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Sydney Flying Squadron program, 1900

Date: 1899
Overall: 165 x 125 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Faye Magner
Object Name: Program
Object No: ANMS0086[001]

User Terms

    A program for the Sydney Flying Squadron Regatta, held on 13 January 1900.
    SignificanceMark Foy - the founding Commodore of the Sydney Flying Squadron in 1890 - made a major contribution to the sport of sailing in Australia. He made regattas a public specatacle on Sydney Harbour and promoted the faster 18-footers which boasted huge colourful sails - easily identified by those on shore.
    History"Who cares who wins when no-one knows? And the kernel of this sport is always wasted, not only to the spectators but to the competitor... who cares what the boats are doing when they sail out of sight?"

    In 1895, entrepreneur and founding Commodore of the Sydney Flying Squadron Mark Foy (1865-1950) wrote this about the manoeuvres of the big yachts in regattas. He preferred the potential of Sydney's smaller open boats. Open boats, or skiffs, were beamy boats with huge sails - and large crews of waterfront workers for ballast. Based on workboats from six to 24 feet (1.8 - 7.3m) long they were a spectacle on Sydney Harbour. Skiff racing was a tough working-mans sport.

    Foy introduced rules to make the sport more lively - coloured emblems for the sails, a short triangular course with handicapped stat, large prize money and spectator ferries with punters following the races. By the 1920s the open boats were standardised as 18-footers and were racing in Western Australia and Queensland.

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