A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY.
On Sunday while waving a ladder around at MYC I managed to knock two of the framed pennants off the North wall. In making repairs I noticed some script on paper which read:
PARMELIA RACE 1979 PLYMOUTH — FREMANTLE PRESENTED BY THE ROYAL CAPE YACHT CLUB TO PAST COMMODORE DOUG SAUNDERS WHO SAILED ABOARD “BLUEBELL” AN S.S. 34 SKIPPERED BY MAX SHEAN EX SUBMARINE COMMANDER, WINNING BOTH SECTIONS OF THE RACE ON HANDICAP.
I made contact with ex MYC sailor Lloyd Blake who is also a retired submariner. Lloyd knew Max well and informed me that he had sadly passed away in 2009, aged 90 years. Max Shean was highly decorated by the Govt of Aust, UK & USA - A very successful WWII Submarine Commander. A resident of Claremont, UWA Graduate (1945) Max was Patron of the Aust Submarine Association for many years. Our past commodore Doug Saunders (1976-78) sailed with Max in this race which was part of the WA 150 year anniversary in 1979. Blue Bell was built in the back yard and remains at FSC where Max’s family still sail her. The Parmelia race, organised by the RPYC traced the route of the merchant barque Parmelia that brought the first English migrants to the Swan River Colony. Plymouth to Fremantle via Cape Town is a distance of 10,548 nautical miles and competitors experienced the full range of oceanic conditions over the two legs. A true inter-ocean adventure. Those with a knowledge of WA sailing royalty will recognise some of the other entrants:
Perie Banou (Western Australia), S&S 34 sloop, 10.24 metres, Jon Sanders - fitted with a taller than standard rig. Panasonic (Western Australia), one-off ketch, 10.87 metres, Bill Lowe.
WAY 79 (Western Australia), one-off sloop, 10.67 metres, Richard Herring & Colin Reardon jointly. Tahara'a (Western Australia), RORC 39 sloop, 11.89 metres, Ray Parker.
Leschenault (Western Australia), one-off ketch, 12.19 metres, Bill Wales.
Catalpa (Western Australia), Bowman 47 ketch, 14.27 metres, Tony Chandler
Bounty (Western Australia), Hallberg Rassey 41 ketch, 12.50 metres, Max Winkless.
Success II (Western Australia), one-off ketch, 15.24 metres, Brian Kempthorne. Challenger (Western Australia), Curran 46 cutter, 13.87 metres, Dr. Jim Chute. Independent Endeavour (Western Australia), Swan 65 ketch, 19.66 metres, Skip Novak. Anaconda II (Australian Armed Services), one-off ketch, 25.45 metres, Josko Grubic. Siska (Western Australia), one-off sloop, 23.47 metres, Rolly Tasker
Max Shean proved to be the best planner. Bluebell virtually raced all the way and had the best Corrected Time to win the Overall trophy.
All of this got me to thinking that those fading pennants on our club wall all have a story to tell and point to the enormous part that MYC and its sailors have played in sailing and WA history. We should all be proud of this fine heritage. For me this is a reminder that sometimes accidents present us with fine opportunities.