Search pages:
Search images:
Find a page:
Find a page:
Middle Harbour Yacht Club 1950s
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse

Middle Harbour Yacht Club 1950s

On November 27, 1954 the first clubhouse was opened by the Mayor of Mosman. At the time, members had little idea that by the 1980s the club would grow larger than all the combined clubs of the time. Nor could they have foreseen the explosion in popularity that their beloved sport of sailing was about to experience.

The first off-shore race conducted by MHYC was a modest affair. On August 21, 1954 ten yachts crossed the starting line for a race to Newport on Pittwater. Despite light winds, forcing some of the fleet to motor to Pittwater, the race was won by "Pinta" who threw up a spinnaker after rounding Barrenjoey Headland and crossed the finish line at 0335 hours on August 22.

"Pinta" had started a new era for MHYC and it was not long before club yachts were making headlines. In 1956, "Siandra" became the first MHYC yacht to enter the Sydney-Hobart Race. It was to become one of the most famous yachts of the 50s. In 1958, "Siandra" with Graham Newland as skipper and Ron SwansonFrank Likely, Pod O'Donnell and Peter Mounsey as crew won this blue-ribbon ocean event. A winning tradition had begun and the 1959 Sydney-Hobart Race saw seven MHYC yachts take part with four finishing in the top ten places.

New Home: The Fun-Filled Fifties

From MHYC: The First 60 Years

Article by: Neville Watkins

As a young free-loader crewing for Graham Newland on Firefly, I knew the MHYC well before I joined in 1953. Sailing has got to be the cheapest sport for non-member free-loaders! However, the magic of Middle Harbour was unfolding so I joined for two guineas, which was about a week's wages, but worth it.

At the time there was talk of building a clubhouse next to the thriving Middle Harbour 16-foot Skiff Club. Then, races finished off Clontarf and usually turned into a raft-up of boats with plenty of drinks and hilarity. We shared our waterway with a large fleet of 16-foot skiffs which had a 'B Class' division of juniors. (The unwritten rule was that if you wanted to graduate to a 16-foot skiff you never got in the way of the 'big boys' on any point of sailing.)

At MHYC, sailing was fun and supplemented with social functions. Our Annual Ball, held at the Anzac Memorial Hall at Cammeray, was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Mosman, and representatives from all the other Sydney yacht clubs. It was a big time do, and we had to keep the Mayor on side because the club plans were being drawn up.

The clubhouse was finished in 1954. It was designed by club member and honorary architect, Eric Duggin; the building's construction organised by Charles Bullbrook and Alf Wildman and labour supplied by members organised by Bill Henderson. The wharf and decking were built with contract labour. With a place to moor our boats after racing, it was not only desirable to win your race but to be first home to secure a prime position at the whar

Soon we had a licensed club, and expenses which started to increase. Free labour was finished and progress brought government taxes, licensing fees and poker machine taxes. Club fees had to be raised! But, I must say, it was satisfying to have draught beer after all those years of bottles.

Dak Harrington headed the House Committee and, with his skill, the club was soon thundering with dances, smokos, cocktail parties and disco nights. The bar was managed by club members but was not licensed, and it only served bottled beer, limited spirits and soft drinks. It was truly a casual sailing club, with cold showers and lots of friends in wet weather gear and bare feet.

Dress rules, however, were gradually enforced once hot-water showers were installed. One night I remember putting empty Smiths Chips packets on my feet to comply with the new rule that 'foot covering must be worn after 7 pm! Later, when the vigilante committee changed the rule to something more specific, we tried to remember to bring our shoes. Ken Steel, a member who could afford shoes, used to lend his to any keen dancer:

1957 saw the introduction of basic safety rules, because boat owners were becoming more adventurous. New boats were being built to the designs of Alan Payne, Robert Clark, Laurent Giles, Arthur Robb, and Sparkman and Stephens. The designs were seaworthy and kept pace with the traditional designs on the harbour. Guard rails were becoming accepted and a centre lifeline was considered a good idea!

Safety equipment was minimal with the general attitude of 'one hand for yourself and one for the boat' and 'don't fall overboard: you know what that could mean'! A southerly gale of 60 knots during a night sail to Port Stephens and the Myall Lakes (before the bridge to Hawks Nest restricted access for tall-masted boats) found Frank Likely on the blackest of nights on the bow of Hoi Phoon clawing down the headsail with the only safety procedure available -- calling out every fifteen seconds or so that he was OK. Prompted by such experience, Frank readily volunteered to become Safety Officer and joined up with safety officers appointed by other clubs, starting a huge development in safety gear and life rafts, and an accepted standard of safety rules.

Inter-club racing was common, with clubs taking it in turns to host presentation nights. Regattas were held on Sydney Harbour, Pittwater and Middle Harbour. MHYC also started an ocean racing division in 1957. We would sail out to Eric Spring-Brown's motor cruiser about five miles offshore and back. At the beginning of the 1959/60 season the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron put on a grand display of brass bands and parading vessels. Every club combined their race fleet, put on a grand harbour spectacle and finished at Store Beach Where refreshments were provided the Whole weekend. To the best of my recollection I can never remember seeing a woman sailor at a race meeting like this: perhaps it was a male-only affair.

After the completion of the club, in 1955, Norman Way was honoured with life membership after nine years as Commodore. He was succeeded by Keith Adams, a gentleman of great sailing ability. In 1958 Walter Burke was elected as Commodore, and membership rose to 339. By the end of the 1950s the new clubhouse was bursting at the seams and wharfage facilities were congested - it was time to expand.

Pictures and Articles

Early offshore Competition at Middle Harbour Yacht Club
Early offshore Competition at Middle Harbour Yacht Club
Middle Harbour Yacht Club celebrates Siandra
Middle Harbour Yacht Club celebrates Siandra's win in 1958 Hobart
Start of MHYC Race in early 50
Start of MHYC Race in early 50's
Letter to Seacraft Magazine 1954
Letter to Seacraft Magazine 1954
MH51 Salomie
MH51 Salomie

1952 October Pointscore

1952 October Pointscore Sheet listing the boats who were racing. Click SHOW to view list.

1952 October Pointscore

October Pointscore 4th Oct 1952

Division 1

Sail No. Boat Skipper
MH33 Carina C. Smith
MH28 Eudoria II Norman Way
MH5 Sobraon E. Wessberg
53 Sea Bee C. Bulbrook
MH8 Julnar Dak Harrington
MH21 Mustang Rod Jones
MH27 Tropic Bird R. Studdert
MH23 Kim II T. Flower
MH41 Camira Darcy Huddleston
MH14 Bimini Rolf Marks
MH22 Blue Peter Wal Burke

Division 2

Sail No. Boat Skipper
MH4 Janaway J. Ward
MH34 Antares A. Mackerras
MH36 Ailsa W. Henderson
MH56 Mandy A. H. Henderson
MH39 Elsmere N. Booth
MH13 Careel G. K. Adams
MH15 Parriwi Dr Frank Smidlin
65 Jasna G. Ingate
39 Wynuna C. Robson
MH46 Firefly Graham Newland
MH66 Miss Iris L. Vaughan

Division 3

MH20 Manu R. Wood
NH31 Kaloa D. Wilson
MH16 Nisus R Hunter
MH26 Pinta Max Barnett
MH55 Dolphin L. Hickey
MH32 Mischief Fred McLure
MH18 Swan D. Young
MH7 Windsong Noel Hopkinson
MH30 Silver Spray A Annand
MH53 Ariadne Jim Mason
MH19 Mistress B. Waterhouse
MH40 Rona D. Case

1953

Raising Money to build the first Clubhouse

Speech made to members in 1954 by the late Keith Adams, original Vice Commodore and former Commodore.

For more details, click on Keith Adams

It was then decided that we should find a clubhouse of our own, so our Commodore who was a friend of the Mayor of Mosman, put the proposition to him and found that he was in agreement with the idea. The Council made it possible for us to acquire land north of the Middle Harbour Skiff Club. The next thing was to raise sufficient funds to build a clubhouse. So the committee decided to issue debentures for 10 pounds each. These debentures did not carry any interest and were for an indefinite period. The way the members subscribed to this was magnificent - some providing as much as 200, others 100 or 50 down to 10 pounds, or what they could afford.

The Commodore and his wife did a fine job of organising social functions - anything to raise money. There was one function which always stuck in my mind, an auction sale of surplus yachting gear owned by the members. We were to hold this on Saturday night but at the last moment found that it would be illegal to hold an auction sale after sunset. So, we had to alter this and hold the auction in daylight. The auction was held at Cammeray RSL Club and it was a great success. Another friend of the Commodore, Mr Max Lawson, one of Sydney's best-known auctioneers, conducted the sale in a voluntary capacity. Max was a ready wit and a cheerful fellow, and it was not long before he had the affair really snowballing. I remember I gave an anchor to the auction and did not bid, but it was knocked down to me for 5 pounds. I got my anchor back but lost a fiver! The auction made over 300 pounds - quite a sum in those days.

Later, a bank was approached and agreed to make a small loan. This enabled us to start building the clubhouse. We had a design by our Secretary, Mr Elbert Duggan. The building was erected by Charles Bulbrook, who was a Master Builder and a member of the club. However, any work that we could manage ourselves was done. The same people who had raised the money came down to the site on weekends to hammer, chisel, saw and paint. The building was eventually finished in 1954, and the Mayor of Mosman, Mr Geoff Wear, officially opened the clubhouse. It was a sparkling day, a light noreaster blowing, and we had 12 or 15 yachts moored in line in front of the clubhouse. On the arrival of the Mayor a gun was fired and all of the yachts dressed ship simultaneously. It was quite a sight, and I was very proud of the whole occasion.

MHYC Debenture Certificates

Old Debenture certificates held by James Brereton Dickson and John Lesley Wood. These were raised to build the new clubhouse and were worth 10 pounds each.They paid 3 1/4 percent.

MHYC Debenture Certificates
MHYC Debenture Certificates
MHYC Debenture Certificates
MHYC Debenture Certificates
MHYC Debenture Certificates
MHYC Debenture Certificates

Opening New Clubhouse on Aug 21, 1954

There is a 3rd page I have to scan

Opening Day 1
Opening Day 1
Opening Day 2
Opening Day 2

Building New Clubhouse

Working Bee for the First Clubhouse
Working Bee for the First Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
Building the first MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Dec 1954First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
First MHYC Clubhouse
MHYC clubhouse in Dec 1954
MHYC clubhouse in Dec 1954

1954 Racing

Sydney to Swansea Yacht Races

Big seas, gales batter Yachts in 2 States
Big seas, gales batter Yachts in 2 States

Big seas, Gales batter yachts in two States

March 1956

Lake Macquarie Race: Shalimar

Heavy seas and gales battered yachts in two races off the New South Wales and Queensland Coasts yesterday.

Five men were rescued after having been swept overboard and one yacht capsized.

Some yachtsmen say that sailing conditions were the worse they could remember.

The two races were:

*  Sydney to Swansea Heads

*Brisbane to Gladstone

In the Sydney to Swansea Heads:

* The Sydney yacht Gemini capsized off Broken Bay

*Fifteen yachts retired at Broken Bay

*Two yachts crossed the finishing line but could not enter Swansea Heads in an ebb tide.

The yachts Malohi and Sebraon returned to Sydney.

About 9am yesterday Gemini capsized in a 50 mile-an-hour gale off Broken Bay.

The crew of the yacht Kiayu rescued the skipper of Gemini (Mr. H. S. Mason) and his crew of two. Kiayu withdrew from the race and sailed into Broken Bay. Late last night a trawler found Gemini floating upside-down off Broken Bay. Gemini was accompanying the racing yachts but was not competing in the race.

Soon after Gemini capsized 15 yachts withdrew from the race at Broken Bay.

The fleet's mothership, Silver Cloud, which is equipped with radio, arrived at Swansea Heads at midday. The first yacht to cross the finishing line was Zephyrus, skippered by E. N. Raisbeck at 2.34pm

Malohi and Sobraon crossed the line at 5pm, but could not enter the Heads because of rough seas and an ebb tide. Their skippers, N, H, McEnally and N. B. Roxburgh decided to return to Sydney.

Seven other yachts which arrived at Swansea last night waited for the weather to clear before they could enter the Heads.

1955

MHYC's First Ocean Race

The Early Years

MHYC: The First 60 Years

Article by: Frank Likely

Published: 1999

Chapter 3 Ocean Racing

Max Barnett's Pinta was the Winner of MHYC's first offshore yacht race. Prior to this event, however, a number of skippers of club yachts had indicated their desire to go offshore sailing. This followed a glowing speech by Wally Burke about his participation in the Lake Macquarie Race. Wally's talk fired up members and the next Lake Macquarie Race saw six MHYC yachts enjoying the excitement of a night start and sail up the coast, and the 'hauling down' to be towed over the 'drop over' into the lake. The hauling down procedure required two motor boats: one to haul the yacht down by the mast using its halyard, the other to tow it over the shallows.

MHYC participants in the 1955 Lake Macquarie Race were: Eudoria (Norman Way); Aquarelle (Nev McEnally);Ailsa (Bill Henderson); Firefly (Graham Newland); Seawind (Norm Brooker); Ladybird (Hal Harpur); and Blue Peter (Wally Burke). There was great racing on the Lake that Easter weekend with outstanding hospitality from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club and the inevitable hung-over passage home on Easter Monday. Some yachts cruised north to Port Stephens and Broughton Island.

The club's first ocean race, up to Broken Bay, was organised in 1954. Wally Burke was appointed scrutineer, to check the suitability of the competing yachts, and at 0800 hours on August 21, the small fleet drifted across the line, full of anticipation for a pleasant sail up the coast, hopefully with a sojourn in the Newport Pub to follow. The pioneering yachts were: Pinta (Max Barnett); Joy (Alf Wildman); Windsong (Noel Hopkinson); Ladybird (Hal Harpur, sailed by Peter Fletcher); Poinciana (Harry Begg); Talua (Max Halliwell); Ailsa (Bill Henderson); Seawind(Norm Brooker); and Firefly (Graham Newland).

Light headwinds meant that by mid-afternoon only the leaders had reached Long Reef. Max Barnett in Pinta had whistled up a bit of a breeze and had established a good lead, but a few of the fleet gradually dropped out and returned home, or resorted to motoring to Pittwater for the rendezvous at Newport Pub. Around Barrenjoey, the crew of Pinta set a kite, and finished at 0335 hours on August 22 well pleased with their effort. Ailsa crossed the line at 0430 hours; and Seawind followed five minutes later.

The participating skippers voted to repeat the event the following year and it became known as the 'Harry Elderfield Trophy Race'.

Frank Likely

1957 

This is the first report I can find. Select SHOW to view a list of Members and boats.

1957 Annual Report

Middle Harbour Yacht Club Eighteenth Annual Report and Balance Sheet. 

1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report
1957 Middle Harbour Yacht Club Annual Report

1957 MHYC Rendezvous

Nominated Skipper's Race to Store Beach - Handicap start. 2nd March 1957

Boat's Entered

1959-1960 Sailing Season

1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 1
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 1
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 2
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 2
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 31
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 3
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 4
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 4
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 5
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 5
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 6
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 6
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 7
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 7
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 8
1959-1960 Sailing Handbook Page 8

List of Boats Entered

Division 1

No. Yacht Skipper
95 Alcoyone M. Leslie
MH28 Eudoria P. Johnco
MH77 Gazelle D. Condon
MH8 Julnar C. Susans
40 Janzoon C. Betts
MH44 Lady Joy K. Wildman
MH21 Mustang R. Merrett
106 Pampero R. Pethrick
MH10 Pegasus D. Marks
53 Sea Bee R. Kohloff
MH46 Siandra Neville Watkins
MH99 Sjo-Ro B. Rullin
MH5 Sobraon J. Burgess
38 Southerly R. de Chateau

Division 2

MH14 Bimini K. Marks
MH41 Camira R. Cutler
MH71 Eos D. Brown
MH41 Janaway K. Murrell
MH6 Kaiyu G. Burt
MH56 Mandy A P. Burester
MH23 Mawhiti N. Emery
MH71 Shalimar C. Rushton
MH35 Wynstay P. McGaghern

Division 3

MH13 Careel N. Curlewis
MH31 Kaloa A. Horwood
MH63 Marana L. Mc Nicol
MH15 Parriwi D. Smidlin
MH11 Sarong M. Polkinghorne
MH18 Swan N. Poulton
MH2 Vagabond Daydream P. Fletcher

Division 4

MH72 Chloe E. Hibble
MH59 Jillitha J. Warlters
MH75 Kerribree W. Beck
MH19 Mistress T. May
MH40 Rona P. Deans
MH51 Tempo I. Kelleway
Page output 0.054841