Since its humble beginnings in 1966, the ALYC has indeed grown and flourished to become an outstanding and recognized member of the Southern California yachting community.
On the evening of April 23, 1966, certain members of The American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 held an organizational meeting. The purpose to the meeting was to establish a Corinthian Yacht Club.
During this meeting the following officers were elected: Commodore-Ken Cohn, Vice Commodore-Wally Stephens, Fleet Captain-Charles Trapp, and Port Captain-John McHugh. The name of the new yacht club was The American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC). Bylaws and standing rules were written and established, using the Bylaws of The New York Yacht Club as a guide. The ALYC burgee, a red, white, and blue tri-cornered pennant with “sniper scope” crosshairs at the center, was designed by Mel Noack and fabricated by Nikki’s Flag Shop of Newport Beach.
The American Legion Yacht Club was incorporated in the state of California on January 23, 1967.
In 1987 the American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 granted the ALYC the use of a heritage building (known as the “Hut”) located on their property. That same year a full restoration of the “Hut” was completed by the ALYC. All materials and fixtures were donated by a combination of sponsors from Post 291, ALYC members, and various community businesses.
Also in 1987, the American Legion Yacht Club (with a membership of 140) applied for, and became, a Regular Member of the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).
Today the ALYC has grown to more than a 1000 members. The current membership includes, in addition to its local membership, members from all over the United States and many foreign countries. In addition to reciprocity with yacht clubs throughout the U.S., the ALYC enjoys reciprocal privileges with over 50 other Southern California yacht clubs.
Each year the American Legion Yacht Club sponsors many community-oriented programs including the WSA-OC's “Sail for the Visually Impaired.” Perhaps the best known ALYC-sponsored activity is the annual “Old Glory Boat Parade” on the Fourth of July. This has become one of the premier and largest spectator events of the summer in Newport Harbor.
In 1994 the Southern California Yachting Association inaugurated its “Club of the Year” awards program. The purpose of this award program is to promote Corinthian Spirit in yachting, foster the exchange of information among yacht clubs, encourage civic involvement and reward participation in SCYA activities. In 1994 the American Legion Yacht Club was named “SCYA Club of the Year”. The ALYC won this award a total of nine times; again in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2014.
There are two classes of memberships available in the ALYC, Flag and Regular memberships. Voting and office-holding privileges are restricted to Flag members. To qualify for a Flag membership the candidate must be a member in good standing of The American Legion, Newport Harbor Post 291. To qualify for Regular membership candidates must be affiliated with Post 291, or any other American Legion Post, either by Legion membership or by membership in the American Legion Auxiliary or Sons of the American Legion.