The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club — which dubs itself the "friendliest yacht club on the bay" — heralded its opening day for the 2013 season in the way it usually does: with the shot of a cannon.
A really small cannon, that is.
As the club's cannoneer Saturday, it was Amanda Morris' duty to load the Winchester 10-gauge device and pull the string. Yet despite its diminutive size, the black powder cannon let out a noisy wallop toward Newport Harbor that began the day's festivities for the BCYC.
The club on Bayside Drive in Corona del Mar celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. Saturday's opening day included an appearance from the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol boat, whose siren rang loudly as the crew sprayed the vessel's firefighting water cannon into the bay. Newport Beach's Boy Scout Troop 90 did the presentation of the colors, as the crowd, BCYC dignitaries and U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton looked on.
"Opening day signifies the start of a great season and gives us a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of all of our friends who are with us today," said Karen Winnett, the club's 2013 junior staff commodore, to the crowd of attendees.
"Opening days are like spring, full of renewal and anticipation," said 2013 Commodore Tom Madden, who began his term in December. "And at every yacht club we are reminded of this as we watch staff commodores march out, knowing they have given way to the current board of directors who know they will soon give way to the junior sailors, who are close behind and getting ready.
"It's a wonderful cycle of renewal that keeps our traditions alive."
Opening days "are like birthday parties when we were little kids," Madd added. "You know something wonderful is going to happen."
The club also presented the annual Edward F. Kennedy Memorial Trophy to Doug Campbell of the Balboa Yacht Club. Campbell was recognized for his decades of dedication and experience to sailboat racing.
Madd also accepted the club's first Generation Gap challenge, happening on July 4. It will be a fun-filled race, said BCYC spokesman Bill Long, that pits the junior sailors against their more senior colleagues.
The result? A generation age gap of 30 to 40 years, Long said.