February 13 - 19, 2022: Issue 526


Pittwater Regatta 2022 - Hosted By The RPAYC - Celebrates Over 130 Years Of Regattas On Our Estuary And Offshore Reaches

Bushranger on the boil on the Pittwater Estuary, Friday February 11th, 2022. Photo: RPAYC

The Pittwater Regatta 2022 includes the NSW ORC Championship supported by Sydney Marine Brokerage. This is a 3 day series consisting of inshore, offshore passage and offshore windward/leeward racing which is open to all ORC rated yachts. The Pittwater Regatta is being held over the weekend of 12-13 February with the ORC Club & PHS Series held racing inshore and on the estuary of Pittwater.  The weekend will also see the Sydney 38 NSW Championship racing offshore. A regatta band will be playing on Saturday afternoon to entertain crew and families with the crowning of winners held on Sunday post race. 

Contention exists as to which regatta on our lovely estuary is actually the first. That which is listed first in newspaper records as a ‘Pittwater Regatta’ took place on January 2nd, 1888 and may have been a means to bring people and money into the area at this time. In September 1887 residents met at Bullier’s Hotel (the Newport Hotel) to organise an annual Regatta:


The residents of Pittwater and Broken Bay met on Saturday last, the 13th, at Bullier's Newport Hotel, Newport, for the purpose of establishing an annual regatta-the first to be held on Boxing Day, the 26th December. There was a large attendance, and the object of the meeting was warmly approved of. A considerable sum was subscribed in the room. Messrs. W. C. William and W. T. A. Shorter, solicitor, took an active part in the proceedings, the latter acting as hon. treasurer, and it is understood that the Hon. W. B. Dalley will, if his health permit, act as patron. There is every probability of some good sailing and pulling races, as the prizes should afford inducement for even Sydney competitors, and the harbour presents every natural advantage for the purpose, hardly lo be rivalled by that of Sydney. AQUATICS. (1887, September 15). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13655348

This probably inspired the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Basin Regattas of the 1890s and that led to the 1907 official inaugural Pittwater Regatta, when Pittwater was still trying to get decent roads to bring visitors to the area, ensure a tramway went ahead and the supporting services, from a Telegraph and Postal Office at Newport to places to accommodate visitors, attracted more and more to the watering place.

Being on the farm or a fisherman was a prevailing blessing but residents were keen to see Pittwater established as a premier resort. With an already established Maritime heritage, a small local race between the Crouch brothers (James 'Jim' and Edward 'Eddie' sons of Harry) of Queensland, (from one of the premier families there in all sports related events; cricket and tennis champions as well as champion sailors among their kin), and John Roche and W D M Taylor, who built boats together at Bay View (as it was named then), was the spark that started a watery fire. 

                                                               William Donald Mawney Taylor. Photo: courtesy Taylor Family Albums.             Portrait of a Mr John Roche courtesy ANMM, Object no. 00024319.                                                 

William 'Don' M Taylor was the eldest son of Patrick T Taylor, and brother to Patrick Gordon TaylorJohn Roche was born in 1884 at Bayview, a son of Katherine Roche and James Joseph Roche. Katherine was born at Careel Bay, a daughter of the Collins family of that same place. John Roche was called 'the Father of the Pittwater Regatta'. Prior to him, his grandfather, John Collins, had been named 'The Father of Pittwater'. 

A few conflicting reports state this 'match' in sailing took place either in December 1905 or February 1906 and that this as the launchpad for an annual Pittwater Regatta commenced in 1906 or 1907:

The departure of the Crouch family and their speedy boats the Spider and Manly for Gladstone, will cause a gap in the sailing world. The Crouch's are champions at the game, and will be very much missed by their friends. One of the number is the successful skipper of the Violet, but Charley will come along when Harry Chapman's craft is engaged in racing. Cigarettes. (1906, February 15). Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 - 1936), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84129788

W D M Taylor on Corella - from Sydney Morning Herald, December 24th, 1924

The Pittwater Regatta came into being as the result of a private match. In December 1905 between the Crouch brothers, of Queensland, and W. D. M. Taylor, who sailed the Corella, owned by Lord Forster, and Mr. John Roche, for 21 years honorary secretary for the regatta

An unusual course was chosen, being from Pittwater, where the flagship was moored on Saturday, around Lion Isle and back, a distance of 18 miles. The Crouch brothers won. Local residents became enthusiastic as the result of this match, and the first regatta was held in February, 1906. It catered for local sailing and rowing boats, but there were only six starters for the first motor launch race. PITTWATER. (1928, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16431002

Left to right: W. D. M. Taylor, Ada Taylor (nee Saunders) and P G 'Bill' Taylor on Lion Island - circa 1912. Photo: courtesy Taylor Family Albums

PITTWATER (N.S.W.) REGATTA IS CHIEF WATER EVENT. WHAT IT MEANS TO AQUATICS Some Interesting Details of History of Great Water Carnival

THE Pittwater Regatta means the bringing together of  a variety of maritime interests In the field of amateur sport which is hardly approached by any similar water' festival held throughout the world. Similarly as Cowes week 'typifies the acme of excellence , in yachting in Great Britain so also does the Pittwater Regatta consummate a valuable achievement in the realm of Australia's sporting activities, and its story is well worth the telling.

Obviously the descendant of the man who sowed the first acorn and found a great oak tree growing must have been as much mystified as those of our generation today who review the progress made in aquatic sport as Is typified by this meeting at Pittwater; in fact, this event was really the outcome of a sporting 'fluke,' a happening(which like the acorn) led to great and important things. It was In the year 1906 that the Crouch brothers, having taken all before them in Queensland decided to come south and contest events at Pittwater.

They won here easily, and so keen was the interest of John Roche(who as everybody knows is one of the finest exponents and enthusiasts of the yachting world) and W. D. Taylor (right),  that these two 'ticklers of the tiller' launched a challenge against the two Queenslanders. The course, was over 20 miles, and the racing order was In 15-foot skiffs. For the first ten miles the boats ran sprit to sprit, but on the last run home the Crouch brothers showed their supremacy by winning the duel; So great an interest, however, was shown in the contest that it was decided to perpetuate the meeting as an annual regatta, and thus it was that the Pittwater carnival came into existence.

Next Saturday's list of events is most comprehensive, including as It does not only sailing contests, but trials of strength between mechanically-driven craft, and those propelled manually by men, women and boys. Quite a representative list. In regard to Mischief Memorial event, a little story may be told; After the regatta of 1928, Mr. Stanley Spain got into difficulties off Narrabeen in his craft 'Mischief.' The affair created quite a sensation at the time as this yachtsman, was marooned for many hours on Lion Island. Though terrifying at - the time, everything ended happily, and the occurrence Is to-day commemorated by the 'Mischief Memorial' item on the programme. When discussing the Pittwater Regatta it necessarily involves the personality of Mr. John Roche, who, for the past 25 years, has been responsible for the arrangements of, and the successful issue of, this popular meeting. Owing to medical advice he has relinquished his hitherto active duties in the carnival, relegating his captaincy to Mr. J. H. Titchen, but his presence will not be missing on Saturday, as he is still, although behind the scenes, very much on the surface. It may be added that on the occasion of the 21st celebration of the regatta, Mr. Roche was presented with a wallet of notes and an address by the then Governor-General, Lord Stonehaven, and that was three years ago.
THE true significance of the importance of the Pittwater (N.S.W.) regatta, which will be held on Saturday next, is oft-times adumbrated by the plethora of events and the ramifications which characterise this annual meeting of all that is best in the aquatic world of sport in the Commonwealth. PITTWATER (N.S.W.) REGATTA IS CHIEF WATER EVENT. (1930, December 24). Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131158581

There are no newspaper reports for a Pittwater Regatta in 1906, however, in 1907:

Residents of Pittwater and Newport have arranged a regatta for tomorrow. The programme is a long one, and comprises sailing races for local boats, 14ft to. 18ft, local fishing boats, all-comers 16ft skiffs handicap,14ft to 24ft sailing race, sailing race for youths 18 years and under; single-scull race youths 18 years and under,  single-scull races for ladies and youths, double sculls for gentlemen, double sculls for ladies, ladies and gents, double sculls, motor boat handicap, old buffers' handicap (50 years and over). Numerous entries have been received, and Miss Gladys Lloyd and Mr. John Roche (the hon secretaries)anticipate a good day's sport. AQUATICS. (1907, March 15). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115216198

SAILING. The Pittwater Regatta will be held on the 16th instant The programme comprises fifteen rowing, sailing, and motor events The prize money totals £55 10s, besides a number of trophies. There are three sailing events, open to all-comers, viz , Handicap for 16ft skiffs, under P.J.S.S.C. rules, prizes £7, £2, and £1;handicap for 14ft to 24ft boats (jib and mainsail only), prizes £5, £2, and trophy; and an all boats handicap (jib and mainsail only, to be sailed by youths under 18), prizes £2 and £1.There is also a licensed fishing boat handicap-jib and mainsail) for Broken Bay, Hawkesbury, Cowan, and Brisbane Water boats, for prizes of £6, £1, and trophy. The rowing portion includes three races for ladies, and one for ladies and gentlemen, these, as well as other events, being for local residents only Entries for all comers races will close on the 12th, the local events closing on the 9th. Miss Gladys Lloyd and Mr John Roche are the hon. secs, their address being Post Office, Bay View, PittwaterThe flagship will be the steamer Woy Woy. SAILING. (1907, March 9). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115223002

The postponed Pittwater regatta will be held tomorrow. The hon. secretaries (Miss Gladys Roche, and. Mr. J. Roche), and the committee have done a lot of work. Nearly a hundred entries have been received for the various rowing, sailing and motor boat races. 'The first event is timed to start at 11 am and is for local boats 14ft to 18ft, for which fifteen entries have been received. For the all comers sailing skiff race the following are the handicaps :,Native (H. Rodrick), scr; Dart (J.  Sharp), 3min Rainbow (J. Hanson), 8min; Mat (W. Riddle), 9min; Rio (A. Robey), 13min; Myrtle (J. Crouch); 16min. The entries for the ladies single sculls are: Mrs. Wilmot, Mrs. Jackson, Miss G.  Lloyd, and Miss L. Arter. The other events also include three  in which ladies may join, and the sailing races cater for all-classes of local craft. 

The steamer will be the flagship. Special coaches and motor 'buses ' will leave Manly for Bay View wharf at 9.15, 10.15, and 11.15,  returning immediately after the last race is completed. SAILING. (1907, March 22). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115224482

Gladys Isobel Lloyd was the fifth daughter of William Fredrick Lloyd of Manly and Bayview. Gladys was a keen rower and took part in the first ladies double sculling championship of New South Wales. Bayview was also the base for the Pittwater Aquatic Club, out of which came many champions. There is more on Gladys and her family under Incidentals on the 1907 Pittwater Regatta History Page.

John Roche was also a lifelong member of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club which hosted and promoted these regattas from the outset, joined by the Royal Motor Yacht Club as they too established a Broken Bay (Pittwater - at Newport) division for RMYC's in New South Wales. It was Mr. Roche who penned an article, published in 1930, on the America's Cup, and over a century of RPAYC connections to that race.

All that makes this year's 2022 Pittwater Regatta one that has origins that stretch back 135 years, if you count from that September 1887 meeting or 130 years if you count from that 1892 report of a Basin Regatta, or 116 years if you cast your minds' eye back to that February 1906 race between these four young men in our place, on the Pittwater estuary, with our own RPAYC being a core of these regattas.

Although there are numerous reports of one-off races between residents and visitors interspersed prior to, during, and after these larger gatherings of all aquatics sports and the local men and women who thrived pitting themselves against each other and the elements in, on and around the estuary, as well as venturing outside for laps of Lion Island or the coast - including the long running Basin Cup from Sydney Harbour and back, it remains The Pittwater Regatta which is celebrated most for its celebration of Pittwater's beauty, her peoples and the great water sports this regatta includes.

Walter Mark's Culwulla III pictured rounding Lion Island in 1914: MR. W. M. MARKS' CULWULLA III.

Designed by W. Fife, of Fairlie, Scotland ; builder, W. Ford, jun., Sydney, 1907. Length over-all, 50ft. l.w.l., 30ft., beam, 9ft. 3in.; tons, 13. MR. W. M. MAKES' CULWULLA III. (1910, February 22). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10054129

This week's Aquatics Feature runs reports received as a lead into and from the 2022, official, Pittwater Regatta.

Pittwater Regatta inshore fleet. Photo: RPAYC 


Summer In Pittwater 2022

Mona Vale Basin on Monday 7 Feb. 2022. Photo by Joe Mills

Joe says; ''Can't believe how many people were in swimming in the rock pool and the surf in The Basin. It was cold and windy. I guess some people are made of sterner stuff.''

Mona Vale rock pool on Monday 7 Feb. 2022. Photo by Joe Mills

Joe says; ''Can't believe how many people were in swimming in the rock pool and the surf in The Basin. It was cold and windy. I guess some people are made of sterner stuff.''

Mona Vale Beach view to Warriewood on Monday 7 Feb. 2022. Photo by Joe Mills

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