D25 – A Boat in the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade   Leave a comment

Celebrating 10 Consecutive Years of Winning

Peter Barbour, a fellow ham radio operator and volunteer of the Huntington Beach Fire Department RACES group, has been sharing his holiday cheer and enthusiasm of the Christmas season by decorating his sailboat and entering the Newport Beach (CA) Christmas Boat Parade. As this is being written, winners for 2014 have not been announced, so stay tuned and cheer for D25!

Peter combines his computer programming and hardware-hacking skills with his knowledge of sailing that result in a series of award-winning and crowd-pleasing displays.

I am proud to be one of Peter’s helpers in constructing some of his award-winning entries.

2014 marks Peter’s tenth entry and it continues the D25 tradition of “more is better.”

Here are some pictures of D25 under construction:

IMG_0756 wayne yoshida D25 light matrix 1


IMG_0753 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 light matrix 2


IMG_0751 wayne yoshida D25 light matrix 3


IMG_0748 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 Peter inspecting


IMG_0755 wayne yoshida tech writer - clock discussion


IMG_0766 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast day


IMG_0771 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast work at night


IMG_0775 wayne yoshida tech writer D25 mast


IMG_0779 wayne yoshida tech writer - computer




Where is D25 Right Now?

D25 is equipped with an Amateur Radio tracking system called APRS. Click here to see D25’s real-time location and map.

For more information on ham radio APRS, the Automatic Packet Reporting System, click here.

D25’s Records
D25 2004: 2nd Place Best Use of Lights and Animation
Theme: Santa’s Sailing Sled

D25’s debut design was inspired by the idea of Santa’s sailing sled being borrowed by a mischievous elf.

D25 2005: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Classic Christmas

D25’s second design was inspired by a classic Christmas living room scene. A large decorated Christmas tree with presents stacked below the bows and a star atop, red brick fireplace with a roaring fire and stockings hung below a mantle.

D25 2006: Best Boat Under 30 Feet
Theme: North Pole Holiday Magic

In the middle of November, Original Productions, Inc. asked Peter to appear on a documentary on intense holiday decorations for TLC: The Learning Channel. The episode “More Crazy Christmas Lights” premiered on December 8, 2007.

D25 2007: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Surf’s Up – Light Wave

Surf’s Up on D25 features over 5,025 lights brilliantly illuminating a holiday surfer’s dream wave. D25’s strobe light marks the lip of the wave and a hot-doggin’ holiday penguin is in the cave catching some gnarly tubular action.

D25 2008: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Tropical Island Cheer – Lanterns to Lights

D25 for 2008 was inspired by the origins of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade on July 4, 1908. John Scarpa, an obscure Italian gondolier, led a parade with eight fellow small boat operators. The boats were illuminated by Japanese lanterns.

D25 2009: 1st Place Best Animation & Special Effects
Theme: Joys of Christmas Toys

In 2009, D25 demonstrated one of the most complex designs in the series. The entry included a matrix of colored ornaments, made with hundreds of individual bulbs. The matrix enabled the computer controller to make an amazing array of “bouncing ball” images that danced across a black background.

D25 2010: Best Boat Under 30 Feet

D25 2011: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality

D25 2012: Best Sailboat

D25 2013: 1st Place Animation & Special Effects

Some facts and figures of the Christmas vessel D25

The boat: 11-foot dinghy with a Nissan 4-stroke, 5HP engine. Oars for backup

Typical number of lights: Over 10,000 (Peter counted them once, but now simply adds lights up to the generator capacity)

Current consumption: Approx. 33 amps at 120 VAC

Power source: Two Honda EU2000i generators providing a total of 4,000 watts at 120 VAC

Wiring: Over 625 feet of custom extension cords

Safety items: GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) on all circuits and an automatic bilge pump

Communications: A 5 Watt VHF ham radio is interfaced to a GPS for reporting location, and is available for emergency

Sound system: 150W audio power with wireless mike for music and personal greetings

Computer controllers: Four Light-O-Rama (LOR) controllers 

Other items:
A masthead rotating strobe
An automobile classic “AH-OO-GA” horn
Fog Machine
Simulated flames & coals in fireplace
Chasing rope lights


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