Balboa Yacht Club

History of BYC

In 1922, when Newport Harbor was more shoals and sandbars than open water, the Southland Sailing Club, soon renamed the Balboa Yacht Club, was formed by a small group of sailors wanting an active organization with an emphasis on family sailing. From its beginnings in a small wooden structure on open, sandy Balboa Peninsula, BYC has evolved to become one of southern California's most prestigious yachting organizations. In 1926 the Club moved to a new clubhouse on the southeast corner of Little Balboa Island, a stone's throw from its present location on Bayside Drive. Over the fireplace hung a burnished wood plaque bearing the Club's motto, "A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck." Originally donated by the first commodore, Isaac B. Potter, the plaque hangs today over the present Club's dining room fireplace.

The Newport Harbor of the past began to change as dredging began in 1935, and the following year the harbor we know today was officially opened for navigation. Balboa Yacht Club, with it's prime location near the harbor entrance, now had a convenient, protected anchorage for its growing fleet.

BYC signed a lease with the Catalina Island Company in 1957 giving them an outstation site at Whites Cove west of Avalon. Thanks to members' untold hours of hard work, from cement work to landscaping, from plumbing and wiring to carpentry and painting, this facility is now a treasured getaway site for members to enjoy.

The Clubhouse and facilities on Bayside drive have evolved over their half-century of use to meet the changing yachting needs of the membership and to provide a comfortable environment for a wide variety of social activities.  A detailed history of Balboa Yacht Club includes a litany of its members' successes in some of yachting's most highly acclaimed competitions. Its cruisers have ranged worldwide in their boats. In fact, Baja California and the coast of mainland Mexico are as familiar to many of the members as the coves of Catalina. 

Today, the Balboa Yacht Club is still among the leaders in yachting and still true to its tradition of family.

Past Commodores


Year Name Year Name Year Name
1922 Isaac Potter* 1956 Frank Wood, Jr.* 1987 Richard Jenness
1923 Frank Hutton* 1957 Chip Cleary* 1988 Douglas Wall*
1924/25 H. M. Worcester* 1958 Paul Holmes* 1989 John Cazier*
1926 W. M. Davenport* 1959 William Campbell* 1990 James Kelly*
1927 H. M. Worcester* 1960 Vilan Couch* 1991 George Leitch*
1928 Robert Bostwick* 1961 Carroll Hudson* 1992 John Barker*
1929 Louis Coffey* 1962 John Biby, Jr.* 1993 Richard Lawrence
1930 B. F. Mansfield* 1963 William Blurock* 1994 Donald Anderson*
1931 Evart Adams* 1964 John Payne* 1995 Dudley Johnson
1932 E. G. Sherman* 1965 Charles Glasgow, Jr.* 1996 Edward Di Orio
1933 Walter Cuorsen* 1966 David Young* 1997 Richard Blatterman
1934/35 T. Higbee Embry* 1967 Frank Lynch* 1998 Charles Buchanan*
1936 Paul Johnson* 1968 Ralph Deaver* 1999 Stanley Cochran
1937 J. Eugene Ziegler* 1969 David Smiley* 2000 Mike Wathen
1938 H. F. Batchelor* 1970 Donald Franklin* 2001 Tom Purcell
1939 Lewis Bish* 1971 Edwin Steen, Jr.* 2002 Josh Walker
1940 Howard Baker* 1972 Jack Baillie* 2003 Jeffrey Allen
1941 Edmund Riesen* 1973 George Hoedinghaus* 2004 Howard Neff
1942 Theodore Jonson* 1974 David Lang* 2005 Norm Shepherd
1943 Fred Hunie* 1975 Kenneth Ross* 2006 William Seals
1944 Mark Healy* 1976 Preston Zillgitt 2007 Craig Reynolds
1945/46 Donald Kemp* 1977 Morrie Kirk 2008 Art Mitchell
1947 Robert Boyd* 1978 William Carlson 2009 Alan Andrews
1948 Richard Fenton* 1979 Bob Williamson* 2010 Richard Pacelli
1949 Castleman Smith* 1980 Phillip Glasgow* 2011 Peter Bretschger
1950 Fred Smales* 1981 John Robinson* 2012 Judi Gorski
1951 Harry Blodgett* 1982 Terence Welsh 2013 Ray Lewis
1952 Converse Wurdemann* 1983 William Taylor 2014 Glenn Highland
1953 L. B. Wheeler* 1984 Richard Jones 2015 Gary Davidson
1954 James Whyte* 1985 Richard Krenz* 2016 Doug West
1955 Marshall Kennedy* 1986 Alan Andrews, M.D.*

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