Sydney Flying Squadron
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Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht club was founded in 1891 by Mark Foy in the birthplace of the famous Sydney Harbour sailing skiff classes. It was founded to allow people to enjoy skiff sailing regardless of financial background. The Sydney Flying Squadron, affectionately called The Squaddy by its members and locals, is Australia's oldest open boat sailing club on the shores of Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Flying Squadron is located at the end of Careening Cove, Milsons Point in Sydney, NSW; the Squaddy features spectacular water views and is situated next to Milsons Park which provides a large grassy rigging area during summer months. Racing takes place from October to Easter with a break over Christmas.
History and backgroundEdit
Sydney's open boat scene boomed in the mid-1890s and the Johnstone's Bay Sailing Club had become the most vibrant and progressive club on the harbour. Races were held for all open boats up to 26 feet including several of the new 18-foot type that has begun to emerge. In January 1894,Mr T. Goodall, owner of the crack Brisbane 22-footer Caneebie, was in Sydney to follow the anniversary Regatta and discussed with Billi Golding, Caneebie's builder, the possibility of an inter-colonial sailing contest between NSW and Queensland 22-footer. Golding placed the matter before the energetic Johnstone's Bay Sailing Club who immediately opened negotiations with Queensland Yacht Club, and in March sent its three best 22-footers, Latona, Portia and Irex up to Brisbane for the first inter-colonial yacht races for open boats. Honours were shared in a two race series between the local champion Bulletin, owned and skippered by James Whereat, and Sydney's Irex, owned and skippered by Nick Johnson. A re-match in Sydney was promised and set to coincide with the 1895 Anniversary Regatta.
The advent of inter-colonial open boat racing set the Sydney scene humming. Every yacht club wanted to be involved, even a recently deceased one. In the Sydney Morning Herald 12 April 1894, on page 6, a small paragraph appeared starting: “Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club” A meeting of sailing men was held at Rainsford's Cambridge Club Hotel last night for the purpose of re-establishing this club. Mr F.J. Donovan was voted to the chair, and called on Mr M. Foy to explain the object of the meeting. That gentleman then states his ideas on the matter, after which it was decided that the club be formed, and that it be open for boats from 18 ft to 26 ft’.
At its first meeting in August 1984, members voted to name the club, the Sydney Flying Squadron. Mark Foy was elected Commondore with Vice-Commodores, Messrs A. Roderick and Billy Golding. Club colours were to be a blue burgee with a white triangle. All boats were to carry ‘Large distinguishing colours on sails.’
This was a radical step. Sailing clubs and yacht clubs of the time restricted sails to plain colours and no insignia. There was considerable opposition from the establishment. Another radical step was to introduce a scratch start. This meant the fastest boat started off scratch, or at a particular time, and every other boat had a handicap. They started a number of minutes before the scratch boat. A boat with a 10-minute handicap started 10 minutes before the scratch boat. The intention was that all boats would finish at the same time.
Previously racing had all boats starting together. The handicap was applied after the race finished so until the officials had worked out each boat's finish time and handicap, nobody knew who had won. The scratch start provided a much more exciting race. The fleet was often close together at the finish line. Of course, spectators loved this approach. Sails with colourful insignia enabled them to tell boats apart, and you could see where any boat actually was in the race. The fastest boats had to work their way through the fleet and hopefully catch the slowest boats on the last leg. There was another benefit. Gambling. At the time, there were anything up to 10 or 12 ferries following the racing. Each would have bookmakers on the boats illegally taking bets. Which boat would round the next mark first? Could one boat pass another on a spinnaker run? Who would win?
The police would regularly raid the ferries, but by the time the ferry had slowed down enough to allow the police boat to come alongside, mysteriously no money would be in site. Just a bunch of avid spectators.
Sailing at the SquaddyEdit
Sydney Flying Squadron conducts racing on Sydney Harbour for senior skiff classes on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months, September through April. On Saturdays, the flying 18 Foot Skiff class, both Modern and Historical as well as the Flying Dutchman class race from 2:30 pm. On Sundays TBA.
18 Foot Skiffs Carrying over 1200 sq feet of sail power, the high performance 18-footer is recognised as the "formula-one" of sailing. It is the apex predator of sailing with nothing in its like harder or faster. It is recognised worldwide. And it's right here at the Sydney Flying Squadron.
Historical Skiffs The Historic 18 Footers are replicas of famous 18's from the period between 1900 and 1950. They are constructed and sailed by members of the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association (AHSSA) which was formed in 1991 by a group of ex-skiffies with the aim to preserve the history of Sydneys classic open skiffs.
Flying Dutchman Flying Dutchman are raced all around Australia and in 44 other countries. World Championships are held annually, as are Australian National and State Titles.
12 Foot Skiffs The 12 ft skiff is a development class that is sailed in NSW, QLD and New Zealand The main regattas are the State, Australian and Interdominion championships. NSW also holds interclub regattas during the season at Lane Cove, Saratoga, Abbotsford, SFS and Greenwich.
International 14's The International 14 is a high performance development skiff with two crew on trapeze supporting 50+ sq m of sail area including an asymmetric kite. I14's are sailed throughout Australia as well as worldwide in Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA.
|Sat 29-Sep||Spring Series H1||Spring Series H1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 06-Oct||Season Opening Mark Foy Day Spring Series H2||Season Opening Mark Foy Day Spring Series H2||Season Opening Mark
Foy Day Spring Series H1
|Sat 13-Oct S||Spring Series H3||Spring Series H3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 20-Oct||Spring Series H4||Spring Series H4||Spring Series Heat 2||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 27-Oct||Club Champ H1 - Bish Bolton TrophyC||Club Champ. H1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sun 28-Oct||Balmain Regatta||Balmain Regatta|
|Sat 03-Nov||Spring Series H5||5 Spring Series H5||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 10-Nov||Spring Series H6||Spring Series H6||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 17-Nov||v Spring Series H7||Spring Series H7||Spring Series Heat 3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 24-Nov||Spring Series H8||Spring Series H8||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 01-Dec||Club Champ H2 - Bish Bolton Trophy - Legends Day||Club Champ. H2||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 08-Dec||Summer Series H1||Summer Series H1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 15-Dec||Summer Series H2||Summer Series H2||Summer Series Heat 1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 22-Dec||Summer Series H3||Summer Series H3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles - Christmas Party|
|Sat 05-Jan||Club Champ H3 - Bish Bolton Trophy||Club Champ. H3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 12-Jan||Summer Series H4||Summer Series H4||Summer Series Heat 2||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 19-Jan||Summer Series H5||Summer Series H5||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 26-Jan||Australia Day Regatta||Australia Day Regatta||Australia Day Regatta||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Thurs 31 Jan||Australian Championship Heat 1|
|Fri 1 Feb||Australian Championship Heat 2|
|Sat 02-Feb||Australian ChampionshipHeat 3Final||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 09-Feb||Club Champ H4 - Bish Bolton Trophy||Club Champ. H4||Summer Series Heat 3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 16-Feb||Summer Series H6||Summer Series H6||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 23-Feb||Autumn Series H1||Autumn Series H1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 02-Mar||Port Jackson Champ Ladies Day -Queen of the Harbour||Port Jackson Champ Ladies Day -Queen of the Harbour||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 09-Mar||Autumn Series H2||Autumn Series H2||Autumn Series Heat 1||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
|Sat 16-Mar||Autumn Series H3||Autumn Series H3||Race Ferry- BBQ- Raffles|
- Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, neighbouring club
- "AQUATICS. Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club". Evening News. 13 August 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- Sydney Flying Squadron
- Sydney Flying Squadron 18 Footer Open Boat Sailing Club on Yelp
- Sydney Flying Squadron Ltd on Youthchamps Club display