Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron - 150 years strong and celebrating

by Pater Campbell on 2 Jul 2012
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Photo provided by Peter Campbell Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron http://www.rsys.com.au
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Australia’s senior yacht club, on Sunday July 8 2012 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its foundation, marking a proud role in the social and sporting history of Sydney and leadership in Australian yachting.

The ‘Squadron’ must rank as one of the great yacht clubs of the world, a clubhouse with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour and magnificent facilities for its members and their guests.

As a yacht racing organisation, the Squadron has provided the highest standards of race management for club, national and international championships and Olympic sailing, hosting two world championships this past year.

The Sesquicentenary underlines the significance of the Squadron’s role in the sport of yacht racing in Australia and, indeed, internationally.

It was the first Australian club to challenge for the America’s Cup and one of its members, the late Bill Northam (later Sir William) Northam, was the first Australian to win a gold medal in Olympic sailing, at Tokyo in 1964.

Two of its members will represent Australia in the London 2012 Olympic Games, Nathan Outteridge helming the 49er class and Lucinda Whitty crewing in the Women’s Match Racing.

Many other members have won national and world championships in a variety of one-design classes, have sailed at the Olympics, have been winners of famous ocean yacht races and regattas, including the Sydney Hobart, the Fastnet Race and the Admiral’s Cup, and have been honoured for their roles in yachting administration.

Members having been closely involved in running America’s Cup regattas at Newport, Rhode Island, USA. On Sydney Harbour they were an integral part of the Sydney 2000 Olympics and more recently conducted world championships regattas for International Etchells, Yngling and Farr 40 classes.

Members and their guests will celebrate the Squadron’s Sesquicentenary with a garden party on the sweeping lawns below its clubhouse on the eastern shores of Kirribilli, on Sunday, repeating a tradition for opening days and notable celebrations since the club acquired the historic 'Carabella Cottage' as its harbourside headquarters in 1903.

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was formed on 8 July 1862 when the Honourable William Walker, a prominent colonial merchant in Sydney and a yacht owner, invited 18 other sailing enthusiasts to his office in Bridge Street to consider the formation of a yacht club.

They subscribed their names to a resolution: 'We, the undersigned yacht owners, hereby constitute ourselves into a club to be termed the ‘Royal Australian Yacht Squadron'.

The signatories and their yachts were: James Milson Jnr, Era; William Walker, Chance; J P Roxburgh, Eclipse; J S Rowntree, Annie Ogle; Sydney C Burt, Scud; Staunton Spain, Mischief; I F Josephson, Ida; James Freeman, Eclipse; Robert Garrett, Daisy; Charles Parbury, Why Not; J F Jackson, Gitana; T S Threlkeld, Irene; R H Hartnett, Australian; H Milford, Eclipse; R F Pockley, Mazeppa; Henry C Dangar, Peri; H Stuart Russell, Old Tom; J D McLean and J W Brookes, Mischief.

The Royal Sydney Yacht Club still has the original document, although it seems that at a later meeting the word 'Royal' was scored out. Presumably it dawned upon the members of the newly-formed club that something more than enthusiasm was needed before the word ‘Royal’ could form part of the name of their club. Protocol had to be observed.

Within a year, however, the club was accorded Royal patronage by the Prince of Wales under the name of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, with ‘Australian’ being changed to ‘Sydney’ to avoid possible antagonism between the then rival colonies of New South Wales and Victoria

The first formal meeting of the club saw William Walker elected the first Commodore, with James Milson as Vice Commodore. Walker was followed as Commodore by James Milson and H C Dangar from among the inaugural members who, incidentally, paid a membership fee of three guineas with an entrance fee of two guineas.

As set out in its original rules and by-laws, 'the primary objective of the Squadron is the promotion of and encouragement of yachting generally, and of racing among sailing yachts in particular.'

In 1862, the Squadron conducted the first ocean race in Australia, a dramatic race from Sydney Harbour to Newcastle and return between the imported British schooner Chance and a new locally designed and built boat named Xarifa, which won the challenge in a gale.

More than 80 years later Squadron members were strong supporters and winners of the early Sydney Hobart races. Squadron member Trygve Halvorsen skippered Freya to three consecutive overall wins in the Hobart race in the 1960s.

Over a few drinks in a waterfront pub following a Sydney Hobart Race between Halvorsen, fellow Squadron member Norman B Rydge Jr, and then Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Bill Psaltis led to the first of Australia’s many and successful challenges for the Admiral’s Cup, the 'world championship' of offshore yacht racing.

In 1937, Harold Nossiter and his sons, Dick and Harold, sailed the Sirius on the first circumnavigation of the world by an Australian yacht. Dick, who became a wartime naval hero, celebrated his 102nd birthday in June this year at his home in Newcastle, drinking French champagne with family and friends.

Arguably the most notable yachting event in the Squadron’s 150 year history was in its centenary year, 1962, when it challenge the New York Yacht Club for the America’s Cup on behalf of a syndicate headed by the newspaper magnate Sir Frank Packer.

While they did not win the America’s Cup, the performances of the 12-metre class yachts Gretel in 1962 and her successor Gretel II in 1970, undoubtedly paved the way for the victory by Australia II in 1983.

Spanning three centuries, the Squadron has and continues to achieve, it's primary objective.
Bakewell-White Yacht Designupffront 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug