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West Headings November 2020 Part 1

30 Nov 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous
From the Editor's Desk 

Seeing many of you back down at the club last week reminded me of this lovely quote:

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, messing – about – in – boats.

Water Rat, The Wind in the Willows

Enjoy this months edition, with contributions from Alan Farrar, Rick Barker, Tedd Warden, Helen Kent, John Sweeney and Joy Manners.

Happy messing,


From the Helm 

Dear FYC Members,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to our November issue of West Headings. I am thoroughly enjoying the contributions of many members with tales of FYC both past and present.

Following last weekend’s easing of Covid restrictions, it is great to see more activity at the club. Notwithstanding race cancelations due to southern Victoria’s topsy turvy spring weather, its pleasing to report that there has been no dampening of enthusiasm.

Many of you may have noted the return of keel boats to the boat yard for spring maintenance in recent weeks. Instrumental in making this happen were a team of members lead by Don Fry, Tedd Warden and Clay Manners. I well remember in the ‘80s and ‘90s that more than half the keel boat fleet would winter in the boat yard. By the late ‘90s the trend to sail to Pt Phillip Bay and northern Western Port Bay coincided with the slow demise of the ageing winch and trolleys. Now with state of the art equipment, I look forward to much of our yacht fleet remaining at home for winter.

While the clubhouse remains closed, we do expect, within a few weeks to provide greater clarity regarding use of the clubhouse and upcoming social activities. To stay abreast of how you may use the club’s facilities, I direct you to the home page of our website which provides more specific details.

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


Alan Farrar

Important Notice 

If you open the boom gate and will be coming back out, PLEASE replace the pin and lock it, then close and rest the gate on its support.

It seems some see an unlocked padlock, take it, and toss it. At $70 for a club keyed lock it is not just an inconvenience.

Last one out locks it properly.

Tedd Warden 
Yard Boss

Apparent Wind 

We are still waiting on a start to the season – our first session was blown out with 25kts from the north, less than enticing for those that came down! Editor's note: please see an update on OTB sailing below. 

The programme and other documents are available HERE.

Important notes for the coming season:

While we will try to conduct a normal season of races the most important thing we can do is get out on the water, if our races are a little more informal and we do things a bit differently then that is what it is, maximum flexibility = maximum participation.

We have a new results system to trial and hopefully will enable online sign on very soon

Big thanks to Peter Alexandrovics who has installed a new start/finish line camera and recording system in the tower that will be a back up for taking times and checking starting infringements.

We need to recognise that we are sailing in a public area and we need to comply with the rules set out by the State Government, DHHS and Australian Sailing. Adherence to these rules is a condition of participation. The FYC Covid safe sailing plan is available HERE. All our races will be conducted under this plan which will be modified as the government directives change.

Current advice from Sailing Australia is that while competition for Adults and under 18s can commence after 2 November, at this stage multi handed dinghies may only be sailed by members of the same household or persons under 19.  Larger boats (eg Status’) may be sailed provided the crew can maintain a social distance 90% of the time eg 1.5mt apart other than while launching, retrieving, tacking etc.

Reminder to get your safety declarations and race entry forms in ASAP, this is really important so please make my job easier by emailing to me ASAP.

For anyone interested in an introduction to sailing regattas, the Pacer National Championships will (hopefully) be held as part of Sail Melbourne January 15-20. The Pacer Nationals are a family friendly way to experience sailing at a regatta, fleets are not huge, lots of kids and parents sailing and sailors are happy to share tips and techniques.

Happy Sailing!

Rick Barker
Club Captain

Editor's note: Please see below an extra report updating us on the first three sailing days of the season from Peter Alexandrovics.

We sailed the first OTB race on Sunday 22nd November, with Sunday 15th and Sunday 29th cancelled due to high winds. All went well in about an 8 knot breeze. We all got into the swing of things and set sail.

There were 13 boats involved including 3 optis just for fun including: Tedd Warden, Peter Hercules and Andrew Kings ( 3 x person Opti race with VHF).
We ran the course and completed. Then we were all becalmed for the 2nd race. We were all bobbing around / having fun on the start line - crashing into each other at zero knots, having jokes and all happy and jumping into crystal clear water. When I jumped in I was surrounded by local Sea Horses in the water. Grant Matthews and the Rescue towed all bobbing ducks in to shore.

It was a great sailing start for the season 2020-2021!

Vale Donna Gannon

About 20 years ago Wayne and Donna joined FYC as a way to meet people. Within a short time, Wayne purchased Flying Cloud and sailed on her until his death, with crew members Mike Morgan, Peter Huntsman and Fiona Reed. Donna was not an active sailor but described herself as Flying Cloud’s ATM.  Donna insisted the crew were always appropriately dressed - no ragged sailing gear was allowed on Flying Cloud! Each crew member had their own Flying Cloud rugby top embroidered with their name and designated role. 

Donna supported Wayne during his time as Commodore. It was a double act, with Donna in charge of social events and smoothing ripples when there were differing views. She forcefully lobbied for the new Club kitchen. Under Wayne and Donna’s leadership having fun was an essential part of sailing at Flinders. This legacy survives to the present day and is integral to the much-loved culture of the Flinders Yacht Club.

Donna and Wayne were generous hosts. Keelboat sailors often retell the story of an infamous evening at their home in Rest Drive after an aborted twilight sail. Donna and Wayne had just returned from overseas, but invited the dispirited group of sailors back to Rest Drive for a dinner of omelettes - eggs being the only thing in their fridge at the time.  The food was washed down with plenty of good quality wine. A memorable night was had by all.

Donna, Mike, Wayne and Peter cruising on the Adriatic Sea in their Flying Cloud sailing gear

Donna was a stylish lady, noted for bright colours and bold patterns in her clothes and jewellery. And great hair – reflecting a long career in hairdressing. She enjoyed fine food and wine, declaring you must enjoy and savour the best. Her cheese boards were legendary. Donna was a one-eyed Collingwood member supporting her side through the ups and downs of VFL/AFL football.

In recent years, Donna returned to Melbourne to live due to health issues but she continued to enjoy short breaks at Flinders. She loved the FYC camaraderie and the many adventures, shared with FYC friends including sailing on the Adriatic and Aegean seas.

Our thoughts are with her family - Fiona, John and Sarah and her much loved grandchildren Dominique, Eloise, Hunter and Tyson.

Keelboat sailors will continue to brave the vagaries of weather during the January twilight season for the honour of the Wayne Gannon Cup donated by Donna.

Clay & Joy Manners and Mike & Jane Morgan 

Keels & Coudas 

Keel boat sailing is planning to adopt a similar full program as last year with the first scheduled race set for Aggregate No. 1 Sunday 27th December 2020. We are carefully following government official advice in terms of what we may and may not do in terms of keel sailing and safe and compliant management measures. A more detailed notice to keel sailors will follow in the coming weeks once further clarifications are made available.

At this stage what we do know is that organised club racing can resume if 1.5m social distancing can be adhered to while sailing for 90% of the time; hiking/sitting shoulder to shoulder on the rail/ in the cockpit is NOT acceptable; outside of key manoeuvres all crew must be able to social distance; there is no limit to the number of boats racing; masks must be worn at all times unless sailing with a member of the same household; tenders may be accessed from the yard – minimising access time; radio race sign on and crew details to the Tower; recreational keel boat sailing is permitted subject to Covid safe rules. Please refer to FYC official advice on the home page.

So, things are looking bright for a pleasant but somewhat different sailing season in 2020/21, although I am sure the usual banter on the water will be as active as ever. Members wanting to know more about keel sailing or seeking to participate should contact me to assist.

Finally, your KK will be spending some January time in Melbourne and is looking for assistance from keel skippers (or others) to take responsibility for one week of racing in January (typically one Twilight and one Aggregate). Shared across two or three volunteers should see January racing well covered. Pretty simple job to check weather, set an appropriate course, communicate with the Tower and ensure time records completed. I will collect time records, post results and update handicaps as per normal.   

Your KK,

John Sweeney
Keel Kaptain

To continue to part 2 of the November edition, please click here.


  • 1 Dec 2020 10:01 AM | Rick Barker
    Hi All - The FYC/Boat Shed Sailing School is on again from 27 - 31 Dec go the "Learn to Sail" on the Club Website to sign up. Send the link to anyone interested as the spots are filling fast!
    Link  •  Reply

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