by David Salter
Gaffer’s Day harbour spectacle to set new record. The Sydney Amateur Sailing Club in Mosman Bay will next month host the largest gathering of classic yachts ever seen on the city’s harbour.
Sir James Hardy’s gaff cutter ’Nerida’ always makes an impressive sight on Gaffer’s Day
The club has been celebrating its unique Gaffer’s Day since 1972, and this year’s event, on Sunday 13 October, will bring together an extraordinary range of beautiful and historic wooden boats.
Three of the yachts taking part – Akarana, Kelpie and Jenny Wren – are more than 120 years old, and still capable of racing against much younger craft. America’s Cup veteran Sir James Hardy will skipper his elegant 45-footer Nerida, launched in 1932.
At least 80 yachts are expected to participate, competing in seven divisions. These range from the sturdy old gaff-rigged yachts of the 1920s and 30s, through the historic 18-foot skiffs to the more modern Bermudian-rigged yachts of the post-WWII era.
But the biennial Gaffer’s Day is much more than a sailing regatta. There will be as much action and spectacle on land as out on the waters of Sydney Harbour.
The public are welcome to visit the club where the yachts gather. Access is via a footpath from the corner of Green Street and Kareela Road, Cremorne. The organisers expect more than 300 people to visit the club on the day.
Admission is free, a breakfast BBQ opens at 8:00am, the rum tent begins dispensing the sailor’s favourite tipple from 10:00 and the traditional starting cannon is fired at noon. Live music will be provided by an Irish band.
Spectators can secure an exclusive close-up view of the on-water activities by booking a place on the ferry Proclaim, built in 1939, which will follow the racing.
The ferry leaves from the nearby Old Cremorne Wharf with food and refreshments available on board. Expert 'live' commentary is provided by Sydney sailing legend, Bill Gale. Places are limited and must be booked through the SASC.
For entry details, crew enquiries and ferry bookings, contact the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, 1 Green Street, Cremorne NSW 2090.
Tel: 02 9953 1433 Fax: 02 9953 0898 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org