|Club||Middle Harbour Yacht Club|
|Boats Sailed On||Caprice of Huon|
MHYC: The First 60 Years
Article by: Gordon Reynolds
Gordon Reynolds joined the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in 1947, shortly after his discharge from the army. At the time, membership of the club was approximately 35. Gordon's only previous sailing experience was in gaff-rigged pearling luggers in Broome where he had lived before the war. As a newcomer to the sport of yachting, he found his mentor in his brother-in-law, Norman Way, who was Commodore from 1946to 1955.
Norman had a 28-foot yacht Eudoria and a 36-foot George Griffin-designed Julnar-class yacht which he also called Eudoria. Jim Perry built the newer Eudoria in Griffin's shed at The Spit. She was about three minutes faster around the Manly/Neilsen Park course than the original Julnar sailed by George Griffin with Snowy Pearson and Jim Turner as crew. Norman discovered a car-top dinghy in the Yachting World magazine, sent away for the plans and had one built in the workshop of his department store, Ways, in Pitt Street. The dinghy was quite a success as a trainer for children and was later renamed Heron, a class that still exists and races at Clontarf on Sundays during summer.
Norman was an excellent sailor and under his guidance, Gordon found himself on a steep learning curve. After harbour racing for many years, Gordon decided that he wanted more ocean-racing experience. He sailed on a number of yachts before joining the crew of Caprice of Huon in 1965 to be part of the campaign for selection in the Australian team to challenge for the Admiral's Cup. Caprice of Huon was a member of the team with the MHYC yacht Camille, skippered by Ron Swanson, and the Halvorsen brothers' yacht Freya. Although Caprice of Huon won three of the four races ,the team did not perform well enough in the Fastnet race to wrest the cup from the British, and the Australians were runners up.
Gordon chartered Caprice to campaign for the 1967 challenge for the Admiral's Cup. The team -- Caprice of Huon skippered by Gordon, Balandra skippered by Bob Crichton-Browne, and Mercedes III skippered by Ted Kaufman - outperformed the opposition to win the Admiral's Cup for Australia for the first time. Gordon's involvement with subsequent Australian challenges for the Admiral's Cup continued, acting as the team manager up to 1981 (after which failing health curtailed most of his sailing activities).
Gordon's three children - Lynnette, Rob and Tony - are all keen sailors and took to sailing without any pushing from father or mother. Lynnette and her husband Bob have recently returned to Australia after completing five years of cruising around the world in their 40-foot Beneteau, of which they took delivery in France.
Rob's first memories of MHYC are of his early childhood days when he accompanied his parents to The Spit on weekends when the members built the new clubhouse in the 1950s. He first started racing at the club around 1960, sailing with David Noakes in the Bluebird class yachts.
He joined the crew of Fred Farrell's Safona, a 34-foot yacht that regularly raced in Number 1 inshore division. Rob sailed with Fred for around seven years and then moved into 16-foot skiffs. He returned to racing at the club by joining the crew of Lal McDonnell's Mottle 33 Rifleman.
In 1989 he acquired his first yacht, a Northshore 38 named Weekend Option. In 1993 he bought J44 Phoenix, a J44 class yacht which was built in the United States and launched in 1990. In 1999 he became Commodore of MHYC.
Gordon's son Tony started sailing at the club in the 1980s on various boats before sailing regularly with his brother on Weekend Option. Tony is still sailing on J44 Phoenix as well as on his J24 Abracadabra which he part owns with Brian Strathmore, Daniel Ballantyne and Rob's son, Jonathan.
Tony's two sons, Michael and David, have become junior members of the club and race their Manly Junior with the club's centreboard division.