Plans for Flight of Newport sailing race on bay are taking shape

The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, accompanied by the Balboa Yacht Club, will present the Flight of Newport on Sunday, July 14 in Newport Harbor.

Originally called the Flight of the Snowbirds, named for the wooden boats participating in the initial races, the event was renamed Flight of the Lasers in 1975 after organizers decided to replace the aging wooden crafts with more modern, fiberglass boats, known as Lasers.

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Photos by Bronny Daniels

Race around the perimeter of bay is set for Sunday, July 14

The Lasers were seen in small boat races at the time including in the Olympics. In 2020, the race was again renamed to the Flight of Newport to be more inclusive, opening entries to ILCA (formerly known as Lasers), Harbor 20s and Tera RS boats.

The Flight of Newport will begin at 1 p.m. near the Balboa Pavilion and it will take about 90 minutes to complete the course, which circumvents the entire bay.

The first-place winner in the ILCA fleet will receive the Albert Soiland Trophy, named after the first Commodore of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, along with a new sail provided by Vela LA.

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Trophies for top finishers are await

The Albert Soiland Trophy is engraved with the names of past winners; the trophy has frequently been awarded to sailors who have gone on to participate in bigger races, including the America’s Cup.

Other placing racers first to cross the finish line in categories such as the First Girl, Youngest Boy, Youngest Girl, Oldest Person and First Married Couple, in the ILCA fleet, will also win prizes.

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ILCA winners from 2023

“The Flight of Newport is a great community tradition and carries many happy memories from those that have participated in the past regattas,” said Lawrence Jones, chair of the 2024 Flight of Newport. “Ages ranges from young aspiring skippers to legends of the bay like Seymour Beek and Dave Tingler. Everyone wins during this special event on the water.”

There is no charge to enter the race. Each registered participant will receive a Flight of Newport T-shirt and must provide their own boat.

For more information and to sign up, visit


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