OCEANSIDE — The annual Harbor Days celebration dropped anchor in Oceanside Harbor on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, with the beloved Nail and Sail competition, wandering pirates and all things nautical.
The event drew 40,000 visitors to Oceanside Harbor to enjoy food, shopping and entertainment. While outrigger races and the Nail and Sail competition took place in the water, dance troops, karate demonstrations, and rock ‘n’ roll and blues bands performed on the two entertainment stages.
“It showcases Oceanside Harbor very well,” Leslie Gaul of the California Welcome Center said.
Pirates were also part of the scene. Capt. Jack Sparrow and his pirate buddies could be found face painting, making balloon animals and juggling.
“We’re having a lot of fun making pirate hats and passing out doubloons and stickers,” Nancy Carsteasen, children’s librarian at the Oceanside Public Library, said.
On the beach, a military static display was set up with more than a dozen military vehicles including an amphibious landing craft. The huge land-to-sea carrier on display can haul a 14-ton load and is powered by four 4,000 horsepower engines. U.S. Navy operations and recovery tents were also set up on the beach to show how medical pre- and post-op rooms and operation room are set up in the field.
An event highlight was the Nail and Sail competition in which three-man boat building teams have wood, caulking and nails and a two-hour time limit to construct a boat to race across the harbor. Competition is all in good fun with team names like “Cash for Clunkers” and “Why Not So Serious” and crews dressed in costume.
Tim Morrison from the “Cash for Clunkers” team said the big challenges this year were the start, the water and fierce competitor John Brewer.
Brewer has led his team to win first or second place for 16 consecutive years. This year he competed in the finals against his daughter Katelyn Brewer. The message on the back of his boat, “Goodbye Kate”, was directed towards his daughter, in anticipation of passing her boat. True to the words on his boat, John Brewer’s team took first place. After the race Brewer shared his advice on winning. “Just stay in front and don’t look back,” he said.