Seven Australian yachting legends have been inducted into the inaugural Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Hall of Fame at the Club last evening.
At the newly refurbished club, Captain John Illingworth, Stan Darling, Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen, Syd Fischer AM OBE, Hugh Treharne OAM and Michael York OAM were inducted into the official CYCA Hall of Fame.
“I'm so proud,” said Hugh Treharne OAM, who was in the afterguard of Australia’s winning America’s Cup team in 1983 and considered one of the most exceptional sailors in Australia in his time.
“When I was young, my family lived in and operated Manly Boatshed. At two years old, If I had of been looking in the right direction I could have watched the start of the very first Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at North Head – if only I’d been paying attention.”
CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham also took time to reflect on the Club's history: “Establishing the CYCA Hall of Fame is an important milestone in the history of the Club.
“On the eve of the Club’s 75th anniversary it’s fitting to acknowledge the quite exceptional records of sailing achievement by seven CYCA members of the past and the present in the Hall of Fame.
“In future years we will add to the number of inductees who have, through their example, truly lived the core, understated but simple purpose of the Club – to promote and encourage yachting.”
Inductees were acknowledged at a night that also paid tribute to the Club’s members who have been members of the Club for 20 years and up to 74 years.
Captain John Illingworth was one of the greatest exponents of sailing and ocean racing. Following World War II, he was the Chief Engineer Officer at the Royal Navy Repair Base at Garden Island.
His reputation as an accomplished ocean racer in the UK had preceded him, notably his knowledge of all aspects of yacht design, rigging and racing and his willingness to share his knowledge with others earned him the deep admiration of would-be ocean racers in Australia.
Following a meeting of the newly formed CYCA in May 1945, Illingworth was invited to join Peter Luke, Jack Earl and Bert Walker in a cruise to Hobart over Christmas that year. Illingworth suggested, “Why don’t we make a race of it,” and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was established.
Through Illingworth’s connection with the RORC, its rating rule was utilised to measure the fleet. Illingworth went on to take line honours in the first race and win the event on handicap.
John Illingworth is considered the father of the race and was elected a Life Member of the CYCA in 1957. He remained a friend of the CYCA for the rest of his life.
Stan Darling was born in Hobart in August 1907 and worked for the ABC as a radio announcer. In 1936 he was transferred to Sydney before enlisting for service in World War II in the Royal Australian Navy.
Stan returned from the war as one of the most decorated Australian naval officers being awarded three Distinguished Service Crosses.
In 1947, Stan joined Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen as navigator aboard Peer Gynt, thus embarking on a yachting career with equal distinction, making up the third member of the most consistently winning ocean-racing team ever put together.
Stan competed in 27 Sydney Hobart’s, taking line honours twice (1953 Solveig and 1976 Ballyhoo) and was overall winner five times (1954 Solveig, 1957 Anitra, 1963 and 1964 Freya and 1970 Pacha).
Due to illness, the Halvorsen brothers did not sail in 1954, leaving Stan to skipper Solveig to an overall win. In 1967, Stan was navigator in the winning Admiral’s Cup team aboard Balandra.
Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen are among the most successful ocean racers ever to have sailed out of Sydney. Their record performance in the Sydney Hobart is unlikely ever to be broken. The brothers and their siblings also had an outstanding career in boat design and building, (Trygve’s great talent) and ocean yacht navigation (Magnus’s self-taught specialty).
Trygve joined the CYCA in 1946, serving on the Board of Directors and as Rear Commodore in 1953-54. While Magnus joined in 1947 and had an active role on the Safety Committee
The brothers designed and built all their boats, meeting great success in the Sydney Hobart with five overall wins (1954 Solveig, 1957 Anitra, 1963,1964 and 1965 Freya), in addition to five second-place finishes.
Magnus went on to win the race again in 1974 as navigator on Love & War, as well as line honours twice; 1971 on Kialoa II and 1975 on Kialoa III, when it broke the race record which stood for 21 years.
Syd Fischer has been a member of the CYCA since 1962, and competed in 47 Sydney Hobart’s as the owner of 13 different yachts.
His first Hobart was with Malohi in 1962, which was followed in 1968 by the most famous of his yachts, the 48ft Sparkman & Stephens designed Ragamuffin. He raced her to Hobart six times, rarely out of a podium finish either overall or in division. Syd won the race overall in 1992 and took line honours twice; in 1988 and 1990.
Syd was chosen to represent Australia six times at the Admiral’s Cup, captaining five of those – winning the Fastnet Race in 1971 and leading the winning team in 1979. In addition, captained and won at the Clipper/Kenwood Cup, won the 1971 one Ton Cup and challenged for the America’s Cup five times (all self-funded), involving many CYCA members (including Hugh Treharne) and giving many young sailors their first big opportunities.
A member since 1971, Hugh Treharne was on the winning Australian crews at the 1983 America’s Cup, 1971 Fastnet Race, 1971 World One Ton Cup), 1975 Half Ton Cup, 1979 Admiral’s Cup, along with the 1992 and 1993 Sydney Hobart winning crews.
Hugh has sailed 30 Sydney Hobarts, commencing with Norm Brooker aboard Seawind in the mid-1960s. He sailed aboard many top-quality yachts, including Ragamuffin, winning the race overall in 1992 and winning overall again in 1993 aboard Cuckoo’s Nest.
Hugh sailed in six Admiral’s Cup campaigns, including winning the Fastnet Race aboard Ragamuffin in 1971 and in the winning Admiral’s Cup Team as helmsman aboard Impetuous.
Michael York is the longest-serving member of the CYCA, having joined in 1945. Mick and his wife Jeannette have been a part of the CYCA virtually since inception and have contributed much to the fabric of the club. The annual drinks party for visiting yachties in town for the Sydney Hobart, held at the Yorks waterfront home, is fondly remembered.
The consummate seaman, Mick was in high demand aboard ocean-racing yachts in his day and was a crew member aboard Gretel in Australia’s first challenge for the America’s Cup in 1962. He was also aboard Caprice of Huon in the 1965 Admiral’s Cup team.
With the arrival of the maxi yachts going for line honours in the Sydney Hobart, Mick was a regular crewman aboard Kialoa and was aboard Kialoa III in 1975 when she set then held the race record for 21 years.
In 1974 Mick skippered his Tasman Seabird, Tui Manu, to an overall win in the Sydney Noumea Yacht Race. He and wife Jeanette spent many years cruising their yacht, Rockhopper, in the Pacific.
The CYCA will honour other legends in its 75th year, adding more personalities to its Hall of Fame in 2019.
Photo: back from left: John Sheridan (for Stan Darling) Neil Halvorsen (for father Magnus Halvorsen), Jan Halvorsen (Magnus daughter), Hugh Treharne OAM, Nina Halvorsen (for father Trygve Halvorsen), Ruth Halvorsen (Magnus daughter), Brenton Fischer (for grandfather Syd Fischer AM, OBE). Front: Michael York OAM