Boat Handling & Sail Trim Seminar Coverage

We were very pleased to have Steve Barrett aka “Skipper Steve” of the Newport Beach Independent in attendence at the Boat Handling & Sail Trim seminar at BCYC on March 9. Following is a reprint of his “Under Sail” column in the March 15 hardcopy edition which was also posted on their website on March 17.

Newport Beach Independent online at

Under Sail –  Sailing Seminars

By on March 17th, 2013

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERALast Saturday I spent the day at a sailing seminar at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club with Peter Haynes as the instructor. The topics covered were sail theory, shape and trim, the basic aerodynamics, rig tuning, and using your telltales. Included were steering, crew position, tacking and gibing, and rounding the marks. Whewwww!

Peter and his helpful wife, Debbie, were the best of the best at explaining and teaching the most complex of facts necessary to win races, which then enable winning regattas. While this information is critical against the sailing pros Newport Harbor sailing has bred, most of these topics are also important for cruising and leisure sailing.

Learning these principles will allow the leisure sailor to arrive at Catalina hours sooner and The Cape days sooner. I recommend and encourage all local sailors to attend Peter’s “Harbor 20” organizations seminars. Besides the “Handling and Sail Trim” seminar, Peter also will provide a “Strategy and Tactics” seminar on June 2, and on September 8 he will cover “Understanding the Racing” rules of sailing. I look forward to attending both of these as I watched a very gifted instructor explain extremely complex facts in an understandable manner for even a slow learner like myself. I encourage novices and experts alike to attend, and assure everyone they will learn something–novices quite a bit more.

As far back as I can remember until I was about 12 years old, my Dad was a crewmember on an 18-foot Thistle and religiously raced every regatta locally and a few outside our area. His college friends who were captains of the three-man ocean racing deck-less sloops were mostly engineers like Peter Haynes. The theories and practices of winning sailing are mathematically similar in the thought process.

I started racing sailboats when I was eight years old and continued until high school. All noncalms in the sailing program at Newport Harbor Yacht Club arrived around 9:00 a.m. and finished washing down their boats before 5:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. During my era Dick Sweet supervised the races and our behavior, which also included lectures and chalk board instruction.

I learned an awful lot, but Peter’s information took my knowledge and experience two or three levels higher. Thank you Peter and see you June 2, if not sooner racing in the Harbor.

Included was a portion of a sailing film by Llowell North whom, along with our own local Bill Ficker, (winner of the America’s Cup), were winning Starboat regattas in the 50s and early 60s. Side note: Congratulations to our Newport Harbor Christmas Parade Chairman David Beek for winning the “Valvetect Marina of the Year” award at the International Marina and Boatyard Conference. Atta boy David! Seymor must be very proud.

Keep on sailing.

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

Steve Barrett has more than 50 years boating in Newport and performs systems checks, repairs and pilots yachts. Email him at

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