September 8 - 14, 2013: Issue 127


Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club 2013-14 Sailing Season Opening Day

 The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club held their Sailing Season Opening Day, a relaxing sunshine event with a focus on how positive getting on the briny is. You can’t help but smile broadly every time you visit this great Pittwater institution, the people are friendly, family orientated and don’t take themselves too seriously despite being a standard for yacht clubs everywhere.

To attempt to list all the RPA does every year for all facets of this sport, or all the young people who have started out from here to go on and rank as champions on the world stage of sailing, would require volumes. From at least 1895, when still based on Sydney Harbour, sailors from the then Prince Alfred Yacht Club have been coming to the waters of Pittwater and investing in and building up community here. The simple aim has been to invest excellence into the sport and art of sailing and this is extended by engendering a fantastic attitude in all aspects of their Youth development Program, by teaching skills that continually raise the bar for sailors everywhere, and by development of water craft.

For the record, from this year’s Sailing Season Opening Day:

Commodore Rob Curtis:
Welcome to the Opening of RPAYC 2013 — 2014 sailing season. This will be my last Season opening as your Commodore and I have been honoured to have had this great opportunity of leading this great club.
I always find this challenging as we never really stop sailing here at the RPA, we sail twelve months of the year. I’d like to talk to you atoday about the participation we see at this club in the area of yacht racing.
Over the winter we saw the Bob Alder and Bill Bailey team on OCL #1 (Occasional Coarse Language) taking out 5th place in the CYCA Southport race (beating the new OCL II), which is a great result. At Airlie Beach Race week Ray Carless on a J70 took out 3rd place in the highly competitive Sports boat series. Sports boats are a place to ‘watch this space’ because we now have six or seven of them over on our Crystal Bay hardstand and a regatta coming uyp where you may see quite a few of them here as well. Marcus Blackmoore on Hooligan took out Div1 at the Hamilton Island event by 10 points from their nearest rival Shogun V, quite a significant margin. Member Steven McConaghy was sailing on D'Altra Donna take out Div 2 of Hamilton Island. John McConaghy was up there on Second Time Around came a creditable 3 in PHS just behind Matt Allen's ichi Bahn. Chris Ryan on the X 35 Next Light took out the cruising Div 2.

We also have a Cruising Division enjoying what the Coral Coast has to offer (and I know that planning is underway for the next major cruise to head south to have a Taste of Tassie).

Coming up there is an important Regatta that is being raced tomorrow morning at around 6 a.m. over in America called the America’s Cup. Now, I don’tknow why it’s called the America’s Cup and I’ll tell you why; E Team New Zealand has Adam Beashel, Glen Ashby; Artemis has Nathan Outeridge, Iain Jensen, Andrew Palfree, Andy Feathers. On the Oracle are Grant Simmer General manager, James (Jimmy) Spithill, Tom Slingsby, Darren Bundock, Kyle Langford, Will McCarthy, Sam Newton and Joe Newton on board and of course our two Youth Development grads are also over there, my son Dean and also Andrew Coates who are doing 16 hour days seven days a week.

It all comes from here, from what we do, so I’m really proud, not only of our club, but also of what Australia does for Australian yachting.

We also had another event over there called the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Jason Waterhouse did us proud over there. They had some significant gear issues and then to come through the regatta with seconds and thirds while racing at that level was fantastic. By all accounts it was the true America’s Cup because they had ten teams that were representing their countries in the under 25’s.

There still is the Road to Rio. We’ve got Josh McKnight, Jason Waterhouse and my daughter Nina. They’ve all been doing the European circuit. Nina is heading down to Marseilles to finish off with Hayley Outteridge on the 49x’s and Jason has been gaining a number of podium results
Milly Bennet coming a very close second in the NSW Youth Match racing on the Harbour. Jim Colley and Shaun O'Conner from our Youth Development group have come in 6th in the world 29er championships. They were winning but there were 213 boats on the line entrants and indicates that this is an absolute outstanding result.  (only 14) another watch this space moment.
We had 70 boats here for the Ice Breaker Regatta, in dinghies. Our Opti fleet is now through the roof. We now have in excess of 50 boats racing on Sundays plus our Tackers and green fleet.

One other thing that jumped to mind while I was thinking of all this; we’ve got a young guy who has come through Youth Development who got his HSC last year, Max Voss. Max has done a lot of racing. It turns out he has applied for and got a place in the Oakhill College in the USA as part of their Sapling program to access the profession sailing circuit (first ever Australian). This is a Full time course running 6 days a week covering marine electronics, rigging, sail making, engines and composite repair. They will also be schooled in business/team management techniques, design theory and match racing tactics. He is locked into
• Marblehead to Halifax race on a STP 65 "Money Penny"
• Farr 40 pre worlds 24-25th August - Newport Rhode Island
• Farr 40 Worlds - 27-30th August - Newport Rhode Island
• Melges 24 Worlds - 30th - 5th September - San Francisco.

He is an absolute fantastic ambassador for this club.

So that’s what we have been doing through Winter…. Before we start the Season.

Coming up next Saturday we’re having a Skipper/Crew meet and greet in the morning at 10.30 in Halyards. We’re keen to match up crews with skippers as we hoping to assist people to get together and go sailing.

I’d also like to mention a new initiative for the club which is the RPA Integrated disAbled Sailing Program. John Bacon’s company, Link Healthcare, is supporting this and it is replacing the Blackmoores Three Islands charity event. This is a program that aims to give sailors of ALL ages and abilities the opportunity to participate in the Club's sailing activities.

That is coming up on the 28th of September with Sports Boats / One Design Sprint Racing with members, guests and visitors from other clubs welcome to participate. In the evening there will be a Celebrity Gala Dinner and launch of "Integrated Disabled Sailing" with IdS ambassadors, London Paralympic Gold medallists Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch. Host and Master of Ceremonies will be Vince Sorrenti and there will be entertainment from Kate Lush and the Bliss Trio.
On Sunday 29 The Two Islands Race event is a must – the camaraderie and good times we all had in the Three Islands race, where you never got around the three islands was fantastic so we’re hoping to reinvigorate that. This will start at 10am. The race will take in the two major landmarks in Pittwater, Scotland and Lion Islands. Festivities will continue back at the club, when the boats return no later than 1 pm, with an "Islands Feast", entertainment and presentations.

We are hosting the last heat of the Southern Cross Cup — we are likely to have 12 TP52's batting around inside of Pittwater on the weekend of 13, 14 & 15 December. So you if want to come and watch some great racing and see some great boats, put those dates aside.

A Round of the Sports boat series at the club and we are looking forward to possibly hosting the following seasons Nationals — boats around 6.5 metres (vipers, VX1, Shaw 650)  will be followed by the Sydney 38 states.

We have our signature event, the Club Marine Bluewater series featuring the 33`d .Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race.

We are privileged to have with us Rob Brown, Hugh Treharne and Phil Smidmore who were crew members of the victorious Australia II team that won the Americas cup in 1983 coming back from 3-1 down and beating red hulled USA 12m Liberty skippered by the celebrated Dennis Conner. These guys have just returned from USA where the whole team were remembered for their great victory.

I’d like to leave you with some words from Mark Twain that I feel are really central to what we’re doing here;

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.
Mark Twain

I now call Mayor Jacqui Townsend to the micro phone.

Mayor Townsend:
Congratulations on the Sailing Season you are just about to embark on. Since at least 1919 this club has been a very important part of the social infrastructure and social community of Pittwater. As you know we all surround this beautiful body of water we call ‘Pittwater’ and your members and your club are custodians and have looked after this area nd its people very well for almost one hundred years now.
So congratulations on your forthcoming season ; stay safe and keep extending your membership to those who are able bodied and those who are not able bodied and also those who are successful on the international stage and I hope this continues for another one hundred years.

Maddy Walker, a 13 year old student from Pittwater High School led all in the singing of the National Anthem with a strong pure voice.

Commodore Curtis then introduced one of the gentlemen who sailed in the winning Australia II crew, Mr Rob Brown.

Rob Brown:
Thank you Commodore Curtis. Ladies and gentleman, Distinguished guests, on behalf of Phil and Hugh, we’re very privileged and honoured to be here to welcome in your new season. We are lucky to fire the cannon shortly and have been issued with earplugs which Hugh gladly took so he doesn’t have to listen to me for too long.
When we watch the footage just shown (of 1983 America’s Cup) it does obviously stir up all the emotions even though it was 30 years ago this month. When we were sailing back then we did it because we wanted to.
There was an article in The Australian a week ago which said we did it for $12.50 a day and that worked out to about $9.80 Australian, so we certainly didn’t do it for the money. We did it because we wanted to, to participate in this sporting event. I think the key thing about why that campaign was so successful was 1) the compatibility not only between the sailors on board the boat but also a very strong management team behind us.

The America’s Cup is historically fraught with controversies as you have seen in recent weeks and it certainly was back then. At times we didn’t know if we were even going to get to the America’s Cup as the New York Yacht Club was objecting to our boat due to its keel but having very solid management behind us in Warren Jones, John Longley, Sir James Hardy, a lot of experience behind us, they said ‘listen, you go out and win your races and let us take care of the lawyers’, and that’s exactly what they did.
Those are the two vital elements that helped us win that cup; the compatibility between the guys and being backed by solid management.

Just getting back to the day, and echoing the words from Commodore Curtis,  this club and many other yachts clubs, but especially Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, you have the catchphrase ‘Excellence in Sailing’ and I think this club is holding up to that in more then a few terms and those members from this club who are involved in the current America’s Cup is a testament t that. So I congratulate you Rob and the rest of the team, you’re doing a great job.

We’re here today to launch the season. You’re first off the rank which is good to see. The other thing which is really important about this club is that it has had representatives at every Olympic Games where sailing events have been run. I think no other yacht club in the world can testify to that. If you keep doing what you’re doing here at this club and keep that as a number one goal, to keep representatives at every Olympic Games, we’ll all be doing a pretty good job.

On behalf of Phil and Hugh, thanks very much for having us here. This will be the first time I’ve ever fired a cannon.

Clubman of the Year, Ted Anderson broke the flag as the three gentleman from Australia II sounded the cannon, another age old maritime salute, before members and guests made their way to Alfreds 1 and Mr Esbray’s Le Billet for the Sail Past by member’s yachts and salute to the Commodore (see this year’s slideshow).


Special guests:
Mayor Jacqui Townsend
Deputy Mayor Bob Grace
Mark Ferguson, General Manager of Pittwater Council
RSYS Vice Commodore Richard Chapman and Mrs Chapman
Kuring-gai MYC Commodore Jim Murphy
Woody Poiint YC Vice Commodore Ian Major
Executive Officer MIAA Colin Basgrove

Fellow Commodores of the Royal Prince Alfred YC: Russel Murphy, Angus Gordon, Richard Hudson, John Allanson, John Berry, Ken Hudson, Kevin Smith.
Also in attendance: Jack Gale, Clubman of the Year ted Anderson, Vice Commodore Ian Audsley. Rear Commodores: Allen Storemen, Peter McCadie, Nom Weaver, Peter Bennett. Directors: Michael Lockey, Simon Grosser. Apologies: Jim Bullough and John Bacon.

 RPAYC Sailing Season Opening 2013-14 by AJG - Published 7th of September, 2013

Clubman of the Year Ted Anderson with Commodore Rob Curtis. 

Commodore Rob Curtis,  Hugh Treharne, Phil Smidmore and Rob Brown.

Phil and Valerie Smidmore with Valerie Chapman. 

Jack Gale. 
Mayor Jacqui Townsend and Deputy-Mayor Bob Grace. 
Angus Gordon (Commodore 2005-2008) and John Allanson (Commodore  1990- 1992).
Rob Brown and RPAYC Vice-Commodore Richard Chapman. 

 Dan Fitzgibbon and Phil Smidmore.

Vice-Commodore of the Woody Point Yacht Club Ian Major with Eric Gumley. 


Report and Pictures by A J Guesdon, 2013.