Celebrating 125 years of sailing at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club

The Club was established on 14 December 1896 and named the Freshwater Bay Boating Club. Local resident at the time, Aubrey Sherwood, agreed with his friends to form a Club and build a jetty out in to the bay at the foot of Irvine Street in Peppermint Grove, a stone’s throw from where the Club is located today. In 1903 the Club changed its name to the Freshwater Bay Yacht Club with the Royal Charter granted later, on 13 June 1934.

On Saturday 16 October the Club will open the 125th year with the annual Sailing Season Opening Day. While a lot has changed in 125 years for Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Opening Day remains as a celebration of Club activities. It is a fun day on the water with an open invitation to members of other Clubs to join in the racing and a focus on the social side with the Club known for its friendly hospitality.

For the year 1903, the Club history book mentions that only five races filled the season with few boats competing, but that Opening Day was a different story. “The Club’s opening regatta was held on the King’s birthday, when all races were open to members of affiliated clubs. A large concourse of yachts and launches assembled at the Club’s premises, and the officers of kindred clubs were entertained by Commodore A Sherwood and Vice Commodore Miller in a manner which amply verified the Clubs reputation for jovial hospitality. Two yacht races were held… Numerous minor aquatic sporting events were held during the day, which were both interesting and amusing and served to make up a good regatta program.”

Members and their guests attending the 125th Sailing Season Opening Day will be treated to a similar affair and a showcase of most of the activities of the Club. The day will begin with activities from the Dinghy and Training Centre, they will participate in a Best Dressed Yacht Competition and sail past at 9:40am followed by racing for the various off the beach classes in Freshwater Bay. While this is underway the Power Section will raft up along the main wharf. They will have a good view of the Radio Controlled Yacht demonstration sail which will be held from the main wharf after midday and followed by the Parmelia’s Ball Challenge. This annual event is a rowing race in the St Ayles Skiffs, the two boats were built at the Club by the members. The Official Opening Ceremony will be held at 1pm at the main Clubhouse. Keelboats will race in the afternoon and there will be entertainment ashore for people of all ages. The jovial hospitality still exists, and a special invitation has been extended to the Commodores of local kindred Clubs. Plenty of food and beverage will be enjoyed by members and their friends well into the evening with live music to finish another fun day at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

Commodore Rob Parker comments “We are very excited to be celebrating 125 years at RFBYC. Our official recognition of this milestone will be held on Tuesday 14 December 2021. The annual Sailing Season Opening Day is always a great event and it is the perfect time to commence our 125th year celebrations. We have a full day of on water activities scheduled, I am looking forward to it and it will be a great spectacle to watch.”

To find out more, have a browse of  the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club website, rfbyc.asn.au.