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Southport, NC

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Sailboat Racing

Southport Yacht Club

A vibrant boating focused community enjoying everything the cape fear region has to offer..

Founded in 2014, Southport Yacht Club (SYC) is focused on boating! Our goal is to spend time off the dock and on the water in the North Carolina Cape Fear Region.  Our club is a great place to learn about the regional waters, acquire additional boating skills, develop friendships, and feel part of a community.  The club is 100% percent volunteer based and our members organize sailboat races/regattas, cruises, educational seminars, and super fun events throughout the year.

Southport Yacht Club Members

Our goal for this website is to provide you a snapshot of everything SYC has to offer.  For our members this site has a Member’s Only section where you can learn about upcoming events and shop our  “Ship’s Store”.   If you are a prospective member or just interested in the club, we hope you spend time on our website to see what we are all about!

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Interested in Joining?

The Southport Yacht Club is interested in prospective members of solid character that share a common interest in boating, sailing, fishing, and all things social, both on and off the water. 

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southport yacht club history

If you are reading this column in time, the Southport General Store will be holding an open mic on Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m. The Newagen Crew, Tim Handley, Skip Simmons, and banjo player, Tim Hankins will be performing. 

On July 7 (rain date July 21), to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Southport Yacht Club, the SYC is hoping to get 100 boats on the Sheepscot River from 3 to 4 p.m. All boats (sail, motor, paddleboard, dinghy, kayak, or rowboat) are welcome. Get your floating device near Cedarbush nun “6” – outside of Cosy Harbor, keeping power boats separate from non-power boats. If you would like to participate in the festivities or have questions, please contact Diane Smith 508-596-7147 or [email protected] . Boat decorations are encouraged! Various races and a Reggie Cruise will follow Saturday, July 8. Details of these events are available on the club website: If you want to purchase some club clothing and other gear, you can google Southport Yacht Club Merch and place an order.

Another new shopping and browsing space have been created by Southporters, Morgan Mitchell and her father, Bob Mitchell in the Old Firehouse at 1038 Wiscasset Road in Boothbay. Morgan and Bob and other guests will be creating and displaying their work Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Tech Support is now available at the Southport Memorial Library. If you need help with your phone, tablet, or laptop on Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30, high school students Abby and Mia Dupee will be available for to help you. This service begins July 4 and continues through mid-August. Call the library with questions at 207-633-2741. At the library on Wednesday morning, at 10 a.m. during July and August, bring your children and grandchildren to story hour. The readers are Joan Chatterton, Sigrid Kopf, and Jen Phippen, all current or former elementary school teachers. The children will also enjoy crafts and snacks, and fun with other kids. Call the library with questions.

Several opportunities are coming to learn more about Southport and the world scene. On Monday, July 10, sponsored by the Southport Historical Society, Mark Colby will tell us about “David’s Island and the Southport Yacht Club History” as part of the yacht club’s centennial celebration. Mark grew up on David’s Island and inherited a cache of SYC records.

On July 31 the historical society will sponsor ‘Movie Night’ during which the island’s history and stories will be told from various DVD melded together.

On Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m. at the Southport Town Hall, we can learn more about the world scene. The Southport Island Association will welcome resident expert, Paul Zalucky, who recently returned from two weeks in Ukraine. Zalucky will share his personal observations and bring us up to date on events as they are unfolding in Russia's war against Ukraine. Zalucky, a retired CIA senior executive operations officer who served in the region, will share his insights on the direction of the war and on the resolve of the Ukrainian people to fight for their freedom. This event is open to the community - all are welcome to attend.

The Reverend Martin Smith will have help conducting the service this coming Sunday, July 9 at the summer chapel of All Saints by-the-Sea as the Right Reverend Thomas Brown, Bishop of Maine, will be making his annual visit to the chapel. Reverend Smith with still conduct the bible study on the porch on the following Tuesday at 9 a.m. Sunday services are at 8 and 10 a.m. All are welcome.

The Southport Memorial Library will host a community open house Wednesday, July 12 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the library in its current location. The library will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. All are welcome to stop by, browse the collection, and learn about the history of the library. Coffee and donuts will be available in the morning, a picnic lunch with hamburgers and hot dogs will be served from noon until 1 p.m. Punch and cookies will be available in the afternoon. The library will offer a storytime at 10 a.m., and a library history talk at 2 p,m. The book sale room will be open all day.

On Thursday, July 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the library, award-winning author Matt Cost will be talking about his work, The Mainely Mystery series. The first book, “Mainely Power,” was selected as the Maine Humanities Council Read ME Fiction Book of 2020. For the latest news, follow Matt Cost on Facebook.

Don’t forget to order your lobster lunch from the Southport Methodist Women, who are presenting their 50th “Takeout Lobster Lunch and Craft Fair” July 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Southport Town Hall. You need to preorder your lobster lunch between July 1 and July 15 by calling Elaine at 1-360-301-6715 or Deb at 633-5144. Cost is $25. The Craft Fair will also take place at the town hall but be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also, the Cookie Walk will offer you as many cookies as you can get into a coffee can for $5 or double for $10. If desired, you can preorder your cookies. Look for more information on this event elsewhere in the paper.

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The Long and Short of a Commodore

The Long and Short of a Commodore

Commodore Phil Short of the Southport Yacht Club – Interview by Roselle Tenefrancia and Andy Kancachian

Southport Yacht Club, established in 1946, is an association on the Gold Coast, and is at the forefront of the boating community in the city. While focusing on the members, the presence and the services of the Southport Yacht Club have been a significant part of the Gold Coast city. Almost 70 years old, SYC has established its commitment to the Gold Coast boating lifestyle, through strong leadership that has made it a success story among its members, visitors and the general public.

At the helm of the SYC is Phil Short, a man with his own sailing stories, history, humour and leadership goals. This Commodore is a Gold Coaster who is a lifelong fan of boats and sailing, and dreams of a city where every boat – big or small — is welcome on the Gold Coast waters.

From a Sea Scout to a Commodore

Boats and maritime history has been Phil’s lifetime interest. Born and raised in Tasmania, he started off as a Sea Scout when he was 10 years old. “My first boat was a Snipe class yacht, she was a heavy old girl but had a lot of fun, however I never actually raced in this class.”

He moved on to become a member of the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania, where he learned skills on Navigation Trials on the Derwent River. Deciding to have a go at speed boat racing, he ended up with a Marine Ply 16ft speed boat, with a Singer car engine. “And boy did she go!” he exclaims. “However, as a young teenager I could not afford the up-keep so I sold it and went back to sailing. I sailed Dragon class in Prince Phillip Cup on the Derwent, also Fireball class. The one I enjoyed the most was the 45-foot Ketch ‘Utieka’ — a real classic of her day — that competed in all the Derwent and Channel Regattas.”

He joined the Royal Australian Navy, serving on several units of the fleet, from dock-yard work boats to aircraft carriers that taught him skills in visual communications, ship handling and seamanship. “These skills have been very valuable throughout the years to follow,” he says.

In 1979, he moved to the Gold Coast and became involved in trailer-sailor events, and in the Twilight Races with Southport Yacht Club. “I crewed in the off shore races and competed in several Burleigh Bash offshore events,” he relates. “In 1996 I sailed in the Sydney to Hobart, something every sailor should do, and always was a stand-by crew member. But business does get in the way of sailing until you get your priorities in line.”

He switched from sail to power boating with a classic cruiser in which he competed in the navigation rallies, and also joined the cruising flotilla on several of their events, “ which are excellent for new-comers to boating.” He now has a smaller, faster boat that he relates to as “the Commodore’s Tender”.

“My first introduction to SYC was in 1980, with the experience I gained in the Navy in communications and navigation I became a volunteer instructor at TS Tyalgum Navy Cadets. They have a close association with SYC, with ceremonial functions like the opening of the Club’s sailing and boating season, ‘Sail Past and Blessing of the Fleet’. I made some great friends, and have been associated with the Club on and off since then.”

He was chosen last year as the Commodore of the Southport Yacht Club after holding the position of Vice Commodore Power (of Power Boats) for two years. The position of Commodore requires one to be a Gold Member and to have served in the Board for a minimum of one year. His suitability for the position was also determined through recommendations by Life Members and past Commodores, and through his enthusiasm to volunteer to help when needed by the Board. He says, “I put my hand up to assist when volunteers were called for and was asked to join the Power Boat Committee. I was approached by a past Commodore and asked if I would be interested in putting my name amongst others for the next appointment, for Vice Commodore Power and of course I said yes.” And as they say, the rest is history.

Promoting Boating and Sailing on the Gold Coast

“The Southport Yacht Club has a long and proud history of fostering sailing and power-boating, something we have done since 1946 in a family-orientated environment. The rhumb line has been set by our Past Commodores and Life Members, and this has led the Club to enjoy almost 70 years of camaraderie and boating safety and fun.”

Sailing members are offered 400 sailing events this season at the Hollywell Sailing Academy from as young as seven years old, to sailors on bigger keel yachts racing off-shore. “We have an Olympic Champions from the London Olympics Mathew Belcher OAM and his crew Will Ryan, along with World Champions winning at the ISAF Championships this year as a result for the Hollywell Sailing Academy.”

The SYC has free Discover Sailing Days, held multiple times a year. The Discover Sailing Day is a free event, open to the public within the local community, and aimed at increasing public awareness in sailing, especially among children, promoting the message: Sailing is for everyone – it can be cheap, simple, safe and fun!

Phil explains, “Sailing is the second fastest growing sport in Australia and our playground is the sea. During one of our Discover Sail Day held last year, around 300 people visited the Academy. This was their first step to discover sailing. We plan another of these open days for the end of February 2015. The idea is to introduce children and families to the sport of sailing.”

The SYC also sponsored a free breakfast where people interested in power boat “Predicted Navigation” events were shown an electronic presentation explaining the procedure of chart reading and course plotting. This was followed by an actual event where the participants were taken on board the boats owned by SYC members on a short ‘Ambrose’ rally course up as far as the Coomera River mouth and back to SYC where the Club provided a BBQ lunch.

Even a social member of the Club meets and makes friends with other members, talking boats. “You say that you would like to try sailing or cruising, and before long you are introduced to other members and asked to list your name for a twilight sail. Soon you take your first step towards your dream.”

For over 35 years of living on the Gold Coast, Phil has witnessed the rapid growth along the northern end of the strip, “when as many 15 cranes worked the skyline at times”. He believes that cities are about people and for people, and growth needs to continue to keep the city viable.

“We need to move forward and I believe [the Cruise Ship Terminal] is a step in the right direction. Whether the terminal is built on the Gold Coast or a major terminal built in Brisbane, this would [benefit] the City and the whole South-east Queensland.

“Terminals are also needed around Australia to entice the private super- and ‘mega’ super -yacht market. This will place us on their charts as a destination. I see not only the overseas cruise liner trade, but also other vessels that attract large numbers of visitors to the coast, e.g. tall ships and naval vessels. Short stays as part of the package of existing donut cruises to Sydney-Fiji-New Zealand-Sydney can include the Gold Coast.”

Phil also supports the city council’s proposed foreshore development in Surfers Paradise. “The boating public need pontoons at these places to allow them to stay long enough to enjoy midweek lunches, shopping or visiting. This will open our waterways for residents and tourists to use, especially during the week when there is much lighter water traffic.”

Phil Short - 1963

Phil Short from 1963/64 while serving on HMAS Melbourne

Commodore Phil Short and Vice Commodore Power Graham Webb with the Goodwill Cup 2014

Commodore Short with the Goodwill Cup

Phil Short on board Gem

Aboard his once much loved motor yacht “Gem”.


As a Commodore of the Southport Yacht Club, Phil Short’s main duty is to take command of the fleet, and to attend all major ceremonial occasions along with liaising with the Vice Commodores of Sail and Power and respective committees, whom he refers to as the engine room of the Club. Additionally, his role is to encourage and improve boating participation and recruiting of membership, as well as represent SYC at reciprocal yacht clubs and events in Queensland and interstate.

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Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2023

  • About the race
  • The Weather
  • Race Reports
  • Results from 1986 to 1989
  • Historical Facts
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Opening the bar has more connotations than quenching sailors’ thirsts when it comes to recalling the history of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. The introduction of this new ocean race was an event of great significance to the Gold Coast region of south-east Queensland, to ocean racing along the East Coast of Australia and, indeed, for the expansion of the CYCA.

Wild Thing crosses the finish line taking 2 days 1 hour 21 minutes and 14 seconds to complete the course

Promoted as 'the great winter escape', the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is second only in status to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race among long ocean races conducted by the CYCA. 

The race, which starts from Sydney Harbour and finishes off Main Beach on the Queensland Gold Coast, was first conducted in 1986 following the opening up of the Southport "bar" (entrance) to deep keeled yachts, pleasure cruisers and large fishing boats, the result of extensive harbour works by the Queensland Government. Officially, it is called the Gold Coast Seaway.

The driving force behind the CYCA involvement was the late Peter Rysdyk, supported by Peter Campbell on the promotional side.  Obtaining a sponsor was a vital part of getting the race underway and Rysdyk and Campbell spent many days in negotiations with potential Gold Coast backers, with Jupiters Casino becoming the sponsor for the first seven years. 

Appropriately, the Official Starter of the inaugural Jupiters Gold Coast Race Yacht Race in 1986 was the then Premier of Queensland,  Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who fired the starting cannon to send a fleet of 83 yachts heading north - with the promise of much warmer weather!  An equally colourful character in the late Jack Rooklyn sailed his famous maxi yacht Apollo to a double victory, taking line honours and first on corrected time, a rare achievement for a maxi yacht.

Since then the 384 nautical mile race has attracted fleets of between 70 and 80 yachts each year, with entries mainly coming from New South Wales and Queensland, but also from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand, with the occasional other overseas entrant. In 1997, a record fleet of 86 boats took part.

The Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is a prestigious race in its own right, but adding to its status is that is the opening event of the CYCA's ocean racing season for the Blue Water Pointscore and is a feeder race to the popular northern Queensland regattas.

The CYCA has always conducted the Gold Coast Race, with club sailing office staff flying north to join a dedicated team who finish the fleet off Main Beach, Southport.  Since the race's inception the host club has been Southport Yacht Club , a large club with excellent marina facilities for members' yachts and motor cruisers. SYC provides escort vessels and berths for the visiting yachts, mostly on a floating marina in front of the clubhouse.

The Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race has become an important test bed for the CYCA's changes to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, including handicap rating systems, safety rules, and multiple entries (eg IRC and ORCi), one design and other divisions.

Apollo set the pace with a time of 49 hours 19 minutes 41 seconds in the inaugural race in 1986 and the following year another Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours winner, Bernard Lewis' Sovereign , got the gun.

That year the Overall IOR winner of rugged 1984 Sydney Hobart Race, John Eyles' Indian Pacific , won the Gold Coast Race on corrected time.  

Taking third place on corrected time in 1986 and 1987 races was Bruce Staples in his Farr-designed 40-footer, Witchcraft II .  Staples,  later to become Commodore of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, has been the most successful competitor in the history to date of the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.  With Witchcraft II , between 1986 and 1994,  he recorded a first, a second and three thirds Overall under the old IOR rating. Then rated under IMS, Witchcraft II  scored a third Overall and a first and a second in Division B. 

Back again in 2001 with Dark and Stormy , Staples placed first in IRC Division B.

The 1991 race saw the emergence of joint owners Roger Hickman, Bruce Foye and Lance Peckman,  as a formidable team with their Farr 43,  Wild Oats . They won IOR that year, placed second in 1992 and 1993 and won IMS Overall in 1994. In 1993 they also won the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on IOR corrected time.  

The 1994 event was a qualifying race for the 50th Sydney Hobart and among the winners (IMS Division C) was the veteran Southerly, skippered by Don Mickleborough and his equally veteran crew.  Southerly went on to win the 30 Year Veteran Division of the 50th Hobart.

George Snow emulated Jack Rooklyn's inaugural race feat in 1995 when he sailed Brindabella to a line honours win and first place in IMS Class A. (At that stage there was no Overall winner of the race).  Brindabella repeated her line honours win the following year and again in the 1999 race when the Jutson-designed maxi set the existing race record of 27 hours 35 minutes 03 seconds.

The 1999 race also saw the introduction of the Peter Rysdyk Memorial Trophy for first place Overall under the IMS handicap category. The first winner was the Victorian maxi Wild Thing , skippered by Grant Wharington, while IMS Division B went to another Victorian boat, Chutzpah , skippered by Bruce Taylor,  then Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

Wild Thing reversed the line honours order in 2000, with the many times CYCA Blue Water Champion Syd Fischer achieving his first success in the  Gold Coast Race, sailing his Farr 50, Ragamuffin , to IMS Overall and winning the Peter Rysdyk Memorial Trophy. 

Despite being beaten across the line in 2001 by Grundig Xena , George Snow received some compensation by winning IMS Overall with Brindabella .  Grundig Xena completed a double, also placing first in the IRC Division A.

In 2002 Sean Langman secured his second line honours win in a row with Grundig , after Wild Thing was disqualified, with IMS Overall going to Terry Mullens' Farr 50, Sting (ex Yendys), another yacht to achieve the Sydney Hobart and Sydney Gold Coast handicap double. 

The 2003 Sydney Gold Coast Race was a very significant race with the introduction of a number of new initiatives. It was the first CYCA race to score using the International Rule Club handicap (IRC) and IMS with the subsequent demise of IMS scoring altogether for the 2004 race. The 2003 Sydney Gold Coast was also the first Australian offshore race to incorporate the International Technical Committee's recommendation that water ballast be included in the IMS handicap system and for the first time, the Sydney 38s raced in their own one design division, a sign of the growing popularity of this class of racing.

Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin scored its second Overall IMS win in 2003, the other was in 2000, while Sean Langman's Grundig also scored its third line honours win in this race, the others in 2001 and 2002, as well as claiming first overall on IRC handicap.

In the 2004 Sydney Gold Coast, the order of the top handicap results were reversed when Bob Steel's Quest pipped Ragamuffin in the IRC Division A results while the Stewart 34 Pendragon (Andrew Cochrane) sailed into second place Overall on IRC handicap, the handicap system now adopted by the CYCA to establish the outright winner of this race and its premier ocean race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

In the race for line honours, Stewart Thwaites' first time entry Konica Minolta , the 30 metre New Zealand maxi, took lines honours somewhat controversially after Skandia , which was leading the fleet, retired from racing so owner Grant Wharington and some of his crew could dash to Mooloolaba for the Etchells World Championship.

In the 2005 Sydney Gold Coast, Andrew Cochrane's Pendragon , a previous multiple divisional winner in this race finally scored an Overall win while Bob Oatley's 66 foot canting keel Wild Oats X , which should have been competing at the Admiral's Cup at the time of the Gold Coast Race (the Admiral's Cup was subsequently cancelled) instead raced north to take line honours. In the 2006 race, Steven David's Wild Joe took top honours in IRC Division 1 while line honours went to Grant Wharington's Skandia .

In the 2007 race, Steven David's Wild Joe won IRC Overall, with Rob Hanna's Shogun second and Bob Oatley's Wild Oats X third, after she won line honours.

In 2008, Ray Roberts' Quantum Racing took the line honours and IRC Overall double, with Bob Steel's Quest second IRC Overall and Cockatoo Ridge - The Goat (Foye Syndicate) third.

One of the longest and light air races is what the 2009 Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race will be remembered for. The fleet of 80 started in a 3-5 knot ESE on Sydney Harbour and battled head winds all the way up the coast, with some of the fleet going over 90 nautical miles offshore to find some breeze. After 49 hours, 29 minutes and 23 seconds, the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats X took the line honours win from Stephen Ainsworth's RP63 Loki , who finished second across the line, just over one hour behind Wild Oats X . 

Ed Psaltis & Bob Thomas' modified Farr 40 AFR Midnight Rambler claimed the overall win for the only east coast offshore yacht race that the duo had not won! Henk Wellman's Sydney 36CR Aileron finished second overall and Rod Jones' Archambault 40 Alegria , the eventual Audi Australian IRC Champion, placed third

2010 Race Wrap: 25 Years on... For the silver jubilee Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, a high calibre 75 strong fleet representing New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia lined up in Sydney Harbour in a sou'westerly breeze for the colourful spinnaker start.

The largest were itching to have yet another crack at the elusive race record set back in 1999 by George Snow's mighty Jutson 79, Brindabella , and were at times on record pace, but mishap and the weather transition near the border once again worked in Snow's favour. 

First over the line in the 384 nautical mile coastal race with an elapsed time of 1 day 6 hours 25 minutes 37 seconds was the Bob Oatley owned and Mark Richards skippered supermaxi Wild Oats XI , as bad luck would have it missing the longstanding record by the same number of hours it cost them detouring to Newcastle to drop off their injured bowman. 

The only major incident of the race was bowman Tim Wiseman's fingers accidently finding their way into the mainsheet block on the whopping carbon fibre boom, forcing the 100 footer to offload the crewman for medical treatment. Weeks later he was back on the bow of Wild Oats XI at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with his finger still strapped after surgery having made a near complete recovery.

Stephen Ainsworth's RP63 Loki continued its march onwards from the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta, claiming the outright IRC win from a top field and then backing up for the trifecta at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, the only boat to have ever taken the top prize at all three events in the same year.

Harvey Milne's Archambault 31 Aroona as still hanging onto the yellow leader's jersey in the Audi IRC Australian Championship after the Audi Sydney Gold Coast results were tallied, but that too went to Loki once the final event of the four-part national series wrapped up a month later at Hamilton Island.

With the last boat, the Swanson 36 Mister Christian , safely home by Tuesday afternoon, it was regarded a quick and straightforward dash north to Southport. The breeze peaked at a manageable 30 knots and from the starting line-up there were only four retirements and an equally low rate of gear failure and sail damage - a great result for organisers and competitors.

Over 25 years the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race has cemented its place as the Australian offshore racing calendar's season opener and in terms of stature and fleet size is regarded one of the country's key blue water events.

By Lisa Ratcliff

Click here to read full wrap

2011 Race Wrap: Race gift wrapped for birthday Doll

At the end of the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, which according to participants went on for an eternity, Wild Oats XI took line honours from Investec Loyal after a protracted battle and Michael Hiatt received a great present when Living Doll was declared the IRC overall winner from Loki andRagamuffin on his 59th birthday.

Michael Logan from the Bureau of Meteorology warned everyone in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's annual 384 nautical mile race that the weather would be light and changeable, but the direction of wind and pressure was a little different than anticipated.  

Contested by 69 boats, of which eight retired (mostly due to time constraints), the race was characterised by its light to medium winds and the sundry wind holes that trapped even the smartest players. It was agreed the race was tactically and navigationally challenging, but nevertheless enjoyable.

Swords were drawn between the two 100 footers from the outset. Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI with Mark Richards in his usual role of skipper, and Investec Loyal , now solely owned by Anthony Bell, boasted some of the biggest yachting names in Australia and New Zealand.

Richards' crew contained 32nd America's Cup winner Grant Simmer ( Alinghi ) calling the shots and Adrienne Cahalan navigating. Bell beefed up his crew with helmsman Billy Merrington, tactician Michael Coxon, 32nd America's Cup winner Will McCarthy, Tommy Braidwood, and New Zealander Mike Quilter, who along with Cahalan, is among the world's top navigators.

Wild Oats XI won the day, finishing the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in one day 18hr 11min 27sec, but it was only by a nine minute 22sec gap after Bell and crew pulled to within two miles of the winner in the closing stages. Never more than 8 or 9 miles ever separated the two.

After taking line honours, Richards conceded Investec Loyal had kept them honest throughout the race. "It was good stuff - really close the whole way - it reminds us we're not infallible," he admitted.

"It was very close towards the end. The most important thing was getting to the finish first. We made it so that they ( Investec Loyal ) had to sail around us to beat us."

Richards said they were very happy with the modifications made to the boat, "The new daggerboard worked well," he said.

Of course Bell was just as happy with his yacht's result. "We're in stage one of some modifications and this was our first big race since Hobart. We've altered the keel and got a new rig, so we didn't want to press the rig too hard in our first race, so we've got more to give," he said.

Closing the gap on Wild Oats XI at around 3.00am in the morning, Bell said: "Tactically we pushed a bit harder in the early hours and took a bit out of them. We made a couple of tactical errors in the race, but who didn't?"

Despite being one of many who had to return to the start after crossing early, Michael Hiatt's Farr 55, Living Doll , featured at the top of the standings from early on, so her win was no accident, nor was it controlled by the whim of the weather.

The Victorian yachtsman who owns the funky Living Doll clothing label, put together a winning crew, and his yacht was race-ready. Malfunctions and breakages have been setbacks for Hiatt in the past, but not this time.

However, it took all of Will Oxley's considerable navigating skills to keep the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria entry out of the wind holes and in the right place, mostly on the rhumbline for the ever-transitioning wind it swung from land to sea breezes and back again, from nothing to 12 knots or so.

Grey hulled Living Doll was leading the race overall on the first afternoon and Oxley, who is in big demand on the international scene, said at the time: "We're working hard to try to get the sea breeze timing right with closing on the coast, and then thinking about how best to deal with tonight.

"Looks like a few parking lots ahead and behind us. Trying hard to avoid this fate, but we'll have to go through this all again tomorrow morning/afternoon."

Throughout, they warded off challenges, especially from those who finished second, third and fourth behind them: 2010 winner and reigning Audi IRC Australian champion, Loki , a Reichel/Pugh 63 owned by Stephen Ainsworth; Syd Fischer's TP52 Ragamuffin ; Harvey Milne's Archambault 31 Aroona (the smallest boat in the fleet at 31ft), skippered by Anthony Paterson and Victoire , Darryl Hodgkinson's Beneteau 45, all from NSW.

Picking up a nice southerly to finish off the race, Living Doll stormed home under spinnaker to claim the IRC overall trophy after the smaller boats did not get enough puff to bring them into contention.   

Hiatt said their premature start had no bearing on the outcome and did not disrupt their game plan. "Will (Oxley) looked at the weather pre-race and all went as planned. Our timing was good; we knew it would be a tactical race and that navigating would be tedious, but Will and Steve Cotton (a top Kiwi sailor) worked really well to make it happen," he said.

Oxley and Cotton were assisted by prominent long standing afterguard, Ross Lloyd calling tactics. "I had a lot of confidence in the three of them, and all of my crew, which includes seven from New Zealand," Hiatt remarked.

"It was refreshing having Will aboard; this is his first ocean race with us,"  Hiatt said. "It's a great feeling to win; it's a nice birthday present."

When light winds were forecast for the race, Living Doll was proposed as a top prospect by others. "We really enjoy light air - if we get eight hours or more of reaching in light winds we do very well and can take time away from opponents - and we were keeping our eye on Loki, Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore's TP52) and others," Hiatt said. 

Hiatt said the best part of their race came just after Living Doll was trapped in her only park-up, two miles north of Point Byron (40 odd miles from the finish). "We were three-sail reaching with a Code Zero up. We were on fire and it felt very comfortable," he said. "Then we put the kite up and flew home."

Living Doll charted a course close to the coast. "We couldn't see the value in heading out to sea," he said. Hooligan and others spent time further out and it did not pay off.

As to how slow the going was, at 800am on Day 4 at sea (two days 19 hours into the race), only 14 yachts had finished the 26th edition of the race. In stark contrast, Brindabella's race record, set in 1999, is 27 hours 35min 03sec. Wild Oats XI finished this race nearly 12 hours behind it.

Jonathan Stone's Davidson 34, Illusion , finished on the afternoon of August 3, bringing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 26th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race to its conclusion

By Di Pearson

Click here to read full race wrap

2012 Fast downhill slide nets records for Wild Oats XI and Loki

It was third time lucky for Mark Richards and crew on Bob Oatley's 100ft super maxi, Wild Oats XI , which smashed Brindabella's 13 year-old Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race record, slicing 5 hours 31min 57sec of the 27 hours 35min 43sec set in 1999.

In ideal downwind conditions, Wild Oats XI crossed the Main Beach finish line at 11.03.46, in the time of 22 hours 3min 46sec. Peter Harburg's RP66, Black Jack , with Mark Bradford at the helm, was second on line and first Queensland boat home.

Black Jack also finished inside the record, in 26hrs 24mins 2sec, as did the race's overall winner, Loki, which claimed third on line some 28 minutes later. The three Reichel/Pugh designs also finished top three overall, in the reverse order: Loki, Black Jack , Wild Oats XI.

Wild Oats XI took line honours in 2010 and 2011; the latter well outside the record in one day 18hr 11min 27sec, when the fleet coped with light to moderate breezes.        

This time, conditions played into the hands of Wild Oats XI , which was on record pace from the outset. South and south-westerly winds, mainly in the 15-25 knot range and gusting in the 30's, relentlessly drove the yacht to her third line honours victory and the record.

"We got amazing conditions. We hit 34 knots boat speed. It got light and funny towards the end, but we were expecting that," Richards said.

"To take the boat out of the shed after it's been sitting there since the Hobart race, is a great tribute to the crew and to the Oatley family. It was a ride from heaven," Richards declared.

Brindabella's original owner, George Snow, was early to call and congratulate Richards on the new record. He was pragmatic, commenting: "I watch every year; it had to go sooner or later." Snow also enquired how Brindabella (now owned by Jim Cooney) was fairing - she finished fifth on line in the time of 33 hours, 37min and 5 sec.  

As the last five yachts headed to the finish, just over two days after the start, the CYCA confirmed Loki's overall win. Her elapsed time was 26hrs 52mins 39sec, 43 minutes insideBrindabella's record.

"We're off to a good start," said Ainsworth, referring to the opening race of the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore Series, unaware Loki was the new owner of the conventionally ballasted yacht record. His grin widened when told.

"It was a very satisfying win. Conditions were harsh; we drove the boat hard and didn't back off. The boat and crew handled the race very well. We got the best weather you could ask for. 

"It was a wild race; I remember seeing 33 knots on speed dial. Then there was so much spray I couldn't see the dial anymore. It was like being on a sub - the full fire hose treatment," Ainsworth said.

Loki has broken many records, won the 2010 Audi IRC Australian Championship and the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore Series and then the 2011 Hobart. She won the 2010 Audi Sydney Gold Coast, was second in 2011 and won this 2012 edition.

Every yachtie had tales to tell of the race dubbed 'The Big Downhill Slide', which also included a couple of light patch south-east and northerly breezes. Only six boats retired from what some initially thought would be "boat breaking conditions."

All enjoyed the fast ride and the odd spot of whale watching. Some could not believe the boat speed their yachts attained. CYCA Commodore, Howard Piggott, said of his Beneteau F40, Flying Cloud : "It was like launching off Cape Canaveral a lot of the time - it was white knuckle sailing. We did 16-18 knots - on a Beneteau!"

Black Jack claimed ORCi overall honours from two TP52's; Ragamuffin and Jason Van der Slot's Calm (Vic). The Inglis/Jones 39, She's the Culprit, owned by "The Culprit Syndicate' from Lake Macquarie, won PHS overall from Andrew Wenham's V60, Southern Excellence and the Kerry Burke/Robert Carr owned Northshore 370, Mortgage Choice Rumba . Last yacht to cross the line was Biddy Hu II from Victoria. The Beneteau 50 finished in 2 days 7hr 30min 32sec. Owner, Paul Lindemann, who kept up a text dialogue throughout the race, signed off with humour: "The eagle has landed!"

2013: Wild Thing finds pot of gold at end of rainbow; Brannew wins first major title in Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race   

One of the slowest races on record, the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race was challenging and exciting, with both line and overall honours going down to the wire.

Neither the open race record holder, Wild Oats XI, or the conventional yacht record holder, Loki, were on the start line, and the fleet was a smallish one at 47, but it did not detract from a diverse grand prix fleet representing NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Grant Wharington’s 100ft Wild Thing, taking part in only its second ocean race, led the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual 384 nautical mile race from its midline start on Sydney Harbour. It was only headed once, in the last hours of the race, by John Honan and Peter Millard’s 98 foot Lahana (NSW). But a short time later, the Queensland super maxi regained control and sailed to line honours victory at 14:21:14 on July 29, in 2 days, 1 hour, 21 minutes, 14 seconds.

Around the time Wild Thing finished, Chris Bran made a final push for overall honours with his one year-old Beneteau First 40 CR, Brannew.   

Bran was victorious, but not without some angst. Late in the race, he still had to contend with various yachts, keeping the Brannew crew working overtime all the way to the finish line for their first major offshore win. After the CYCA skipper finished, he had to wait it out for several others to do the same.

Contenders knew the forecast ahead of the 28 th edition of the race, so were under no illusion that it would be a quick simple one.  Roger Hickman described it as: “Classic Sydney Gold Coast,” while from 2008 Hobart winner Quest’s owner, Bob Steel’s point of view, “It was a race you want to forget.”  

Michael Logan from the Bureau of Meteorology prepared competitors for light and variable winds, forecasting a light westerly for the race start on July 27 (It was 3 knots, but increased to around 8 within the hour). He said the wind would tend northerly up to 10 knots in the southern part of the course and then light easterlies as the fleet sailed into the northern section, with a westerly or two mid-race.  

A southerly was due on the fourth day, too late.

The variable weather was reflected in the changes of overall leaders throughout, from super maxi Lahana, to Rod Jones 50 footer, Audi Sunshine Coast, to Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons at 46 feet and Flying Cloud, owned by CYCA commodore Howard Piggott and Phil Molony’s Papillon, both 40 feet, among others.

Kim Jaggar, co-owner of the 25 year-old Davidson 34, Illusion (one of the smaller yachts in the fleet), was not so sure. ”Only if we don’t get too far behind in the first couple of days can we capitalise on the southerly,” he said.

“The big boats will get the stronger northerlies (up to 10 knots) and the westerly of up to 16 knots, which will push the bigger yachts quickly up the coast, and they should get away from us there. It will all come down to the transition in breeze and whether we can be in the right place at the right time. It’ll be tricky and there’ll be a bit of luck involved,” Jaggar summed up.

The decision makers at the back of each boat had to work out whether to go offshore or hug the coast – some did a bit of both – but most stuck with the coastal route.

Click here to read the full race wrap

2014: Celestial wins Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race Wild Oats XI takes line honours - again

Wild Oats XI and Celestial emphatically took line and overall honours respectively in the 384 nautical mile Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July, but the race record stayed intact.

The 29 th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race was a far cry from last year, when a number of yachts retired, citing time constraints as the race climaxed on the fifth day.

And although the tricky weather at the start left a lot to be desired, it was one of the most pleasant races in recent history for those who managed to stay ahead, or up with, the storm fronts and weather changes.

Enjoyable 15-20 knot north-westerly and south-westerly winds, aided by flat seas, were tailor made for a fast reaching race. There was also the added benefit of sea life spotting, anything from seals to penguins, dolphins, whales and sharks.   

Conditions prompted America’s Cup and Olympic sailor Iain Murray (Wild Oats XI) to comment afterwards: “An enjoyable reaching race on flat seas – it doesn’t get much better.”

Fifty-five yachts piled up at the boat end of the Nielsen Park start line on Sydney Harbour. A wet, miserable grey morning transformed to sunny blue skies by the 1.00pm start, but the predicted breeze was nowhere to be seen.  

Instead, light shifty 5 knot to nothing airs, fanning from all points of the compass, turned to parking lots on the Harbour. The pop of spinnakers at least provided extra colour.

Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, appeared the only one to be free of the windless shackles. Richards would later say, “We had a plan, we stuck to it, and it paid off big time. The crew were fantastic and kept the boat going up the Harbour.”

He steered the super maxi straight down the eastern side of the Harbour, and although slowing down at times, it didn’t stop. Steven Proud’s Swish was the only one to get within cooee of Oats. The Kernan 44 trailed the 100 footer to Lady Bay, but then lost touch with the breeze before finally setting off again.

As Wild Oats XI reached the Heads, Paul Clitheroe’s Balance Bruce Foye’s The Goat and Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire started to make good ground near North Head.

Able to see the funny side, Clitheroe, who recently purchased the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner Quest and renamed her Balance, reported: “Must buy a new boat more often. After much drifting between the Heads and enjoying watching sunbaking seals and penguins, Balance is arguably the first boat to Manly.

“A fair point is that Wild Oats is halfway to the horizon and made more distance, but if it was Sydney Harbour to Manly, we've got that covered. Problem is, we’ve got no idea what will happen next, but lovely far!”

Left in this group’s wake was Perpetual LOYAL, owned by Anthony Bell who had friend and Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke, along for the ride. Up alongside was Black Jack, the Queensland V70 owned by Peter Harburg.

Harburg’s skipper, Mark Bradford, commented pre-race: “The predicted reaching winds will suit us and LOYAL down to the ground, although the breeze won’t be strong enough. These boats (both designed by Argentinean Juan Kouyoumdjian) need 20-25 knots.”

His prophecy proved accurate, as the closest Perpetual LOYAL got to Wild Oats XI, was 4 nautical miles on the first evening. “At one point, Black Jack “came barreling at us, but when she gybed back in to the coast, that was it,” Richards said.

From there, Wild Oats XI kept up a steady pace all the way to Southport, averaging speeds of 18 knots. It reached the finish line in 15.27.46 hours, taking 26 hours 27 minutes and 47 seconds, more than four hours short of its 22 hour 3 minute and 46 second record set in 2012.

Over two hours later, Perpetual LOYAL finished second on line for eighth overall, while Black Jack repeated its third on line of last year, but this time was well up the overall board in second place.

The only blip on Oats’ radar was her year-old carbon fibre hydrofoil wing snapping off while surfing down waves at speeds averaging 18 knots, but surging into the 20’s, at around 1.30am on the morning after the start. Installed to improve speed, a crew member said it did affect their performance.

By Di Pearson 2015:David and Goliath battle waged for 2015 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

The Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race threw its usual curveballs at competitors, combining nice reaching and running with wind holes, then Black Jack was announced overall winner before her Queensland owner and skipper declared an error in their finish time and Quikpoint Azzurro took the winner’s seat, surprising her crew.

At the pointy end, after taking control of the race from North Head, Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal took line honours from Peter Harburg’s 70 foot Black Jack in the 30 th edition of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 384 nautical mile race.

The 100 footer sailed the distance unimpeded, but conditions were not conducive to breaking Wild Oats XI’s time of 22 hours 03 minutes 43 seconds, set in 2012. Perpetual Loyal covered the course in one day nine hours 57 minutes 49 seconds, with her smaller adversary two hours behind.

Both yachts have undergone further modifications to increase speed since competing in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Bell said after the race: “This is the fastest the boat’s ever been. We spent ages trying to work out what to do to make it faster. We modified the bulb and keel and it’s all looking very positive. We are very confident in the boat.”

He said they were happy with their race after sailing through a minefield of fluky light air to Sydney Heads.

“We took off after that. We were averaging 24-25 knots til midnight in a north-westerly, which suited us. Then it all went flat on Sunday. Lots of boats got trapped in Coffs Harbour and we parked a lot in the afternoon,” commented Bell, who was “disappointed” that Wild Oats XI was not in the race.

“Given our modifications, I would have been delighted to race them, just to see how we went against each other in these conditions,” the Sydney yachtsman said.

Harburg and his skipper Mark Bradford worked on making Black Jack more slippery in lighter winds and are happy with their findings too.

“Our boat’s never been better suited to a race that this one. We’ve just modified it pretty heavily for lighter air, so the forecast is right for us,” Bradford said beforehand.

Their point was proven when Black Jack took over 20 miles out of her larger rival when moderate reaching conditions returned late on the second evening as they headed to the finish line.

Back at the July 25 start off Nielsen Park, there were shades of déjà vu as weak fluky winds, similar to last year’s start, took hold. The Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast 10 knot westerly arrived as the bulk of the 62-boat fleet was approaching Sydney Heads, with a little south thrown in on the eastern side of the Harbour.

Many of the smaller yachts took advantage of the situation in the Harbour, leading their larger contemporaries. Most opted for the eastern side of the Harbour. Tony Kirby’s Patrice slipped through the two big boats off Watsons Bay and made a beeline for the Heads under spinnaker, until the breeze kicked in and Perpetual Loyal overhauled the Ker 46, with Black Jack still giving chase.

As the boats headed north, the weather was variable, with parking lots offsetting lovely reaching and running conditions. Warm and sunny, seas were relatively flat, making it a pleasant race and creating opportunities for everyone, even though the holes caused frustration.  

A few boats enjoyed their time at the top of the overall standings, including Perpetual Loyal, Black Jack, Chinese Whisper, Wild Rose, Quikpoint Azzurro, Black Sheep and Local Hero, which with Stampede, took a big dive offshore to briefly lead IRC and PHS standings respectively.

Initially, Black Jack was declared overall winner, with Quikpoint Azzurro second and Chinee Whisper third, before Peter Harburg and Mark Bradford pointed out the error in their finish time and were relegated to third.

Harburg was philosophical. “Mistakes happen. I like to win trophies, but I like to win them fairly and honestly. Bradford reiterated Harburg’s sentiments, before calling Kearns to congratulate him.

Kearns’ Quikpoint Azzurro and Rupert Henry’s Chinese Whisper kept popping up in the top three. Dissimilar in nearly every way, the two finished first and second respectively. They were also the top two in ORCi, with Derek and Martin Sheppard’s Beneteau 45, Black Sheep, third.

© Peter Campbell, Lisa Ratcliff, Jennifer Crooks and Di Pearson

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Full Standings available approximately three hours after the start.


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From casual to technical clothing, there is something for all occasions. Be quick as stock is limited.

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The Southport Junior Yacht Club Sailing Foundation uses the following sailboats in its sailing classes:

Turnabouts:  A safe, stable trainer with a single mainsail and a small spinnaker.  Room for several beginners and an instructor make this an ideal entry level boat.  The Turnabouts are privately owned and shared with the program.

Optimist Dinghies (Opti's) :  A single-handed advanced dinghy for younger racers.  The Foundation owns a few Opti's; most Opti sailors provide their own.

420's:  The universal US sailing double-handed training boat used by teenage and collegiate sailors.  The 420 is used in our Advanced Class. The Foundation owns fifteen 420's.  

                                                            420 Usage Policy

J/80:   The J/80 is a sprit-rigged keelboat raced on the Boothbay peninsula. The J/80 introduces advanced program sailors to keelboat handling and racing, including related topics of crew coordination and additional aspects of seamanship.

Take a walk round Southport's history with part two of the walk guides

Guides to Southport's historic walks revealed by Nostalgia's Geoff Wright

  • 12:00, 23 OCT 2016

The layout of the guide, which folds neatly into three

Get your walking shoes on, here is part two of the new neat guide featuring a series of historic strolls ‘Southport Heritage Walks’ (£3.50) for all local history buffs.

The colourful pack with seven suggested walks has been produced by The Atkinson, Lord Street, and sponsored by Sefton Council, Friends of the Atkinson Art Gallery, the RSPB, and Visit Sefton & West Lancashire.

The walks take between 30 minutes to an hour.

Following on from the two Lord Street walks, and King’s Gardens, here are two others for your enjoyment, the ‘Marine Lake’ and ‘Rotten Row.’

Marine Lake – 45 mins

This walk begins at the corner of Nevill Street and The Promenade, outside Victoria Baths, and ends at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.

Marine Lake is nestled between the town centre and the sea, used for a variety of water-sports, including water-skiing, sailing and rowing.

The lake is home to the West Lancashire Yacht Club and Southport Sailing Club, both of which organise dinghy racing.

The annual Southport 24 Hour Race, organised by the WLYC is an endurance race of national standing.

The walk takes in:

1. Victoria Baths, the original baths, which opened in 1839 as ‘The Royal Victoria Baths,’ were replaced in 1871 by the present Italian and Grecian-style building. The impressive structure housed three swimming pools, seven plunge pools and 69 private baths, divided into first, second and third class.

Now a leisure facility, the structure is currently one of the town’s buildings under threat!

2. ‘Pier Buildings’ When the 1,200 yard long Pier opened in 1860 it had a landing stage for steam ship paddlers to make scheduled stops during the holiday season.

However, by 1868 the sea had retreated, so a 260-yard long extension was added to the pier, and by 1891 it was the longest pier in the country.

Three bad fires followed, reducing its length, and in around 1903 an impressive Pier Pavilion was added on the Prom.

3. ‘King’s Gardens’ and ‘South Marine Lake’.

4. ‘Marine Way Bridge’.

5. ‘Princess Park’ developed after ‘The Lagoon’, an expanse of wet, marshy land, formed through reclamation and drainage work for Marine Drive, was drained and landscaped.

‘Prince’s Park’ opened in 1921 by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).

6. The narrow gauge ‘Lakeside Miniature Railway’ (LMR) opened in 1911 with a station at ‘Pleasureland’ (‘White City’) and another just half a mile away, and later extended.

The original engines were steam locomotives, replaced in the 1950s by diesel engines.

7. ‘Marine Lake (North)’ followed the success of the 1887 original to the south, opening in 1892, featuring gardens on the Promenade side, and both lakes were joined three years later.

8. ‘Southport Yacht Club’ and ‘Southport Sailing Club.’ ‘Southport Corinthian Yacht Club’ formed in 1883 with the wealthy members employing local fishermen as ‘paid hands.’

The ‘WLYC’ formed in 1894.

The north lake was enlarged between 1963 and 1966 to enhance activity on the water.

9. ‘The Promenade Convalescent Hospital’ was founded back in 1806 by the ‘Strangers’ Charity’, and built in a French Chateau style.

It was a Voluntary Hospital up to 1948 when incorporated into the NHS, and the building was used as a military hospital in both world wars, but was closed between 1988 and 1990 when the new DGH opened.

It remained unused until the late 1990s when permission was granted to turn it into luxury apartments.

10. ‘The Lakeside Inn’ is now the ‘Smallest Pub in Britain,’ although it was originally a Promenade shelter, a boathouse, and the sailing club’s meeting place.

Nearby was a sawmill which pumped sea water and drew water from the lake for use in local water carts, used for street cleaning and flushing out the town’s sewerage system.

11. ‘The Floral Hall and Southport Theatre’ was a new conference centre in 1930, and also housed a 1,600-seater auditorium, a dance hall, cafe, gardens with outside stage (bandstand), as well as conference facilities.

It became known as ‘The Floral Hall’ and Gardens in 1932, and later ‘The Southport Theatre’ was added, opening in May 1973 by the film star and singer Marlene Dietrich.

Rotten Row 45 mins

This walk commences at ‘Victoria Park,’ opposite Morrisons, and finishes at ‘Splashworld’ (Dunes).

The unusual name ‘Rotten Row’ can be traced back to the mid-1800s, deriving from London’s famous late 17th century Rotten Row in Hyde Park, a broad straight road and walkway along the park’s southern edge, originally used for horse-riding.

Southport’s counterpart is now well-looked after by the award-winning ‘Friends of Rotten Row’.

1. ‘Victoria Park’ was laid out in 1884, gradually developed inside the curve of the ‘Cheshire Lines Railway’ line built over ‘The Sands’.

2. In the late 1800s ‘Rotten Row’ was remodelled to become a fashionable walkway, and in 1902 it was used as a slowing down slope for the Promenade’s motor-racing track (sprint and time trials).

3. The old ‘Birkdale-Southport Boundary’ (the two amalgamated in 1912) crossed the roadway by Victoria Park’s bowling greens and bandstand, then travelled straight line inland.

4. This ‘Bandstand’ was constructed in 1912 by the Lion Foundry & Co. Ltd.

5. The annual ‘Southport Flower Show’ began in 1924, and soon became second only to the Chelsea Show in its popularity and scope.

It now attracts around 70,000 people each year and is the UK’s biggest independent flower show.

6. The ‘Southport Model Railway Engineering Club’ (SMREC) formed in 1978 to promote model engineering in the area.

The club have two railway tracks and one, a third-of-a-mile long, is used to give rides to the public.

7. The landscaped grounds also features a large ‘Model Boating Pond,’ also built in 1978.

The boat club originally operated at the Marine Lake, but in 2003 moved to a purpose-built pond known as the ‘Jubilee Pond’ as it was created in the club’s 25th Jubilee year.

8. The ‘Fisherman’s Rest’ pub took its name from the Mexico/Eliza Fernley lifeboat disaster of 1886 when the bodies of 14 lifeboat-men were taken to the building, using it as a temporary mortuary.

This structure is the only remains of the ‘Palace Hotel’.

9. ‘Smedley Hydro’/GRO. Formerly Smedley Hydropathic Hotel it was purchased and developed by the Smedley Hydrographic company in 1876.

The large building was requisitioned by the government in 1939 for the registration of UK citizens during WWII, then returned to the owners after the hostilities.

In 1991 it became the General Record Office (GRO) for Births, Deaths and Marriages.

10. Opened in September 1923 the ‘Sunshine Home For Blind Babies’ took two bomb strikes during WWII, the Germans may have been targeting the nearby ‘Palace Hotel’, and three nurses were killed, miraculously, the babies escaped injury.

The home, now two Oxford Road, had to be demolished.

11. The grand ‘Palace Hotel’ was built on a 20-acre site in 1866.

Initially not too successful, it modernised in 1881 and a railway station was built next to it, and it became very popular attracting famous guests, including Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

During WWII it became an American Red Cross Centre (ARC) providing respite care to US Air Force men.

After the war the hotel became a well-used film location but fell into disuse and was unfortunately demolished in 1969.

The site is now a residential estate called Ascot Close.

12. The ‘Shrimpers Roundabout’ recognises the fact that professional shrimping and cockling have been Southport’s traditional industry for centuries.

Shrimps were mainly harvested between August and December and were caught using a hooped net on a pole using a technique called ‘putting’.

13. Beach Aviation, flights from the beach in small aeroplanes were popular at Southport from the early days of aviation.

Pioneer aviators such as Henry Melly and Compton Paterson often flew over ‘The Sands’, which stretched for 15 miles.

One Southport ‘beach aviator’ was Norman Giroux, a French Canadian who, with his brother Percy, set up the ‘Giro Aviation Company,’ which flew passenger services from the resort’s sandy beach.

14. Shipwrecks, the Sefton coast has always been a hazardous one and many shipwrecks are stretched along it.

The worst disaster in RNLI history was the barque ‘Mexico,’ in 1886, which got into difficulties on Southport sandbanks.

Fourteen lifeboat-men from the town’s ‘Eliza Fernley’ drowned trying to rescue the crew.

15. DUKW trips, from 1949 pleasure trips ran along the beach between Ainsdale and Southport, with a fleet of red and yellow American ex-military amphibious vehicles called DUKWS (pronounced ‘ducks’) utilised.

They also acted as excellent sea rescue vehicles rescuing over 600 people at Southport by the time they were retired in the 1990s.

16. The ‘Eco Centre’ opened in April 2004 built using environmentally sound construction methods and materials, and used as an educational centre.

17. The originally fairground was a little further inland but redeveloped in 1922 as the amusement park ‘Pleasureland’ in 1922 housing several rides, including a unique wooden ‘Cyclone’ rollercoaster and a large ‘Funhouse’.

Following a decline it re-opened as ‘New Pleasureland’ in 2007, which continues to flourish.

18. The resort’s popular all-weather water park, ‘Splash World,’ opened in 2006.

NEXT WEEK we will cover the two final walks - ‘Marshside’ and ‘Ainsdale’ and look at some replies from our recent feature of old photographs from the archives.

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Welcome to Southport Yacht Club.

Yachting with the Community since 1946!

Southport Yacht Club, established in 1946, is the Gold Coast’s award-winning premier sports club , and a recent recipient of the ‘Hall of Fame Award’ from Keno & Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence for 3 consecutive years of achieving the ‘Best Sports Club Award’ along with the Chef of the Year and Club of the Year (non-gaming) for 2021. The Club offers a wide range of restaurant, bars, function spaces, sailing programs, events and training at any of our four waterfront locations. Our Main Beach Clubhouse is home to the only open-air waterfront north-facing restaurant & bar. Overlooking our stunning 300-berth Marina on the Gold Coast’s waters, this location is a perfect venue for your next conference, function or waterfront wedding. Oxenford Watersports at Oxenford Lake in addition to being the location for our youth tackers and school sailing programs, also offers paddleboarding, an onsite cafe and an outdoor/indoor function areas for hire, the perfect space for a casual meeting or a Club’s presentation event.

The Hollywell Clubhouse is home to our SYC sailing squadron , along with a Bar & Bistro. It’s the ideal place to grab a cold drink and watch one of our many off-the-beach Sailing events.

Southport Yacht Club’s fourth location is the private Dux Anchorage located on the Gold Coast’s famous Sth Stradbroke Island. Our well cared for campgrounds are the ideal place for you to moor and relax with family and friends. Watch the sunset behind the beautiful Hinterland, while toasting marshmallows in the outdoor fire pit.

southport yacht club history

What’s on in the Club

Waterfront restaurant reservation.


Main Beach In-House Events


Entertainment Line-Up

On the water, hollywell bar & bistro open.


Sailing in-house Events & Ticketing

Sailing calendar / powerboat calendar, sailing calendar, powerboat calendar, australia’s newest ocean race, the inaugural 520 nautical mile gccm gold coast mackay yacht race, joins boats from the noakes sydney gold coast event and abroad to race their way up the tropical queensland coast on the 1st august, just in time for the northern race weeks., information & entries on race website, sail paradise regatta 2024 will come alive along our iconic and ever changing skyline on the king’s birthday long weekend, 5th to 7th october, more information on the race website, news & blogs.

southport yacht club history

From the Gallery

southport yacht club history

Pequot Yacht Club

Founded in 1920, Pequot Yacht Club is located in the historic district of Southport CT. Amidst the exquisite setting, Pequot actively promotes sailing in the greater community. Many of the sailors in the Junior Sailing program are non-members. Sailors from all over Fairfield County from the local high schools sailing teams practice and race 420s at Pequot in the Spring and Fall. Sea Scout Ship 84 is moored in Southport Harbor and Pequot provides its facilities for training programs.  Pequot also hosts young adults from FSW (Family Services Woodfield) through the Sailing with Neighbors Program. Pequot Yacht Club was established for the development of interest in sailing. Since that time, members have been active cruisers and racers in the sport at the regional, national and international levels. Today, the Club supports an active junior program, a large cruising fleet, Ideal 18s, a Dyer Dhow frostbite contingent and a growing fleet of pond yachts. Pequot Yacht Club has remained an organization focused on sailing. While sailing is the priority, the Club has a social side as well, with a galley and dining room for daily lunches and evening parties throughout the year. Our website provides details on our various programs. At Pequot we sail year round. There are always sailing activities taking place on the water or in the clubhouse.  If you’re sailing in the area, please come and visit. We have limited guest moorings available on "first-come basis". We provide fuel, water, ice and self service pump-out . We look forward to seeing you.


Pequot Yacht Club came to be through the efforts of Fred Bedford, in addition to Harold Lloyd, Johannes Schiott and Lawrence Craufurd. The first meeting of Pequot Yacht Club was held in the Greens Farms home of Fred Bedford on October 25, 1920. These Founding Fathers, in addition to a group of five or six interested sailors, agreed to form a yacht club for the purpose of reviving and promoting competitive sailing. In November 1920, a constitution and by-laws were drafted and ratified. Subsequently, the Club, consisting of 33 members, elected officers and set annual dues at $25.00  Although the initial meeting took place in Greens Farms, Connecticut, the history of the Pequot Yacht Club is unquestionably rooted in the history of nearby Southport Harbor which had been deepened in 1916 during construction of a golf course.

The Club’s first officers were authorized in November 1920 to negotiate the lease for the a building on the water in Southport, which was the PYC’s clubhouse from 1921 to 1926. 

In April 1921, at the Club’s next recorded meeting, the character of the Club’s early years was established.  The racing calendar was the primary issue.  The Club’s first racing fleet consisted of four “R” boats  (35 ft. sloops), five “K” boats, and one Star.   Over the years, the Club has remained as much as its founders envisioned: an organization devoted simply to sailing.

As early as 1923, Club members believed that an active junior program was the key to sailing's future.  In 1923, the Club sponsored the first junior regatta for crews under 18 in the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound. The first formal junior program at the Club was started the following summer.

By 1925 the original clubhouse was becoming overcrowded, and by September 1926, a four-story warehouse building had been converted into the two-story clubhouse used by the Club to this day.

The Atlantic class came to the Club in the fall of 1928 when a demonstration boat handily beat its Star competition.  Twenty Atlantics were ordered immediately.  In 1929 the Club ran the first Atlantic Class championship.

The Great Depression had a negative impact on the Club’s financial health and Senior membership dropped significantly.  However,  prior investment in a strong junior program was vindicated: by 1934 there were 116 junior members.

Although the Second World War made yachting a matter of secondary importance in Southport, the Club's Atlantics continued the tradition of vigorous participation in class racing. By 1949, Atlantic sailors from Pequot had won the national championships for eight of the decade's years.

During the fifties and sixties, the sailing auxiliary slowly became the dominant boat at the Club despite the continued vitality of class racing.  The auxiliaries were raced in various Club events, and also made their mark in events held outside of Southport. Of particular note was Brigg Cunningham’s victory in the 1958 America’s Cup with Columbia.

In the seventies, the Club’s priorities were still to be the junior program and sail boat racing with the seventies witnessing the consolidation of the cruising fleet as the pre-eminent Club fleet. Activities were to be few, but well executed, supported by a small staff and a modest budget.  After 50 years, the Club’s purpose had remained the same as it had been when it began in 1920.

Membership issues, and an accompanying sense of the Club bursting at its seams, occupied the Board of Governors for much of the eighties.  One of the membership issues discussed (and resolved) was that of the creation of joint membership for husband and wife, a controversial issue reflecting a trend in the greater society. The dominant racing scene at the Club during the eighties continued to be  the cruising fleet, but One-Design racing remained alive with a new fleet of Thistles, a class that had been absent from the Club since 1959.

By 1990, participation in cruising fleet racing was declining precipitously, but this was countered by a resurgence of popularity of One-Design sailing in Thistles.  At the same time, recognizing the need to make sailing attractive to a membership pressed by time and family commitments, a search was begun to find a new One-Design class for the adult sailing program at the Club. The search eventually led to the Ideal 18.  The success of PYC’s Ideal 18 program was recognized in 1993 by US Sailing, which noted the program's contribution to One-Design racing on Long Island Sound.

The club continues to produce many entries in many sailing events in the region and around the world.   

Visiting Yachtsmen

Pequot Yacht Club is situated in Southport Harbor at the mouth of the Mill River.  Approaching our harbor and mooring field can be intimidating, and it is important that all vessels navigate within the federally marked channel.  The first vessels moored just past the break wall are part of the town of Fairfield anchorage.  All guests should proceed up the harbor toward the fuel dock and call our launch on VHF channel 69.  All moored vessels in our anchorage are secured both fore and aft.   Other than launch service we have a dinghy dock should visitors wish to use their own tender.  Mooring Reservations: Contact the Marine Department Manager Travis Herman @  [email protected]  or 203.255.5740, ext. 19. Email is preferred.  For mooring reservation requests please provide the following for the Vessel(s): Name, Length, Draft, Arrival & Departure Dates, if you have stayed at PYC before.  For assistance while in the harbor please call the Waterfront Office 203.255.5740, ext. 14 or VHF 69 The charming village of Southport is within walking distance and includes a market, restaurants, pharmacy and shops.  Click on the  Visiting Yachtsman's Guide  for mooring instructions, a list of club facilites, a map of the town and further information. You may learn more about the local area by reading the article that was published in  Coastal Connecticut Magazine . Highlighted destinations are all within a short walk from the Pequot Yacht Club.

Instructional Video: How to land at a bow and stern mooring   - presented by Jeff Engborg and Captain Travis Herman.

Our App enables the sailors to have the boat´s performance tracked live and to be able to review the performance later on. The app can be complemented by a tracking device that you can have on your boat.

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  1. About

    Founded in 2014, Southport Yacht Club (SYC) is focused on boating! Our goal is to spend time off the dock and on the water in the North Carolina Cape Fear Region. Our club is a great place to learn about the regional waters, acquire additional boating skills, develop friendships, and feel part of a community.

  2. Southport Yacht Club

    About Us. Southport Yacht Club - The Southport Yacht Club (SYC) is a corporation owned by its members and governed by a Board of Directors. The Club owns and maintains two buildings and dock facilities on Cosy Harbor Road on the shore of Cosy Harbor on Southport Island, Maine. The Club has a mission and 100-year history of promoting boating ...

  3. Historical talk on Southport

    Monday, July 10 Friends of the Southport Historical Society presents "David's Island and Southport Yacht Club History," a lively and informative talk by Mark Colby, 7 p.m., Southport Yacht ...

  4. About

    About Established in 1946, Southport Yacht Club is known worldwide for its exceptional sailing and powerboat fraternities, award-winning boating facilities and its exceptional and exclusive waterfront dining. The Waterfront Restaurant within the Main Beach Clubhouse also went through an extreme upgrade in late 2008, having the western end of the clubhouse knocked down and…

  5. Southport Yacht Club

    Founded in 2014, Southport Yacht Club (SYC) is focused on boating! Our goal is to spend time off the dock and on the water in the North Carolina Cape Fear Region. Our club is a great place to learn about the regional waters, acquire additional boating skills, develop friendships, and feel part of a community. The club is 100% percent volunteer based and our members organize sailboat races ...

  6. 70 Years of Southport Yacht Club

    The Club is very up to date with signs of the times, and advocates for equal opportunities and progressive thinking. In 2013, a long-time member, Kerry Noyes, was appointed Vice Commodore for Sail. And recently, at the 70 th Annual General Meeting of Southport Yacht Club held on 25 July 2016, Kerry was appointed Commodore. She is the first ...

  7. Southport

    On July 7 (rain date July 21), to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Southport Yacht Club, the SYC is hoping to get 100 boats on the Sheepscot River from 3 to 4 p.m.

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  9. About PYC Home

    Founded in 1920, Pequot Yacht Club is located in the historic district of Southport CT. Amidst the exquisite setting, Pequot actively promotes sailing in the greater community. Many of the sailors in the Junior Sailing program are non-members. Sailors from all over Fairfield County from the local high schools sailing teams practice and race ...

  10. Sail Past & Blessing of the Fleet

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  11. Offshore

    Southport Yacht Club. 1 Macarthur Parade, Main Beach, Queensland, 4217 +61 7 5591 3500 [email protected]. About. About SYC. SYC Board of Directors; SYC Management; ... Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge; Regatta's; Sailing Information. Volunteering; Crewing Opportunities; Average Points Form; Safety Audit Forms;

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    Round Southport Race. 2023 Race Results. 2022 Race Results. 2021 Race Results. 2020 Race Results. 2019 Race Results. 2018 Race Results. Maine State Optis. Photo Gallery. Join Us. Donations. Remember me. Forgot password. SOUTHPORT YACHT CLUB. M A I N E. Home. Sailing Program. Sailing Program Info. Sailing Program Registration. Curriculum ...

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  18. History

    Subsequently, the Club, consisting of 33 members, elected officers and set annual dues at $25.00 Although the initial meeting took place in Greens Farms, Connecticut, the history of the Pequot Yacht Club is unquestionably rooted in the history of nearby Southport Harbor which had been deepened in 1916 during construction of a golf course.

  19. Southport Yacht Club

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  22. Southport Yacht Club

    Welcome to Southport Yacht Club. Yachting with the Community since 1946! Southport Yacht Club, established in 1946, is the Gold Coast's award-winning premier sports club, and a recent recipient of the 'Hall of Fame Award' from Keno & Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence for 3 consecutive years of achieving the 'Best Sports Club Award' along with the Chef of the Year and Club of the ...

  23. Pequot Yacht Club

    Subsequently, the Club, consisting of 33 members, elected officers and set annual dues at $25.00 Although the initial meeting took place in Greens Farms, Connecticut, the history of the Pequot Yacht Club is unquestionably rooted in the history of nearby Southport Harbor which had been deepened in 1916 during construction of a golf course.