The first mention of the Tamar Yacht Club in Launceston appeared in a colonial newspaper 180 years ago which makes it is one of Tasmania’s oldest sporting clubs and one of the nation’s oldest sailing organisations.
The history of the club is told in a new book written by Launceston journalist and author Julian Burgess. The book will be officially launched at the Tamar Yacht Club, 7 Park St, at 11.30am on Friday 8 December.
There had been yacht racing in Van Diemen’s Land before 1837 but the establishment of a ‘club’ in the North of the colony marked the start of organised sailing regattas on the Tamar River.
The annual Tamar Regatta became the North’s biggest sporting event and the yachting members of the organising committee set the rules and oversaw the often fierce competition for substantial cash prizes.
The modern Tamar Yacht Club was born on Tuesday 24 February 1880 at a meeting in the office of businessman and keen sailor Edward Gaunt. Mr Gaunt frequently challenged southern sailors at the Hobart Regatta for sailing supremacy in Tasmania.
The early years of the club were guided by people like prominent landholder T. C. Archer, of Woolmers, lawyer G. T. Collins, of Douglas and Collins, and shoe shop owner Tom Rule.
The Tamar Yacht Club co-hosted Australia’s first ocean yacht race, the Rudder Cup, in 1907 and
1940s commodore Eric Massey skippered the North’s first Sydney to Hobart entrant Wanderer.
Until the 1950s it was the only sailing club in Northern Tasmania. In 2007 club member Ken Gourlay broke the record for the fastest solo, non-stop circumnavigation by an Australian. The Tamar Yacht Club story is an important part of Tasmania’s sporting and social life and this book celebrates its long history.
The Tamar Yacht Club, A History of Sailing in Launceston Tasmania from 1837 has been produced by Launceston publisher Christopher (Gus) Green OAM and printed by Bokprint of Launceston. It will be sold through the Tamar Yacht Club, Tamar Marine and selected bookshops.