The Brief History Of the Wollongong Yacht Club.

Howard Waters, our only life member started this project and it is in his memory that I am attempting to complete it. Howard was a great Yacht club member and served as safety officer for many years before his untimely death. He was also the sole link to those early days of the club. In writing this I anticipate there will be some errors of fact and I hope that any one with information would correct and add to our history of the club. I would be happy to collect information and indeed I have a number of early documents. Most of the information comes from our Newsletters and we owe a great deal of thanks to our editors and helpers who have kept the newsletter alive over the years. Warwick Suttor did 10 years as editor and introduced the title Ripples.

Our minutes include reference to the second meeting held at 66 Kembla St. on May 2nd.in 1966. At that time the focus was on the proposed new breakwall for our harbour. Letters were written to the Maritime Services Board for information on the construction and a proposal was put forward suggesting that the construction include space for a clubhouse and marina behind the breakwall. In fact a preliminary sketch plan was drawn up by architects in April 1966 and submitted. However all proved fruitless and in 1968 the club received a letter from the Department of Lands dated 31st January, 1968, putting paid to the project.

As the club had been formed on the premise that the marina and clubhouse would go ahead ,a letter was sent to all members detailing the problems, and returning subscriptions. However, some members including David Waters indicated that the club should continue and as a result a further meeting on 25th March,1968 was held and the club continued on, albeit with a slightly lowered agenda. The club was frustrated by having boats in various venues (Botany Bay, Wollongong, Kiama and Huskisson) and the allocation of moorings behind the new breakwater had not occurred and some yachts were squatting there unofficially.

By 1970 the club had initiated an affiliation with the Yachting Association of N.S.W. and a constitution modelled on that club was being absorbed into the club's constitution. At this stage there were no official moorings in the harbour. Then in late 1971 all private moorings were cancelled in Belmore Basin and moorings relocated to present location behind the western breakwater. The squatters were then allocated offical moorings as well. Then in 1973 the real basis for the club resulted from 10 members transferring their moorings to the club. (this happened as a result of restrictive conditions being imposed on private mooring holders). As a result the 10 moorings were classified as commercial and so were better able to be used by the club. It allowed for yachts to cruise and allowed a larger number of yachts to use the moorings. It also allowed the club to make moorings available to visitors. This increased the number of members and ensured a viable club. This was really the beginning of the modern era of the club.

At this stage as a brief outline has been given I want to go back to the early minutes to share some of the experiences of the club with you. At the meeting listed 23.5.66 there were 12 members present including T. O'Neill, Ian Wilson, John Wenkhardt, Dr. Ian Dunlop, Edgar Davies, John McGovern (the dentist), Howard and David Waters, P.J. Gregory and John Slandeck. Committee meetings were held separately to members meetings. Our records show a gap from June1967 to May 1973 Records then remain incomplete to 1977 from when we have a more or less complete record. If anyone has any of these old records I would be interested to view them.

A partial list of members at that time includes, with the date of joining :

David Waters (23.5.66)

Trevor Cameron(4.12.69)

James Blundell(30.6.70)

Richard Mallyon(30.6.70)

Peter Andrews(30 .6.70)Neil Bath(30.6.70)

Hans Woll(28.9.70)

Howard Waters (30.6.70)

Helmut Zeidler (5.11.71)

Rudy Walkens (5.11.71)

Michael Paul(5.11.71)

Denis Pomfrett (13.8.71)

Reg Harris (17.3.72)

John Gill (19.7.74)

Glen and Pat Morgan (30.8.74)

Claude Korgitta (23 .9.77)

Tom Deigan (3.6.77)

David Fuller (1.7.77)

Jim Gell (11.3.77)

Keith McKenzie(21.9.79)

Hans Van Der Doe (20.7.79)

Greg Prior (21.9.79)

Of course there are many more but this is a selection.

1970: the current constitution adopted. Junior members were later added but Family membership was voted out. Early meetings had looked at the idea of a one class fleet being developed.

1974 . Yacht Club fees $10. First Wollongong to Kiama race held on 15th-16th November. 1974. 1974 also records the efforts to establish a Wollongong Yacht Club mooring in Currembene Creek.

1975 saw a move to change the name of the club to Wollongong Ocean Yacht Club. This was defeated.

In 1977 the W.Y.C. made representations to the local members for the Bellambi Boathaven to include 50 moorings with a slipway and clubhouse!!! In 1977 Denis Pomfret in his Swanson 32 'Isa Lei" entered the Lord Howe Island Race . Others in the club to sail to Lord Howe include Geoff Hammond(October 82),Reg Harris(1983),Col Flear(1988) and Phil Ring (1989).

1979 saw the suggestion of purchasing an out of service ferry to serve as a clubhouse, moored in the harbour. The M.S.B. was asked to put a light on Bass Island.

1979 Renovated Wollongong Slipway in April. Charges $15 up and $15 down and 50cents a foot a day.

1980 saw the first of many Christmas raftups on Keith MacKenzie's 'Snowgoose"(the host boat for the night.

1981 Saw a charming English couple sail into the harbour on their way around the world. 
They loved the place so much that after returning to the UK, they turned around and sailed all the way back. 
Rob and Jo Jo, we're all glad you did !!!

1984 saw the Bass Point Marina entering correspondence. The first Ladies' Skippers race was started by Kevin Browning in1984. 1984 also saw big fleets in the Port Hacking to Wollongong Race. (Initiated by Kevin)

1984 also saw the first Dingyman's Award.

1985 . "Irma" (Tahitian ketch) with Einar and Lisa on board stayed in the harbour before leaving in

1986 saw the advent of yacht registration. "Ecstasy V" with Reg Harris and paying crew entered their first of two Sydney -Hobarts.

1987 was the year Bar.B.Ques on the beach started after yacht races, and sometimes before!1987 was the zenith of racing in the club with 200 milers and offshore navigation exercises and big fleets in the Port Hacking to Wollongong and Wollongong to Kiama races.

1989 Incorportion of THE WOLLONGONG YACHT CLUB.

1994 Wine trophies on the beach well and truly a tradition. All must have corks removed on the beach.

A list of W.Y.C. Commodores:

1966-7 Dr J.E. McGovern.

1968-69 R Mallyon

1970-73 David Waters

1974-76 R. Harris

1977 D. Pomfrett

1978 ?

1979 Hans Van Der Doe

1980 Stephen Handell

1981-85 Tom Deigan.

1986-88 Greg Prior

1989-91 Nick Lewis

1992-93 Keith Masters

1994-99 Warrick Suttor 

2000-2001 Bev Ring (First lady Commodore!!!)

2002- Rob Skelcher

Some of the yachts over the years include:

Idle Hours. Col Dewhurst (33 ft. steel)

Storm King. Gary Simpson (32 ft.Huon Pine)

Thule. L.Pitt (34 ft. Hartley ferro)

Bellara. Barry Welsh (25 ft. folkboat)

Manera. Graham Webb (40 ft.., Swanson)

Kamara. Barry Welsh (Duncanson 29)

Kylie-Anne. Tom Deigan (Roberts 29)

Lady Anne. Geoff Hammond (Compass 28)

Cheye-Lyn. Adrian Robinson (28ft. Hunter) 

Melody. Rod Lynch (Morgan 32)

Shilo John Woods (40 ft. ferro)

Urunga Greg Prior (34 ft. steel Temptress)

Amadeus Wolfgang Woll (34 ft. steel)

Cindarella. Bev & Phil Ring (Duncanson 37)

Razzamataz. Nick & Jenny Lewis (East Coast 31)

Rendezvous Piet de Voogd ( 34ft. Jarkan)

Nekeyah Richard Payne (36 ft. Boden steel)

Doubloon Lynden Walker (31 ft East Coast)

Rhonda. Keith Masters. (Roberts 25)

Meeting venues included the car park at Belmore Basin, members homes, Master Builder's Club in the 70's and again 1988-91.Also at Wollongong Sheltered Workshop in 1980. The Port Kembla Sailing Club was also used at this time. The Sea Cadets Hall was used from1981-88, and Collies from 1992.

Dave Roberts has been the club auditor for many years now and deserves a big thank you.



Commemorating the epic eight day journey to the Illawarra by the 12 foot bark TOM THUMB in March 1796 by Flinders, Bass and Martin.

Presented to the Wollongong Yacht Club by the Wollongong Heritage Week Committee.

1996 ANTJE Hans Woll

1997 BAMBOOZLE Warwick Suttor

1998 KAMARA Barry Welsh

1999 MAIN COURSE David Jollie

2000 SNAKE BITE Paul Cracknell

2001 KARIZMA Bruce Allen

2002 CINDERELLA Bev & Phil Ring


This trophy is presented to the club member(s) who demonstrate outstanding club spirit, exceptional sea faring ability or a notable sense of fair play.. This would include significant cruises undertaken, rescues, service to the club or any other similar activity, other than yacht races. Decided by the Club Captain and Committee members.

1998 PAX Dennis & Anna Dorling. Voyage to Tasmania.

1999 MERLIN Ray & Carol Lewis. Voyage to Queensland

2000 LAYABOUT Garry & Maureen Leahy. Voyage to Queensland

2001 BAMBOOZLE Warwick & Judi Suttor. Decade as Editor of RIPPLES.

2002 CINDERELLA Phil & Bev Ring. Voyage to Gippsland Lakes.


For any event involving club member(s) and a dinghy.

1989 Annette Prior Layabout

1990 Judi Suttor Raise'n'Toast

1991 Jo Jo Skelcher TucanTu

1992 Phil Ring Cinderella



I'm sure there are many more members can add to this list. As there are many unsung toilers in the club over the years I have not mentioned. So let me know about them.

Phil Ring