September 7 - 13, 2014: Issue 179

 The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's 2014-15 Sailing Season Opening Day

RPAYC Clubman of the Year Brian Kennedy, Hon. Bronwyn Bishop[ and RPAYC Commodore Ian Audsley.

 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club 2014-15 Sailing Season Opening Day

There can be no doubt of the contribution the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has made to sailing in Sydney, the building up of Pittwater and aquatic prowess around the world. During Winter we commenced running a series of articles written by RPAYC members in 1907 which outlined this Club’s part in ensuring sailing and even the development of new classes of yachts in Australia continued our nation’s maritime heritage.

These have been preceded by insights into Pittwater Regattas, which also stemmed from an early RPAYC member. 

Part II of the literary brothers aboard the Good Ship Packham shall run next Issue, followed by an examination of these early RPAYC yachts, their skippers, builders and crews, as this week the Opening of the 148th Sailing Season of this prestigious club clearly holds sway.

The best way we may honour those who are still ensuring Pittwater produces some of the best sailing and sailors is to keep the records going. The records this year will show that one of Australia's oldest yacht club's is still innovating, and still devoted to ensuring that all may fall in love with the ancient art and practice of sailing.

After welcoming the Speaker of the House and MP for Mackellar, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, along with distinguished guests from fellow yacht clubs and members, the gentleman who is now Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Commodore, Mr. Ian Audsley, began his Address:

Commodore Audsley:

Thank you for joining us here today to celebrate the launch of the Royal Prince Alfred’s 148th Sailing Season. In two years we will be celebrating our sesquicentenary.

On this marvellous contrasting weather day, we are truly blessed to be here in the best country in the world, looking out at the best part of the best country in the world, and thanks to many generations of effort by members and staff, we can look around us at one of the truly great yacht clubs in the world, not only in terms of our physical assets but also a long history of achievement and positive engagement in our sport of sailing and principally through that the local and broader and international communities.

This season will see a continuation of our club’s commitment to our sport, positive engagement with the community across a broad spectrum of sailing related activities. 

Our 2014-15 Season will see an inaugural week of over 500 participants course through our centreboard area and training facilities which will be further enhanced with the redevelopment of the newly named Jack Gale Training Centre.

These participants will be involved in: 

Programmes for local schools

. School holiday camps

Junior Introductory sailing through the Tackers program as well as our own Opti programs, where we hope to convert participants into sailors for life

.our Centreboard racing for the young and not so young (like me and other adults)

our world renowned Youth Development program which has produced more than its fair share of World Class sailors, including Olympians and America’s Cup champions, and as with all our training, hopefully provided many positive life skills

there will also be many technical courses run together with advanced and introductory Adult training

The RPAYC will also continue to support Sailability in providing use of our physical facilities and human resources for Boat storage, ongoing training and hosting Regattas and other events.

Thanks to the Club, generous members and the sponsorship of Link Healthcare, combined with the drive of Dan Fitzgibbons and Liesl Tesch, our Integrated Disabled Sailing (IdS) Programme is now up and running. 

Another Challenge, which is berthed on B Arm behind me, is now a regular feature in Club racing crewed by abled and disabled sailors alike, recently including some of our Returned Defence Force Veterans from the Afghanistan campaign. 

We are also making good progress to continue our unbroken record of continuous Olympic representation since 1956 with Nina Curtis, Jason Waterhouse, the Crawford Brothers as well as Dan Fitzgibbon, Liesl Tesch and Ame Barnbrook ensconced in Australian Sailing Team Squads and well advanced in campaigns to represent Australian at the Rio 2016 Games.

For those with an interest in exploring our waterways in a more leisurely fashion we have what I call an ‘elite’ cruising division who try to go about their sailing and socialising in a most non-elitist manner.

A strong fleet of Alfred’s boats will be heading south this year (not North this time) to Tasmania in early 2015 and there will also be a vast array of other cruise destinations over the season – in fact that there will be a Club organised cruise or social event to suit everyone.

The Club will also host a broad range of social activities to both support our Sailing programmes and social engagement with members and visitors, as well as numerous functions for community groups including the Zonta organisation for the Advancement of Women in our community and other local sporting organisations.

Yacht Racing will remain a foundation stone of the Club’s activities and member participation and this year’s calendar will continue to attract around 700 sailor visits in a normal week for our regular Club racing and many more for Regattas hosted by the Club.

As all our members and visitors can attest; our Racing, Training and Cruising programmes are extensive and cater for a full range of sailing preferences, skill levels, age, gender and physical capability.

In this regard, we have a truly wonderful and quite unique sport that can engage virtually anyone on a “sailor for life” basis and the Club objectives are embedded in continuing to meet our constitutional obligations to support the sport in this manner and be a positive part of community life.

I would now like to welcome our most esteemed Member, Member for Mackellar and Speaker for the Federal House of Representatives, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop and invite her to say a few words.

Hon. Bronwyn Bishop:

Thank you very much Mr. Commodore.

May I say to all the Members of the Club and Distinguished guests from other Yacht Clubs that is a great pleasure to join you here this morning.

I was absolutely delighted to hear in the Address you gave Commodore outlining the fantastic work the Club is doing both for the interests of members and in extending outwardly. 

I always think that here on the Peninsula part and parcel of our life, and this is a point I make when meeting new citizens, that being part of this community s reaching out in any way that you can to assist somebody who isn’t quite as well off as you might be and that may be in any way in terms of health, in terms of whatever it is, there is a need to give back and show that gratitude for living in the best part of the world. You see that happen here.

When you spoke of Sailability, which is particularly close to my heart, I heard that this Club has raised 50 thousand dollars last year for Sailability – and that is a fantastic effort. These young people experience a freedom that sailing can give them which nothing else may. The experience of speed, of independence on the water which might otherwise be denied. 

To see this extended to where the abled and disabled sail as crews together I think has been one of the most fantastic developments sailing and this Club has achieved. 

The Club itself is looking beautiful as we move towards the sesquicentenary and congratulations go to Suzanne Davies and her team for all the work they have done. 


In opening what will be a magnificent Season it does make you think, as we look at this wonderful waterway, just how blessed we are, just how blessed we have to remain by keeping it clean, and I know the members here are assiduous in keeping this Club and its environs clean. This is a Club which has a heart, which reaches out to the community, which has a camaraderie among its members and a generosity in inviting others from other clubs to be part of its programmes, and so you can congratulate yourselves in running an efficient, welcoming and important club within the community which demonstrates that when you have privilege you have obligations that go with it.

I would like to say that although I am Speaker of the House, first and foremost my first job is to be the Member for Mackellar and that means looking after the interests of my electors, staying appraised of issues that affect them and rendering the same assistance I have always done. 

When I talk about this role of mine I do so using the term ‘Ausminster’ – I don’t talk about us as ‘Westminster’, I talk about us as ‘Ausminster’ because we have sure put our stamp upon it. We have developed what we inherited from Westminster, and indeed from the United States system, and in creating what I term ‘Ausminster’ we have led the world in many reforms.

In doing this new job I am learning more and more about that and also fulfilling an International role – so I will be away on Tuesday – six countries in ten days – and it will be work all the way, but in a way, I’m matching some of the International roles that this Club has.

Thank you very much for asking me to say a few words.

Commodore Audsley then invited the Deputy Mayor of Pittwater, Councillor Kylie Ferguson, to speak to members and guests.

Cr. Ferguson:

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

Before I begin: Pittwater Council honours and respects the spirit of the Guringgai people. Council acknowledges their traditional custodianship of the Pittwater area.

I acknowledge the Speaker of the House and Member for Mackellar, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop and thank Commodore Ian Audsley for inviting Pittwater Council to be part of the Official Opening of the Sailing Season today.

Unfortunately the Mayor Jacqueline Townsend was unable to attend today, as was Cr. Sue Young. However, I am delighted to be here on her behalf and am joined by my fellow Councillor Ian White.

The sails on Pittwater bring our area alive during the sailing season, whether it’s during the Twilight series or the weekend races, the sight of spinnakers billowing in the wind is enough to take your breath away.

I’m sure many here will be excited later today when we watch or participate in The Pittwater Dash.

The sailing culture within Pittwater promotes such a healthy lifestyle in getting people out and about to either sail, support, or watch the races.

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s support of community groups such as Stewart House, Cure Cancer, Marine Rescue Broken Bay and Sailability enable this great pastime to be accessible and enjoyable for all. 

In closing I would like to wish everyone involved in the 2014-15 Sailing Season every success and look forward to participating in the festivities throughout today.

Commodore Audsley asked Clubman of the Year David Kennedy to break the Flag in conjunction with the firing of the cannon by the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop which signifies the opening of the Sailing Season. 

I would like to thank everyone for attending today and wish everyone around the Club and out on the water the very best for the Season and on that not would like to declare the 2014-15 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club Sailing Season open.

The traditional Sail Past and Salute to the Commodore in vessels dressed with signal flags preceded 'The Pittwater Dash' - commencing in the pond northeast of Scotland Island, and sailing to and from key bays within Pittwater - a test of the Sail-skills and tenacity in all weathers!


An album of photos taken yesterday is available for RPAYC Members and guests  HERE