On-board Channel Islands Parade of Lights 2017 winner!

"Renewal" wins AGAIN!

By George Miller

The Channel Islands Parade of Lights is one of Oxnard’s premier holiday events.  Everything from large yachts down to kayaks are decorated for the Christmas/holiday season and paraded up and down the main channels of the harbor, giving it its most festive look for the year. This year’s theme was “Fairy Tales Afloat.”

See movie of winning boat “Renewal”: https://www.facebook.com/ChannelIslandsHarbor/videos/520757684960344/

This year threatened to be a bust, due to the worst fires in memory in surrounding areas, destroying many hundreds of homes in Ventura, Ojai and points east, threatening Oxnard and casting a pall of smoke and soot over the area. Other events, such as the Santa to the Sea race, were canceled. Schools and government offices were closed. It was quite a juxtaposition to witness this festive event in the midst of so much turmoil from a great natural disaster. But Parade of Lights organizers decided that the show must go on- and it did. That really did make sense.

Overall Winner “Renewal” at dock just before leaving for 2017 Parade of Lights competition. Photo: Albert Munoz


The fires didn’t reach the harbor, weather cooperated, with warm temperatures and moderate wind gusts. It appeared that there was some fog on the ocean side, but the harbor air was fairly clear.  Crowds looked a little thinner than usual due to warnings and excessive prudence, but the turnout of boats was outstanding in spite of all that. Boaters are hardy, persistent folks. There were columns of craft of all sizes cruising up and down the harbor, most small and many were not officially registered.


Different perspective this year

Most years, the Citizens Journal reporter assigned to the event lines up on the shoreline with the rest of the plebes, hoping for glimpses of the many creative entries as they pass by. Sometimes it’s cold, windy, foggy, even rainy. But this year, we were invited to witness and report on the event onboard, from the perspective of the the crew and owners of the  winning boat for the last three years (including this year).  That craft is the “Renewal,” a stout 65′ Norlund pilothouse trawler (similar boat) with a range of thousands of miles.


How this Parade of Lights competitor came to be

The Renewal’s owners, Pete and Lyndsay Timson, are originally from England and still retain distinctive British accents even after decades in the States. They run two local businesses, including the highly rated (which they downplay with typical British understatement) Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura and are currently doting on grandchildren and kids, which is taking more time than they have available to really care for and use their beautiful boat.

The Renewal was brought here from South Florida years ago, via the Panama Canal, to Honduras, then Mexico and eventually to Ventura. The Timsons hoped to live aboard the craft in Ventura, said Ms. Timson, but could find no Marina slips which would accommodate the boat, liveaboard people AND their pets. So, they lived in their home in Thousand Oaks  and kept the boat in Ventura. Eventually they bought and moved into a home at Channel Islands Harbor which had a big enough dock to accommodate the massive 65 foot trawler.

When the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club was seeking out Parade of Lights entrants to represent them, The Timsons and the Renewal were commandeered by the club Commodore, Tom Schidler. Another member, Joanna George-Wolf, was drafted, along with others detailed later in this article, although they all insist that they volunteered. Joanna’s husband Gunner has been most supportive and was on board and active.

Joanna, who is also a fashion model, has been the creative and managerial drive behind this very successful team, along with Shayna Base, for three years running, but she freely gives credit to a number of folks who have designed and created this award winning display and made it run.

The WINNER. The Renewal entry won overall sweepstakes award, best boat over 30′ and best dressed. Photo: Albert Munoz

There is quite a bit of electrical, mechanical and decorating work that went into the Renewal’s transformation into a floating parade display. The carpentry includes a skateboard park, a replica of London’s Big Ben, a high wire act, multiple platforms, extensive theme decor, all designed to fit safely, without damaging the boat’s fiberglass and teak construction and finish. Electrical workers had to mount fixtures, lights, sound system, route wiring and make house generator connections, to power what looked like thousands of bulbs from stem to stern and a professional grade sound system..

Joanna told me that Daniel Base, who also played Captain Hook, was the prime electrical guy who also helped with the major carpentry work.  Trevor Farren was the main carpentry guy, assisted by Jim Harbor, who also played “Smead” and did the Big Ben replica.

Joanna herself did most of the paint work and much decorating, in addition to acting with Shayna as general contractor and playing “Tinker Bell” swinging high up in the rigging. Belately, she realized how difficult that made her management duties when she was isolated up there.  Shayna also helped with many of the builds and the lights, as well as playing Peter Pan.

Noted singer Clive Farrington and keyboard man Francisco Pancho Burcos-Goizuta provided first rate music over a very good sound system.

The guy running the music equipment and that loaned all the scaffolding was Shane Trittler.

Senior and Junior Mermaids Cadence and Mikayla Base graced the upper deck with their beautiful presence.

Skateboarders Cade Bright, Evan Hilgenberg and Logan Piece did some pretty handy work, considering the very tight quarters of the pint-sized skateboard park shoehorned onto the foredeck.

One beauty, Stephanie Rhodes, was dressed as an adorable fox and another one named Jessica played the cutest skunk ever since Walt Disney cartoon features.

Mrs. Claus was Taylor Grosenbach. The Santa was Ryan Smith. The dog was Rich Smith.  The guy running the music equipment and that loaned us all the scaffolding was Shane Trittler.

Dale was the boat captain, who could be seen sitting up high on the bridge, gamely, but effectively coping with various incompetent boaters and engines that stalled.

Albert Munoz recorded photographic images for posterity. You can see some of them there and more will be appearing on the PCYC web site and other places.

Numerous problems kept propping up. More than once, Ms. George-Wolf was spotted in her Tinker Bell costume, bent over to fix cranky wiring or switches. Near disaster struck when the Renewal pulled away from the dock to start her run down the main channel. A boat fender was compressed against the craft and broke some lights, which were covering nearly the entire outer hull. Instantly, all of the hull lights were extinguished and there was no practical way to repair them underway,

Mermaids (L-R) Mikayla and Cadence Base on deck of Renewal, at 2017 Channel Island Parade of Lights. Pho: George MillerCitizensJournal.us

In previous years, the scantily clad beauties on deck got quite a chill from the cool, damp winds. But it wasn’t so bad with this year’s warm Santa Ana winds.

Tinker Belle (AKA Joana George-Wolf) doing her high wire act aboard Resolution at 2017 Channel Island Parade of Lights. Photo: Albert Munoz

A few times, I noticed what might have seemed to be questionable maneuvers by the Resolution while underway. Well, it turned out that the Captain had to contend with three types of problems. Some craft varied their speeds and courses, sometimes cutting us off, requiring abrupt turns, reversing or stopping to avoid collisions. Occasional wind gusts moved the high profile craft off the narrow course needed to avoid collisions.

But the most challenging problem for Captain Dale was that engines stalled multiple times, causing a partial loss of control at the helm. The large old GM Detroit Diesel 8V-71 engines don’t like to idle for long periods of time. They prefer working hard. Combine this with very old diesel fuel in the tanks (probably about 2000 gallons) and that helps explain the problem. Diesel fuel does not improve with age, tends to grow mold, absorb water and become less powerful, even with filters in place. When a boat sits idle for long periods of time, as does the Renewal, that’s not good.


The Renewal even had a skateboard deck and not one, but three skilled skateboarders! Photo: Albert Munoz.


Capt. Hook (AKA David Base) up in the rigging aboard Resolution at 2017 Channel Island Parade of Lights. Photo: Albert Munoz


More boats participated than we have seen in a while. Photo: George Miller


Top grade live music was provided by Clive Farrington, with “Panch” on the keyboard aboard “Renewal” at the 2017 Channel Islands Parade of Lights.


“Renewal” returning to PCYC after Channel Islands Harbor Parade of lights, 12-09-17. Photo: George Miler, CitizensJournal.us



Lights out for our little mermaid Mikayla at end of 2017 Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights! Mermaiding is hard work and there are child labor laws. Photo: Art Munoz


A local sailing craft all decked out and dancers abound at 2017 Channel Islands Parade of Lights. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us


Competition Results (From Harbor’s Facebook page)

Congratulations to Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, winner of the 52nd Annual Parade of Lights Perpetual Sweepstakes Cup! Thank you to everyone who came to the Harbor and enjoyed the day and night activities. 😊 #vcclife

Winners include:

– Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club

Yacht Club Over 30’
– 1st Place: Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club
– 2nd Place: Channel Islands Yacht Club

Electric Boat (Boat Name/Boat Owner)
– 1st Place: The Lady of Monaco, Cliff Walters
– 2nd Place: Watt Ever, Steve Onderko
– 3rd Place: Habeas Porpoise, Craig Adams and Kelli Hawley

– 1st Place: Central Coast Electric Boats

Individual Over 30’ (Boat Name/Boat Owner)
– 1st Place: Marika, Raymond Greiner
– 2nd Place: Moomba, Gareth Jones
– 3rd Place: Miko Moria, David Martin

Individual 30’ and Under (Boat Name/Boat Owner)
– 1st Place: Papa, Marko Bratina
– 2nd Place (tie): Seadoo Fishing, Tommy Bolger; Open Wide, William Clark
– 3rd Place: Edventure, Ed Sher

Best Dressed Crew
– Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club

Most Humorous Display (Boat Name/Boat Owner)
– Main Squeeze, Michael Taylor

Why Renewal Won

We think Renewal won overall because she offered so much:

  • Creative design and variety
  • Excellent lighting (in spite of the docking mishap)
  • Imaginative, well executed decor
  • Excellent sound system
  • Live music by noted performer Clive Farrington
  • Skateboard park
  • Multiple performers: Pirates (2), Tinker Belle, mermaids, fairy tale performers and even 3 skateboarders.
  • Fine basic boat- 65′ Norlund Pilothouse trawler


Nearly 40 year old twin GM Detroit Diesel 8V-71’s in the Renewal engine room, along with generators which powered all the lights you saw.. Photo: Joanna George-Wolf.



“Renewal” at PCYC shortly before 2017 Channel Islands Parade of Lights. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us


Contest preparation

We passed by The Renewal parade entry under construction many times and witnessed some of the hard work and resultant progress as it was being assembled.

Renewal being prepared at an undisclosed location in Oxnard. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us


Team leader Joanna George-Wolf demonstrates one of her many skills in getting the boat ready for Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 11-17.


They even built and deployed 4 “cannons” on deck, which belched smoke intermittently.


Renewal being prepared at an undisclosed location in Oxnard :-). Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us


Article on last year’s Parade of Lights:

Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights | Citizens Journal | Citizens …


Dec 11, 2016 – renewal” was the winner in Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights competition for best vessel over 30′,. Owners Peter and Lyndsay Timpson also garnered 1st place for best dressed crew and 1st Sweepstakes (overall winner). Also last year’s winner here and Ventura. Photo: CitizensJournal.us.

Also: https://living805.com/channel-islands-parade-of-lights/
This will all be repeated at the Ventura Harbor Parade on Saturday evening December 16.

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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