Brief History – Peter McLachlan Commodore 1994

The first Sailing club in Port Hacking was Port Hacking V.J Amateur Sailing Club, which began racing on Gunnamatta Bay in 1934. This club had no clubhouse and the dinghies were kept in various private boat sheds situated around Gunnamatta Bay.

During the war years 1939/45, racing by the club was spasmodic, but the immediate postwar period saw a rapid increase in activity with up to 30 V.J’s racing each Sunday in 1948.

By this time the need for a clubhouse for meetings and storage was becoming imperative for the continued advancement of the club.

Two large nuts situated in Willarong Road and used during the war as a radar station by R.A.A.F were acquired by the club. These huts were dismantled and reassembled, with modifications, at the present site of the clubhouse by the voluntary labour of members. 

The year 1948 also saw the Cronulla V.S Sailing Club formed, to cater for those sailors who had outgrown the essentially junior class V.J.  This club built its own clubhouse next to the V.J clubhouse in 1951. 

All Clubs tend to wax and wane, depending on the popularity of classes, and by 1963 the numbers of V.J and V.S had declined to a point where it became necessary to amalgamate the two clubs in order to ensure their joint viability. 

A new club was formed with a new name, Cronulla Sailing Club, which was incorporated as a limited Liability Company. 

This club prospered for many years, helped by the introduction of many new classes such as the “Moth” in which club member David McKay won two world Titles (1969/70).

Families were encouraged by the introduction of the “Heron “, thus broadening the club’s base and replying less on one class of yacht. The training of juniors became established within the club and has remained an integral part of the club’s activity to this day.

The club continued to grow and by 1980 it became obvious that the old ex-airforce huts which served as the clubhouse were beginning to deteriorate rapidly, as well as no longer being large enough to accommodate the members’ boats and equipment.

With the assistance of Sutherland Shire Council a new club house was designed and built by a grant and loan from the Department of Sport and Recreation.

By the late 1980s the club was suffering from declining membership (particularly seniors) and increasing costs, which by 1991 were causing some concerns.

At this time the Port Hacking Ocean Yacht Club was seeking to find a permanent home of its own. This club , formed in 1964, catered for deep keel yachts and was mainly concerned with ocean racing and smaller “ inshore yachts”.

Many members of this club had begun their sailing careers as juniors in Cronulla Sailing Club, some as long as 45 years ago. 

The club had originally met in members’ homes, but when numbers increased, meetings were held at the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Gunnamatta Bay.

After discussion with Sutherland Shire Council with regard to a possible site for a new clubhouse, it was decided the interests of sailing in Port Hacking would best be served if Cronulla Sailing Club and Port Hacking Ocean Yacht Club were to merge. This duly took place in December 1991.

Thus for the first time in POrt Hacking a club was formed which catered for the full range of sailing for all classes of yachts and sailors aged from 8 to 80 years.

The increase in senior membership strengthened the financial viability of the club and allowed much needed maintenance and renovations to the clubhouse and waterfront to be carried out. 

The club has always sought members who are actively engaged in some aspect of sailing. It does not seek to be just another social club. 

Peter McLachlan