by Maggie Joyce
The founder of the SICYC (Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club) Ken Thakeray was once denied entry to a yacht club because he was not a flag officer of an existing club so he created the SICYC and made everyone a vice commodore. Problem solved.
The cruising fleet at anchor - SICYC 2012 Rendezvous
Four years later membership is approaching 2,000 and nearly 500 of them on 130 yachts turned up for this year’s rendezvous.
Shag Islet is an unimposing islet/rock just a few meters off Australia's (20 03.8 S 148 26.5 E) coast a few miles south of Bowen. Gloucester Island creates a huge barrier to the prevailing south easterly wind so there is plenty of protection. At low tide a long sandy beach emerges and from a distance the SICYC shirts of the revellers at the Saturday gig merged to create a sky blue haze.
The 'club' is really a network of yachties; some of them permanent live aboard types (the sea going version of the grey nomad brigade), some of them casual cruisers on their northerly migration but all of them with the sea and sailing in their blood.
'Suddenly we had lots of friends' said Garry and Pam Hocking of the good ship Francis after they joined a couple of years ago. 'We now enter every port and anchorage looking for the SICYC burgee and when we find one, we invariably end up chatting over a beer or a meal', said Garry.
There is no club house on the island, other than the temporary structures that go with the Saturday function of the rendezvous. There is a bar, which does not serve anything and a flag pole that flies the club burgee on this one day of the year. As the tide comes in everything that came to the islet leaves and nature returns pristine.
On-shore the resort at Montes and the neighbouring Dingo Beach pub provides venues for the frivolity that is the rendezvous. A stage on the beach became the launch platform for the Barbary Coast band and the boat ramp became the 'mosh pit for the dancers.
The stage also served as the platform for auctioneer Rod Pearce who successfully sold at the ticket price of $9,200 the main auction item; a trip for two on the 2013 SICYC Sail Away being organized by the club from Langkawi to Phuket in the Andaman Sea next February.
Proceeds from the auction went to the club’s only charity, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the total contribution from the rendezvous this year was $30,060.40; up from $280 four years ago.
The trip to Thailand and Malaysia was donated by Mariner Boating Holidays and M.D. Trevor Joyce, recently joined, was at the rendezvous. 'This is the most amazing phenomenon I have ever witnessed and we are very happy to be involved,' he said to Ken as they surveyed the scene on Shag Islet.
The SICYC Sail Away 2013 will make the trip from Langkawi to Phuket late next February and early March, taking advantage of the prevailing offshore easterly and the one way itinerary that will halve the miles and double the fun. Join the club online and grab the last boat, a 38’ catamaran. Contact Lauren at Mariner Boating on 1300 131 724 or email lauren(at)marinerboating.com.au if you want the details.