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Middle Harbour Yacht Club 1970s

Short NameMHYC
Physical AddressLower Parriwi Road, The Spit, Mosman NSW 2088
Postal AddressPO Box 106, Seaforth NSW 2092
StateNSW
CountryAustralia
Emailinfo@mhyc.com.au
Telephone Number+612 9969 1244
Websitewww.mhyc.com.au
Facebook Pagemiddleharbouryachtclub
Date Formed1939

Middle Harbour Yacht Club 1970s

Summary

Since the 1970's, MHYC members have continued to be top performers in all facets of sailing, whether it be the classic ocean races or the activities of the Centreboard Division, which was created in 1963.

With the success and continued growth of the club a new clubhouse became essential. In 1963 the club obtained the site of the old Spit Baths and it was on this perfect vantage point that a marina complex and the present clubhouse were eventually built.

During the 1970s MHYC benefitting from improvements including a new clubhouse, saw membership climb to the 2,000 mark for the first time. In fact, in 1976 membership was 2,197 compared to less than 1,000 in 1971; an amazing growth period. The 70s also saw the creation of a Cruising Division for the adventurous non-racing sailors and the "Sailing Birds" group was established to develop training programs to teach people how to sail. This tradition of excellence in training and safety programs has continued to be a feature of MHYC to this day.

1976 saw the inaugural Sydney-Suva Yacht Race started by the Governor General of the Day, Sir John Kerr. It was also mentioned in the Rear Commodore's report around this time that MHYC was conducting races on 170 days per year for over 200 entrants surpassing any other yacht club in Australia. The success of club members and their yachts during this period was legendary. It would be impossible here to list all the racing successes but in summary, MHYC representatives won practically everything on water including the Sydney to Mooloolaba Race, Brisbane to Gladstone Race, Dunhill Half Ton Cup, Ampol Tasman Trophy, South Solitary Island Race plus numerous State, National and World titles.

Pictures


The Seventies and Beyond

From MHYC: The First 60 Years

Article by: Gilbert Thomas (Tig)

The Successful Seventies

Published 1999

After years of planning, the present clubhouse was opened by club patron,'"His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales on December 18, 1971. Doug Sturrock (Eudoria II) was commodore during the early planning years, and Charles Middleton was commodore at the time of the opening. Doug Gilling of J oseland and Gilling (owner of September) was the architect and the builders were PL Carroll Pty Ltd (The Carpenter). The cost of the new building and furniture was $290,000.

Soon the financial strain of supporting a larger clubhouse became obvious. Overhead costs rose and the small membership could not support the new clubhouse without an increase either in members or subscriptions. Don Richards became commodore, and with great care and tight control of finances, the following year turned a profit. The club's 'working capital' was still in the red. Subscriptions rose in 1975/76, but the entrance fee was removed with a view to encouraging new members.

Tig Thomas then took over as commodore and membership rose to 2689. In 1976 the Cruising Division was established in response to the fact that only 200 of the 400 yachts on the register were racing. The Sailing Birds, under Joanna van Gray, became an effective group in the club, developing training programs for anyone who wanted to learn about sailing, provided they joined the club. Social activities of the club were expanded with the re-introduction of a Club Ball.

In 1977/78, a major new sponsorship from ATN-7 paid for the club's new starter's boat, Color 7. But the late 1970s were difficult years, with an economy cursed by high inflation and unemployment. Profits dropped and membership levelled out.

In spite of these difficulties, they were years of progress for the club. The first Sydney to Suva race was conducted and His Excellency the Governor General Sir John Kerr started the inaugural race in1976. His successor Sir Zelman Cowan started several subsequent events. In 1979, when Dak Harrington became commodore, the club conducted races on 170 days for over 200 entrants - probably surpassing any other club in Australia.

Successful Seventies

THE SUCCESSFUL SEVENTIES

by Gilbert Thomas (Tig)

Written in 1989

The 70s saw a vast change in the Clubhouse facilities and the numbers of members, both male and female.

After years of planning, the present clubhouse was opened by His Excellency the Governor of NSW (and club Patron) on December 18, 1971. Doug Sturrock (Eudoria II) was Commodore during those early planning years and Charles Middleton was the Commodore at the time of opening the clubhouse. Doug Gilling of Joseland and Gilling (also a member, keen competitor and owner of September), was the architect.

Coincidentally, a purple yacht, Plum Crazy was launched at Clontarf the same day with identical colours to that of the clubhouse furniture and, eight days later, brought honour to the club by winning 2nd Division and Division 2b of the Sydney to Hobart Race.

The builders of the new clubhouse were P.L. Carroll Pty Ltd (Pat Caroll) currently sails that fast Adams 10 The Carpenter. The Secretary during these hectic years was Jack Debney.

The cost of a new building and furniture was $290,000 - $200,000 of which was borrowed from Westpac and $30,000 from North Shore Gas Co. to cover the balance.

With a new commitment to supporting a larger clubhouse, it was not surprising that after a short time the financial strain became obvious. In his annual report to the 1973 AGM, Commodore Charles Middleton, referred to a loss of $829 compared with the profit of $36,015 the previous year. Overhead costs had risen from $130,851 to $200,630 and the small membership could not support the new clubhouse without substantial increase in members or subscriptions.

Jack Debney retired during the 1972-73 season and Dugald McGregor took on the task of Secretary/Manager Don Richards succeeded Charles Middleton as Commodore. With great care and tight control of finances, the following year saw a return to profits with a surplus of $30,550, however, the club's "working capital" was still in the red as we had to repay $30,000 of our long term debt.

Unfortunately, 1974-75 was another financial low and subs, which had been left unchanged for two years, saw a rise in 75-76. A member's levy proposal was rejected by members and, after much soul searching, the entrance fee was removed with a view to encouraging new members as the essential ingredient to our financial viability. Membership rose, as a result of a concerted effort from 1,684 to 2,197 in the year to April, 1976. The efforts of Andrew Clinton had much to do with that 30.5% increase in membership. Remembering, in 1971 the membership was less than 1,000! Membership has been maintained at over 2,000 since.

During 1975-76 there was a period of four months when there was no Secretary/Manager following the resignation of Dugald McGregor in September '75. Don Williams served briefly as Secretary/Manager before Alan Cameron took over that role.

In 1976-77, Tig Thomas succeeded Don Richards as Commodore and the following initiatives occurred:

1. The Cruising Division was established -- the committee having recognised that only 200 of the 400 yachts on the register were actually racing.

2.The Sailing Birds, under Joanna van Gray, became a strong and effective group in the club, developing training programs for anyone who wanted to learn about sailing, provided they joined the club. The group also made a great contribution in expanding the social activities of the club with the reintroduction of a Club Ball.

3. Regular monthly members meetings were reintroduced.

4. The Dining Room developed a new character under the capable and friendly management of Mitti Fitzgerald.

5. Alter years of great personal sacrifice by a dedicated team of race officials and race secretaries, Ian Alfonso was appointed a full-time paid race secretary having served in an honorary capacity during the previous year or so!

The financial results also improved with a profit of $34,071 and membership grew by a further 22.4% to 2,689 but the club still needed more funds to repay its long-term debt to the bank and provide essential capital improvements.

In 1977-78, there was a levelling out of club membership to 2,664 from 2,689 the year before and financial results levelled out at a net profit $32,100 compared with $34,071 the previous year. However, during this year, a great deal of overdue maintenance was carried out. (The maintenance bill rose to $72,201 from $33,968 the year before). A major new sponsorship from ATN-7 financed our new starters boat, Colour 7, and steps were taken, (after months of group discussion between a small band of enthusiastic members) to establish a Forward Planning Committee under the capable chairmanship of Ric Barnes.

1978-79 was another difficult financial year with an economy cursed by high inflation and unemployment testing the financial management of the committee. The profit dropped from $32,100 to $9,015 and membership from 2,664 to 2,472 reflecting the tightening of family budgets, and high subscriptions. However, 99 of those losses were in Associates suggesting loss of enthusiasm from some of the newer Associates.

In the Rear Commodore's report this year, he reported the club conducted races on 170 days for over 200 entrants - probably surpassing any other club in Australia.

The Forward Planning Committee submitted its first annual report and had 19 matters on the agenda. (Since then some of those have become reality such as the development of the O'Rourke Boatshed and the major redevelopment of the restaurant area). Plans were finalised to install a computer (with the kind assistance of RPAYC) to facilitate the production of race results for all the divisions on Saturdays and to computerise the office accounting and membership register.

In the final year of the 70s Dak Harrington succeeded Tig Thomas as Commodore. Profits were up again to $34,134 from $9,015, but membership fell by 225 to 2,245 - the drop being in ordinary members (down 97) and associates (down 102). Alan Cameron resigned as Secretary/Manager to be replaced by Harry Wilkinson (his assistant). Mitti Fitzgerald retired from 'The Jolly Roger' restaurant after seven happy years of service.

A man who still gives tirelessly of his, and his wife's time to the club, was made a Life Member - Geoff Foster. An award of recognition so well deserved, although he still seems to be working at it!

Siltation of the beach area, which had been such a problem for so many years was resolved.

first Sydney/Suva race was conducted and His Excellency, the Governor General, Sir John Kerr started the inaugural race in 1976 with his successor Sir Zelman Cowan starting the 1978 and 1980 events.

Racing Successes

Club Boats in International Events
Club Boats in International Events

THE SUCCESSFUL SEVENTIES

by Gilbert Thomas (Tig)

Written in 1989

"The Racing successes of members were legendary"

During this decade, the activity on the water - offshore and inshore, cruising and racing, was very active. The successes of members, both junior and senior, were legendary.

We saw members take honours in state and national titles - Graham Evans (Pilgrim) won the Sydney-Brisbane race in record time in 1972, Peter Hopwood (Harmony) won the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race battling cyclone "Emily". Pilgrim did well to gain second in the World One Ton Cup in New Zealand and Plum Crazy represented Australia (MHYC and CYCA) in the World Half Ton Cup in Denmark, in 1973, after winning the Dunhill Half Ton Cup. Plum Crazy won the South Solitary race in 1972 and 1973 and Senyah (Geoff Foster) the Ampol Tasman Trophy the same year (1973) - he did it again in 1974 in Harmony, and again in 1975. Alf Wildman took out the 1976 Tasman Sea Trophy while Klinger (Mike Sharpe) won the Sydney to Mooloolaba Yacht Race in a southerly gale when Helsal took line honours in a record time of 45 hours, 0 mins, 27 seconds, which still stands.

In 1976-77, Phil Pearce (Bert) was 3rd in the Inaugural Endeavour 24 Australia titles; in Endeavour 26 NSW titles Phil Gosling (Lynjill) 1st, Ivor Kellaway (Pimpernel) 2nd; Compass 28 NSW titles, Trevor Griffin (Avante II) 2nd, and David Warren (Spindrift) 3rd. MHYC members John Conroy (Lotchen III), Keith Steward (Omega) and Keith Poole (Tringa) were 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the NSW Bluebird titles. Hoiho (Jim Allen and Barry Bloomfield) won the Inaugural Ampol East Coast Championship. Bruce Ritchie (Jan III) was 3rd in the World Etchells and lst in the Australian Etchells titles. Bob Terrett won the NSW Soling titles and King Haakons Cup. MHYC juniors Greg Hyde (High Voltage), Andrew Pearson (Stardust) and Tony Hannon (Farr Faster) were lst, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Cherub National titles, while Murray Hammond (Lowdog) was 3rd in the National Manly Junior titles - that was quite a year!

1977-78 saw another year of dub member successes with A. Kennard/J. Martin (Two Up) 3rd in NSW 1/4 Ton titles and 2nd in JOG Nationals; Cal Gardiner (Onyx) 1st in Endeavour 24 State and Nationals; J. Smallwood (Esbe), Max Lanser (Saga), and Terry Ford (Magic), 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Endeavour 26 NSW Titles. In the Hood 23 NSW titles, Tony Hill (Mairsey Dotes) was 2nd and Ian Kingsford-Smith/Ian Cameron (Humphree) 4th. Triton 24 NSW titles had Ian Lewis (Jumbo) 2nd and Jim Moline (Total Control) 3rd. The Ampol Tasman Sea Trophy and the South Solitary Race were won by Geoff Foster (Harmony) while the Sydney to Mooloolaba Yacht Race was won by Alan Sweeney (Diamond Cutter).

In 1978-79, the Australian and World 5.5 Championships were won by Frank Tolhurst (Arnnga I1); 1st in the NSW Bluebird titles went to Ben Nossiter (Charade); NSW Compass 29 tides to David Warren (Spindrift II);NSW Compass 28 titles to Paul Hargraves (Pacific). Space does not allow me to mention all the results of club competition over those years in more than 6 divisions.

Regrettably, the race results for 1979-80 were not included in the annual report to members.

So many interesting things happened during this decade that it's difficult to do justice to every event. Throughout this period there was always a great club spirit epitomised by the dedication of a number of members, some of whom are still giving their services generously and unstintingly-to name a few outstanding ones - Frank Likely, Geoff Foster, Hugh George, Marian Packer and parents, but there have been many more! The early training programs set up by Ron Adams and Alan Kemmis were pioneer schemes. The Associates were constant and untiring with their social activities which raised considerable funds to help worthy charities and the club's funds. The untiring efforts of Joan Clack, Barbara Harrington and the late Doris Burke as long term Associate Presidents are also noteworthy. All the members of the Starter's Team have served for many years. Not to be forgotten is the work of Noel Clack in organising Wednesday racing week after week before retiring to Queensland with Joan.

The Log has been a main communication thread with members. It has had its ups and downs but there have been many dedicated members who toil voluntarily to keep it an effective journal.

MHYC entered the 80s a strong club with probably the largest membership and yacht register of any yacht club in Australia, an excellent racing record, an enthusiastic Cruising Division and a reputable training program serving a wide range of people. While finances weren't strong, we were not financially

Insecure and thanks to the foresight of earlier committees who built the present club before it became unaffordable, we have one of the finest locations and clubs in Sydney.


Prominant Offshore Boats at MHYC
Prominant Offshore Boats at MHYC

1970

Opening Day

Windsong Opening Day MHYC1970
Windsong Opening Day MHYC1970
Windsong Opening Day MHYC1970
Windsong Opening Day MHYC1970
MHYC Opening Day 1970
MHYC Opening Day 1970
MHYC Opening Day 1970
MHYC Opening Day 1970

5.5 World Championships

5.5 World Championships off Barrenjoey
5.5 World Championships off Barrenjoey
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