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West Headings September 2020

20 Sep 2020 4:44 PM | Anonymous

From the Editor's Desk

Dear FYC community,

I would like to sincerely thank many of you for your kind words and support of the new format of West Headings.

The return of beautiful spring weather has certainly lifted spirits as we near the end of stage 4 restrictions. My third basil plant has remained alive for two weeks now due to the warmth and sunshine, trumping its unfortunate predecessors by two weeks.

I hope you are feeling more connected to the club in our new West Headings. As apathy creeps in after months of waiting to resume some kind of normal life, it is as important as ever to remain supportive and connected to our valuable community organisations.

I always welcome member submissions to West Headings. If you have a story up your sleeve or some pictures to share, get in touch with me to be involved in next month’s issue at 

Stay safe and sane,                                                             


From the Helm

Dear FYC Members,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to our September issue of West Headings. Packed with photos, interviews and a kind message from John & Wendy Mitchell, our FYC vignerons.

It appears that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease. Hence, with cautious optimism and an improving curve in Victoria, we expect to be back on the water by early November. While not a normal season’s start, it will be a welcome relief from our existing position. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a continuation of the current trajectory.

Your committee continues to plan for the coming season with Opening Day limited to sailing without our traditional festivities, though remaining as the Sunday of the Melbourne Cup Weekend.

I suspect that social distancing conditions may prevail for some time, so this could be the season of family teams in keel boats, cats, skiffs and dinghies.

Thank you to those who have contributed to West Headings. If you haven’t done so yet, please contact Lucy with your ideas and photos, plus past & present news.

On the topic of the past, though only two years ago, below is a picture of glee in which the partners of two former FYC Commodores and a present one, happily take a shore-based break in Amalfi. Were there any Captain Bligh issues? None that the blokes can recollect. It was a good holiday spent with FYC friends. Your photos and stories of your boating can be sent to Lucy.

Above left to right: Kate Farrar, Genevieve Barnett and Jane Morgan.

I wish you and your families well, and look forward to the coming season with renewed optimism.


Alan Farrar

What’s up, doc?
by Lucy Barker

The Cramond family have been members of FYC since 2008. Keen sailors and volunteers, Mark and Janine have both received the Penny Nilsen Volunteer of the Year Award. Cameron and Angus have been students and instructors of The Boatshed summer sailing school at FYC, and have remained active at the club, competing in club races, adventure sails, and part of successful teams at the Westernport Teams Racing regatta.

I interviewed Angus Cramond, medical student and keen club member. Angus has previously sailed a pacer pursuit and competed at the State and National Pacer Championships, and is currently sailing his laser Mild Thing in club races.

What are you studying and where?

I’m studying my 3rd year of a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine degree at Monash University, and currently placed at Bendigo Health. It’s certainly challenging, but I find it very rewarding and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been pretty lucky in Bendigo, as we haven’t been pulled from the hospital and had heaps of clinical exposure.

How was your move to Bendigo earlier this year?

I definitely picked a good year to get out of Melbourne!

Bendigo’s a great city, and while I haven’t been able to see as much of the region as I would have liked to, I’ve been having a great time living with all the other medical students and everyone in the community has been super welcoming.

Do you have any idea of your specialisation yet?

I enjoy procedural medicine, so I’m pretty interested in critical care (anaesthetics, ICU, emergency medicine) or maybe surgery but I’m keeping an open mind. Other specialties I’m considering include ones with a strong anatomical focus like radiology, pathology and surgery, nothing’s ruled out yet.

What is your favourite memory of sailing at FYC?

It would probably have to be all the summers I’ve spent doing the Tackers sailing school with the other juniors.

As a student of medicine, what challenges does misinformation pose to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic?

That’s a tricky question! There doesn’t seem to be a good answer to this, and public health specialists are struggling with this at the moment. How well the population follows public health messaging is crucial to the efficacy of the coronavirus response, and misinformation is clearly detrimental to this. I think there are always going to be certain groups who will produce misinformation, but social media allows these groups to increase their reach and mislead wider sections of the population. I think the way governments regard social media will have to change in order to force them to take more responsibility for content hosted on their platforms.

Editor’s note: click here to view the Australian Communications and Media Authority's report on misinformation is Australia, including a case study on misinformation during COVID-19 on p.39

What reflections do you have on what COVID-19 means for the medical community and for wider public health?

COVID-19 will definitely have a lasting impact on the medical community. Telehealth is one of the most significant changes, and it was challenging having to run clinics almost entirely online but thankfully Bendigo Health has been using telehealth for a while as we treat patients from such a wide region. Telehealth has been very interesting to work with, forcing clinicians to adapt to assessing patients remotely and seeing how it changes the human aspect of medicine.

Some of the small changes have stuck out most to me, with consultants opting to wear scrubs instead of suits, or not shaking hands when greeting patients. Another thing that will be interesting to see will be whether governments adopt a similar public health response (e.g. encouraged or mandatory masks, enforced social distancing etc.) for other viral outbreaks such as seasonal influenza.

Have you had time to have a lockdown hobby?

My housemates and I have been coming up with ways to pass the time while we’ve been locked down. I’ve taken up baking (thankfully haven’t set off the fire alarms yet) and we’ve been doing cocktails on Fridays.

What’s been your favourite cocktail?

I've been enjoying local gin from Heathcote, and we've made a couple of Negronis using that with vermouth, Campari and oranges. I'm also quite partial to an espresso martini!

Above left to right: Cameron Cramond, Charlie Coady, Charlie O'Hara, James Hollowood, Angus Cramond and Luca Lawson. 
Above right: Espresso martini, Cramond style!

The Sherlock Holmes of Lockdown
by Lucy Barker 

You may get a creeping suspicion of nepotism as I interview my mum, Linda, for this month’s issue. As the 2019 recipient of the Penny Nilsen Volunteer of the Year Award and a member of a very active FYC family (two thirds of which are on the FYC committee!) I did feel it could be objectively appropriate, if not also subjectively interesting!

Having joined FYC in 2008, I grew up watching mum and dad volunteering and becoming actively involved in the FYC community. Mum runs her tower duties with near-military efficiency, but tower duty with her has to be the best afternoon of gasbagging you can get! 

What other organisations do you volunteer for?

Local Netball Club and Association, across a number of capacities, and part of a group working on the big challenge of plans for upgrading our netball facilities, and music leader for a local church, which involves planning the music and leading a singing group from the piano.

How important do you see volunteering to you and your community?

Volunteering helps to bring groups of like-minded people together.  It can be hard work, but you learn a lot of different skills, engage with lots of people, and heave a big sigh of relief when everything goes well!  After all, if you can jump in with two feet and have a go, why not?

Above: Linda and her helper Cammy filling first aid kits for Donvale Netball Club. Yes, this photo is blurry, I was laughing so much I couldn't hold the camera still!

You received the 2019 Penny Nilsen Volunteer of the Year Award for your role in the tower during club races. How do you see the role of the tower in maintaining safety at FYC and do you see it as a part of the sailing culture in itself?

The role of the tower is definitely a critical part of the sailing culture, not only to assist with race management, but to understand the wide range of sailor abilities and boats, monitor and assess conditions in the interests of all participants, and co-ordinate with the safety vessels and onshore personnel to ensure everyone arrives back on shore safely. Stints at different sailing clubs has helped me understand the importance of making an assessment and a call when necessary. Sometimes there are easy days, and other days when you need a strong focus.

What is your favourite sailing memory? (on and off the water?)

Every single tower moment of looking out onto the beautiful Flinders beach on a perfect sailing day!  I never tire of it, the tides, water levels, birds, people, dogs, cloud formations and beach activities differ every time.

What has been your lockdown hobby?

Lockdown hobby is researching and writing short stories of family members involved in World War I, which I then upload to the Virtual War Memorial Australia website  The research needs to be accurate, as the uploads go into the public space. I might have a snippet of information, such as ‘Dad came to Australia to look for his brothers, and another brother in the UK had a boat, a club foot and lived in Liverpool’, and from there I use public records to gather the facts and write their stories.

An interesting story I have been working on was my grandmother's cousin Selina Maud Powell, serving with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve). My grandmother did not discuss the past (‘What do you want to know that old stuff for?’ was her unforgettable response), and she never mentioned Selina Maud, so, to flesh out a story, I have read nurses' diaries online, trawled through official records, built a profile on the facilities served in, such as 10th General Hospital on Mudros, and found an online photo of Selina Maud herself!

I have also been transcribing my father's WW2 letters to his mother.  They wrote very regularly to each other, and Dad records all the things that were important to a young man of 18 years - always hungry, needing more money, mending, washing and ironing uniforms, cleaning kit, girls at the dances, and making runs and kicking goals for the army unit team!

What do you feel is so important about your historical work during lockdown?

What is so important about my historical work during lockdown? Sharing my latest finds with my family and watching their eyes glaze over in three sentences or less!  Seriously, though, lockdown has provided the flexible time to research, methodically record and write without being rushed, to contact older relatives about their stories, and find and engage with new researchers sharing a common genealogical line. Is it more fun than listening to the sailors discussing their latest exploits?  No comment.

Above: Sister Selina Maud Powell circa 1916, and the view from Flinders Tower

A Note from Montalto

Hello to all members,

June 1997 seems like yesterday when, on retirement, we embarked on a hobby project incorporating a few acres of vines. Today, there are 130 acres of vines, 3 acres of kitchen gardens, 1,000 olive trees and 33 permanent sculpture in our care. In Red Hill, we have formal and casual dining, picnics and now our sister-estate, Tucks, altogether offering a wide range of visitor dining options.

While we are proud of the accolades we and our team have received, our greatest joy is sharing the wonderful assets we are privileged to tender, providing an experience out of the ordinary and developing and rewarding our 130 staff engaging with our special community.

This COVID-19 stretch tests our resilience. With 60 staff on Job Keeper, we have retrained and diversified our skills in readiness for a reshaped world. We are strong and ready.

It is a privilege to sponsor FYC and sailing is very special to us. As we work our way out of these restricted months, we have developed a member offer that can expand (or refill!) your cellar and support FYC with $30-60 per case of 6 or 12 bottles, continuing our support of the Club. We are in it with you for the long haul.

Please shop at your convenience at and use the discount code FYC2020 in the shopping cart as a coupon. This is will activate your 10% discount on wine, and we will pack your order for free local delivery on Fridays. If in doubt, please call our team in the Cellar Door, 7 days from 10 am – 3 pm on 0437 255 812 and they will be happy to help and process a payment over the phone while you browse online.

We are all hoping to get back out on the water in the months ahead, and hopefully see you all at Montalto in Red Hill soon.

Kind regards,

John & Wendy

Membership Secretary Mark Kelly interviews Peter and Annie Dawson, former Commodore of Flinders Yacht Club and Life Members

I sat down for a socially distant cup of tea with Peter ‘Smokey’ Dawson to discuss his special memories from his family’s long association with the Flinders Yacht Club.

Pete and Annie first came to Flinders in 1988, with their friends Rod and Sue Slater who lived just across the street.  The Slaters generously introduced Pete, Annie and their family to the yacht club and they fell in love with Flinders and the community.

Pete and Annie had a trailer-sailor that they used at the time, and they had many wonderful experiences sailing around Victoria. The boat was heavy and slow but was great fun!

The elder statesmen Peter Tozer, Darcy Smith and Ant Grage aboard Supergoof were leading the keel boat fleet during those early sailing seasons.

The Manners, Johnson, Slater and Dawson kids formed an enthusiastic cohort. Flinders and the Yacht Club became the backdrop for many family gatherings and social events, with was a great bond between the kids and parents. Aside from sailing, there were parties, film nights and progressive dinners, which have become FYC traditions.

Pete and Annie recall how good it has been in recent years to see the season extended to include twilight events and barbeques. Pete reminisces how in the past people would turn up on the Pier to and join a boat for the twilight sail. He hopes this ritual makes a return once we can actively sail again.

On one Friday night, Rob and Anna Cave joined Pete on board for their first twilight sail at Flinders. As we do our interview, Rob and Anna’s catamaran is being now being constructed at Tea Gardens in New South Wales.

“As current members, we only borrow the club temporarily from the next generation.”

Pete was Commodore for two years, supported by Annie, and they both placed a big emphasis on welcoming new members. Annie was still working full time but provided great support to Pete in leading social events at the club.

One of Pete’s proudest achievements was connecting Flinders with the Royal Melbourne Yacht Club fleet. The fleet of boats from the St Kilda-based club sail down the bay, out of the heads, and arrive at Flinders Yacht Club to berth overnight every year for the March Labour Day Weekend. It’s a big adventure by any standards and is a great weekend with many old ‘sea dogs’ in attendance from RMYC. We agree it would be good to go the other way in future years for an event at RMYC.

Both Annie and Pete see the community gatherings at the club as being as important as the sailing. During Pete’s time as Commodore he was very keen to include members of the local community in Club events. Pete has always encouraged the locals to feel welcome as guests or Social Members, even if they do not have an interest in sailing.

In the old days, the Commodore would host the Commodore’s Cocktail Party at their own house. Drinks were donated, each person would bring a plate, and it was the highlight of the social calendar. Younger members underwent a ‘rite of passage’ serving as wait staff, a tradition still practiced today. In Pete’s case, the Dawson household was ‘small, but perfectly formed’, so the Dockers were generous enough host Pete’s party.

In recent years, it has been fantastic to see the increase in keel boat and off the beach activities. Brian Coleman and David Hayne continue to amaze us with their passion for sailing with a combined age of over 150 years between them. This, together with many youngsters and parents makes for a diverse and strong community.

It has been great to see relationships develop from the club activities such as Lucy Barker and Luca Cave, as well as Kylie and Ed Wright and their family.

Pete is also an avid swimmer and can be seen daily floating somewhere between the yacht club and the Pier. The swimming group he helped to establish is now up to 9 regular swimmers who are partial to a ‘Flinders iceberg’. Pete advises that the only club rule for the Swimming Group is ‘no splashing’.

Pete sees himself as an elder statesman now, akin to Darcy, Ant and Pete Tozer back in the day. he is now extremely excited to see younger members coming through to support the committee and sailing events. They now share Valkyrie with Clay and Joy Manners and have recently moved to their house in Flinders. They look forward to good times here with their extended family and grandchildren.

Above left, named left to right: James Thorne, Steven Thorne, Timothy Dawson, Ben Slater (seated), Miss Porter, Kylie Wright nee Slater, Jasmine Thorne, Kate Dawson, James Manners, Michael Newton and Baxter. 
Above right: Pete (purposefully occluded!) and Clay Manners on Valkyrie. 

Finally, I ask Pete 12 questions to really understand who he is and what puts wind in his sails.

Which person would you most like to share dinner with? Leonardo DaVinci

What is the quality you most admire in your best friend? Unconditional friendship

What are the three things you would take to a desert island? Annie Dawson, a well charged satellite phone, three months’ supply of food and wine

What type of music most inspires you to be creative? Bruce Springsteen

What is your favourite meal? Curried Sausages

What is the best Aussie Character trait? Genuine-ness

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My wife, Annie, my kids, grandkids and the extended family

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be? That is easy – a well-petted dog.

Who have been your real-life heroes? My Mum and Dad and Weary Dunlop, although he did have a few little issues!

What is your most valuable skill? I do not have any special skills, just me.

What is your favourite film of all time and why? Moon River. Apart from Annie, I was in love with Doris Day who starred in the film.

What is your motto? If I was any better, I’d be dangerous.

On Watch 

Sailing Program 2020/21

We are on notice from Club Captain Rick Barker that a sailing program and duty roster are being developed, information will be released on our start dates and the nature of how we will conduct our program in a COVID safe way will be released as soon as possible. The Tackers sailing program on the 27th - 31st of December is scheduled to go ahead. 

Lockdown Hobbies

We would love to hear yours! In the Barker-Cave household, homemade Bluetooth headphones are the go! For just $18, you too can look like a hard-of-hearing Geordi La Forge from Star Trek.

Stay up to date on the club Facebook and the member's Instagram page!

Thank you to our valued sponsors for their continued support 

Flinders Yacht Club Inc. Registration No A2045

Foreshore Reserve, Flinders 3929

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