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 !