With plans to head to Portugal to sail in the Hansa World Championships in October this year – 2023 is shaping up to be quite the year of achievement for RPAYC member and long term supporter, program participant and former Commodore of Sailability Pittwater, Allan Jones OAM.
Allan’s introduction to sailing came later in life, while working at Pittwater High as an Industrial Arts Teacher. It was workplace colleague, and long time local sailor, Wal Wardle who ignited Allan’s interest in the sport.
Wal enticed Allan to sailing through appealing to his love of woodworking, and they rebuilt a diamond class yacht together in the school’s workshop.
A passion was ignited, and Allan fell in love with sailing, wasting no time in purchasing his first boat, a Vaucluse Junior.
Allan recounts, “There was a big letter C on the sails, and I’d joke that it stood for calamity, which turned out to be quite prophetic”.
Allan spent hours on Pittwater and quickly established the rudiments of sailing, before joing BYRA where he sailed a TS16.
Pittwater did not make it easy for disabled sailors sailing out of BYRA, as the complexity in negotiating low tides meant trying to pick a way to get the 303’s across the mud and into the water. It was then that Allan met David Lyle from Avalon sailing club. David lobbied what was then Pittwater Council, and partnered with Cerebral Palsy Alliance (at the time known as The Spastic Centre) to build a hoist at RPAYC – Crystal Bay Hardstand.
Not one to rest, Allan was keen to grow access and participation in the sport for sailors with disability, and he once again found himself working with good friend and catalyst to his sailing career, Wal Wardle, who had also been a past Commodore at RPAYC.
In the early 1980’s RPAYC hosted a 2.3m demonstration day (with boats from Dobroyd) which Allan attended, and fondly remembers meeting the legendary Kay Cottee and Lynne Phillips.
Then, during the Americas Cup in Perth 1983, the Royal Perth Yacht Club, who were hosting the prestigious event, made available a fleet of 2.4m lookalikes for the general public to try sailing. After the event wrapped, the 2.4m look-alikes needed to be re-homed.
“A container load arrived from Perth, full of hulls and bits and pieces that we used to rebuild the 2.4s on the Crystal Bay Hardstand” Allan fondly recounts. These boats formed a fleet for Sailability sailors to sail out of Crystal Bay.
In June this year, Allan celebrated his 88th birthday, and plans for the remainder of the year include a campaign to Portimao to once again take up the challenge of competition. “It’s been about 3 years since I competed in the Osaka Cup, and this October I will be heading to Portugal to compete in the Hansa World Championships” Allan stated.
The 2023 Hansa Class World Championship will take place in Portimão Marina, Portugal
from 14 to 21 October and Allan will be there giving other sailors some stiff competition. You can find out more about the event via the official website HERE
Sailability Pittwater regularly sail from Crystal Bay at RPAYC and are always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved in Sailability you can find out more on their website at https://www.crystalbaysailability.club/