In 1958, ten yachtsmen put up $100 each and founded the Bahia Yacht Club, based in minimal leased facilities on the grounds of the Balboa Bay Club. Bahia means “bay,” and was also the name of the boat belonging to the first commodore, Don Bussey. The initials BYC were the same as an already established club in the harbor, so the word Corinthian was added to avoid duplication of initials. The original burgee, which was the Balboa Bay Club burgee in reverse, was abandoned for the present one when the club was accepted as a member of Southern California Yachting Association in 1959.
In the early years, the club consisted mainly of a very active small-boat racing fleet and an enthusiastic group of cruising boats – power and sail. Most BCYC regattas concentrated on small boats until the idea of racing 10-meter boats on a boat-for-boat basis was advanced. Although class racing is commonplace now, it was a daring concept in 1963.
When Pat Dougan entered Columbia in the 1964 America’s Cup Trials with Walter Podolak and a crew mainly from BCYC, the club became known world-wide. This was the first time in the history of this race that the West Coast had been able to produce a challenger!
BCYC negotiated a new lease giving members full use of BBC facilities, but the expanding membership wanted a new identity. Orange Coast Yacht Club was invited to participate in a merger to finance and construct a new facility.
OCYC was founded in 1964 with a nucleus of 35 yachtsmen and their families and the express purpose of seeking out and acquiring a waterfront site upon which to build a new clubhouse and yachting facility. With the entire membership dedicated to this purpose, the organization was quickly formed under the leadership of Commodore Larry Miller. By-laws were established, a name and burgee selected and SCYA membership achieved.
In 1968, when the opportunity to merge arose, the membership of OCYC voted overwhelmingly to combine its efforts for site acquisition with that of BCYC in order to take advantage of an excellent site on Bayside Drive to develop of a yacht club facility. The newly merged club, now double in size, negotiated a lease with the Irvine Company and moved into the location previously occupied by Richardson Yacht Anchorage.
During construction of the present clubhouse, operations were moved to a nearby restaurant that had been abandoned. The new clubhouse, dedicated in 1971, has been put to full use ever since.
In 1993, an opportunity to purchase the land and marina from the Irvine Company presented itself, and the membership voted to do so. Following months of protracted negotiations, the deal was consummated in 1994. The ever-expanding BCYC membership can be justly proud of its facilities and members who carry the burgee, while racing and cruising, to distant parts of the world.