The Townsville Sailing Club is one of the oldest clubs in Townsville and one of the oldest sailing clubs in Queensland. The Club’s present location on The Strand is the latest in a long line of dinghy sailing venues going back over a century.
The first settlers in Townsville established the town in 1864 yet as soon as 1895 there was sufficient interest to establish the Townsville Sailing Club.
The Brisbane Courier newspaper on 22nd October 1895 reported, “October 21. At a meeting held at Picnic Bay yesterday at which there was a large attendance, it was decided to form a sailing club to be called the “Townsville Sailing Club.” A letter was read from the Queensland Yacht Club” (now the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron), “inviting as many Townsville boats as might be desirous of competing in any of the events at the senior club’s regatta.”
In the 120 years of history of the Townsville Sailing Club since that meeting, dinghy sailing has gone through a century of changes to design, construction and speed to the to the high speed skiffs and catamarans we have today. One can only imagine what the “gentlemen” in Picnic Bay in 1895 would make of these modern designs and materials as they rocket across Cleveland Bay. Many of these features are a direct development from the recent America’s Cup which competition coincidently commenced about the same time as Townsville was being founded.
Also in that history, the Townsville Sailing Club has had more than its fair share of Australian and world champions. From humble beginnings learning to sail in the Club’s junior fleet, many have gone on career paths that have led them to sail not just in professional competition but also in careers as coaches of national sailing teams in other countries.
Many have graduated from the Australian Maritime College in Launceston and gone on to international careers in the merchant and Australian Navies.