Visit Newport Beach

April 26, 2023


Newport Beach, CA – (April 26, 2023) – After nearly four years, the popular Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival is returning to the Balboa Yacht Club (BYC) June 9-11, and will be open to the public June 10, 2023.

The event was established in 2015 by the late Ralph Rodheim, a BYC member, community leader, and wooden boat enthusiast, who envisioned the festival as yachting’s equivalent to a Concours d ’Elegance, a competition of elegance where prestigious vessels are displayed and judged for best in class.

“The Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival has been on hiatus since 2019, but I am pleased to announce the Wooden Boat Festival is returning to Balboa Yacht Club on June 9-11, 2023,” said event Chair Mike Sullivan.

The event will showcase some of the most iconic wooden vessels from around the state, drawing more than 4,000 visitors in previous years.

Once such vessel, Aviator, a 94-foot World War II-era, downed rescue pilot vessel will be 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.

“As one of the West Coast’s premiere events, the Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival has captured notable attention by bringing together all facets of Newport Beach excellence in a themed, community-wide, family-friendly open house,” added event Vice-Chair, Steve Paljieg.

In addition to being able to view and board nearly 25 wooden boats, the family-friendly event also includes live music, maritime art and exhibits, food and libations, and a silent auction.

As is custom, each year an original painting commemorating the festival is created and sold during Saturday’s silent auction. This year’s featured artist is the renowned local artist, Scott Kennedy.

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

In 2017, the event was officially recognized by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, who proclaimed the second weekend in June the “Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival Weekend.”

Complimentary parking and shuttle service will be available at 1600 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach (turn onto Clubhouse Drive from PCH and follow the signage). Entry to the event is $10 for adults, with children 12 and under free.

For more information, visit or call (949) 673-3515.


In just 10 years, the Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival, presented by Balboa Yacht Club, has grown into a must-see event for Newport Beach residents and visitors alike. The event is the Concours d ‘Elegance of yachting, showcasing the most diverse and valuable collection of wooden boats in California.

The event is open to the public and has been officially proclaimed “Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival Weekend” in perpetuity by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The vision of its founder, the late Ralph Rodheim, is a legacy event with national stature and the finest showcase of wooden boats on the West Coast in the similar luxury class of Pebble Beach for automobiles. The festival salutes the passion, time, and effort the owners have put into their vessels to preserve the heritage and timelessness of seafaring adventure.

Media Contact:
Kristi Underwood, (949) 675-3515
Lynn Hackman, (310) 968-4678

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