Archive for 'Maintenance / Repair'

Sailing-Themed Reality Show Looking for Participants

Posted by John Callender on August 1st, 2006 at 11:07 pm

This arrived in the mailbag a while ago. I’m passing it along in case any of you all are interested:

From: Talia Berman
Subject: Dreamboat
Date: July 20, 2006 2:18:10 PM PDT

County Line Productions is producing a show called “Dreamboat” for CMT. The
series is similar to pimp my ride or trick my truck but for boats. We are
looking for heartwarming stories of people in need of a boat repair. Is
there anywhere I can post this request on your website? If so, anyone with a
good story can email In addition, we are also
looking for a cast of boat shop workers who work in one shop and can
renovate our boats. Thanks for your help.

Talia Berman
Associate Producer

The Irving Johnson To Be Re-commissioned Today

Posted by John Callender on May 20th, 2006 at 4:01 am

More than a year after the brig Irving Johnson went aground just south of the entrance to Channel Islands Harbor, the ship is set to be officially re-commissioned today at Berth 78 in Ports O’ Call Village, San Pedro. The ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.

A good article about the ongoing restoration work appeared last month in San Diego’s The Log: Irving Johnson repairs continue. And a nice piece about the re-commissioning was in yesterday’s Daily Breeze newspaper: Wounded ship ready for sea.

Photo: The Irving Johnson before the grounding, from BusinessWire.

Controversy Continues for Avalon Repair Barge

Posted by John Callender on December 2nd, 2005 at 8:00 am

repair barge at Avalon

The Log ran a story by Marisa O’Neil a week ago (Avalon takes another look at large barge) about the new repair barge that owner Robert Sherrill has anchored off the Casino in Avalon. At issue is the height of the barge, which at three stories has prompted many in Avalon to complain that it is an eyesore.

Now the LA Times’ Nancy Wride has written an article with some additional detail: New barge roils water in Avalon. From the latter story:

Sherrill’s Marine Services has been a fixture of Catalina for decades. His father bought the barge in the late 1950s from a guy named “Smitty” — and even then it was old, Sherrill said. The Sherrill family had a Long Beach boat repair business, but also spent summers at Avalon Harbor in what was then a seasonal business. From the age of 11, Robert Sherrill worked on the barge and often slept on its spartan cots. In 1984, he bought the barge from his father.

At first, Sherrill’s family lived in an Avalon condo, but he sold it a few years ago and moved to Temecula. He decided to move back, he said, after the business became a full-time venture and a partner couldn’t run it anymore. But now his family can’t afford any property on the island, Sherrill said.

He said the workers on whom the island depends can no longer afford to live there. As for worries that a lot of people will suddenly start living in the harbor, Sherrill said they’re nonsense because of the cost of Avalon moorings, many of which sell for more than $1 million.

Sherrill said he made his plans clear from the start, telling the harbor master about the construction and about his intention to move his wife, two teenagers and dog on board, into an 800-square-foot, third-floor apartment. He said he described his plan to split the 800-square-foot second floor into three units to house visiting mechanics and boat captains who staff the business’ 24-hour vessel assistance service and help tackle ballooning demand in warmer months.

Harbor Master Bray disputes this, saying that Sherrill told him the bottom two floors would be repair and vessel rescue offices, and the top floor would be for on-call boat captains and mechanics. No one is living on the boat now, however.

In November, the City Council held a public hearing on whether to pull Sherrill’s Marine Services’ permit. It voted not to do so, instead ordering Sherrill to work with the harbor commission to improve the look of the new barge. The council barred anyone from living on the vessel until Sherrill and the commission reach an agreement.

For now, the barge’s interior remains unfinished. Sherrill and his family, according to Sherrill, are living in close quarters on a 40-foot boat they own.

Meanwhile, everywhere they go, they hear talk about the barge. Avalon is just like “Peyton Place,” Sherrill said. “People just love to have something to talk about.”

Personally, I’ve almost always steered clear of Avalon, preferring less-crowded venues for my island getaways. My main experience of Avalon is as a cluster of lights off to port while drifting around the East End during the wee hours of the Catalina Island Race. I confess to being interested in how this controversy turns out, though.

Photo by Bob Chamberlin of the LA Times.

Repairs Continue on the Irving Johnson

Posted by John Callender on November 30th, 2005 at 9:22 pm

The Irving Johnson aground off Channel Islands Harbor

I’ve talked before about how a grounding is the sort of thing that’s guaranteed to get a boater’s attention, and if the grounded vessel is a tall ship, even a smallish one, the interest level is going to be that much higher. That was certainly the case back in March of this year, when the Irving Johnson, a 90-foot replica brigantine launched in 2003, went aground just south of the entrance to Channel Islands Harbor. The boat remained hard aground for a couple of days before she could be refloated. Here’s an article on the event from Ocean Navigator Online: Sail training vessel runs aground off California coast. And here’s another, somewhat more breathless, account from the CBS News web site: ‘Horrifying’ spring break at sea.

Now The Log’s Coty Dolores Miranda has written an article detailing some of the ongoing repair work being done on the boat in Ventura Harbor: Irving Johnson reemerging, slowly but surely. There’s a fair amount of detail about the volunteers helping the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) to bring the boat back to tip-top condition.

The photo above was taken by amateur photographer and Coast Guard Auxiliary member Michael Brodey, and is used here with his permission. In response to my request, he wrote back, “It just so happens that that particular photo won first place in the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Public Affairs Photo Contest this year.” Congratulations, Mike; it’s a great photo.


Posted by John Callender on November 3rd, 2005 at 11:34 am

Welcome to SoCalSail. As you can see, the site is now running a weblog on its home page. In addition, I’ve added some new features in the site’s Buyer’s Guide. I look forward to adding a lot more content and features in the days ahead; in the meantime, please feel free to poke around and offer your feedback.

You can submit comments in response to individual weblog postings (like this one), or you can send me email at

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