On 21 March 2023, at the half yearly General Meeting, three female club members will receive their 40 year medallions, the first women to be awarded this recognition; Mary-Alice Tedstone, Jan Ferguson, and Past Commodore Wendy Luck. The following reflections are from Wendy Luck
MY SAILING & CLUB HISTORY
I started sailing in a Sabot a long time ago when 6 families/friends holidayed together at Easter in Sorrento and held the “St Pauls Road Cup” (the road is where we launched the boats), no I didn’t ever win the coveted Cup. I also joined our school Sailing Club and sailed in RBYC owned Sabots. As time passed, I decided boats that close to the water were not my idea of sailing!
There was a hiatus in my competitive sailing ‘career’ for a few years but did go pleasure sailing with Dad on the keel boats he owned over the years. I wasn’t allowed to race on Dad’s yachts as in the earlier days “girls weren’t allowed”!
I joined RBYC in 1978 as an Associate Member, joined the Committee and became the Associates’ Vice President and then the membership for females changed and we were admitted as Senior Members – cost us a lot more too! Associate Members were allowed to sail competitively in the Club’s and other sailing events. Female crew were encouraged to participate and skippers enjoyed their reliability in turning up on Saturdays – we were keen to keep our crew spots. I started keel boat racing with Laurie Pound on his yachts – “Sirius” and then “Gumblossom” – sailed every weekend / regatta I could including the first of my two Melbourne to Devonport Races, the second under a new owner.
In 1985 the thought of a Sydney-Hobart in a 30 footer was not on the agenda, so decided to give up racing on that yacht – needed a break! How long did that last, about two weeks – what else do you do on a Saturday afternoon? Headed down to the Club to see if I could volunteer or go sailing on a different yacht. I was lucky enough to be able to join the crew of the “old” Redeemer course laying boat and stayed there until a vacancy came up on Tarni the Start Boat and took on the job of raising the many flags needed to run a yacht race. I was a ‘flag officer’ and jokingly said I might as well make the most of this fun title as it was unlikely a female would be an official Club Flag Officer (well that was wrong!).
I was elected to General Committee in 1986, elected Rear Commodore in 1992, Vice in 1995 and Commodore in 1997 and was proudly the Commodore when we hosted the Solings in the 1999 World Championships. I am the first female Commodore of RBYC and the first father / daughter Commodores. It was also a great honour to present my father with his 40 year membership medallion in 1999.
I edited “Starboard” the club magazine for 15 years and wrote the column “Crows Nest” – the magazine’s “gossip column”- which was lots of fun. I also served on and chaired many of the Club’s Sub-Committees for many years. I was also appointed the Club’s Returning Officer in 2013.
I have worked with lots of different Club, State and International Race Officers and a great bunch of volunteers. RBYC is a great Club with great Members and facilities. I am very proud to be a Member and now a 40-year Member!