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AVALON SAILING CLUB

 

THE HISTORY OF A FAMILY SAILING CLUB ON PITTWATER


Compiled by Norm Field
 
Now available ... the whole book ... an easy entertaining read of 16 pages with lots of photos.

 

 

(Norm Field is a past Commodore of Avalon Sailing Club. He and his wife Wendy continue to be great contributors to the Club racing their Young 88 regularly. Norm has since produced a full detailed history of the Club)
 
 

 



The Formative Years

 

 

A promotional gazette by Sydney City auctioneers Robjohn and Associates in the 1920's proposed introducing "the city businessman" to the beauties of Pittwater. Proposed development of the area assured prospective buyers of regular ferry services between Newport and wharves in Pittwater and the Hawkesbury as well as a tram service to Taylors Point and Palm Beach "in the process of construction."

Barrenjoey Road had only just been upgraded from a cart track and surfaced with macadamite at this stage.A 1922 photograph shows the area from Stokes Point to Taylors Point devoid of wharves, ramps and swimming poolsbeachPriorToClubhouse_1with the exception of the wharf at Clareville, the remains of which are in the cage beside the present Avalon Sailing Club. The price of a block of land on the waterfront averaged out at £150 for a 50-foot wide block extending from the beach at Taylors Point to Hudson Parade.

Mr. J.G.Vaughan, an engineer with the Wakefield Oil Co., purchased a block just to the south west of the Clareville Park in 1932, on which he built a holiday home and boatshed. His teenage sons, Les, Harold and Ken were keen sailors with the Middle Harbour Skiff Club and equally keen to sail on Pittwater. However he was concerned that the boys could not be supervised on the waters off Clareville Beach especially as the dinghies of those days were non-righting and had to be towed or paddled home. His concerns were alleviated with the Vaucluse Junior or V.J., which had first appeared upon the scene in 1931. Designed by a young naval draughtsman, Charles Sparrow, with a lot of enthusiasm and support from Sil Rohu, a Sydney businessman and keen sailor, the V.J. could be built at home from the comprehensive set of plans that cost 10 shillings. The most important aspect of the boat was that apart from a small canvas well she was completely decked in, unsinkable and could be righted by the crew without external help.

The Vaughan family built their first boat "Defiance" in the boatshed and bought the next one, "Flash", second hand, in 1933. The two older boys, Les and Harold, set up their own race course in the area to the north of Taylors Point and to supplement their pocket money would stage mock pirate landings and sword fights at Clareville on a Sunday, to the delight of the local residents. The "donations" were then collected and placed in the treasure chests, which were the canvas wells of the V.J.s. The Vaughans nearest neighbours were the O'Connor family, who owned the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel at Kings Cross and also owned a motor cruiser the M.V. "Raleigh". The two O'Connor daughters joined in the pirate jousting not only as damsels in distress but assistant collectors of the booty.

The local families combined to share a jig frame for the V.J. construction and by 1935 there were six boats sailing off Clareville Beach all made with cedar planking and with either home made or professionally cut cotton sails.By 1937, Mr.Vaughan decided that his boys were either making too much money as entrepreneurs or on the road to ruin so he made a set of marks and laid out a course starting off Clareville and using the area between Taylors Point, Paradise Beach and Long Nose Point. The O'Connors had run into a few problems with the licensing police at Kings Cross and to help out financially J.G.Vaughan purchased the "Raleigh" which became the official start boat. A system of coloured flags were used representing minutes to start in a handicap start system so in theory all boats should finish together. Entry fee was two shillings and the prize money was divided proportionally among the first three boats. {Maybe some of Australia's best known sailors lost their amateur status in those early years.}

In 1938 J.G.Vaughan officially formed Avalon Sailing Club and donated a handsome silver cup for the annual V.J. Championship. The first winner in 1939 / 40 was Harold Vaughan sailing "Defiant".



The list of boats and owners for that season are as follows

 

"Defiant" H.Vaughan"Gloria" Miss L.O'Connor"Wings" Miss B.O'Connor"Spray" Miss J.Phippard"Avalon" G.Harrington"Panther" H.Webber"Le Hero""J.Rodd""Water Witch""Skippey""Q.E.D."
Now available ... the whole book ... an easy entertaining read of 16 pages with lots of photos. $10 each

 

1st, 2nd, 3rd November 2013 Avalon Sailing Club celebrated 75 years. Click here for images of that weekend.