Historical Events

Huddled between the Birkenhead Bridge and the boat making sheds is one hundred years of nautical history. For a century the Port Adelaide Sailing Club has been a haven for the sport. It all began with this group of sailing enthusiasts who formed the first Committee in 1897. In September of that year a gun was fired from the shore to signal the beginning of competition. They've raced every year since and among their early competitors were current Governor Sir Eric Neal and Sir James Hardie then racing "sharpies". Others made famous were the crew of "Brilliant" who won the first division of the Sydney-Hobart in 1953. The Old dinghy shed has been expanded into clubroom's while the original section holds the trophies including the most treasured - the Martindale Shield- donated by a former Commodore, John Mortlock in 1932. There are plenty of current treasures though. The fibreglass cutter rig "Southern Comfort" was built by the late Patrick Robbins in 1992 and sailed to Panama and back. One stretch was 46 days at sea. Patricks son Travis now sails "Southern Comfort" and a three day event for all comers through the Gulf is named for his fathers memory.


The 34 foot Buchanan Sloop "David Hannah" collected the wooden spoon as the last vessel to sail into Constitution Dock in last years Sydney-Hobart. Josh and Vicki Jones and their three daughters were delighted with the result because eldest daughter Kate ran the show and was the first female skipper across the line - which says a bit about the patriarchal nature of the sport. During the 80's Josh and Vicki sailed the world in another yacht which ended disastrously when it sank. They were eventually picked up by "The Canberra" whose captain was David Hannah - so that's the name of the Jones' yacht. Another family story is Mike and Gay Lewis who charted the ultimate sailor's course of building their own yacht. Gay wanted to visit her parents in England while Mike wanted to test himself and "Expeditious" in the notorious waters around Cape Horn. These are just some of the roughly 90 yachts at Port Adelaide.

It's Plain Sailing For The Joneses - At Long Last

Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday January 4, 1997


There was never any doubt among the Jones family that they would trail much of the Sydney-Hobart fleet. But elder daughter Catherine, skipper of their yacht David Hannah, admitted: "We hadn't quite anticipated we would be as last as we were."

Early yesterday they finished after seven days and nine hours "racing" - almost triple the time it took Morning Glory to break the record. As a home-made flag flying from David Hannah's mast put it: "Keeping up with the Joneses has never been easier."

In a year when other more glamorous yachts broke and retired, the family cruiser from Port Adelaide sailed on without mishap and won Catherine, 25, a trophy as the first woman skipper over the line.

For the professional navigator in the British merchant navy, it was the first long race as skipper and few of the family had done much racing before. They survived by sailing a conservative race.

"Whenever it got too strong, we backed off and adopted cruising mode," said Catherine.

A fast run before the wind had them up to seven knots, compared with Morning Glory's 25.1. They were not keen on hanging out over the deck on a windward beat either. "We don't really have a 'let's-get-up-on-the-rails-and-get-soakedto-death attitude'."

The breezes that aided Morning Glory passed them by. While the maxi whipped across Storm Bay and up the Derwent River to the finish in a stiff westerly, David Hannah took 10 hours to sail the final 40 miles.

Nevertheless, the Joneses were greeted with cheers yesterday from other sailors in Constitution Dock as many of them, having raced and celebrated, set off to return to the mainland.

Catherine's sister, Diana, 23, spent only eight hours ashore before hopping on another yacht for a long-planned return trip.

On the Joneses' yacht, mother Vicki was navigator with father Josh, Diana, youngest sister Hilary, 21, and Hilary's boyfriend Lucas Cree as crew.

In a start notable for its confusion and drama, David Hannah hung back from the line to be the last over of those who started correctly. "We didn't want to get in the thick of it," said Catherine. "We would have hated to be the yacht that hit one of the maxis.

"So we hung back out of good seamanship."

When the southerly buster cut through front-runners on Boxing Day night, Catherine suddenly realised only two of those aboard knew how to take down a spinnaker in a race. They survived with a soaking.

Cruising is something the Joneses are more used to, having spent four years at sea on a world circumnavigation before settling in Adelaide. It was the untimely end to that trip in 1987 that taught them what a life and death struggle was.

Their boat Dorothy Ann began taking water one night in the Gulf of Mexico, and they lost a four-hour attempt to keep it afloat. After 18 hours in a liferaft they drifted into shipping lanes between Acapulco and the Panama Canal. Spotted by a Korean freighter, they were picked up by the passenger liner Canberra.

The captain of the Canberra, David Hannah, became a family friend and the Joneses' next yacht earned his name. "It was a debt of honour for my dad," Catherine said.




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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3134 Port Adelaide S.A. 5015

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