Ida Lewis Yacht Club

Many clubs have unique stories that explain how they got their names, but none of them is more unique than the story of Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

In 1853, Congress authorized the construction of a lighthouse on Lime Rock in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island. Ida’s father, Hosea Lewis, was appointed keeper, but he suffered a stroke four months into his assignment.  To support the family, Hosea’s wife and daughter Ida took over the job. Later, after her mother died, Ida Lewis was officially appointed keeper in her own right, and she held that job from 1879 to 1911.

Ida was a strong swimmer and knew how to handle a rowboat.  She became a legend during her 39 years on Lime Rock by rowing out into the face of Newport’s fiercest storms to save victims of shipwrecks and capsizings. In 1924 the Rhode Island legislature officially changed the name of Lime Rock to Ida Lewis Rock, and the lighthouse service changed the name of the lighthouse to the Ida Lewis Rock Lighthouse.

Ida Lewis Yacht Club Burgee

P/C Joe Tringali and P/C Jim Peterson display the Ida Lewis Yacht Club burgee.

Although an automated light on a skeleton tower remained active until 1963, the lighthouse itself closed in 1927 and the land and buildings were sold. The lighthouse is now the home of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club which maintains a private light in the original tower. The club’s burgee depicts a lighthouse and 18 stars—one for each life saved by the indomitable heroine, Ida Lewis.

About P/C Joseph A Tringali

Tringali is the author of "Harbor of Refuge", a novel of love and loss; "I Was That Baby", his personal story of growing up adopted and finding his birth family at 56 years old; "A Quiet Family Murder", a novel detailing the many strategic decisions faced by trial lawyers when a case that begins as a “simple” murder prosecution escalates into a matter of statewide political intrigue; and "Yachting Customs & Courtesies", the quintessential guide for yacht clubs and boaters who wish to keep traditions alive.

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