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Sydney Flying Squadron

Australian, founded 1891

Institution: Sydney Flying Squadron
From SFS website:
Sydney Flying Squadron evolved from a group of men owning small boats, 6 footers, 12 footers,14 footers and there were also larger boats 18 foot and above.The designs of the boats were originally based on open work boats. Many people saw skiff racing as a working man's sport unlike the well to do who sailed expensive yachts.

At their peak more than 30 18 footers raced each week, followed by crowds of spectators and punters in chartered ferries. Boating in those days attracted as great a following as horseracing did. An egalitarian attitude had existed in sailing. Those who sail open boats were given the opportunity to compete as equals.

Eighteen Foot skiffs have been raced on Sydney harbour for 150 years. This class of open boat must have hulls no longer than 18 foot (5.49 metres), from stern to stern.

In 1891 a meeting took place at a Sydney hotel and new rules were set for open boat racing. These rules were that the Squadron would race their boats with coloured sail emblems. There would be handicaps at the start to make an exiting finish and would race over a triangular course racing. The intention was to make therace exciting for spectators. The man were prepared to ignore the established yacht clubs' rules and set up their own Squadron's rules. This was the beginning of the Sydney Flying Squadron and now is the oldest open boat sailing club in Australia.