Newport Harbor
33░35.3'N - 117░52.7'W 
Newport Beach, California USA

Newport Beach Harbor, prior to development, was a shallow tidelands bay, semi protected by a sandspit, with low areas on either end. Developed first as a shipping port in the 1880's by James McFadden and his brother after a federal survey showed a deep area off the sandspit, the bay itself  was dredged in 1936 to make mooring possible. "Islands" were either improved upon or man-made and are lined with pricey, beautiful homes, even if they do have their own docks.  Yacht Clubs sprang up, giving home to the Corinthian spirit shown by yachtsmen and their penchant for bigger and faster toys, even in the early 1900's.  Newport Harbor is also home to 2 very good sailing centers, located along PCH.  The Orange Coast Sailing Center, which incorporates the UCI sailing programs as well, and the Boy Scout Sailing Base both offer a multitude of instructional programs and the opportunity for all to access the waterways and the life of the oceans. 

Newport Beach Harbor is famous for its week-long lighted boat parade during the Christmas holidays.  The parade originated in 1908 when Venetian gondolier, John Scarpa illuminated eight canoes and his gondola, the humble beginnings of what is now an intense competition, costing thousands of dollars.  It was officially sanctioned in 1919.

One of my first sailing memories is of Newport Harbor and the main channel where the ferry crosses.  My father decided that, after many years of too much to do, he had the time to resume his sailing and that it was time to introduce his rather flighty 14 year old daughter to wonders of boating.  We rented a little boat and zipped around the harbor under his tutelage for about 45 minutes when he decided it was time for me to take the helm.  I quickly sailed through a Junior's sabot race and loudly learned that this was bad form from the nearby, observers, the parents.   Then I proceeded to get in the way of the Balboa Ferry and learned the rules of the road.  Driving home, I told my Dad that it was exciting but I thought I'd rather focus on boys.  I didn't take my next lesson again until I was 38 years old and in a much quieter, little harbor.  But, thanks to my dad, my son is now the son of a daughter of a sailor man.  And does he laugh now when he looks down from the calm seas above as he sees me living aboard my own boat?
 

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