Newport Harbor Yacht Club
balboa, California, USA
The history of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, established in 1916, has been intertwined with the development of the city of Newport Beach and its world-renowned yachting and recreational harbor. Since 1919 the club’s permanent home has been its historic-landmark front pavilion. The picturesque clubhouse has been remodeled and enlarged but never replaced.
Dr. Albert Soiland, the Norwegian born founder and first commodore of the yacht club, was a man with an inborn love of sailing and the sea. He first saw Lower Newport Bay in 1906, when it was still the marshy estuary of the Santa Ana River. Familiar with the great ports of America and Europe, he dreamed of a future Newport Harbor. Many years of hard work by yacht club leaders and other civic-minded visionaries resulted in the formation of what is now Newport Harbor, with its combination of natural and man-made shorelines.
As the first and only (at the time) yacht club in the region, NHYC quickly became the center of all boating activities for miles around. The relatively short sail over to Catalina Island and the establishment of an outstation there continued to build the reputation of the Club among racers and cruisers alike. The Club began to conceive a number of yacht races, generally of medium distances, to and around the local islands and other mainland ports up and down the coast. One Design also began to flourish and NHYC was selected to host a number of national and world championships in such boats as the Star, Etchells and others as members excelled individually in their respective classes. Most recently, NHYC was chosen to host the Olympic Trials for the Finn Class in 2007. Newport Beach and Newport Harbor Yacht Club continue to build a reputation as a preferred west-coast venue and host for big time yachting. Its professionally staffed racing office has achieved national recognition for it efforts and results.
Most recently, NHYC has been committed to originating and hosting events that are either novel to the local racing community or that fill a void left by the demise of another event. For example, when team racing gained in popularity over the past several years and there was not a significant event on the west coast, NHYC inaugurated the “Baldwin Cup” which has quickly become one of the premier team racing events in the country. The Club also recently partnered with San Diego Yacht Club to produce the “Islands Race” offshore event that attracts the best Grand Prix ocean racers in the region. The bi-annual Newport to Cabo San Lucas Race that NHYC sponsors is the most popular of the many Mexican races that southern California yachtsmen have to choose from.
For all it successes, well-earned reputation and diversity of events, NHYC is most proud of its junior sailing activities. Known in-house as the “Non-Calm” program, this year-round operation is responsible for producing some of the finest young sailors in the country. Directly feeding into four, local high school sailing teams, which compete for national championships year-in and-year-out, the graduates of the NHYC program can later be found on the leading college sailing teams across the United States. The Non-Calm program is truly the heart and soul of Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
updated Saturday, March 29, 2014