Huddled between the Birkenhead Bridge and the boat making sheds is one hundred years of nautical history. For a century the Port Adelaide Sailing Club has been a haven for the sport.
It all began with this group of sailing enthusiasts who formed the first Committee in 1897. In September of that year a gun was fired from the shore to signal the beginning of competition.
They’ve raced every year since and among their early competitors were current Governor Sir Eric Neal and Sir James Hardie, then racing “sharpies”. Others made famous were the crew of “Brilliant” who won the first division of the Sydney-Hobart in 1953.
The Old dinghy shed has been expanded into clubroom’s while the original section holds the trophies including the most treasured – the Martindale Shield – donated by a former Commodore, John Mortlock in 1932.
There are plenty of current treasures though. The fibreglass cutter rig “Southern Comfort” was built by the late Patrick Robbins in 1992 and sailed to Panama and back. One stretch was 46 days at sea. Patricks son Travis now sails “Southern Comfort” and a three-day event for all comers through the Gulf is named for his father’s memory.
The 34-foot Buchanan Sloop “David Hannah” collected the wooden spoon as the last vessel to sail into Constitution Dock in last year’s Sydney-Hobart. Josh and Vicki Jones and their three daughters were delighted with the result because eldest daughter Kate ran the show and was the first female skipper across the line – which says a bit about the patriarchal nature of the sport.
During the 80’s Josh and Vicki sailed the world in another yacht which ended disastrously when it sank. They were eventually picked up by “The Canberra” whose captain was David Hannah – so that’s the name of the Jones’ yacht.
Another family story is Mike and Gay Lewis who charted the ultimate sailor’s course of building their own yacht. Gay wanted to visit her parents in England while Mike wanted to test himself and “Expeditious” in the notorious waters around Cape Horn. These are just some of the roughly 90 yachts at Port Adelaide.
Find out more about the naming of the David Hannah in this excert “It’s Plain Sailing for The Joneses – At Long Last” taken from The Sydney Morning Herald.