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Grand Aquatic Gala Program, 24th September 1904

Date: 1904
Overall: 200 x 212 mm
Medium: Silk, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mary Shaw
Object Name: Program
Object No: ANMS0201[006]

User Terms

    This is a program for the Grand Aquatic Gala on Saturday 24 September 1904. The Gala celebrated the opening of the 1904 - 1905 season with three races. The Commodore of the Day was Mark Foy.

    Participants included the fleets of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, the Sydney Flying Squadron, the Sydney Dingy Sailing Club, the Lane Cove Sailing Club, the Neutral Bay Amateur Sailing Club, the Sydney Sailing Club, the Port Jackson Sailing Skiff Club and the Balmain Dingy Sailing Club.
    SignificanceThis program represents the activities of Sydney sailing fleets in the early 20th century, and Mark Foy - the founding Commodore of the Sydney Flying Squadron - who made a major contribution to the sport of sailing in Australia.
    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.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Grand Aquatic Gala Program, 24th September 1904

    Web title: Grand Aquatic Gala Program, 24th September 1904

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