September 6 - 12, 2015: Issue 230

 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club Opening of the 2015 - 2016 Sailing Season: the 149th Celebration

 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club 2015 Opening of Sailing Season – 149th Celebration

On Saturday 5th of September the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club officially opened the Sailing Season for 2015/16. Commodore Ian Audsley welcomed members and guests and during the course of his Address highlighted achievements of members and upcoming and continuing developments at the club.

The 2015-2016 Opening of Sailing Season Commodore's Address:

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen

I welcome our Patron, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Federal Member for Mackellar, Deputy Mayor of Pittwater, Kylie Ferguson, Councillor for the Central Ward of Pittwater Sue Young and Representatives of our sister Sailing Clubs, parent sailing bodies in the local community and of course my fellow club Members and club staff.

Thank you all for joining us here today to celebrate the launch of the royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s 149th Sailing Season – one year to go.

On this marvellous clear day, and I did arrange brilliant weather this year for you, we are truly blessed to be here looking out on the best part of the best country in the world and thanks to 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 assets and long list of achievements through the positive engagement in our sport of sailing, but also through the furthering of principals that relate to the local and broader international communities. 

This Season we will see the continuation of the club’s commitment to our sport and positive engagement with the community across the broadest spectrum of sailing and community activities. Our 2015/16 Season will see in a normal week 500 to 600 participants on six or seven days a week coursing through our refurbished Centreboard Area and Training Facilities, the Jack Gale Centre, an aptly named and fitting tribute to our Life Member Jack Gale who has given so much in his support of the club for over six decades. Thank you  Jack.

Deputy Mayor of Pittwater, Cr. Kylie Ferguson, General Manager of RPAYC Suzanne Davies, Commodore Ian Audseley, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Cr. Sue Young of Pittwater Council outside the new Jack Gale Centre

Jack Gale

These participants will be involved in Programs for local schools, school holiday camps, Junior and Introductory sailing through the Tackers Program, as well as our own Opti Programs where we hope to involve participants in the sailing squads. 

Our Centreboard Racing for the young and not so young, and for all adults, will continue. Our world renowned Youth Development Program, which has already produced its fair share of world class sailors, including Olympians and various Class Champions, and as with all our training, hopefully provide many positive life skills, remain core Programs at the club.

There will also be many Technical Courses run together with Advanced and Introductory Adult Training. 

The club will also continue to support Sailability, providing the use of our facilities, as well as our human resources, boat storage, ongoing training and hosting regattas and other events.

Thanks to the club, generous members and sponsorship by Link Healthcare, combined with the drive of Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, our award winning Integrated Sailing Program continues to grow with great pace. Another Challenge, which is berthed in the marina behind me here, has been a regular competitor in club racing and regattas and crewed by able and disabled sailors together. We have a big and well advanced plans to broaden this program to include groups with physical disabilities as well as illness and social disadvantage. We have seen the group Soldier On using these facilities lately and StreetWork, all of whom will continue to bring people here to allow them to experience sailing on the Pittwater.

We are making good progress to continue our club breaking record of Olympic representation over five decades with Nina Curtis and Jason Waterhouse as well as Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl ensconced in the Australian Sailing Team squads and well advanced in campaigns to represent Australia in future Olympic Games. 

As most of you would know Jason recently won Gold with his cousin Lisa at the Rio Test event in the Nacra 17 class following on from another Gold at the World Cup event in Weymouth. 

Dan and Liesl remain at the forefront of Paralympic sailing in the SKUD Class and recently won another gold in the EUROSAF Championship and will shortly be heading to Rio for training. Good luck Dan.

In addition we are also expanding our list of young and not so young adults spreading their wings on the international stage. To name a few, Katie Pellew and Milly Bennett’s MAX Teams both had top ten finishes in the recent Match Racing Women’s Championship, which goes atop the MAX Team’s first all Female crew win in the club’s Harken International Youth Match Racing Regatta. Stacey Jackson chalked up a win in Leg 8 of the around the world Volvo Ocean Race sailing in the all women crew - SCA Team. Alyse Saxby recently won a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Special Olympics held in July. While Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmont were one of the youngest crews in the 2015 29er World Championships held in Wales and achieved an outstanding 4th place just a few weeks ago.

These are just some of the notables from an outstanding list of achievements from our female sailors and a great reflection of the gender diversity we have built into all our sailing programs. 

And whilst arguably outshone by our female members, some of our males and mixed teams have also excelled, including Ian McKillop who will be travelling to New Zealand to represent the club in the Finn Class following on form some great results at the National and State level. Josh Dawson achieved 6th in the 470 Junior Worlds and is now campaigning in that class as a member of the Australian Sailing Team. 

Our New York Invitational Cup team is setting off this weekend to compete – good luck to club members, Co Skippered By Mark Griffith (Sydney 38 Old School) and Bruce Ferguson (Sydney38 Whisper), Dave Taylor, Murray Gordon and the crew of predominately Youth Development Graduates who will be representing RPAYC at this prestigious Corinthian International Event.

Cameron Miles had two podium finishes in the International Championships for the Etchell Class and won the NSW State Championships in January this year. He will shortly be heading off to the Etchell Worlds. 

Our young centreboard sailor Nathan Bryant in his first International regatta achieved a top ten place in the UK Nationals 4.7 Laser class.

At Hamilton Island Race Week we had 10 Teams with Bob Steele recording a win in Division 2, Class C, and Dave Brook winning Cruising Division 1. 

For those interested in exploring our waterways in a more leisurely fashion we have our Elite Cruising Division who go about their cruising and sailing in the most non-elitist manner. There will be a vast amount of cruises, destinations and overnight stays during the season, ranging from local cruises to recovery cruises to Taylor’s Bay – which is just over there, to much further afield. The club has an organised social event, sailing event or cruise to suit everyone. 

The club will also host a broad range of social activities to support both our sailing programs and social engagement for members and visitors as well as numerous functions for community groups and other local sporting organisations. 

Yacht Racing will of course remain the foundation base of the club’s activities for member participation. This is how we will continue to attract around 700 sailors in a normal week for regular club racing.

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

We will also to take care of and appreciate our magnificent Pittwater environs. The club is certified Fish Friendly by the MIA and we have declared our marina a Marine Sanctuary as well as investing heavily in environmentally sound facilities. Our boat maintenance yard is now considered one of the most advanced environmentally friendly yards in the industry. 

I’m sure it does not need restating to this audience, but the club will continue to strive to optimise our wonderful sport, facilities and human capital to engage with all on a Sailor for Life basis while continuing to meet our constitutional objectives to support the sport of sailing as well as being a positive part of the community life and our surrounding environment.

I would now like to invite our very esteemed club member and Patron, the Federal Member for Mackellar and Honourable Bronwyn Bishop to say a few words.

Honourable Bronwyn Bishop's Address

Thank you very much Commodore for your invitation to join you on the Programme to say a few words this morning. Can I just say that the wonderful report of the whole list of the activities of the club just given makes me doubly proud to have the honour to serve as Patron of this club. The points contained in the final words about the sport of sailing and being an integrated part of the community contain a whole new meaning with the way the club has undertaken new responsibilities, particularly for Soldier On for Returned Veterans and for socially disadvantaged youth. 

This is a club with a very big heart. This is a club that knows that here our people can enjoy the finest sailing in the world, where people have advantages that others may not have and yet it always reaches out. 

In the improvements and new developments that have been taken on in the Jack Gale Centre, it is lovely to see Jack honoured in this way and to see this beautiful new facility being made which will see 90 to 100 youth sailing on Pittwater in their dinghies from tomorrow (of this year’s Sailing Season).

This is a club that is moving forward while remaining dedicated to that sport of sailing as its basis and dedicated to this being integrated into our community. 

There is something else that is quite special. Starting next year, beautifully led by you Commodore and by Suzanne Davies as General Manager here, is the beginning of the celebrations for the sesquicentenary. The sesquicentenary is going to be a year long celebration, culminating in the Garden Party of the 17th of October, 2017.

The idea of having a year long celebration, beginning with the Opening of the Sailing Season next year is a fantastic plan and again illustrates the planning that goes on at this club.

As I look at Dan Fitzgibbon and his beautiful new daughter Hannah, just a few weeks old, and I look at the success of the Integrated disAbled Sailing Program, and I love the way you spell disAbled in that program, small ‘d’ and great big capital ‘A’, it just shows the commitment and the dedication and the strength of spirit that invigorates everyone to join in. We wish you so well for your upcoming time in Rio de Janeiro – Dan we are with you 100%, you carry everyone’s good wishes with you. To celebrate your going with the birth of Hannah I think makes us all say louder – Yes! Go Dan !

This is a community that works together, this is a community that does things that are good for people, and in doing that, in laying down these tracks of the different forms of enjoyment that everyone here can have, it does add to the way in which you feel, the things that you share out of your good fortune do enrich the rest of our community.

Suzanne was telling me this morning about some of the Veterans from Soldier On who have been here. As we’re living in a world that is so torn by war at the moment and the problems that are flowing from that, it's appropriate that we are thinking about those people who have served in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and have problems which in previous wars were given other names, shell shock, battle fatigue, a myriad of terms. At the end of the day, these are people who have Served as proudly and as well as any soldier who has fought for us, and to see this club involved with assisting in the work to serve those who have come back with injuries, some of which are very apparent and some of which are hidden, I think is vital and important work that this club has taken on.

So it is with great pleasure that I take part in the Opening of the Sailing Season today and an honour be included in today’s celebrations. 

Commodore Audsley then invited the Deputy Mayor of Pittwater. Cr. Kylie Ferguson to give an Address on behalf of Pittwater Council and Mayor Jacqueline Townsend. 

Deputy Mayor of Pittwater, Cr. Kylie Ferguson's Address:

Good Morning everyone. Before I begin I would like to acknowledge that Pittwater Council honours and respects the spirit of the Guringai people and we acknowledge their traditional custodianship of the Pittwater area. 

I acknowledge the Federal Member for Mackellar, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, and thank Commodore Ian Audsley for inviting Pittwater Council to attend the official Opening of the Sailing Season today. 

Unfortunately the Mayor, Councillor Jacqui Townsend and Councillor Ian White were unable to attend today, however I am delighted to be here today to represent Council in which I am joined by my fellow Councillor Sue Young.

Sailing in and around Pittwater is a pastime enjoyed by many of our community members, it transcends age and ability. As we can see, from our young school student sailors through to the veterans of these salty waters, we are all indeed lucky to have access to such a beautiful part of the world and to use it as our playground. The sailing culture within Pittwater promotes such a healthy lifestyle in getting people out and about to either sail, support or watch the races. I’m looking forward to a warm and breezy sailing season with many a regatta to behold. 

The sailing on offer through competition or leisure, brings an opportunity to showcase our beautiful natural environment, to visit us from near and afar, and I’m sure all visitors leave in awe of our beautiful waterways. 

I’d like to wish everyone involved in the 2015/16 Sailing Season every success and I look forward to participating in the festivities today. 

Thank you very much.


The opening addressees were followed by the traditional sounding of the cannon. The sounding of a single round from a cannon to signal the opening of the Sailing Season stems from, in Australia, some of our earliest races on Sydney Harbour when a single cannon was fired to start the matches, and later in the 1880’s and 1890’s, when the signal of the one o’clock gun from Farm Cove signalled the moment to ‘host sails’!

The Club’s Burgee or, in this case the Australian flag is raised to the top of the mast flagpole by the Clubman of the Year, a mast already a’flutter with the bunting of burgees honouring sister clubs, the RPAYC and signal flags, the cannon is fired and the Commodore declares "The sailing season is open!"

The Sail Past and salute to the Commodore and cheers for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club followed with a spinnaker race being the first sailing event for this, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s 149th Season.

Some images of the day’s festivities run as this week’s Pictorial with a Public Gallery for Members to help themselves to in Pittwater Online News’s albums here

Find out more about current and upcoming Programs at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Issue 230's: Start Sailing! The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club Open House Sunday 27 September, 2015

A Few Small Extras:

In The First Royal Visitor to Australia we shared a few snippets on the forming of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, named to honour the visit of Prince Alfred, 'The Sailor Prince'  to Australia. This meeting on Tuesday October 15th 1867 was reported as:

AQUATICS. Perhaps the most important event of the aquatic off season was a meeting held on Tuesday evening at M'Grath and Punch's hotel, where a number of pleasure boat owners assembled to consider the propriety of forming another yacht club. This step, was partly owing to the exclusion by the R.S.Y.C. of all yachts under five tons. 

The affair was as businesslike as any of the kind ever held. Resolutions  were passed without much waste of words, and ere the meeting separated the Prince Alfred Yacht Club was formed, and a pile of cash in front of the treasurer showed that the movement was real. The registration fee for yachts was fixed at 10s. 6d., and members annual subscription at 20s. The club colours are to be the Australian ensign without stars on the blue cross, burgee white with blue cross. 

The yachts already entered are the Scud, Australian, Spray, Cruiser, Lurline, Dora, Flying Scud, and the unnamed now building for- Mr. Brown, by Lomax,  of Balmain. This is a fair beginning, considering that the advertisement calling a meeting only appeared that morning, and it seems certain that, at the first general meeting of the club on next Monday night a large addition of boats and members will take place. Go ahead 'Alfreds,' there is plenty of loom for both clubs. YACHTING. (1867, October 19 - Saturday). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 4. Retrieved from

Club members then took part in the welcoming of the Prince to Sydney Harbour in 1868.

The first opening sail, although now during the first weeks in Spring, was celebrated in the first week of Summer 1867:
PRINCE ALFRED YACHT Club.-This young and rising association held an adjourned meeting at the Club Room, McGrath's Hotel, on Monday the 18th instant when five new members were elected The opening day has been definitely fixed for Saturday, the 7th December, when it is expected 17 yachts will salute the Vice-Commodore. The "Gitana" lately owned by F. J. Jackson, Esq., has passed into the hands of J. R. Walters, Esq., of the Cruiser, and is a valuable addition to the Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Bell's Guide to the Australian Turf. (1867, November 30). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle (NSW : 1860 - 1870), p. 2. Retrieved from 

PRINCE ALFRED YACHT CLUB.-Opening Trip,SATURDAY, 7th December, 1867. Yacht’s to assemble in Lavender Bay, at half-past 1 o'clock precisely. By order of the acting Vice-Commodore Strickland , P. J. CLARK, Hon. Secretary. Advertising. (1867, December 6).The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from 

The Prince Alfred Yacht Club opening trip was a very successful one. There was a large muster of vessels. NEW SOUTH WALES. (1867, December 9 – Monday ). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Among the Opening of Prince Alfred and then Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Clubs Sailing Seasons are listed many wonderful yachts, famous models and world beaters, records we will delve into further in our 2016 History pages. The establishment of the club and club facilities at Pittwater, too. Many of these reports underlining a continuance of guiding principles that are still obvious today:
RPAYC Tree Planting TREE PLANTING On Yacht Club's Newport Land.
Many trees and flowering shrubs were planted yesterday on Green Point, near New-port, Pittwater. The ceremony was performed by various members of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, owners of the land, which forms a feature of the foreshores of the upper end of Pittwater.
Mr. J. S. Palmer, an old and prominent member of the club, was responsible for the suggestion to carry out the tree-planting. By making a contribution from the prizes he had won in past years, he enabled the work to be done. One of the trees was planted by Mr. Palmer in memory of his son, the late Mr. L. Palmer, who was killed in an aeroplane accident last year. The others were planted by prominent past and present members of the club, including Messrs. D. Carment, F. S. Adams, and W. M. Marks. TREE PLANTING. (1932, November 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

And when James Punch (a once famous Brisbane Water rower) hotel had gone the club established itself at, prior to Pittwater:

Prince Alfred Yacht Club. OPENING OF THE NEW ROOMS.
At Bulls-chambers, Moore-street, on the 3rd last., a large company of yachting men assembled at the invitation of the Prince Alfred  Yacht Club to partake of a dinner given in honour of the opening of the club's new rooms. Commodore S. Hordern occupied the chair, Vice-commodore W. M. Marks and
Rear-commodore H. A. Jones filing the vice -chairs. Amongst those present were Messrs. P. J. Jackson, J. H. Harris (hon. secretary), Sydney Dempster(hon. treasurer), Drs. Burne and Knaggs, and Messrs. A. Minnett (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron),J. O. Fairfax (vice-commodore Sydney Amateur Sailing Club), Charles Helsham, H. W. Thallon, James Cox, C. T. Brockhoff, J. E. Chinnery, F. S. Adams, F. J. Donovan (commodore Johnstone Bay Sailing Club), A. C. Jewett, H. Mills (Mayor of Balmain), Russell-Marshall, James M'Intosh, J,F. King, F. G. Trouton, F. P. Pring, O. Backhouse, Tillock, Watson, Giltinan, C. Tayler, 3. E. O'Brien, Parkinson, W. H. Murrell, S. Stevens, J. George, and Lyons. Mr. J. A. Minnett, of the Royal Sydney Yacht Club, proposed the health of the ' Prince Alfred Yacht Club.' For that club, he said he had the kindest feelings, as it was the first one he had joined in New South Wales, nearly 20 years ago. Then the club was a struggling institution. The chairman, in responding for the club, said he was pleased to hear Mr. Minnett say what he had said about Mr. Harden. The club was a successful one now, and had many friends. It was a live club. Sixty members as a rule attended its monthly meeting. The club was powerful because its members all pulled together, and the sinews of war were in the right place, namely, the bank. (Hear, hear.)It was an ambitious club, because it was anxious to instruct its members properly. He felt sure, through the way -things ,were going forward, the club's two rooms would soon not be large enough to hold the club. Owing to the limited space now available the club had been unable to invite all its friends to be present. He trusted, when it was known, that excuse for not inviting them would be accepted. Some day when the club was able to build an establishment of its own and had a very large room it would be only too pleased to entertain all its friends. (Cheers.)
Mr. W. M. Marks, vice-commodore of the club, also responded. He said the man who had been the general of the whole campaign which had resulted in 'making the club as successful was Mr. Syd. Dempster. Mr. H. A. Jones, rear-commodore, said the reason the club had gone ahead, so well was because the members worked in harmony with one another. During the winter season the club rooms were made attractive, and in the summer season as many races as possible were arranged for as large prizes as the club was able to give. Next yachting season several new boats were coming out of one class, namely, 30-footers. They would give things a good start, and conduce to an interesting and exciting time. Mr. Sydney Dempster, who was heartily cheered, said he had been given a lot of credit, but he merely acted on the advice and according to the wishes of the house committee, and, as had been said, all pulled together. He thought the P.A.Y.C. ought to be proud of its position, for he saw before him one of the best meetings of yachting men which he had seen in Sydney for some years. There was a determination discernible to put yachting in Port Jackson on a better footing. (Hear, hear.) The old boats must be dropped, and English and American models would have to be followed. When that was done the rest might be left to the many energetic supporters of yachting in this community.- (Cheers.)
Mr. W. M. Marks, vice-commodore, proposed,' Kindred Clubs.'
Mr. Minuett responded for the Royal Sydney Yacht Club. 
Mr. J. O. Fairfax, on being called upon to speak said when he accepted the invitation of the flag officers of the P. A. Y.C. to be present, he intended to appear purely in a private capacity, but as the club had received the toast in such a friendly spirit he had much pleasure in replying on behalf of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, thanking theP.A.Y.0.for its generous hospitality and good wishes. He saw a picture in an American piper the other day, of a big hairy caterpillar crawling along' a lawn. Seeing a lawn-mower approaching it, said, ' I guess I will have my hair cut.' That was called taking advantage of opportunity. He was in the same position in accepting the invitation to the dinner, for he wanted to meet the men who were arranging to bring out the 30-footere and have a quiet yarn with them. Mr. Donovan responded for the Johnstone's Bay Club, and Mr. C. H. Helsham for the Anniversary Regatta committee. 
Messrs. Parr Watson, T. Bainford, and W. H. Lynch sang a number of songs, accompanied on the piano by Mr. L. De Groen. Prince Alfred Yacht Club. (1900, August 11). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 354. Retrieved from 

And these are just a handful of notes from those we have been collecting for a few years now, among others alike John Roche already run, to share with you some wonderful insights on what has gone before, and led to, the 150th year for one of the world's greatest yacht clubs.

Three cheers for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club!

 PRINCE ALFRED YACHT CLUB DINNER-FLASHLIGHT BY WYLIE.— See Aquatic Columns. Presentation to Lieutenant Hixson. (1900, August 11). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 325. Retrieved from 

Pictures and A Few Extras - A J Guesdon, 2015.