An instructional day sail with Tom Schock of Schock Boats in Newport Beach is a pretty good day on the water.  Any day on a Harbor 20 is certainly fun. 

Tom Schock out on his own Harbor 20

There’s nothing that will sort out good sailors from bad ones like climbing into a small boat where the effect of the wind is immediate, crew weight matters and instincts can make or break a race.  I wasn’t racing last week when I went out with Tom Schock on his recently completed Harbor 20, but I still managed to learn something new.  Shame on me for spending so much time on big boats.  This little 20 footer reminded me just how much fun (and how easy) sailing should be. 

Schock recently finished hull number 277 that he kept for himself and his wife to sail in Newport harbor.  As you may expect, it’s the most pristine and well organized boat you can imagine.  The Harbor 20 series has delivered over 300 hulls over the past 12 years and it’s very popular for one design racing.  I’m not sure what I enjoyed more – listening to Schock wedge a new lesson on crew weight and self-tacking jibs between my ears or just feeling the wind and the response of the boat. 

Habor 20 Lines

I joined Schock and friend Tom Madden on a perfectly clear So Cal afternoon for a little impromptu instruction.   The last thing I need to be is a two-boat owner, but I wouldn’t mind dusting off my sailing skills in one of these every so often. 

Tom Schock (left) and Tom Madden on a So Cal daysail

Schock is ready to launch a cruising friendly Harbor 30 this summer with a cabin, head, and standing headroom.  You can bet you’ll find me in line to get on it as soon as it splashes. 

For more on the Harbor 20, check out the association website at