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Frank Likely
Frank Likely
Frank Likely

Date Born1919
Current City/HometownSydney
ClubMiddle Harbour Yacht Club
Boat Owner ofHoi Phoon

Frank Likely

Frank Like was made a Life Member of Middle Harbour Yacht Club. He was Secretary about 1949 for some years, Rear Commodore for three years and served on the Race Committee for a long time.

On the Yachting Association of NSW, he was the Chairman of the Offshore Safety Committee and served on this and the Offshore Racing Committee since it was first formed. He also served on the Racing Rules Committee for a number of years. Was the Queensland resident delegate on the Racing Rules Committee.

A Likely Story

Frank Likely
Frank Likely

From MHYC: The First 60 Years

Article by: Geoff Foster

Published: 1999

Frank Likely was unique in that he was a Life Member of both Middle Harbour Yacht Club and the Yachting Association of New South Wales, an indication of the widespread respect in which he was held. He passed away on 10 November 1990 at the age of 71, his death leaving a gap in the club and the Yachting Association.

Every member who sails with MHYC and elsewhere for that matter, owes a great debt to this remarkable man who has done so much for our sport. With Frank, the club had a premier place in sail training, not only in New South Wales but nationally.

Under his direction, courses ran from 1966, preceding the AYF Training Scheme by several years but embracing the scheme on its formation. It was for this work that the Yachting Association awarded Frank Life Membership. By the time of his death, 500 people had attended MHYC 'Navigation' courses, both celestial and coastal, 950 'Sailing Birds' in 38 courses, 350 'Radio', 200 'Meteorology', 200 'Yachtmasters', 100 'Inshore Skippers', 140 'Diesel Maintenance' and 50 'Yacht Maintenance'.

Almost all instruction was by club members, and a high standard of accreditation was maintained throughout. In addition to the training courses, Frank led the club and AYF in safety training and equipment testing with his usual enthusiasm and determination, organising and taking part in practical liferaft exercises, when a number of liferafts with volunteer crew wearing safety gear were cast adrift for 24 hours off Sydney Heads. Many of the crew suffered seasickness. All, including national and yachting authorities, gained valuable knowledge of survival at sea following abandonment of the parent craft. After Frank's death in 1990 MHYC did not conduct any liferaft exercises until members of the Frank Likely Trust revived the concept in 1995.

Frank was not content with organising and taking part in safety exercises, but with the approval of the Yachting Association and other bodies, tested items of safety equipment as they came on the market. One test impressed a great many members of MHYC when he donned a safety harness and cast himself off the first floor balcony. Neville Watkins, a long-time friend, described the incident:

"Frank's object was to show how to release oneself from a yacht safety harness. He thought the best way to show this was to suspend himself on a tight rope, stretched very effectively by some truckies in the club from the top veranda rail to the wharf near the starter's box. He took off from the club veranda, and slid down the rope to a spot just above the sand, hanging by his harness safety rope. However, in skidding down the rope, he forgot, having been brought up on cotton and manilla ropes, that synthetic ropes don't like friction. The slide down melted the rope and down came Frank, crashing four metres to the sand! In true circus fashion, he leapt up and tried again, finally releasing the harness and dropping a metre or so to the sand to deafening applause."

After Frank's death, a trust was formed to perpetuate his memory in a practical Way, largely by making awards to young sailors who would otherwise be unable to continue their sailing. It is a condition of the award that beneficiaries will, in turn, pass on their knowledge to others. Awards are not aimed at the champion racers, many of whom receive sponsorship, but rather at the enthusiast who is likely to meet the trust's objectives and show the 'Likely spirit'. To date 12 awards have been made, a number of recipients continuing to help others, particularly in coaching younger members.

Pictures and Articles

1967 Wathera II in Admirals Cup 1967

Frank Likely on Wathara II
Frank Likely on Wathara II
Frank Likely on Wathara II
Frank Likely on Wathara II

1972 Wild Goose

Wild Goose and Frank Likely
Wild Goose and Frank Likely
Wild Goose and Frank Likely
Wild Goose and Frank Likely

Frank sailed in One Ton Cup races in Sydney as navigator on French chartered Wild Goose


Sydney to Brisbane Yacht RaceOne Ton Cup at Le Havre
One Ton Cup at Le Havre Frank Likely
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race winner SiandraHoi Phoon Frank Likely
Hoi Phoon Frank Likely

Sailing Experience

Frank Likely Yachting Personality
Frank Likely Yachting Personality
Frank Likely Yachting Personality
Frank Likely Yachting Personality

Any Member would like to see a first class example of modesty, you have only to meet Frank Likely who has kindly given the Log some very brief notes of his sailing career.

I joined Middle Harbour Yacht Club in 1957 and sailed with Tiny Hunter's converted eighteen footer Nisus until approximately 1954, then commence sailing Hoi Phoon which belonged to my father and myself.

With Tiny Hunter, son Ian and Pod O'Donnel as crew I continued sailing Hoi Phoon with the Club in inshore and offshore divisions until 1971 when I retired "Hoity" and joined forces with Geoff Foster in first Senyah then Harmony.

My first ocean racing season was with Graham Newland's Siandra in l956 - we came 5th in the Hobart Race, repeated the dose again in 1958 and 1960 with better effect - first both times.

Year Sailing Result
1956 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Siandra with Graham Newlands
1958 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Siandra with Graham Newlands 1st
1959 Sailed with Norm Brooker for the Ocean Racing season in Pegasus 7th in Hobart Race
1960 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Siandra with Graham Newlands 1st
1961 Ocean Racing season with Ron Swanson in Silhouette 12th in Hobart Race
1962 Ocean Racing season with Ron Swanson in Carmen 8th in Hobart Race
1963 Ocean Racing season with Norm Brooker in Sea Wind 4th in Hobart Race
1964 Ocean Racing season with Ron Swanson in Camille 2nd in Hobart Race. Equal first in Admirals Cup selections
1965 Sailed with Camille in Fastnet Race and other Admirals Cup races Top points scorer in team
Also sailed with Ron Swanson & John Borrow in Camelot 2nd in Hobart Race
1966 Ocean Racing Season with Ron Swanson on Salome 2nd in Hobart Race
1967 Ocean Racing season with Noel Long and Ron Swanson in Matika 3rd in Hobart Race
Also sailed in One Ton Cup at Le Havre and in Fastnet Race with Bruce Cameron in Wathara II.
1968 Ocean Racing season with Ron Swanson and partners in Sundowner. Unsuccessful in Admirals Cup Trials.
1969 Sundowner 10th in Hobart Race.
1971 Ocean raced with Geoff Lee in Taurus 5th in Hobart Race
1972 Sailed in One Ton Cup races in Sydney as navigator on French chartered Wild Goose
1974 Montagu Race, one of the premier events on the ocean racing calendar 1st
1988 The Bicentennial Round Australia Race - Otella

Sailed in All Twelve Sydney to Brisbane Yacht Races

1964 Carman 2nd 1970 Kaleena 2nd
1965 Calliope 2nd 1971 Gillawa 5th
1966 Camelot 1st 1972 Senyah 3rd
1967 Hoi Phoon 4th 1973 Senyah 7th
1968 Calliope 1st 1974 Harmony 2nd in Div 2
1969 Sundowner 3rd 1975 Harmony 3rd in Div 2

Sailed in all North Solitary Island Races

1972 Senyah 2nd
1973 Harmony 2nd
1974 Harmony 1st

Also in winning crew of all Ampol Tasman Sea Trophies.

Sailed to Noumea with Harmony - 2nd

Sydney to Brisbane Yacht Race
Sydney to Brisbane Yacht Race. Ocean Win Likely
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