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Hand coloured photograph depicting nine men attempting to push the motor launch "Marionette"

Date: 1898-1938
92 x 102 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mary Shaw
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0203[030]

User Terms

    A hand coloured photograph depicting a group of men attempting to push a motor launch, probably the MARIONETTE, into the water.
    SignificanceThis photograph represents the activities of Sydney sailing vessels in the late 19th 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.

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