by Taylor Hill, OC Register

Tiara 31

Tiara 31

Ralph Rodheim, owner of Balboa Boat Rentals, has been renting out small boats to tourists inside the confines of Newport Harbor for 25 years, but now, he has a plan to get boat business booming outside the harbor’s breakwater.

Instead of hourly rates on electric Duffy boats, small skiffs and sailboats, the Newport Beach resident has put together a club aimed to give aspiring power boaters the ability to take weekend trips out to Catalina without the expense of boat ownership.

Called Pacific Yachting Club, the plan is to sell memberships that equate to 30 days a year that members could use aboard a 31-foot Tiara sport yacht and a 21-foot electric Duffy boat as they please. Launched this year at the Newport Boat Show, Rodheim got the idea for Pacific Yachting Club based on his circumstances.

“Boating has become so prohibitively expensive,” Rodheim said. “My wife isn’t going to allow me to just spend $400,000 and buy a boat we can take across the channel.” The cost even includes training classes. While still pricey for some, Rodheim says the cost is nowhere near what boat ownership can be with buying and maintaining a vessel- and then adding slip fees on top of that.

“You get 30 days a year, and none of the hassles,” Rodheim said. “You make a reservation, come down to the dock, and the boat is ready for you. When you come back from your trip, you step off, and we clean it and take care of it.”

Q: What was your own experience that brought about this idea?

A: Our company Balboa Boat Rentals has been very successful and has allowed recreational boaters to enjoy affordable boating. At the same time, I recognized there was a void in the industry for those who wished to experience offshore boating and cruising to Catalina Island. So, we came up with the Pacific Yachting Club concept to fill that need.

Q: As you acquire more members, you have stated you will be acquiring more vessels… where are the boats coming from?

A: With every 10 members, we intend to add new vessels to the fleet. The vessels we acquire will address the member’s needs.

Q: What kind of training will boaters have to go through?

A: Potential members must successfully complete a practical course on safe boat handling through the School of Sailing and Seamanship at Orange Coast College. In addition, each person will receive a four-hour course of on-site training aboard the club vessels.

Q: Is this something you expect to see expanded into other harbors?

041814 register articleA: Yes, we do intend to expand up and down the Pacific Coast as soon as the Orange County/Newport Beach location is established.

Q: What kind of people do you think will be interested in this club?

A: Many people want to be involved in boating, but do not wish to make the large investment necessary for private ownership. Pacific Yachting Club is an affordable opportunity to enter recreational boating on a luxury level. Others who have been involved in boating may find this the right answer to avoid the high price of slip rents and other boating costs.

Q: What is a similar product to what you offer, and what differentiates Pacific Yachting Club from other companies that offer fractional boat ownership?

A: No similar clubs for power boating are offered on the West Coast. However, this is a popular concept in the eastern states. The difference between Pacific Yachting Club and fractional ownership is its members can enjoy any boat in the fleet or at any of the additional locations, not just on one vessel.

Information: 714-617-3871 or

Contact the writer:

Read Article