Written by David Brawn, President RCSC 1994/95
In the year ahead of my presidency, the Club was advised of an undertaking by District Governors of the three Sydney Districts to raise A$3 mil for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. There were to be three levels of naming rights. I was attracted to the $10,000 ‘two-bed ward’ options. I was serving as District Chair Youth Exchange and attended a Youth Exchange function at Alistair Gray’s home. There I met Ross Collett from the Rotary Club of Bucklands Beach, New Zealand. Ross spoke of a sponsored race that his Club ran, which raised in the order of $20,000. Ross organised for his Club to provide us with the business plan for their event. Incidentally, they still run a yacht race. This year (2011) will be their 24th race, with 50 boats and expect to raise $20,000.
My incoming directors raided then President Bryce Wauchope’s Sergeants fine pool for some seed capital. Bill Pringle was to be fundraiser and was working on an idea to have an international marbles competition in the Rocks. Bill immediately liked the concept of a yacht race and prepared a budget that indicated we could make up to $75,000. Club Members Peter Dalley was Club Captain at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club and immediately enlisted the Club’s support or our vent. We formed a committee with Michael Maher as chair plus Peter Dalley, Bill Pringle, former Coves Craig Beaver and Bruce Morrow.
Peter Dally and Tony Shaw reserved a race-day and a race course and recruited yacht owners from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Bill Pringle , Bruce and Craig had contacts in other Clubs and were able to also recruit yachts. At the third meeting of the Club (in my year) Michael Maher announced the RCSC Regatta race date, outlined the concept and advised that we were looking for a major sponsor at about $45,000 or maybe a major and a minor sponsor. It was also intended to charge a guest crew $125.
At our ninth meeting it was announced that Captain Cook Cruises would supply a Cruise vessel to follow the race and deliver its passengers to the after race activities. A partial tax deduction was arranged for those persons following the race. This was possible through the Club’s Benevolent Fund that had just been established by Bob Bruce as founding donor.
By early October a flyer was available for distribution. By November 24 we had 40 yachts committed (and sponsored). That year the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove’s Regatta raised enough to allow us to donate $75,000 to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, who named a 4-bed ward the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove Ward.
During that period, Michael Maher Bob Bruce and others were also at the Kokoda Memorial Hospital work site working on our first FAIM project. During our time there I think the project managers received more faxes concerning the Regatta that they did concerning the building project. At our Club meeting on December 15, Gail Hodges from Michael Maher’s office was presented with a gift in gratitude for her efforts while we were in PNG. At our Christmas cruise, Peter Dalley, Michael Maher and Tony Shaw were named Paul Harris Fellows.