Landing at the lighthouse. 1853.Sea Of Dreams

The Lure of Port Phillip Bay

Curators at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery have spent the past two years gathering a magnificent collection of artworks for a special exhibition celebrating the history of Port Phillip Bay. The distinguished historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey penned this typically thoughtful foreword to the exhibition catalogue.

The Sea of Dreams exhibition conveys a quiet sense of excitement. Port Phillip Bay is rarely if ever celebrated in this way. After all, Melbourne, for valid reasons, is less exuberant about its harbour than is Sydney; and yet this wide expanse of Bay stands high in the imagination and affection of generations of Victorians.
The Bay is not as beautiful, nor as dramatic as Sydney Harbour; its nearby hills are not as startling as the mountain capping Hobart; but we forget that the Bay surprised the first British newcomers. Sometimes describes as ‘an immense body of water’, it was larger than any bay in the British Isles. Its shape, too, was more useful than Sydney’s, for it penetrated further inland. Within a range of 150 kilometres were rich goldfields and extensive grasslands such as did not exist within the same radius of Sydney.
Founded half a century after Sydney, Melbourne soon outpaced its older rival and remained the largest and most populous city in Australia for half a century. This Bay – so large that at some points the opposite shore could not easily be seen – was a cause of Melbourne’s early economic success. It soon became the busiest cargo harbour in the continent – a title it lost and has recently regained.
Into this Bay in the mid-1830s came the ketches carrying the founders of Melbourne and the first Tasmanian sheep that gave it an early taste of prosperity. In the 1850s arrived the swarms of British gold-seekers in the fast American-built sailing ships such as the wooden clipper Lightning and the iron steamship Great Britain, both of which we observe in full colour, the one afire at Geelong and the other in the open ocean. Along the Bay patrolled the warships Victoria and Cerberus, for Victoria owned the strongest navy when no all-Australian navy existed. And down the same Bay sailed the ships carrying troops to the Maori war, Boer War and later to the Great War, the time when this exhibition terminates.
For part of that period the Bay was Australia’s main holiday resort. A century ago most Victorian families thought that they would never have the money even to visit Sydney; and so Sorrento was the Bali and Queenscliff was the Surfers Paradise of their dreams. They went there for the day in a paddle steamer. It is fascinating to see the popular steamer Ozone, with room for 800 passengers swishing the water at Dromana pier. The painter Septimus Power was obviously as skilled at evoking steampower on the Bay as he did horsepower on the inland plains.
This was the era when steam, replacing wind, was capturing the Bay, wharves and docks. Overseas visitors to Melbourne observed that the local smoke, the result of burning the coal shipped from New South Wales, was startlingly black. Ugo Catani caught the smoke-scented air in his 1887 painting of Queen’s Wharf. We will not know how many other painters, preferring the Bay to be more romantic and their works of art more saleable, wiped some of the black smoke from their paper or canvas.
In Aboriginal times the Bay and its shores bred prolific wildlife: visiting seamen marvelled at the edible bird-eggs they could gather. Fishing boats and sometimes Chinese teams walking with wide nets at St Kilda Beach, supplied Melbourne with flathead, snapper and other fish. Here, generations of children felt their first red sunburn, caught their first minnows, dog-paddled their first strokes, or played hide and seek in scrub that was thick along the foreshore. It was in thick scrub, at outer-suburban Brighton in 1870 that Adam Lindsay Gordon, the most celebrated poet of the day, committed suicide.
The essays in this exhibition catalogue are perhaps the most vivid and pithy history of the Bay so far attempted, and will be read and consulted long after this special summer show is over.
The Sea of Dreams exhibition will remain open to the public until 19 February.


Line honours winner Craig Ellis’s Elliot 57 Future Shock.Exile and Future Shock winners in 2012 Pittwater to Coffs race

Two DK46s representing the MHYC dominated the IRC handicap spoils with a 1-2 finish while line honours winner Craig Ellis’s Elliot 57 Future Shock was crowned the PHS winner in the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs Race, hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred and Coffs Harbour Yacht clubs.
Rob Reynolds’ DK46 Exile took out the coveted IRC handicap crown with a corrected time of 46hrs 27mins 36secs to win by 12 minutes from club compatriot and good mate, Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons. Joseph Earle’s Kaiko 52 Merlin was third.
In the PHS Division, it was a another sweet victory for line honours winner Future Shock in less than 24 hours for skipper Craig Ellis who took home two trophies after being announced performance handicap winner.
Second place went to the Coffs Harbour local, Paul D’Olier’s Sydney 41, B52 who repeated his previous performance a couple of years back while RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis and his SMB syndicated Murray 42 Secret Men’s Business #1, finished third.
In the four-race Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta that followed, RPAYC’s Mark Griffith’s Sydney 38 Old School won the IRC division on a count back from MHYC’s Rob Reynolds Exile.
In PHS, it was a nail biting finish that also ended on a count back with local Coffs boy Paul D’Olier’s Sydney 41 B52 winning from Secret Men’s Business.
With two wins, a second and a fifth, Griffith ended on 14 points knowing that he had to win the last race and overnight leader Reynolds to place third or worse to have any chance of lifting the coveted IRC regatta trophy. Reynolds, who sailed an excellent race was pushed into third place by a mere eight seconds, also finishing on 14 points. With Griffith’s two wins and Reynolds’ one in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, meant he was declared the winner.
Another Sydney 38 Mark Hinchley’s Wizzard came second in the final race to finish on 27 points, picking up third in the regatta.
Old School wins IRC in the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta. / Local Coffs boy Paul D’Olier’s Sydney 41 B52 won the PHS Division and was crowned the inaugural Australian PHS Champion.In PHS, Glen Picasso and his syndicate from the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region aboard She’s The Culprit banked their best result of the regatta with victory in the final race by 13 minutes from The Real Thing with the SMB syndicate clutching third place.
Griffith, who also won the Sydney 38 OD division for the regatta, will be outright favourite leading into the Sydney 38 OD Nationals to be hosted by the RPAYC from 26-28 January with 20 Sydney 38s expected to enter.
Going into the final race Secret Men’s Business, sitting in second place, needed a top two placing to take the title away from B52, but in the end they finished third forcing the result into a count back.
With their win in race two, B52 were announced the winner of the dual PHS Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta and the inaugural Australian PHS Championships. Last year’s winner Garry Holder’s ID35, The Real Thing was third, a further four points behind.

Damian Devine

Prince Philip Cup champions aboard Karabos IX, bowman Simon Burrows, helmsman Nick Rogers and mainsheet trimmer Leigh Behrens. Nick Rogers winds up a winning week with Prince Philip Cup and Martin Graney Memorial

Hobart yachtsman Nick Rogers wound up a winning week in the International Dragon class by taking out the Martin Graney Memorial match racing trophy on the Derwent, following his decisive victory earlier in the Prince Philip Cup.
Four crews contested the match racing, a traditional finish to the Prince Philip Cup regatta, with Rogers helming Karabos IX to top place in the round-robin and then beating the runner-up Ridgeway, skippered by Nick Jones, in the final, with three straight wins.
“In the flukey conditions we elected to sail to shifts rather than use match racing tactics and this gave us three straight wins in the final,” Rogers said, complimenting the young crew of Ridgeway, Nick Jones, Elliott Noye and George Jones, on their match racing skills after they won their way into the finals.
Noye and George Jones sailed with Steven Shield as skipper in the Prince Philip Cup, with George’s brother Nick joining them as helmsman of a youthful crew for the match racing series – the first time he has helmed a Dragon in a race.
The sail-off for third place in the Martin Graney Memorial went to Andrew Merrett, the outgoing Australian president of the International Dragon Association, sailing Amazing Grace, after West Australian boat Linnea, skippered by Sandy Anderson, was forced to withdrew with gear damage.
Dragons duelling on the Derwent.Rogers has now won 11 Prince Philip Cups, 10 as a helmsman and one as a crew. Outgoing International Dragon class world president Robert Campbell, helming Indulgence, won the lead-up Ted Albert Memorial Series.
The weeklong regatta for the International Dragon class ended with a prizegiving dinner at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, with His Excellency Mr Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania, presenting the major trophies.
In his usual whimsical speech, His Excellency said he had never sailed a Dragon but recalled a close encounter with the class when his motor boat William K broke down in the middle of the fleet during the 1978 Prince Philip Cup “won, if my memory is correct, by Don Calvert.”
“I was hailed by many competitors as they hurtled towards me in an hysterical manner ... using language, notably adjectives … that I could not repeat at this function.”
The Governor felt, however, that he had been forgiven for his intrusion on the race course by being invited to make the presentation of the Prince Philip Cup 34 years on.
Newly elected Australian president of the International Dragon Association, Wolf Breit, announced that the next Prince Philip Cup in 2013 would be held in New South Wales, adding that the venue had not yet been finalised.

Peter Campbell

Laser Radial winner Mark Spearman. / Sam Treharne continued his dominance of the Techne 293 class.

Down to the wire at Australian Youth Championships

The 2012 Australian Youth Championships were held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron with a number of classes going right down to the wire.
For the 175 crews racing on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay there was a lot at stake with not only the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships titles up for grabs but also positions in the Australian Youth Sailing Team to contest the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
The Laser Radial class was still undecided going into the final day with New Zealand’s Andrew McKenzie leading Mark Spearman of Western Australia.
Spearman had the better day of the two, finishing with a first and a sixth in conditions which were heavier than predicted, to take the win by four points, with Matthew Kempkers third.
“I’m stoked with the result,” said Spearman. “Getting the spot at the ISAF Youth Worlds has been my goal for the last year and a half and to finally get it is amazing.”
In the Laser Radial fleet, Louise Evans was the first female and qualified for the Australian Youth Sailing Team, with fellow Queenslander Madison Kennedy second and Ella Evans third.
In the Laser 4.7 fleet Jack Felsenthal had been the sailor to beat all week and the final day was no different with the Victorian winning both races to make it eight wins from 10 starts, and the Championship by 13 points over Benjamin Knoop with Jock Calvert third. Anna Philip was the first female in fourth overall, ahead of Hannah O’Brien and Ashleigh Dyer.
The 420 class was incredibly tight all week, with Singaporeans Darren Choy and Nathan Tang winning overall by just a single point, ahead of West Australians Carrie Smith and Ella Clark, with Tom Klemens and James Oliver third.
Sam Treharne continued his dominance of the Techne 293 class, winning nine of the 10 races to claim his first Australian Youth Championship title by 17 points with Ashely Heyworth second.
Annalise Gilbert went into the final day trailing West Australian Paris Stowell but got the results when it counted, with a third and a second allowing her to take the top female spot, and qualify for the Australian Youth Sailing Team by just two points.
Tom Siganto and Joel Turner continued their great run in the 29er fleet, with the pair finishing in the top six in every race, with a second and first in the final two races giving them a 16 point win over NSW Harry Price and Nathan Edwards.
Tess Lloyd and Lewis Duncan were third overall and the first mixed crew; with Philippa and Eliza Solly the top all-female crew in seventh overall.
Paul Darmanin ensured that he’ll attend his third straight ISAF Youth Worlds with his win in the Hobie 16 class, this time with Lucy Copeland. The pair was at the pointy end of the fleet all week and took the title by five points.

Craig Heydon

Above: Jackie R.   Right: Andrew Randell, the 2011 winner of the Hal Harpur award.Hal Harpur Award 2011

The NSW Wooden Boat Association presents their annual Hal Harpur Award in December at their Christmas dinner. It is given to the person who has best contributed to their objectives of encouraging the retention of wooden boat building skills and the preservation of historical wooden boats and artifacts. This is in honour of the late Hal Harpur, one of the founder members and the award is held for the year.
In 2011 three contenders were nominated. Two were putt putts either built or restored by two experienced members, one a previous HHA winner and these members had built or restored an astonishing 80 boats between them. Both boats were excellent examples of the type, beautifully finished. (Six coats of paint rubbed down with 800 wet and dry between coats on the new one!)
However, this year they came up against a first time boatbuilder and non-sailor. Before telling the story of this boat, the judges issued packets of Kleenex to each table.
When Andrew Randell launched Jackie R in April last year, the boat was 48 years old. His father had started building the sweet lined 23-foot sloop in 1963 to be enjoyed by his two children. However, on a family holiday in 1966, Andrew’s 3-year-old sister, Jackie, was tragically drowned. His father never touched the boat again. After his father’s death, Andrew’s mother suggested that he completed his father’s dream in honour of his sister.
The boat had been sitting outside and the decks and part of the hull had suffered from rot. In replacing the decks, Andrew, who is an electronics engineer and used to tolerances of half a micron was aghast to find the boat was not symmetrical. Around the forward end of the cockpit, one side was 0.8 mm (1/32nd of an inch) out of true!
The hull was strip planked, all edge nailed in those pre-epoxy days and fitted with laminated timbers (ribs). There were very few details with the plans so Andrew designed and had made SS fittings which blend beautifully with the design of the boat.
The finished project is a delight to the eye and a credit to all those involved: the designer Len Randell, (now in his 90s and yes, they are distantly related), Andrew’s father Mervyn who started the boat and Andrew who made such a brilliant job of completing her.
One of the judges, an earlier HHA winner, stated that this boat would have won if it had been entered for any of the previous awards. It was an especially moving experience to present the HHA to Andrew Randell, restorer/ builder of Jackie R not only for Alan Stannard, president of WBA, but for Andrew and his mother who had travelled to Sydney from Yamba, Northern NSW.
The WBANSW would like to hear from any persons interested in submitting a nomination for the Hal Harpur Award in 2012. Forms are available from

Alan Williams

Australian champion Michael Nash (AUS 57) leads the fleet.Nash third in Yngling Worlds cliff-hanger

Only three points separated the first three boats at the end of a magnificent regatta on Sydney Harbour to decide the 2012 World Championship for the International Yngling one-design keelboat class, with victory going to defending champion, Maarten Jamin, from The Netherlands.
Australian champion Michael Nash had led the series going into the final race. However, Jamin, a dual world champion in the three-crew keelboat, finished with 40 points, two points clear of fellow countryman Tom Otte on 42 points, with one point to third placegetter Nash on 43 points.
The demanding regatta comprised ten close and intensive races over four days in conditions that ranged from light and flukey easterly breezes to a full on north-easterly sea breeze on the final day.
Jamin and Nash went into the final day of competition equal on 30 points. In race nine, a second place to Nash and a fifth to Jamin put the Australian three points ahead going into the 10th and final race.
But Nash and his crew of Mel Nathan and Greg Hartnett crashed to an 11th in the decider, costing them the World Championship. With only one discard race, Nash already had a 13th place and was forced to carry the 11th.
The final two races went to Australian Matt Whitnall, lifting him to sixth overall. Fellow Australian Hamish Jarrett, who had been an early leader in the World championship, finished fourth overall.

Peter Campbell