Melbourne’s weather had been quite peachy, with 30 degrees to be enjoyed by all on Thursday, but alas that was then and this is now. Come Saturday October 6, the 137th time St Kilda’s Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) was to have its Open Day, it would be a gloomier, colder and indeed, slightly wetter affair.
Madness takes over at RMYS Opening Day 2012 - photo by Alex McKinnon
Not that any of that really mattered, however, for the special guests made it a far brighter and luminescent occasion for the Community Club, as RMYS has come to be known, somewhat colloquially.
Dignitaries such as the Lord Mayor for the City of Port Phillip Rachael Powning, Councillor Serge Thomann, Father Jim Minchin, Commodore Linda Goldsmith, Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Sports Commission member, Andrew Plympton, along with the former President of AFL club Fitzroy and current Olympians Club President, Leon Wiegard, ensured there was both officialdom and humour to be had during the presentations.
When you’re old, you kind of get given a fair bit of latitude to do just about whatever you want. When you’re Andrew Plympton, you get nearly the same thing. You then add Leon Wiegard and it is pretty much on for young and old. This was certainly the case as the panel walked, or was that trudged, through many a subject from Australia’s great showing in sailing at the recent London Olympics, water polo and then to a subject dear to many a Victorian, Australian Rules.
'It’s lovely to be here at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron for another opening day. A busy time for sure and to have the club recognise the day with a focus on the Olympics by also inviting the great Leon Wiegard to be here, one of Australia best water polo players, really is a tremendous pleasure', said Andrew Plympton.
Also in attendance was Yachting Victoria’s CEO, Steve Walker, who quite possibly had the hardest job of the day, determining who would win the best dressed prize and the dinner for eight that came as the prize for that particular honour. David Croke’s crew, ‘all furred and horned up as Vikings’, aboard their long ship vessel, alias Carrera, got that one with nary a look going elsewhere.
The Mayor unfurled the ensign and an address for the indigenous members of the area was also made.
Out on the very lumpy waters of Port Phillip with a genuine 15 to 25 knots blowing through from the South, Richard MacGarvie and Peter Davison’s Addiction from the club’s Division One fleet lead the parade with Jurgen Pfeiffer’s Take Five from Division Two leading that sector in the sail past, as the Lord Mayor and the Commodore, resplendent in new shoes, took the salute.
Behind them were Division Three, lead by Kevin Curtis’ Sea Eagle. We are not sure what division demasted races in, but ‘Sunshine’ came out to show us anyway…
Commodore Linda Goldsmith was quite happy that this would be the last Open Day with the clubs existing and now getting a little rickety timber pier marina. In its place by next year’s 138th Open Day will be a brand new 250 berth floating marina.
'We’re all approved for the extension to the rock breakwater and currently finalising the building of both that and the wonderful new marina.
'Given our cosmopolitan location, very close to Melbourne itself, along with our strong history, it really is little wonder that a good number of the 128, 20-year lease pens have already gone with many of the remaining 122 short term pens also snapped up. Finally, bigger and deeper draft vessels will be able to call the Squadron home', said Linda.
As the Community Club, you can expect RMYS to be very much behind the Discover Sailing program that aims to get as many people as are interested out on the water to experience this very relaxing and rewarding pastime. General Manager, Rod Austin, indicated, 'We usually have very strong interest and our first Discover Sailing Day is on November 11, 2012.
The whole club is open to public and of course, there’s free sailing to be enjoyed and along with the ubiquitous sausage sizzle. Anyone can sail and you don’t have to own a boat to get out there, as people are always looking for crew. Our doors are open to all on the day, so venture down to the building at the end of Fitzroy Street and come see the view, if nothing else.'
RMYS will run their Discover Sailing Week DS week in early December. This is where they invite local primary and secondary schools to come and learn, experience and no doubt have a blast whilst they literally discover sailing. The Club’s racing commences on October 13, when 30+ boats get involved. The twilights begin next week and from 6pm next Wednesday, over 40 vessels prove that this is one of the most popular items on the agenda.
Go to www.rmys.com.au for more information about events, racing, the new marina and, if you are in Melbourne, utilising the clubhouse overlooking Port Phillip and Melbourne’s CBD for your next function.