November 3 - 9, 2013: Issue 135

 Avalon Sailing Club Celebrates 75 Years

 Ross and Jan Trembath. Picture by AJG.

 Avalon Sailing Club Celebrates 75 Years

On Saturday evening (2nd of November 2013) the Avalon Sailing Club was filled to capacity in one of several events on over this weekend to celebrate the 75th year of this family orientated sailing club.

During the evening MC Tony Mowbray introduced one member after another to share anecdotes both amusing and serious on the formation and development of ASC. Laughter, cheers and insights for visitors into decades of sailing on Pittwater were given.

Norm Field, past commodore, related a few stories about his beginnings as a centreboard sailor and how the old Torpedo Wharf, when it was still operational for training and target practice, had a target near the clubhouse, caused many a nervous moment for sailors. Fellow member John recalled sailing around these torpedo targets in a fancy dress event where the object was to use them for tomato and egg pitching where the correct splatter earned members points. 

Jim Katz had amusing stories regarding the Starters Tower that once projected above the roofline of the original building, which was never used for its purpose being too far from the courses start lines for aces but was utilised by many younger members, particularly teenagers, before being pulled down.

Life Member John Brogan shared the story of his father, John Snr., architect of the clubhouse structure that stands today:

“The Club building has only been in use for 55 years. It is, as far as I know, the youngest Clubhouse on Pittwater. Some of you will remember race days off Clareville Beach. There were no supporting facilities at all. No toilets and very little rigging space at high tide.

VJ’s arrived on roof racks with mast, boom and pole lashed alongside and centreboard lying on the back seat. Sails were bundled into the boot.

This was most inconvenient to members who lived away form the beach. The club could not progress further without a Clubhouse.

In 1955 Permissive Occupancy as granted by the Lands Department for the present site and building began in December 1955. the building took two years to complete – the whole achieved by volunteers and mostly amateur labour.

Sometimes a great number of volunteers were needed. One such occasion was in March 1956 when the roof trusses were to be lifted. A crane was impractical due to lack of access so an alternative had to be found.

Enter the Social Committee!

Australian Associated Press was invited to attend and record the ‘raising of the trusses’. The result was a record turn out of members and friends dressed according to fashion rather than work. 

Trussed portals lying on the floor are like a drunk. When lifting them up they tend to bend and twists at the knee and when erect, need to be supported. The lift went smoothly but when the Press left at midday, the work crowd also rapidly shrank, the result being the bracing was left incomplete.

That night, like a tree that falls in the forest, all the trusses tethered together fell together – unseen and unheard. The drunk was lying on the floor again.

On Sunday morning, without the aid of the Press, the trusses rose again quite quickly – perhaps because three was less posing for the cameras.

It is rewarding to see how the Clubhouse has been maintained ane extended – particularly the deck we are gathered on this evening. The extended pontoon is the feather in the cap for the Club and has enabled me to tie up to this structure rather than sail the long way round."

Richie Venn was invited to the stage and he had a sailing adventure to share about a trip with Ross Trembath back from Hobart to Sydney in a boat named ‘97’ which won the Sydney to Hobart in 1993. A slide show behind this gentleman showed himself and Mr Trembath with Wild Oats X in the background at Constitution Dock in Tassie “The closest we got to Wild Oats!” was the comment…

And on sailing back to Sydney and the famous temperamental weather that can rise quite suddenly when crossing back to the mainland…

“Human beings don’t belong in Bass Strait.”

Mr. Venn then had a picture of a five metre white shark placed on the screen – not from this trip back up the coats, but simply to check all were listening, promising to share this little story again soon… which was all a ruse and prelude… to asking current Commodore of ASC, Jan Scholten, ‘Clogs’ to come to the stage and  announce the presentation of Life Membership to Ross and Jan Trembath, stating “Ross and Jan have ensured all who come here know this club is all about family – they have been welcoming to everyone for decades. Ross and Jan are Mr. and Mrs. Avalon Sailing Club.”

Ross, who Jan tells us has been a member at Avalon Sailing club since he was seven years old, stated in acceptance “ We have had a fabulous time at this Club for so many years. This club, every time we come is different – different sailing conditions, but it is all about spirit and I am so happy to have been connected to it over a lifetime.”

Jan had a mothers perspective, “We have two grown up sons who are decent nice boys because of what this club and sailing here gave them. Instead of getting into trouble they could come here and muck about in boats and meet girls. This is all because of Avalon Sailing Club.”

Avalon Sailing Club are holding races on Pittwater today so be sure to shout out ‘Congrats!’ if you see centreboards and larger vessels flying their burgee. 

The celebrations last night are this weeks Pictorial.

Avalon Sailing Club: