Wooden Boat Festival at Balboa Yacht Club Showcased Classic Vessels

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Joie de Vivre won Best in Show / photo by Jim Collins

After a four-year hiatus, the Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival returned to the Balboa Yacht Club June 9-11, and was open to the public June 10.

Dubbed the Concours d ’Elegance of yachting, it showcased a diverse and valuable collection of wooden boats, and acknowledges the passion, time and effort the owners have put into their vessels.

The Wooden Boat Festival was established in 2015 and was the vision of founder and Newport Beach resident Ralph Rodheim, a BYC member and community leader who passed away in 2017 from ALS. His wish was for the festival to be a legacy event with national stature and the finest showcase of wooden boats on the west coast in the luxury class of Pebble Beach for automobiles.

This year’s event showcased more than two dozen iconic wooden vessels from around the state and drew several thousand visitors.

This year, Joie de Vivre won the Rodheim Award for Best in Show, while Astor was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

Aviator, a 94-foot World War II-era, downed rescue pilot vessel, was on display and available for tours. After being moth-balled for decades after the war ended, Aviator was lovingly restored by owner Nico Santucci into a state-of-the-art, world-class luxury yacht.

In addition to being able to view and board two dozen wooden boats, the event included live music, maritime art and exhibits, food and libations, and a silent auction.

Hosted by Balboa Yacht Club, the event was made possible in collaboration with the City of Newport Beach, the County of Orange, and Visit Newport/Newport Beach & Co.

For more information, visit www.newportbeachwoodenboatfestival.com.

Astor won the People’s Choice Award / photo by Jim Collins
Interior of Aviator, a 94-foot WWII-era boat / photo by Jim Collins
Lining up to tour Aviator / photo by Jim Collins
Crowd at the Wooden Boat Festival / photo by Jim Collins
A small wooden boat / photo by Jim Collins
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