Port Lincoln Yacht Club

A Concise History of PLYC by David Bassham



by David Bassham

On 16 March 1931 a public meeting was held in the Institute Hall where it was moved to call a public meeting on 13 March to consider amalgamating the Port Lincoln Regatta Club and the Port Lincoln Sailing Club.

The first meeting of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club was held on Friday 9 October 1931 in the Memorial Hall supper room. 

The first opening day of the PLYC was 5 December 1931. The first race to be 8 miles 3 times around. Trophies were: 1st  - 1 pound 10 shillings, 2nd - 15 shillings, 3rd - 5 shillings, nominations - 2 shillings. The first dance was held in the Parish Hall with admission at 1/6 for Gents and 1/- for Ladies.

The Port Lincoln Yacht Club held races between fishing cutters and 14ft sailing dinghies until 1942 when the Club went into recess because of World War 2.

In 1948 after the war and the troops came home a group got together and reformed as the Port Lincoln Yacht Club sailing 12sq metre sharpies. They stored their boats in a shed at Flinders Guest House where the Toyota secondhand car yard is now. The Flinders Guest House was owned by the first Secretary, Roy King. This shed was also used for socialising after racing.

The first Commodore, Alan Payze, was elected on 8 December1948 and Roy King was elected as Secretary.

On 5 May 1948 a letter was sent to the Port Lincoln Council re: building a shed on the beach front.  A shed was then erected on the beach front.

On 30 August 1949 the PLYC joined the South Australian Yacht Racing Association and a trophy was donated by the Pier Hotel for a yacht race from Outer Harbour to Port Lincoln. The first Outer Harbour Yacht Race was 3 Feb 1950. The fastest time was “Seevogel”, W Harris, Handicap was “Neri”, C Hazelgrove.

Note:  In March 1970 the Outer Harbour Yacht Race was held in reverse to celebrate the South Australian Yacht Squadron’s centenary. The fastest time was “Caravel”, A Behrens and Handicap “Woodwind” J. Cowell.

At a meeting on 4 July 1950 it was moved that the 8ft dinghy known as the Holdfast Trainer be adopted as a junior class.

At a meeting on 24 October1950 there was discussion on beachfront land, which was sand hills at the time, and it was resolved to build on it.

On 5 September 1951 Mr Harold Charlton, the owner of the beachfront site, was approached re: the land.

On 1 May 1950 there was discussion of the cost of a new building.

On 18 May1952 the club was incorporated to enable it to borrow money.

On 24 February 1953 the title of the land to be transferred from Mr Harold and Mrs Charlton to the Port Lincoln Yacht Club Incorporated. Finally on 5 March 1953 the title of the land was transferred to the Port Lincoln Yacht Club Incorporated. This land was donated by the Charlton family. The PLYC will be forever grateful to the Charlton family.  What would it be worth today?

In 1956 Mr and Mrs Charlton were granted Honorary Life Membership for their outstanding generosity.                         

 On 21 August 1953 a Junior yacht club was formed.

In 1956 Jim Hardy [now Sir James] came to Port Lincoln with his 12sq metre sharpie “Tintara” whilst training for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

1959/60 Aust Lightweight sharpie and 505 centreboard classes were introduced. Both classes had large fleets.

1964/5/6/7 A yacht race was held from Queenscliff, just inside the entrance to Port Philip Bay, to Port Lincoln, a race that was 20 to 30 miles longer than the Sydney Hobart. Two Port Lincoln Yachts, “Rufus” L Wilson Hissey and “Pelorus” Stan Morgan sailed in 1964/65 and “Utiekah” David Bassham sailed in 1966.

The last Queenscliff to Port Lincoln race was in 1967.  Unfortunately, this race was held at the same time as the Sydney Hobart, Queenscliff Devonport and Queenscliff Hobart and could not get enough numbers.

In the late 1960s the Club’s Constitution was rewritten to conform to the new liquor licencing laws introduced at that time. The licence was granted. During this time the centreboard, trainer fleet and keelboat fleets grew.

Towards the end of the 1960’s Mr Harold Blomberry bequeathed $25,000 to the Club in his will. This was the second generous and substantial donation and enabled the Club to build the second story above the boatshed. This extension was opened by Sir James Hardy on 24 November 1974.

And from there the following fleets were introduced:

1969 to 1988 a fleet of Herons.

1969 to 1994 a fleet of Rainbows.

1969 to 1976 a large fleet of Moths.

1973 to 1990 a fleet of Solings.

1974 to 1980 a fleet of Lasers.

 1988 a fleet of 125s’.

1995 to 2002 a fleet of Tasers.

1995 to 2005 a fleet of Mosquito Catamarans.

1959 to current a Div 1 fleet.

1971 to 1995 a Div 2 fleet.

1989 to 2004 a Div 3 Fleet.

2005 to 2008 a fleet of Sydney 32’s.

1960 to 2014 a large fleet of Holdfast Trainers.  This fleet reached 50 boats at one stage, the largest fleet in the State. This was achieved by the Club buying any boat that came on the market and then on selling it. There was also a very good training scheme.

From 8 February to 14 February 1976 the first Lincoln Week regatta for the Mathew Flinders Trophy was held. This regatta has been highly successful.

From 3 September to 10 September 1992 the Secondary Schools Interdominion Schools Regatta was held at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club. Australia V New Zealand. Between Westlake Boys High School from Auckland and the Port Lincoln High School. The Port Lincoln High School won. The first time New Zealand had ever been beaten.

In 1996 Wilson Hissey, who the Club had borrowed $50,000 from, passed away and he forgave the debt in his will.

Around 2010 Kym Clarke Construction did a makeover on the downstairs bar. This was donated to the Club by Kym Clarke Constructions. It was a lot of money and a very generous donation.

To be continued.


David Bassham

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