Sailing Club History

The Friends of OASIS (FOO) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the support of the Newport Beach OASIS Senior Center. The Oasis Sailing Club is an activity of Friends of OASIS. The club’s mission is to provide recreational sailing for older adults.

The club had its beginning in the spring of 1986 when Dr. Neil Buell offered his 25ft. American Mariner sloop for use by FOO members.

In May of 1988 Stan Hauxhurst purchased a 27ft. Catalina and made it available for club use. The boat now named “OASIS” was donated to FOO in 1992 and used a slip in the marina at Bayside and Pacific Coast Highway.

In March of 1999 Kurt Topic purchased a Newport 30 and donated it to FOO. Renamed “Oasis II”, it replaced the original “OASIS”.

By 2006 the club’s membership had grown to the point that it could support a second boat. The former owner of the company that built the Newport boats, Mel Richley, purchased and donated a second Newport 30. Formerly “Cooler Runnings”, it became ”Oasis III”.

In 2008, the much-loved but very tired “Oasis II” was traded in on “Oasis IV”, a Hunter 32.6.

As the club’s membership continued to grow, the number of members able to sail was increased through the purchase of “St. Mary II’, a Catalina 34 Mk II, which became “Oasis V”. “Oasis III” was then sold.

In 2014, it became apparent that the club’s skippers preferred the larger Catalina boat while the Hunter often sat idle. It was decided to replace the Hunter with another Catalina MK II. In August of 2014, a nine-year-old Catalina 34 Mk II that was virtually unused was located and purchased. “OasisS VI” had replaced “Oasis IV” which was eventually sold.

So far, this history has been framed by the club’s boats. An organization such as OSC could not have happened without the participation and leadership of many volunteers over the thirty years of its existence. To try to identify and list all of the Vice Commodores, Treasurers, Secretaries, etc., would be lengthy and difficult. However, a list of Commodores and their time of service follows:

John Feeley: 1986-1990
John Kraus: 1996-2002
John Byerlein: 2002-2006
Harold Sharp: 2006-2008
Jim Stone: 2008-2010
Paul Bjorkholm: 2010-2012
Linda Boulton: 2012-2014
John Whitney: 2014-2018
Charlie Polce: 2018-2022
Stan Espenship: 2022-present

Of further importance to the club’s success has been its ability to provide the sailing experience affordable. The Friends of OASIS, by matching the club’s contribution of $1500 monthly to a boat replacement fund, has made it possible to have two Catalina 34 Mk II sailboats which are fully paid for. Also, the City of Newport Beach, by making slips available at a 50% discount, has made a significant contribution to the club’s vitality.