A group of yachties who are big on fun but low on pretence are turning the traditional notion of bricks and mortar yacht club membership on its head with a club motto of ‘exclusively non-exclusive’ and a nick name widely known as ‘The Shaggers’.
The Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) is a virtual yacht club which has stripped away the traditional yacht club hierarchy and with it, the connection to a physical clubhouse. Created to maintain a network for cruising yachties, every member is a vice commodore and represents an individual nautical location (an island, islet, river or bay) about which they have some knowledge and a willingness to share advice or assistance with other vice commodores. The SICYC has just reached 3,200 members which spread across 13 countries.
The club is named after Shag Islet, which is situated in the Gloucester Passage in the Whitsundays in North Queensland, and home to the club’s annual SICYC Rendezvous at which hundreds of vice commodores gather on the last weekend in August.
This year, close to 1000 cruisers are expected to converge on the tiny islet from August 28 to 31, for a three day festival of boating, music, and a good dose of over indulgence. Up to 240 yachts are expected to converge on the rendezvous point this year which is bigger than any other sailing regatta or rally in the country.
But while the Shag Islet yachties are united in their desire to not take life too seriously, they are also deeply passionate about using their collective enthusiasm and personal good fortune to help important causes.
This year, as part of their three day celebrations, they will create ‘hands across the blue’ where participating boats will form in the shape of a blue ribbon to represent the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia logo. Prostate Cancer is the charity of cause for the SICYC with many charity events run throughout the country by various members to raise awareness and funds for research. The club has raised $80,000 over the past three years through its social events.
Shag Islet vice commodore and Rendezvous organiser Ken Thackery said having a good time in the name of the good cause was representative of the culture of the club.
“Our members come from all over Australia and all walks of life – but most have got to a point in their life where they have achieved their own personal goals, they are in a position to enjoy life to the fullest – but at the same time want to contribute something back. Prostate cancer is something that has touched the lives of many of our vice commodores and supporting the Foundation to continue with research allows us to feel we are having a meaningful contribution.
“Clearly the annual Rendezvous is an opportunity for us all to let our hair down, socialise and let loose in a magical location – but do it with a good cause in mind makes it all the more enjoyable for us,” Ken said.
In fact, letting their hair down is yet another way the group raise funds for the Foundation, with haircuts on the beach for prostate cancer also available on the Friday morning, for those vice commodores who may have spent a bit too long at sea and require a spruce up before the festivities really get underway!
The meaningful contribution of this great event has definitely not been unnoticed with a host of high profile dignitaries attending the rendezvous to throw their support behind the great cause including:
– Hon Peter Dutton MP Federal Minister for Health and Sport and Mrs Dutton
– Professor Christian Gericke (Professor of Medicine) The Wesley / St Andrews Medical Research Institute
– Professor Jelle Barentsz from the Netherlands, World Leader in prostate MRI, co-author of a recent paper published with Doctor Les Thompson.
– Doctor Les Thompson, Urological Surgeon (Leading International Prostate Cancer Researcher)
– Mr Jim Hughes AM Deputy Chair Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia National Board
– Jason Costigan MP State Member for the Whitsundays
– Cr Jennifer Whitney Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council
– Danial Rochford CEO Whitsunday Marketing and Development Limited
With support from leading health and medical representatives and main sponsors Abell Point Marina and Ocean Marine Risk, the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club would like to set the challenge to other yacht clubs and groups around Australia to rival this great event in order to raise awareness and money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia.
– Luke McCaul/Abel Point Marina