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Friday, September 30, 2011

Goofing off in Avalon........

That's my little Down East 38 sloop moored in Avalon harbor. It took two years to get this little yacht safe and sea worthy. Out with the old Faryman diesel, in with a new Yanmar and fuel tank. New wiring, new thru-hulls, new cushions and on and on. I know what you guys are going through in re-conditioning your boats. My store was a god send to me when it came to fastenings, used sails and hundreds of other hard to find items. I jokingly tell customers that the store is really my personal warehouse but that I am happy to share it with them. Well, all the hard work is paying off. It's beautiful over here, crowds have gone and the weather is great. Have a nice day, I am........

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catalina Island in the late 40's and 50's

Pictured above is Errol Flynn on Casino Point with his large ketch "Sirocco" in the background. Also pictured is one of the "Miss Catalina" speed boats taking a turn in front of the 68' schooner "Shearwater" which spent her summers anchored off Catalina island. "Shearwater" was owned for many years by a patent attorney named Wilton Wann of Los Angeles. "Shearwater" got a bit of a bad rap when a later owner of the schooner took a hammer and tried to kill himself by killing the pilot of one of the little sea plane he was traveling to Avalon on. Other passengers subdued "Shearwater's" owner and the plane landed safely on Avalon bay. My father, George Minney was raised on Catalina island and for several years he skippered the powerful "Miss Catalina" speedboats which were a popular tourist attraction operating off the pleasure pier in Avalon. The photos were courtesy of the Avalon museum.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hanging on a mooring in Avalon.....

Lovely day in Avalon today. The tourists have gone home. Still, the harbor is two thirds full of power and sailboats. Southern California boaters the best time of the year to be here.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Rocket man and his buddy make big splashes at the Newport Beach in the water boat show. Thousands of boat show guests were treated to a display of what the future holds for us in jet pack travel. It will only be a short time till you pick up your morning paper and read that "rocket man crosses the 26 mile Catalina Island channel!" Probably the Hawaiian islands will be next. Jet pack is powered by powerful water pump in a small egg shaped boat that is towed around by the hose that supplies the high pressure water to the jet pack.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We should of lost our rig, maybe our lives!!!

It was May 1976. We had entered the 50' Rhodes cutter, Mistress in the upcoming Trans Pac yacht race. My brother Owen was to be skipper and I was the navigator. We knew we needed a couple of shake down races before the Los Angeles to Honolulu classic. For our first race we chose the 100 mile Los Angeles harbor around Santa Barbara island and back to the L.A. lighthouse. Mistress was built in the early fifties by the Lester Stone boat yard in San Francisco. A lovely design with a center cockpit and aft cabin. The entire crew was chipping in for sails and gear. This was to be the home town boys attempt to win the Honolulu race. Almost everyone in the crew had raced Trans Pac before, so we all knew what we were getting into.

Everything was going great on our shake down race till about one in the morning. It was a moonless night, wind 18 to about 25 knots and seas 6 to 8 feet. We had one reef in the main and the #2 jib up. Navigating was a bit of a challenge because there was only one light on S.B. island and a dangerous reef about a half mile to the west of the island that we had to go around. As we worked our way up the west side of the island I was constantly taking bearings on the light and soundings. I was a bit nervous because we were on a lee shore and could see white water breaking on the treacherous rocks less than a mile down wind of us. When I estimated we were about a half mile from the reef to the west I told a crew member to button up his foul weather gear and to go forward and sit in the bow pulpit and watch for white water. Hopefully he wouldn't see any because we should be about a half mile west of the reef. As my lookout started up the lee side of Mistress and got to the shrouds, we heard a tremendous crash and then thunderous luffing and flogging of our #2 jib. My god I thought, did we hit the reef? I then grabbed the huge spot light we kept in the cockpit and shined it forward. The unbelievable sight I saw was four feet of Mistress's stem, with short pieces of planking on it, the bow pulpit, head stay and #2 jib totally adrift and trailing off to leeward from the top of our mast. Seeing what the problem was we ran off towards the horrible lee shore knowing we could only do it for a couple of minutes or we'd drive onto the rocks and possibly lose our lives. We got the engine going, and then ran forward and captured or wayward head stay with part of the bow attached. We lashed things as best we could to the anchor windlass, got the jib down and then set the jib halyard up as a temporary head stay to the anchor winch. By now we were in the kelp beds and keeping our fingers crossed that the kelp didn't overload our engine or cause it to overheat. Luck was with us and we were soon able to jibe around, get more sea room and eventually set a course back to the L.A. light house. Once out of danger I went forward and inspected the damage. First off, what had saved the mast from coming down when the stem came out of the boat was the fact that we had the removable staysail stay in place and set up. Plus, Mistress had a very heavy Sitka Spruce mast that I feel is much more forgiving than aluminum. Close inspection where the stem had broken off about four feet down showed signs of an old fracture. The boat had probably been in a collision or rammed into a sea wall years ago and cracked the stem all the way across. All that was really holding things together was the plank ends etc. The hard beat to weather was just too much, and BANG, everything just let go. The man upstairs was certainly looking after the crew member that would have been sitting in and hanging on to the bow pulpit thirty seconds later. It took several weeks and thousands of dollars to but Mistress back together. We all worked together, and were on the starting for the Honolulu race, July Fourth..... Picture above is the America's cup contender "Shamrock II" having a bad day. Picture is a Beken of Cowes photo taken in 1901. The new king of England, Edward VII was aboard when the mast came down.

We should

Saturday, September 24, 2011


As we approach 45 years supplying boaters with quality new and used marine hardware, we've seen some pretty unusual rigs during that time. Pictured is a unique outboard motor powered submarine. We still haven't figured out how the outboard motor runs under water? We also supplied parts for the 50,000 gallon tank boat. Some youthful skippers got hold of a huge tank, put ballast in one end so it would float vertical, added living quarters, put mast and yard arms on the upper end and anchored it off Newport Beach all one summer. It was quite an attraction as it gently bobbed up and down like a pogo stick. In the fall, a tug towed tank boat out to sea so our innovative mariners could start on a voyage to Tahiti. About a week later it drifted ashore about 20 miles down the coast. Seems it had speed and steering issues? Flying saucer boat was totally cool. A 40' diameter disc shaped boat that looked like two silver pie tins joined together. It was painted silver, had diesel power and was seen about souther California waters for several years. People "not in the know" reported it quite often to the Coast Guard and other authorities.

Thus you can see that the crew at Minneys has supplied marine hardware, electronics, spars and thousands of other items to numerous "fruit cakes" through the years in their goofy attempts to improve on yacht design and performance. One of these days I will make mention of Edsel car boat (all hardware was from junked Edsel cars) and for extra floatation, styrafoam coffee cups were used. Also a good one was Missionary trimaran. Boat had no headroom, bilges were packed with water proof plastic bottles that held bible messages within, printed in 40 languages. What was really cool was the mechanical arrangement for delivering the messages. A sorta Rube Goldberg system of chains, pulleys and small conveyor belts powered by a small propeller outside the hull would deliver the bottles into the ocean at approximately "a message a mile." Other picture above is some of the 100's of flat top sheet and halyard winches you guys traded in for "self-tailers."

Friday, September 23, 2011


Pictured is about $50,000.00 worth of brand new propeller shafts and couplings for Cabo yachts. As you know, Cabo is no longer building their boats in California. Cabo is owned by the Brunswick Corporation that also owns Bertram and Hatteras. They have now consolidated their boat building activities in North Carolina. The beautiful boat building facility in Andelanto, Calif. is now empty and 600 employees are out of work. Probably a good move on Brunswick's part, at least they are still building in the U.S.A. For some reason the shafts etc. were not shipped to N.C. and we ended up with them. They are BIG, and HEAVY. We have priced them under $1000.00 per shaft. A boat builder in Ensenada, Mexico thinks they are such a great value that he is sending a truck to the store and purchasing ten of them. If you are NICE to us and pay our modest asking price and mention our BLOG we will throw in the matching coupling, key, and nuts. Probably about a $300.00 extra. E-mail us for diameters, lengths etc. We also have the Chatfield Engineering, of New Zealand custom Cabo packing glands that fit the shafts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Pictured is a Paul Luke soap stone ship's fire place. These little beauties are seldom for sale and I'm not even sure you could order a new one? Anyone know if the Paul Luke company is still in business? If you could get a new one it would probably be $2000.00 or more. Luke's company used to make Hyfield back stay levers, bronze Herreshoff break down anchors, deck prisims and other cool items found on yachts of yesteryear. The fire place is in quite good condition, could use a bit more polishing and repair of one of the little sea rails on the top. I had one aboard "Shearwater" that we would burn wood scraps or regular barbecue charcoal in. Once installed they will become the focal point of your saloon. Even after the fire goes out the soapstone holds the heat and they will stay warm for hours. Our price is $995.00. I'm guessing the weight at about 60 pounds. E-mail us for exact dimensions.

"Schooner Or Later We'll Get Our Ship Together" We came up with this Tee shirt over 30 years ago. We've sold thousands of them and they continue to be popular. A cruiser recently told us that at a beach party in Baja last year he counted twelve Minney's Tee shirts in a group of about forty people. They are a quality shirt with a pocket. Blue-Gray or Red in various sizes. Can be ordered short sleeve or long. Priced under $15.00 for the short sleeve. We also have matching base ball caps with the schooner "America" embroidered on the front.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The U.S. importer of the popular Lofrans windlass has given us an additional price break. Instead of us holding the line and making a few more bucks, we're passing the savings on to you. I recently installed the 1500 pound bull "Tigress" on my Down East 38. I've now got about 30 days use on it and have grown very attached to it. They come complete with 2 foot switches and necessary controllers. I didn't want to drill a bunch of holes in my for deck for the switches and personally I think they are dangerous. If the main switch accidently left on and someone steps on the switch their could be problems. I keep an "up-down" switch and cable in a locker. When ready to use the windlass I plug it in, lead the cable out a hatch or port light and am ready to go. The windlass can be ordered with a 1/4" or 5'/16" or 3/8" BBB or Hi-Test wildcat. Shop the internet-grind on your local ship chandler and then call or e-mail us for the best price available in the U.S. for this nice looking, 12 volt windlass. Pictures is the Lofrans on the fore deck of my little sloop........

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Minneys has been a U.S. Government chart agent for the past 40 years. A short time ago, no one went to sea without a paper chart that covered the area of their voyage. Today, many foolish mariners rely only on their electronic chart plotters. These are fantastic gadgets. I fish aboard a boat in Alaska every summer. That's what we use, it saves us from constantly taking bearings as we snake our way through narrow channels. But, my skipper is also "old school", he has a paper chart that covers all areas of his navigation.

Gadgets fail, boats lose electrical power, sun spots can screw up GPS. It's our suggestion that all skippers carry paper charts. The good news is, we make it easy for you. We stock up to date charts of the Pacific coast and can quickly order for you any charts you might need for the territorial U.S. For the next week only, we have a special offering. The Feds have put all their chart agents on quotas and we are running a bit behind because everyone has stopped using paper charts. Until we meet our quota, any skipper that wants to up date or order new charts may purchase them from us at OUR COST plus shipping charges. The Feds have recently lowered their prices to us, a bit of a miracle, and the retail price of a chart has dropped from about $22.00 to under $15.00. Until we meet our quota you can order charts from us for less than $8.00 each. We're not going to "baby sit" you. You've got to locate an up to date chart catalog and come up with the correct numbers of the charts you want. The end of September is the cut-off of this money saving offer. We continue to be one of the only chart agents in Southern California and you get charts at 50% savings. Now is that a "win-win" deal or what? E-mail your orders to or phone in your order to 949-548-4192. This offer only good on U.S charts. Not international. Also, we have thousands of used charts that we sell for study, decoration etc. The are stamped on them NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION and the price is $1.95. We don't sort so please don't call looking for a particular chart.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blow your sails. NOT YOUR RIG!!!

Blow your sails, not your rig. If the 78' ketch "Mir" (now re-named "Miramar") had been outfitted with good used sails from Minneys, the following dis-masting would not have occured. Minney has been providing gently used sails for cruisers and racers for the past 40 years. The special feature about a good used sail from Minneys is that, "it sure to blow out before our rig goes overboard!!" Just kidding of course. Lots of our sails are brand new from all the popular sail makers. The above picture was taken by a photographer named Lois Kennedy. She was on Diamond Head taking pictures as the Mir was finishing the Trans Pac race. The owner of the "Mir" wanted to look good for finish photos. As the "Mir" approached the finish line, the wind went forward and so did the spinnaker pole. With the pole near the head stay the butt of the pole put huge loads against the mast pushing it out of column. The mast exploded, and down it came. No one was injured. The crew cut the rig loose and let it sink. Since the boat hadn't crossed the finish line, the crew set a mizzen spinnaker and crossed the finish line going backwards. This is one of the ALL TIME yacht racing photos...........

Sunday, September 18, 2011


It was January 1978. The Minney family's seventy foot schooner "Shearwater" was on a year's voyage out of Newport Beach, California and presently at anchor in the picturesque little harbor of Russell, in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
It had been and interesting and exciting year for the "Shearwater"crew. The Marquesas islands, French Polynesia, Somoa, Fiji and the New Hebrides were now far astern. When the cyclone season was over, the Minneys would shape a course for Sydney, the Great Barrier reef and Bali, Indonesia.
It was a misty evening with a light offshore breeze blowing from the little town of Russell. It was cook's night off. Captain Ernie had taken his wife Carrie and his two children Alice, age seven and Ernie, age 10 ashore for a lovely dinner at the Beachcomber's restaurant. It was about ten PM when the Minneys departed the cafe and little Ernie insisted on rowing the fifteen foot Pea Pod sailing dinghy the quarter mile out to the stately schooner. Captain Ernie helped to guide his son around the three, hundred foot plus passenger vessels, that were secured to large moorings a hundred or so yards up wind of "Shearwater". It was summer "down under," the big blue boats were capable of carrying three hundred or more tourists on sight seeing trips around the Bay of Islands. The passenger boats had solid bookings, this was to be their best season in years.
Ernie brought the long boat smartly alongside the teak boarding ladder. Soon Carrie was below deck in the galley helping Alice and Ernie bait their cockroach hotels. Captain Ernie had posted a bounty of ten cents a roach eight months earlier when departing from Tahiti. The cockroach hotels had become a good source of income for the Minney kids.
As Carrie was tucking the kids in bed, the skipper, who had perhaps taken on board a bit more wine than he was should have, made a turn about the deck checking the anchor chain, the riding light and position of the other boats in the anchorage. Soon our good captain was bedded down in the elegant mahogany paneled captain's cabin. Carrie, a registered nurse, "Shearwater's" ham radio operator, ship's cook, back up celestial navigator and shipboard chef, was soon to follow. As Ernie drifted off to dream land, his final thought was, "there could be no better place on the planet than being in a warm cozy bunk, aboard an elegant wooden schooner, with the woman he loved, and the gentle sound of rain pelting the teak deck above.
It was about two in the morning when"Shearwater" was dealt a sudden blow that reverberated through out the ship. Ernie sat up instantly and in a wine induced haze waited for a second blow. It never came? It was common while at anchor, "Shearwater's" anchor chain would angle across the bob stay (the cable under the bow sprit that transfers the upward pull of the bowsprit rigging back to the hull) and make loud metal to metal noises throughout the boat. Ernie knew the heavier blow that woke him up was not the anchor chain noise. Still he did nothing. Carrie was also awake and as they both waited for another jolt, Ernie had sort of a sixth sense or premonition that something was lurking just outside his port light. The thought of getting out of bed and going on deck in the rain had no appeal. Soon, husband and wife were sound asleep.
It was a little after daybreak when the sound of a boat engine wafted down the spiral stair case and into the captain's cabin. A minute or two later a voice called out, "ahoy, "Shearwater." Ernie was on deck in seconds and was surprised to see the uniformed Russell harbor master bringing his official looking launch alongside the schooner. Ernie took his bow and stern line and then asked, "what's up?" The harbor master asked, "did you see or hear anything unusual last night?" Ernie thought a moment and then answered that nothing out of the ordinary had taken place during the night. Ernie then asked the official, "why do you ask?" The friendly Kiwi then said, "sometime during the night a disgruntled crew member that had been fired from the cruise line company cut all the mooring lines and set the big steel cruise ships adrift. One has drifted across the bay and is ashore on the rocks and is badly damaged. Another one is aground on a sand bank and a third one we were able to get a line on and are presently towing it back to Russell." "Wow! I said in disbelief and then I recalled the bump in the night and mentioned it to the official. He asked, "where about on the boat do you think something might have hit you?" I told him it was toward the bow of the boat. After receiving that information he came aboard "Shearwater" and we both walked toward the bow. It took only a few seconds for us to discover bright blue paint chips adhering to "Shearwater's" bow pulpit. (the heavy stainless steel guard railing that protects crew members from falling overboard when handling sail out on the fifteen foot bowsprit. My god I thought, "one of the drifting passenger boats had hit us as it went drifting by".
The harbor master was obviously pissed and was doing his best to accept the fact that "Shearwater's" inept Yankee skipper had stayed in his bunk and done nothing after his vessel had sustained a substantial blow during the night. My incompetance had cost the Blue Line boat company hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to their ships and months of lost revenue to the company at the height of the summer tourist season. As the harbormaster boarded his patrol boat and fired up his diesel engine I apologized for my lack of vigilance and cast him loose.
Regretfully I thought, I could have been a hero. To my dying day I will always wish I could re-live that dark rainy night down under. Yes, I learned a lesson I'll always remember. When things go "bump in the night,"INVESTIGATE..........

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Great line buys if you purchase by the spool. In our endless quest to keep boating affordable for you we made a HUGE purchase of line destined for a big box store that no longer exists. Pictured is 1000 foot spools of 3/8 inch nylon solid braid first quality line for $149.00 a spool.

Also pictured are 600 foot spools of 1" double braid Nylon and Polyester double braid. This normally sells for over $2.00 per foot. Purchase by the 600 foot spool at $1.00 per foot.

Split a spool with a friend and save........

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hot yachtswoman and classic rope.

Pictured above is a lovely young woman that checked out our BLOG one morning and decided Minneys was a "must see". She jumped in her car and drove all the way from Santa Barbara. She owns a lovely fiberglass Folk Boat and keeps it in the marina in Santa Barbara. Folk Boats have always been one of my favorites. They are a very famous European design originally built out of wood. Close to 1000 have been built. Many have crossed the Atlantic and I wouldn't be surprised to find out if a few haven't circumnavigated the globe.

Also pictured is classic hemp or Manila line. Land lubbers call it "rope." For many years this line was nearly impossible to get. Synthetics pretty much made Manila line obsolete and importers quit making it available. In recent years the demand for it has increased and we have been able to secure a dependable source. The Los Angeles County Fair purchased nearly 5000 feet of it. Local design firms place it in many of their jobs. Landscapers love it. Check out the Treehouse in Disneyland some time. It's full of it! Local gyms and health spas are purchasing miles of it for work out routines and exercise regimens . Our prices are fair and reasonable. Buy it by the foot or go all out and save 10% on a 600 foot spool. You might also find it of interest to know that we rent 100' "Tug-O-War" ropes for $25.00 per event.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Pictured are some totally fun wood signs that will make an attractive and interesting addition to any room in your home, yacht club, business etc. What's cool about them is that you can customize several parts of the sign with your own name, location, name of your boat etc. They are made of quality wood and the images are somehow silk screened or ink jet printed on a machine that is as big as a small bus. A small company in the back woods of Arkansas turns them out. We have a great catalog you can browse through that covers myriad of topics. Beach fun, yachting, hunting, alpine sports, etc. If you can't find just the sign you want, their artists will come up with a custom sign for your special needs. I'm working on just that. With over 600 electric "Duffy" boats in Newport Harbor, I'm going to have them come up with a special "Duffy" sign that you can personalize. I think they would also make great trophies for yachting and other sporting events. Put a little brass plaque on the bottom of the sign stating "1st Place", etc. and you will have a real winner. Prices start at about $60.00. Order a dozen or more and get one free.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The rains are coming and it would be a crime punishable by keel hauling to let these great looking teak cabinets get wet. We picked them up at the Cabo auction in February and have sold about 80% of them. One boat owner building a Roberts 55 purchased $5000.00 worth. They are top quality construction ( as you know, everything that "Cabo Yachts" does is 1st class) out of solid Burma teak and flawless veneers. There's still a good selection of counter top sea rail moldings and lots of teak and mahogany corner post for bunks and bulkheads. I've used a bit of it on my own boat mainly for finish trim around cabinet doors and locker fronts. Burma teak is selling for close to $20.00 a board foot. Most of these items cost way less than the materials to build them with. We need the room, hate to see the winter storms damage them and will be very much open to reasonable offers over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Monday, September 12, 2011


You may not believe it but I'm pretty certain that we sell more new anchor chain than our local big box store? Our prices are extremely modest and we feel our service is superior. We've added a new service that I'm sure you'll love. Ever try to wrestle an 800 pound barrel of chain down a steep ramp and rickety dock? Then you have to drag it across your cap rail and feed it down the spill pipe. Not much fun, huh? Buy 300 feet or more 1/4"--5/16"--or 3/8" brand new Acco made in the USA chain from us and we'll deliver it to you under your hawsepipe and help feed it onto your wild cat. Yep! We load it onto our work boat off the work pier by the Cannery restaurant and will deliver it to your boat anywhere inside Newport Harbor. How bout that? Not only the best price in town but boat delivery too. Is it any wonder that you guys have kept us around for the past 40 years? We not only "KEEP BOATING AFFORDABLE" but we help you make some of the more challenging boat jobs easier.......

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A SEA STORY.........

We set sail from the French island of Reunion on September 10th 1969. As I was doing my paper work and clearing our large schooner Shearwater out for a 2000 mile voyage to Durban, South Africa the Port Captain took me aside and told me to be on the lookout for a 300 foot freighter that was 10 days overdue? He mentioned that the ship had left Durban more than 3 weeks ago and was bound for Reunion but had never arrived? I casually took note of the information thinking, "fat chance of me ever locating a ship in the vast Indian ocean?"

It was about ten days later as we were broad reaching in force 6 trade winds that we sailed through some floating objects. Eric Puyjman was at the wheel and was a new member of our Shearwater family. We had signed him aboard several weeks before at the island of Mauritius. Eric was Dutch and his family had settled in Capetown when he was but a child. His bright red hair, freckles, and bean pole stature would make him always easy to fine in a crowd. He ate like a horse and although he appeared to have an inverted stomach, he couldn't wait to clean up my two kid's plates of leftovers at mealtime. Alice 8 and Ernie 10 (my kids) soon adopted Eric as their big brother.

Eric had joined a small sailboat in India that was skippered by a young Australian lad. The two of them had knocked about the Indian ocean for about four months. When they reached Mauritius the Aussie being short of funds, signed on as navigator on a small freighter for a round trip voyage to Durban and back. Eric's skipper had been gone almost two months when Eric spied our lovely 70' schooner tied to a wharf in the main port of Mauritius, Port Louis. Eric was tired of boat sitting and wanted to hitch a ride to Capetown. Being short of crew we welcomed him aboard, for a small fee that is. Ten dollars a day is what I tried to charge my crew to cover food costs.

Eric called our attention to the debris we were sailing through. On the lonely oceans we'd been traveling, seeing ANYTHING floating a thousand miles from nowhere is a big deal! A few pallets, some plastic containers, some large timbers etc. Really not much? It only lasted for a few minutes and we were able to maintain our direct line compass course to Durban without having to change course to avoid the flotsam?

About an hour later, dead ahead on the horizon was a small ship heading directly for us. To avoid from hitting each other we both changed course to starboard and passed port to port about 500 years apart. I noted the name of the ship and time of passing in my log. As the afternoon wore on, the watches changed and my son Ernie took the large teak wheel and assumed command of our 70 ton schooner blasting along at 9 knots with 2500 square feet of sail set into a fiery Indian ocean sunset.

About a week later we arrived in Durban. The buzz on the street and in all the newspapers was a story about the sinking of a ship and a survivor that had been found floating on a makeshift raft for 18 days. I paid little heed but as I read the article I noted the name of the ship that had rescued the lone survivor. It sounded familiar so I took out my log book and to my amazement it was the same ship we had altered course for half way across the Indian ocean. The article also noted the day and time an alert crew member spotted the man on the raft. I noted the time we had passed the ship and came to the conclusion that the ship had picked up the survivor about an hour AFTER passing us. This would have been very near the time in the afternoon that we were sailing through the debris? Wow! Had I been a bit more alert and perhaps gone aloft up the ratlines to the spreaders on the foremast with my binoculars, I might have discovered the man on the raft?

Now for the real shocker!!! As I continued to read the newspaper article I mentioned to Eric who was nearby, about the fact that had we been a bit more on the ball in the "look-out" department we might have discovered the lone survivor of the ship sinking. I then read to Eric the name of the survivor. There was a boisterous "HOLY SHIT" from Eric and then he exclaimed that the survivor was his skipper of the little sailboat he had sailed from India to Mauritius on and the man he was waiting for so they could sail on to Cape Town. We had sailed within a mile or two of Erics's captain who was near death floating on a raft and NEVER EVEN KNEW IT???

Saturday, September 10, 2011


They say, "a picture is worth a thousand words?" So I'm going to skip the B.S. and post a couple of pictures. We have almost every style anchor ever invented. I've had good luck with Danforths for the past 50 years. On my recent 2 week cruise I used a Delta and it seemed to set well every time and nestled up nicely on the roller on the bow sprit. Everyone you talk to has an opinion about anchors and what works for them. Just remember that no anchor will hold you 100 % of the time and that when you are anchored vigilance is still required. When the wind starts to blow and a good chop is coming in and you are on a lee shore ( an anchorage were if you start dragging your anchor or your anchor rode parts you will go ashore) my advice is to GET OUT while you have time and seek a more protective anchorage or get some sea room and lay off till things calm down.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Ever wonder how we price the eclectic mix of boat gear that shows up at our front door on a daily basis? It's really quite simple. I rely on a 50 year back log of refitting and restoring boats of all sizes and shapes. Most recently I've been re-doing all systems on a Down East 38' sloop. I'm in and out of all the other marine stores in my area and have hired out the wiring and installation of a Yanmar diesel engine. Recently I needed a pair of stainless hatch hinges. 100's have gone thru my store @ $15.00 to $30.00 a pair. I was a bit shocked when the owner of another store handed me a bill for $115.00 for a new pair of hinges made in China. They didn't even fit. I had to shorten the throw and re-drill the pin holes. You would think in a recession the marine industry would lower their prices? THEY DON'T! I was blown away when I received the bill for a spare raw water pump for my 53HP Yanmar diesel. My discounted price was $715.00. On close inspection I pretty much concluded the pump wasn't even new. I'm certain it was a "re-build" a very reputable company passed on to me as new? Pumps of this size in my store would be priced at around $50.00 if it was used and under $200.00 if it was new. In conversation with a marine store owner recently he told me that, "we've finally got our profit margins up where they belong and we're doing quite well." To me that means he's got a huge overhead and needs to charge about 5 times the cost of the actual item to keep his doors open. I know our prices are low and attractive. Several out of work professionals are making a fair living by buying our gear and equipment at our off-the-shelf prices and marking them up and selling them on e-bay. One store owner has a man in our store almost every morning picking out low priced marine items that he can re-sell in his store. We get tons of new items that sometimes we literally are able to steal. I had to purchase 1800 of those quality VHF radio antenna mounts (see former posting) that we are selling for $4.95 instead of the $27.00 catalog price at a big box store. It mortifies me when we have an item in our store that is over-priced. This happens and boy do you guys rip into me when it does. I'd much rather see items priced too low than too high. My son Josh is working his way into our business. With his laptop in seconds he's able to come up with the new price of an item so we will have some type of base to come up with a fair price. A short time ago we got a brand new pilot chair for a large Cabo sport fisher. Drawing on my half century of boat hardware knowledge I surmised that that chair would cost about $1500.00. A short time after pricing it@ $895.00 Josh came to me and said, "dad, I think you are a little low on the price of the pilot chair. I googled it and found that it is a $5800.00 chair!" What I'm trying to say here is that we are are doing everything we can to HOLD THE PRICING LINE. We have one store and it paid for in full. We work our butts off and keep our overhead at a minimum. When you purchase an item at Minneys, you truly get more BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!!! Note picture above is our approach to Aacapa island two weeks ago aboard my Down East 38' rescue boat...........

Thursday, September 8, 2011


We have a great selection of aluminum masts, booms, spinnaker poles, reaching struts, whisker poles etc. Our prices are modest so drop by with your specs and I feel certain you'll leave with just what you were looking for...

Lots of good glass covered foam core rudders for sailboats and also quite a few heavy bronze rudders that we picked up at the Cabo yacht auction a few months ago. Not only do we have a good selection of rudders, we have quadrants, steering arms, glass pipe, packing glands and all the stuff that it takes to set up a steering system for you boat.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Pictured is a nice selection of new and used Bimini tops for boats ranging from 15' to about 50'. There is also a good selection of the stainless steel and aluminum frames. Our prices range from about $60.00 to $500.00. Recently I purchased a new Sunbrella canvas top for a 15 foot Boston and was a bit shocked when I was handed a bill for $425.00. I skipped the little cover that went over the top when the Bimini was closed because that was an additional $125.00. I mentioned that at Minneys, you could usually by the whole shebang-- top, frame and cover for less than $200.00. My comment wasn't appreciated?

Also pictured is a nice selection of teak and fiberglass swim steps. With dock rent in Newport Beach an average of $30.00 a month per foot of your boat, boaters are removing their swim steps and selling them to us. The average swim step is 2 to 3 feet wide so you can see that's an extra $60.00 to $90.00 a month savings in dock rent. I was recently in Santa Barbara where I saw where a skipper had sawed off his bowsprit at the stem of his boat and then hinged it and kept it hoisted up when in his dock. Bow sprit was close to 10 feet long. A bit radical but great savings in dock rent. The prices of our swim steps usually range form about $150.00 to about $500.00. Quite often home owners purchase the teak swim steps and make coffee tables or bars out of them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Pictured is a 20' Viking sailboat built by master boat builder, Don Pedersen in about 1955. 18 of these boats were built and they were actively raced until about 10 years ago. They were all kept at Pedersen's storybook boat yard on Mariner's mile in Newport Beach, Calif. The boat yard was called Viking's Port and still stands and is now operated by his grand daughter, Vicki Lenich. The Viking's were designed by noted yacht designer, Dair Long. Dair worked for the War Department during the war and is credited for the designs of the PT boats, AVR's and other high speed assault craft. After the war Dair moved to Newport Beach where he designed the Harco 40's and the Fairliners. Pedersen wanted a day sailer for Newport's light winds, and insisted that it be a lively and good looking boat. Dair more than fulfilled Pedersen't requirements. The boat is cedar planked on steam bent oak frames, bronze fastened, lead ballast and all trim is Houduras mahogany. The boat is fairly complete as it stands, there is also a hollow spruce mast that goes with the boat. Ten years ago a replacement mast was built for another Viking at the cost of $2000.00. We have the boat in front of our store. The present owner would like to get $3000.00 for it but he would also like to find a good home for it. We think an offer of $1000.00 would be acceptable? I personally will miss the boat. As a grammar school kid, one of my first jobs was to sweep up and clean up the Viking's Port wood shop after school. To this day I can still remember the sweet smell of cedar shavings, the burbling of the steam box and the smell of okum caulking. A trailer in quite poor condition is also included....... This would make a great plug if someone out there would like to make it in fiberglass and give the Harbor 20's a bit of competition.......

Monday, September 5, 2011


We always have about 1000 sails that are sort of in "limbo?" We've purchased them but it takes us months sometimes to get around to sorting, measuring, tagging and pricing them. I know that if I was heading to Tahiti and wanted a storm jib or cruising spinnaker and someone had a big pile of sails for sale, I wouldn't mind taking a few hours to lay out sails, measure and look them over and see if there is something that would be suitable for my boat? Especially if I could get an additional discount off the already modest prices that Minney charges. Well, here's your chance? Last week we sorted about $80,000.00 worth of mains, headsails, spinnakers etc. into a neat pile and have placed 100' tape measures, clip boards with tags, pens and meat hooks in a box for your use. We have a large old sail laid out, on the asphalt in our back lot so the sail stays clean and there's even a hook at one end of the yard that you can attach the sail to and measure it yourself. If it's a very large sail, our staff will assist you. We insist that you keep the stack of sails looking as you found it and that you properly roll up the sails you have looked at tie them off and return them to the proper section. Now's here's the GOOD PART! Not only have you located a great sail for your trip to Tahiti but Minneys will give you a 10% discount off for doing the work yourself. If you pay ca$h, Minney will up the discount to 15%. Give it a try. P.S. Only Ernie Minney or Josh Minney may arrive at a fair price for the sail. You've all sparred with them before so bring your boxing gloves. And of course, if you find the sail that you picked was unsuitable it may be returned for a full refund. Have a great Labor Day. Ernie

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A SEA STORY.........

It was a beautiful day in Newport harbor when a crew member and I backed my 82' schooner out of her dock and started hoisting the 5 working sails. Not a breath of wind was blowing and I knew that the 8 port lights, only about two feet above the water line were open. We were going to drift down wind towards the harbor entrance and let some newspaper reporters take some pictures and write a story about charter boats in our area. As we neared what I call the turning basin at the end of Lido island I noted that a little breeze was starting to come up and decided to tack back up the bay. Shearwater was starting to heel over a bit on the port tack we were on so I told my deckhand to go below and close the port lights. We held a port tack to John Wayne's house and then came about onto a starboard tack. The wind had increased and we were really starting to heel. I told my mate to drop the top'sail and as he was going forward to man the peak halyard I yelled at him, "you did close the port lights on both sides of the boat didn't you?" From him there was a loud "oh shit" and he scurried below deck. A couple of minutes later he was back on deck telling me that the main saloon carpets were floating and that two of the state rooms were soaked. Totally unbelievable I thought, you can't depend on anyone. Luckily the bilge water was just below the starter on the big Detroit diesel so I was able to start the engine, and get the electric bilge pump and the engine driven emergency pump going and started pumping Shearwater out. Had I not questioned my deckhand about closing the port lights, there's a good chance that if we had taken a couple of more tacks we could have sunken my lovely schooner in Newport bay. The reporters were great about the incident and left our near sinking out of their article about charter boats in Newport harbor. Shearwater is alive and well in New York harbor doing day charters out of a marina in the financial district. Several years ago Donald Trump chartered her as a prize for one of the winning teams on his show. Five of my friends called me and told me Shearwater was on TV. I just happened to be watching the program and totally enjoyed seeing Shearwater looking the lovely lady that she is.....

Friday, September 2, 2011


"IT'S O.K." has been first boat to finish all summer in the Newport Beach thursday night beer can regatta that is sailed inside Newport harbor. While watching the race I noticed a 600 pound sea lion taking a nap on a nearby trimaran.......


We got a fantastic buy on about 1000 of these first quality rail mount radio antenna holders. They will attach to 7/8" or 1" rails. By drilling 2 small holes for the fastenings you can also flat mount them to your cabin side etc. A large electronic importer has been selling these by the hundred for $27.00 each. We absolutely stole them and are passing along to you some real savings. Our out the door price is $4.95 for one. If you purchase ten or more the price will be $4.00 each. When we say, "WE MAKE BOATING AFFORDABLE", we mean it...

Closed Labor Day

Minney's will be closed this Monday for labor day, but we'll be here Saturday and Sunday if you need anything.