Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Get out Sailing

Whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere,

Sail on hard or soft water this time of year,

Race with your friends,

Or cruise 'til the day ends,

Get out there,

Get out there,

A few more times this year.

-Rob Harring

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

6 Pictures of Beautiful Boats I've Seen Lately

In my travels I've come across some amazing boats that I'd like to share.  
If the owners read this, please contact me about listing your boat or buying a new one.

Rob Harring

Highland Fling 

A Beautiful Gaff Rigged Antiguan Sloop 

Athena, a 295 foot Schooner

J Class Yacht Ranger, America's Cup Winner

Winch Maintenance on J Class Yacht Svea

Swan Club 50

Friday, August 4, 2017

Article #6- 4 Tips for Getting Started in Racing

photo by Skip Brown

Everyone knows that any two boats on the same body of water are racing.  They might have different finish lines in mind, but it helps everyone stay focused and have fun when there’s friendly competition out there with you.  Racing can be a lifelong obsession, a fun diversion, or in some cases a hobby that brings out the worst in someone.  These tips can make sure you have the right attitude and expectations.

  1. Crew on Someone Else’s Boat- The best way to gain experience is as a crew member.  It is much easier to learn what is happening on the race course when you are not steering.  The whole race slows down, you can see situations developing, and think about how you will react when you’re at the helm.  You also have the chance to make some friends and meet potential crew members for the future.  
  2. Know the Rules- Sailing is a self policing sport.  There are almost never officials on the water as referees, and those are only at the very highest levels of competition.  You should not be on the racecourse unless you have a strong grasp of at least the basic rules.  Port/Starboard, windward/leeward, and knowing how they apply at a starting line and rounding marks are absolutely crucial.    
  3. Pick the Right Race- Most areas have different levels of racing in a small area.  There may be very serious weekend races and relaxed “Beer Can” races on weekday nights.  Some fleets are cutthroat and aggressive, while others can be welcoming and helpful to new sailors.  Get to know your area and what races will be best for your experience level.  
  4. Get Out There- The best way to gain experience is to be out there every chance you get.  You’ll make good calls and bad calls, but you can learn from every one of them.  Remember that many of your competitors have been out there for 5, 10, or 20 years on the same water.  You can start to catch up with their experience, but you probably have a long way to go.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and that usually isn’t at the front of the fleet.  Steady improvement should be your goal, no matter where you start.

As always, these are quick suggestions.  I am available to answer questions any time and go into much greater detail.  The next article is going to be a questions and answer version.  Please contact me with your questions.  

Rob Harring


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Article #5- 5 Tips for Having a Good Time at a Boat Show

San Diego International Boat Show Logo
Going to a Boat Show is a lot of fun.  Beautiful brand new boats are lined up and open for you to get aboard.  All of the big manufacturers are together in one place.  Gear dealers and representatives are available and showing off the newest technology and toys.  I’ve spent a lot of time at Boat Shows, and learned some lessons.  Follow these tips and make sure you make the most of your visit.  

  1. Ask Questions- Boat shows have a huge wealth of knowledge in a small area.  Many people in the industry have spent their entire lives around boats, and most are willing to share their experiences.  You can learn very valuable information about your future boating plans just by asking questions and listening.  The experts on electronics will be there with the latest greatest chartplotters and tips on how to use them.  There will probably be riggers there to show off new products and ways of using them.  All of these people will be happy to share their knowledge and experience if you ask.  

  1. Wear Easy Shoes to Take Off- You’ll be getting on and off boats all day, and most of them will want you to remove your shoes.  Slip on shoes or flip flops will save you a lot of hassle.  There often won’t be places to sit down to put your shoes on and off.  Something that you can kick on and off will be much easier.  We really like your brand new boat shoes, and they will be perfect for you on the water, but we have hundreds or thousands of people aboard these boats every day.  The traffic really adds up, and we are often borrowing the boats from customers who want their boats to stay perfect.    

  1. Your Four Legged Friend- We understand that you love your dog.  We love dogs too, and many of them love boats.  They will probably be happiest at home for the show, and joining you next time you go on the water.  On a sunny day, the carpet at Boat Shows can get very hot.  We have seen a lot of dogs burn their paws while walking around.  They also won’t be able to get on board the boats that you want to see.  Scratches and fur are not welcome on boats that people try very hard to keep looking great during the show.  
  1. Look at Smaller Boats First- Part of going to a boat show is to do some dreaming on a boat that might be out of your price range.  That’s a lot of the fun, and you should absolutely do it.  I have found that it’s very hard to appreciate a smaller boat after you’ve looked at a mega yacht.  My recommendation is to start at the smallest boats in your range.  A 30 foot sailboat might be perfect for you and your family.  By the end of the day you’ll be thinking about sipping champagne on the French Riviera on your yacht.      

  1. Buy a Boat- You might think that I am biased, and I am.  Dealers spend a lot of money to be at boat shows, and manufacturers want to see results.  If it’s the right time for you, it’s a great time to take advantage of extra incentives that are available only during the show.  Make sure you bring your spouse or whoever needs to sign off on the purchase so you don’t miss out.  You can also meet current owners that are at the show, and learn about their experiences.  You’ll make friends that you’ll be on the water with for years to come.  A Boat Show is an exciting time to buy a boat and get a great deal!  

If you have any questions about Boat Shows, just let me know.  I will be at the San Diego International Boat Show June 15th-18th near Harbor Island in San Diego.  Come see me there!  As always, if you or anyone you know are looking for the perfect boat, please let me know.    

Rob Harring

Friday, May 26, 2017

4 Tips for Enjoying a Holiday Weekend on the Water

 Summer has arrived!  Your boat is in the water, ready to go.  The weather is getting warm, and the beer is ice cold.  Your family, including the second cousin you haven’t seen in twenty years; and friends that you haven’t seen since kindergarten are calling you offering their services on your boat.  On top of that, every other boat owner in America is planning to be out on your water this weekend.  This presents some challenges that you should be ready for.  These tips will help make sure you have a great weekend.

  1. Safety First- The traffic will probably be doubled or tripled, and the average experience level will be half or less than normal.  Keep your eyes peeled, and be ready for anything.  It’s the beginning of the year, some people are on their boats for the first time of the season.  They might not have known the rules very well at the end of last year, so now they’re really rusty and their reactions are going to be slow.  Take it on yourself to avoid dangerous situations, make your intentions known early and obviously, and always keep a good lookout.  Also know the uses and locations of all of your safety gear, and make sure it didn’t expire over the winter.

  1. Prepare Ahead of Time- The sleepy fuel dock where you have to wake up the attendant to fill up your tank?  Get ready for a three deep raft of boats.  Their fuel, beer, and water prices might have gone up as well, and they’re probably out of ice.  If you possibly can, fuel up the boat the day or weekend before, and show up with your coolers full and ready to go.  Finding a mechanic is also going to be a lot more difficult or expensive than usual.  A dead battery or a bad impeller can keep you stuck at the dock when you should be out.  Either do a shakedown in the week leading up to your big days, or pay someone to take care of it for you (and make sure they’ll answer your call on Saturday morning)

  1. Be Patient- Traffic will be up on land and on the water, parking will be crowded, local restaurants will be slammed and slow.  These things can be enough to make you forget about the beautiful weather, and the special times with friends and family.  Take a deep breath and smile.  There’s nothing you can do but make sure that you and everyone else continue to enjoy the day.  Rushing will either get someone mad, cause an accident or unsafe situation, or get you to ruin the day by yelling at someone.

  1. Make Sure You Can Enjoy The Whole Weekend- It may have been a long winter, and you might not remember some important things.  Wear your sunscreen.  You want to show off your tan back at the office on Tuesday, but peeling skin isn’t going to impress anyone.  Stay hydrated.  Make sure you have a lot of water, especially if you’re drinking something else.  If you are drinking, be responsible.  Never operate your boat under the influence, and follow your local laws.  I always assume that the other boats out there might not be, and stay further away as it gets later in the day.   Look out for this guy.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to having a great weekend.  Take some time to remember what Memorial Day really means.  As always, post any questions that you have.  

If you find yourself stranded on land this weekend, I can help find you the perfect boat for you and your family.

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Tips for Training Your Less Experienced Spouse

You may dream of sailing off into the sunset with your spouse some day.  This is a wonderful goal, but it can be difficult if they don’t have the skills and confidence that are necessary.  Teaching them yourself can be very tempting, but there are some potential downsides. There’s nothing that kills a day on the water faster than yelling.  “I’m Not Yelling” is usually not the right response.  We want our partners to share our joy of the water, but they need to build experience.  Here are five tips to help them gain skills in a safe, fun way.    

Image result for couple sailing

  1. Choose Jobs Well- There’s an advantage to knowing your crew member intimately.  You should have a pretty good idea of what jobs are best (and worst) for them.  In general, if you’re the experienced boater, take the hard jobs.  On a sailboat, work the lines while your partner holds the wheel.  Be the one to step off the boat at the dock.  Too many people get stuck in a rut of doing the easy jobs themselves and trying to train people to do the physically harder jobs.    

  1. Don’t Let Yourself Get Stressed- One of the biggest mistakes that people make is trying to train someone else when they aren’t fully comfortable themselves.  Make sure that practice is done in a safe place.  Open water for driving, a soft buoy to practice pulling up to, or a wide open dock can be very helpful to someone trying to gain confidence.  Making mistakes and correcting them is one of the most important parts of learning.  Do your training somewhere that you can allow that to happen safely.  

  1. Pick Your Times- People learn best when they are fresh.  I prefer to do the bulk of my teaching early, and relax more as the day goes on.  Set aside an hour or two at the beginning of the day for teaching, and then allow people to use their new skills throughout a normal day of boating.  This helps avoid a major problem that I’ve seen.  At the end of a day, people are tired and usually dehydrated.  The first thing that a tired, dehydrated person loses is their temper.  Get the teaching out of the way early and avoid losing yours.    

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations- Some of us were lucky to learn our boating skills when we were too young to think too much.  Your spouse did not have those years to learn slowly and steadily.  They need to make up for those years now.  Make sure they can feel good about small steps of progress.  That will keep them coming back out.  Your spouse most likely won’t be sailing the Southern Ocean anytime soon, so let them feel good about the baby steps of getting comfortable on your home waters.    

  1. If All Else Fails, Have Someone Else Do It-  Most of us don’t home school our children, and there’s no need to be a boating instructor to our families either.  Learning on a boat is stressful enough for some people without adding family stress as well.  There are a lot of professionals out there who can take care of teaching for you.        

If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new or used boat, I use my expertise to help match people with the perfect boat.    

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

5 Tips to Getting Invited BACK Out on Someone's Boat

Summer is almost here! If you're lucky, you have a friend with a boat. They might invite you to join them out on the water.  If you’re a good guest, you might find yourself invited back again and again.  Here are 5 secrets to making that happen.

  1. Show up early. Nothing will get you blacklisted faster than keeping the boat waiting.  The hours on the water are precious, and your hosts won’t like missing out on any of them.  There are many factors you might not understand that go into this.  Parking can be difficult at many marinas.  You may find yourself searching for a spot or walking farther than you expected.  Plan for that.     

  1. Provision well.  It is poor form to show up empty handed.  Boats tend to make people hungry and thirsty, so come prepared.  Bring enough for you, your hosts, and other guests.  Many boats don’t want glass bottles around, so cans or Solo cups are helpful.  Red Wine is almost always a bad idea because waves tend to lead to spills.  There are also good and bad snacks.  Leave the Cheetos at home, your hosts won’t want to be cleaning crushed orange crumbs from the deck.  Stick with things that are easy to clean up. Also, NO BANANAS!!      
  1. Be careful with the head.  You may already know that the head is a toilet.  That’s a start.  Only two things ever go in the head, something you ate or drank, or a small amount of marine toilet paper.  There are many different types of head, and the owner can tell you the details.  If you find yourself having used the head and now don't know how to flush it, stop and ask.  Do not push buttons, flip switches, turn knobs, or turn keys.  Any of those things could potentially cause very expensive problems.      
  1. Bring the right gear.  You might get wet, and sometimes it feels colder than you expect.  Also, your fancy shoes are probably not welcome.  Leave the high heels and wingtips at home, along with hiking boots or anything with marking soles.  If that’s what you’re wearing, expect to take them off.  Any kind of tennis shoes should be fine. Wearing lots of sunscreen is very important, but if you're using an aerosol spray, apply it on the dock before you board the boat. The spray can damage the deck, cushions, and wood on the boat. It might also melt any rubber on your watch. You might need to bring a bag.  Something soft sided that zips is the best way to go.  Your open bag could spill all over when you hit a wave.  If you show up with a hard sided suitcase you’ll probably earn a nickname long before you earn an invite back.    

  1. Clean Up.  Getting to the dock does not mean that the day is over.  Cleaning up and taking garbage off the boat is the bare minimum.  To become a permanent crew member you’ll want to not leave until the owner does.  This will probably include putting on covers, washing the deck, making sure lines are put away, hooking up the shore power cord, and many other things. Even if you don't know what to do, you can help. 

The bottom line is that you want to make your owner’s life as easy as possible.  You want them to think that taking their boat out with you is easier than going alone.  Following these tips can help make sure that’s the case.    

If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new or used boat, I use my expertise to help match people with the perfect boat.    

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4 Keys to Enjoying a Day on the Water with Family and Friends

Boating is your passion, and you want your family or friends to share it.

You spend a lot of precious time and hard earned money to have the opportunity to spend time on the water with the people you love.   

Too often the day ends with you frustrated, your family confused or mad at you, and the dream of a nice peaceful day on the water shattered.  

Sound familiar?

I learned about boats from my Dad.  Growing up, I raced sailboats, varnished powerboats, and sailed on hard water and soft.  I’ve taught waterskiing, rented ski boats to tourists, and given sailing lessons to newbies from 5 to 85 as a US Sailing Certified Instructor.  I’ve competed in countless races on big and small boats, from quarter mile legs to 1200 mile offshore races.  I now sell new Beneteaus in San Diego, and help people buy their first boat or their 36th.  I’d like to think I have a unique view of what leads to happiness on the water.  It’s different for every situation, but there are many common threads.  

Here are some tips that can help everyone safely have a good time.  Whether you’re on a 50 foot Beneteau keelboat, a sportfishing boat, or a Sunfish, these can help your dreams become realities.  

1) Be Safe.  Nothing can ruin a day faster than an unsafe situation.  Know what you need, where it’s stored, and how to use it.  Know these things cold, or you shouldn’t be out there.

2) Be Confident.  Know your boat, know your waters.  Any crew can sense their Captain’s confidence level, and the closer they are related to you, the better their sense will be.  This includes putting yourself into comfortable situations.  Try not to go to a new area, a new dock, or do anything outside of your comfort zone if you can avoid it.  You can always do a dry run before, ideally with someone who’s been there before.  

3) Be Prepared.  Your passengers should show up (with provisions) to a boat that is running and ready to push off the dock.  If you need help, have your most competent crew there to help early.  Never make people stand around and wait.  They won’t enjoy it, and you’ll feel pressure.  While on the boat, make sure people are in position and ready before anything happens.  Whether it’s a tack, docking, or landing a Blue Marlin, everyone needs to know their job and be ready for it.     

4) Be Fun.  Now that you’re safe, confident, and prepared, you can be the fun person you are on land.  In a comfortable situation, let people drive, enjoy themselves, and learn something.  You can join in the fun while still being in command, and they can have their first positive experience on the water.  You will be their favorite Captain forever!    

These are some important general suggestions.  The next articles will be from different points of view, in more specific situations.  I encourage you to let me know what you would like me to discuss.  

If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new or used boat, I use my expertise to help match people with the perfect boat.    

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring