Trophy Notes, by Past Commodore Alan Fisher;
Originally created to support an event used as a fundraiser for JESS, whereby Foundation 36 matched yachts were hired to enable single or multiple teams from each of the RFBYC Club fleets (all Divisions, F/F, Dragons, Etchells, etc.) to pay entry fees and compete in a series of fleet races to arrive at a winning fleet team to be awarded the trophy and validly lay claim to being the best sailors in the Club regardless of the design or class of yachts normally raced. Hence “RFBYC CLUB BEST”.
Highly respected for his municipal service, initially with Claremont and then with Peppermint Grove where he was Shire Clark for many years, until early retirement was taken to care for his wife who had succumbed to cancer. During his latter working life he was credited with the formation of the Institute of Municipal Administration which has now become established as the representative body for Council administrations statewide with similar chapters following interstate.
His membership of RFBYC spanned 42 years of active social involvement across which time he regularly volunteered as part of the mid-river Start Team for each of the sailing seasons over that time. His volunteering service was unbroken throughout those 42 years such that he would ensure his overseas travel was taken outside of each sailing season in order to maintain his reliable role in the team.
His time with the Club saw many changes evolve around his volunteer service. Back in the early days the legendary Thames river boat “Neriad”, as owned by the Hobbs family, was used as the mid-river start boat and Tom carried a small part of his Army life into his role of sitting atop the cabin roof firing the gun for each fleet start, hence his nickname of “Gunner Tom”.
The scale of resource devoted to mid-river starts lifted when the Club boat (now known as the “Tam Thomson”) was brought into service and, once again, Tom would be found sitting on the roof awaiting the count-down to each race before firing to get each fleet underway.
This duty was itself a count-down to completion of their starting tasks following which he and the team would settle into “fellowship” mode with cheese, biscuits and wines to while away the interval until each fleet had to be finished across the line.
Great and lasting friendships were built over those many years which grew into luncheon groups and other social interactions which helped to create a true meaning of “Club life” for all involved. Tom’s handy skills with armaments also saw him fire the Club cannon more than once on ceremonial occasions and he was proud to be accorded the honour.
Although none of his children were sailors, his daughter Joan and son-in-law Alan Fisher greatly enjoyed sharing times with Tom at the Club but sadly Tom passed away in 2001 and was unable to see Alan’s involvement culminate in becoming a flag Officer in 2004 and ultimately complete his term as Commodore from 2008 to 2010.
Nonetheless, Tom Worsley’s name lives on in the history of RFBYC and the trophy “RFBYC CLUB BEST” represents not only the best in sailing but perpetuates his memory as being among the best in the spirit of volunteering as a lifeblood within the Club.