) along with her fellow frequent Long Beach visitor, Lady Washington. Lady Washington is currently undergoing her first extended winter maintenance period in at least 12 years.
Unfortunately, Hawaiian Chieftain's sailing days are coming to an end. Last June, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors discovered serious problems with the steel in more than 15 percent of her hull and her bowsprit. She is forbidden from operating until these issues are resolved.
She was shifted from Port Townsend to Astoria in the hopes of less expensive repairs, but the cost of the repairs in either location is more than the current value of the ship.
Last week I went to Barcelona with my friend Beth, who has a knack for finding the best airfares. Beth enjoys the architectural and cultural aspects of a city while I go for the swimming pools, marinas, yacht clubs and tiki bars.
The 1992 Olympics were in Barcelona and we were interested in seeing how the improvements to the city looked 28 years after the games. A family friend and local businessman in Barcelona, Francesc Hostench, shared how the city strategically developed the waterfront for the games. It appears they did it right, based on the smart investments that encourage local young people in water sports.
I hope that we can leverage the investments made in preparations for the games to give more local children opportunities to swim, sail and enjoy our waterfront.
One of the Spanish visit highlights was seeing the Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc — the Olympic diving facility, where the iconic photos of dive competition, with the city landmarks including Basílica de la Sagrada Família in the background were taken. My hopes for a diving well to be included in the Belmont Pool rebuild continue.
Currently, Long Beach city officials are collecting public comment regarding the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Much of the input is regarding how it will best serve the 2028 Olympics. I just hope in 2056 — when our games are 28 years in the rear view mirror — those plans serve our city as wisely as Barcelona.
One popular Barcelona attraction that existed prior to the 1992 Olympics were the aerial tramways; something former Long Beach Harbor commissioner Alex Bellehumeur has suggested might be logical between Rainbow Harbor and the Queen Mary that could be ready in time for the 2028 games.
Dream big Long Beach. Now is the time.
Alamitos Bay YC will be hosting the 2020 Laser Midwinters West Regatta March 20-22. This event is a USA team qualifier for the Youth World Championship in the Laser Radial Girls' One Person Dinghy and the Laser Radial Boys' One Person Dinghy.
Many racers will be competing in the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association (SCYYRA) Ullman/Frost Series, which is open to junior sailors younger than 19 and who have not yet entered college. The Ullman series is contested in Lasers, the Frost Series in Radials.
Regatta chairman Ed Spotsky said, “We expect 70 entries and a large number of sailors from the East Coast has been impressive."
ABYC member and competitor Jorge Suarez said, “The regatta is a sailing graded event that contributes to world rankings. That is exciting stuff to me. In addition, this event is the starting ground for Olympic hopefuls, those in the 4.7 and Radials starting their Olympic journey at a young age.
"We will see competitors from Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. I’m a 55-year-old grand master and this regatta helps give me an idea of where I am. It keeps me young. There is lots of energy out on the water, at the club and the dinner. I’m older than the parents of most of the competitors and it’s good to be around all that energy.”