Launch of the 138th Sailing Season for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron
Thank you, Rear Commodore Curtis Skinner.
Member for Lytton, Ms Joan Pease MP; Commanding Officer of the HMAS Moreton, Commander Fiona Southwood; Councillor for the Wynnum Manly Ward, Councillor Peter Cumming; Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Commodore David Redfern; Vice Commodore, John Warlow; Honorary Treasurer, Mr Andrew Gibbs; Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Karen Baldwin and Management Team; Chaplain, Reverend Dr. Peter Devenish-Meares; Past Commodores, Flag Officers and Life Members; members, supporters and friends of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which we gather and their connections to land, sea and community. I pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I am delighted to be so warmly welcomed here today, and to have the privilege of officially launching the 138th sailing season of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.
It is with some surprise I find myself before you as Patron. This is indeed an honour for one whose sailing career has been mostly as a Winch Monkey and Galley Slave!
My first association with the Squadron was sailing Sabots on the Bulimba Reach in the early 1960s. We used to regularly capsize opposite the abattoir and find ourselves amongst schools of jellyfish – though our concern was perhaps more so for the sharks we feared may be circling, given our proximity to the abattoir!
I crewed for many years on the multihulls of my good friends Peter and Annette Kortlucke, sailing around the islands of Moreton Bay as well as crewing for WAGS, and more lately, I have been crewing on Recherche with John Bashford, Bryce Jones and Bob Watson.
So, like you, I eagerly welcome the launch of the new sailing season, marked of course by the traditional Fleet Sail Past – a custom that dates back more than 200 years to the formation of the first Yacht Club in Cowes, England – today known as the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The primarily aristocratic members were largely familiar with naval practice and tradition and a “review of the fleet” was introduced as a continuation of the naval habit of having Admirals, and often Royalty, review the fleet on special occasions.
Two centuries on, the Sail Past remains a formal event adopted by Yacht Clubs around the world to officially open the sailing season.
It is often accompanied – as it is today – with a ‘Blessing of the Fleet’, another long-standing European tradition first practised in Portugal to assure those who ventured on the sea good harvest, safe passage and safe return.
While steeped in tradition, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is still very much a contemporary organisation requiring a substantial amount of hard work. To this end, on behalf of Queensland’s boating fraternity, I would like to commend the work of all involved in ensuring the Squadron’s continued success.
I would particularly like to acknowledge Commodore David Redfern on your succession to the helm as the Squadron’s 63rd Commodore, and again congratulate newly minted Life Members Past Commodore Richard Seymour and Chairman of the Works Committee, Mr Fraser Spencer, on their abiding dedication to the Squadron.
So, it is without further ado, that I am delighted to officially declare the 138th Sailing Season of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron open, and I wish all Squadron members fair winds and a safe, enjoyable, and successful sailing season.
It also gives me great pleasure to present this Certificate of Patronage to Commodore Redfern and Ms Baldwin, continuing another longstanding tradition of Vice-Regal support. Thank you.