Western Districts Sailing

From Andrew Mclure some memories of Camperdown and Derrinallum . . . . .

I sailed Hot Stuff number 3354 for a number of years in the early 1980s having purchased the boat from Dean Clementson who sailed at Camperdown Yacht Club. I sailed the boat at Derrinallum Yacht Club and won the senior club championship with it at age 14. It was fantastic to sail and I have fond memories taking it to all the Western Victoria regattas as my father was president of the Western Victoria Yachting Association. In those days Camperdown had a large fleet of Sailfish.

The boat was in a shed on my parents farm, however when they sold the farm some 5 years ago I believe the boat was left behind and I am sure it no longer exists as the new owners of the property knocked down all the sheds and so it was probally destroyed in the process. No better boat flying down wind than a Sailfish.

Andrew

 

And just by the way, the Clementson’s were a big part of the growth and success of Sailfish at Camperdown, giving generously of their time and equipment. The photo in the Victorian Gallery of the trailer with four Sailfish behind the Gemini van, that trailer was loaned by the Clementsons, enabling a few junior sailors the experience of going to a National Titles that they otherwise would not have had. And it was a brilliant trailer to tow, loaded like that and you hardly knew it was there.

Greg

 

The Ballarat Years

In the late seventies Ballarat became a real powerhouse of the Sailfish in Victoria; the following are Dan Flynn’s memories, including his memories of a real treasure to the class, our own Ray Cross . . . . .

 

I was recruited to a new Sailfish fleet starting at Lake Wendouree in about 1977.

Ray Cross, Chris Drury & Peter Coburn were the prime movers.

Early meetings to discuss the formation of a fleet were held in the upstairs ‘youth area’ of Ballarat YC.

A number of boats were built in the back shed of Ray’s mother’s house.

Ray was very generous. If anyone needed a new boat and had a few dollars for materials Ray would build one, everyone providing the labour.

This new fleet of ‘ironing boards’ with bendy masts and pumped up teenagers took Ballarat Yacht Club by storm. The hierarchy didn’t know what to do with us 🙂

As soon as the boats were built, launched and capsize drill practiced, we were ready for racing, wherever we could find it.

In 1980 a group of us headed to Lake Macquarie to take on the big guys from Narrabeen Lakes. There was Ray with a trailer on the back and a Sailfish on the roof of his Sandman panel van, plus Peter Coburn had a ute and Greg Barwick with four boats on a trailer on the back of his Gemini van.

The long trip was made listening to cassettes of Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues & Ronstadt…

The Ballarat boys did well, especially the 3 mentioned above. 

The absolute highlight of my sporting career to date was winning a heat on Lake Macquarie. It was a light shifty wind, well suited to my fibreglass ‘Ugg Boot’.

Regattas at Eppalock, Bolac, Cairn Curran & Learmonth  were fiercely competitive. At these and Parkdale we met the Carrolls, Ginnivans, DB & Rohan & Havachat 🙂

My brother Ron sailed Aardvark at these regattas and brother Peter sailed Stanley Crocodile.

Never was there such an affordable youth racing scow, with close racing and friendship accessible to ordinary kids like us. Well done Jack Carroll on a great design and class leadership !

Dan Flynn.

Class History/Memories

Champion from NSW

One of the site moderators recalls an important influence in NSW Sailfish. You might also like to have a look at Peter’s story about his time in the early days of Sailfish in NSW in the following Comments . . . .

The photograph in the gallery of “Argone”, in beautiful trim, being sailed by Peter Chapman brings back memories. I’m pretty sure that image was taken during the 1969/70 National Titles held at Narrabeen Lakes.
In December 1969, my Australian Sailfish was in build. The president of my then club, Blue Mountains Sailing Club at Wentworth Falls Lake, NSW, suggested to my father and I that we should drive down to Narrabeen during the titles to check out the top boats. I have a photo, taken by my father, of Peter Chapman adjusting the rigging of “Argone” on the beach before a race. He was wearing the same Canterbury-Bankstown football jersey as in the photo in the gallery.
Peter Chapman was one of the first, if not THE first, in New South Wales to build and race a Sailfish. He sailed in the first Australian Sailfish National Titles at Elwood, Victoria in 1968/69, finishing third. He won the 1969/70 National Title at Narrabeen.
Peter then did not sail in another national championships until the 1972/73 series held at Cairn Curran. That series was my first ‘away’ regatta.I sailed as a junior. I was pretty shy and awestruck, but I remember him as being very approachable and friendly.
In those days, the juniors started five minutes after the Open event. I remember watching from behind some truly epic tactical battles between Peter, Rob Champion and Pat Carroll. Whilst we had some light days, that series was predominantly sailed in heavy winds. Peter broke a mast in one of the early races. I remember him cheerfully and relaxedly pop-rivetting fittings onto a new alloy mast he had somehow procured, working into the night to have it ready for the next day’s racing.
In those days I had pretty well no idea about mast bend control. I remember clearly after one race Peter wandered over to me on the beach and very generously and kindly chatted about problems that he had observed with the rig of my boat. His advice led to some immediate changes and immediate improvement. Subsequently, it led to a major re-positioning and re-angling of my diamond stays, an alteration that served me for my following five seasons in Sailfish.
Peter came third in that series at Cairn Curran. It was won by Rob Champion, with Pat Carroll second. He didn’t sail in any subsequent Sailfish titles, which was a great pity.

Chris Cleary

Peter Chapman, 1969-70 titles 001 (2) 2.jpg

Peter Chapman, Argone, Narrabeen Nationals, 1969/70. [By Ken Cleary, Narrabeen, 1969]

A few things to note:
Boats are rigging up on the North side of the lake next to Wakehurst Parkway; this is where the club was based at the time. Jamieson Park and Collaroy Plateau are in the background.
Sailfish 193 with the hand painted Z on the sail; no idea who that was.
June Bowles, Neil’s wife, and Evelyn Carroll behind Peter.