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History of NMSC over first 17 years

by Bob Moore

Radio sailing started in The Gippsland lakes in 2003 when Bob Starkey moved to Paynesville. Bob had a very old "A Class" radio yacht he picked up & he happened to meet a local sailor Graham Veal. I met Bob Starkey as a member of a local Classic Car Club. Unfortunately, Bob Starkey passed away in 2003 which is why we always open the season with the Starkey Cup.

Bob & Graham picked up a couple of very old 10 raters and a stretched Marblehead. I bought one of the 10 raters off Graham Veal (a Witch Craft) and the unofficial PMSG (Paynesville Model Sailing Group) was born.

We sailed in the canal near the Veals for nearly a year, when a sailor from further up the canals got interested, Jim Robinson was his name and he picked up an old 10R.

A couple of guys from the Sale model yacht club used to come up and sail with us and we had a nice little group.

While this was happening all of us being “Big Boat Sailors” who had done a lot of racing ALL agreed that “One Design “racing was the way to go.

So, Graham designed the “One Point Five “class

Graham built 2 “Hard Multi Chine” hulls & I built a “Stripped plank carvel hull.

None of them sailed well as they were too deep at the bow and were very hard to tack.

 After a lot of modification (I won’t go into) they all sailed very well and the first stripped plank hull is still around the “Wedgie”

The first Final Design "1.5" was constructed to be the plug for a mold for our own “1.5 One Design“ yacht.  To the best of my memory, 29 1.5 Class Yachts were built.

Meanwhile, we tried to grow our group and came up with the idea of a stall to display our yachts at the local Sunday Market and have a bit of a sail on the Paynesville foreshore after. We picked up 4 new members on our first market

We had a stroke of luck as Martin Hinchliffe was one of the new guys and he knew how to make molds and layup fiberglass hulls, (what Luck) so we really were on our way.

Bob Coate, Bob Moore, Jim Robinson & Martin Hinchliffe formed a working committee and set up the Club to the Model Incorporation Rules and Martin Registered us ( we all argued over a Club Name at a dinner at the Nicho Pub and the Nicholson Model Sailing Club was formed.

Over the next 3 or 4 years, the club grew till at one stage we had 24 + boats competing and we had to race in 2 divisions! They were very happy days and the club was a very social group with most of our wives and partners involved.

How we did it

1: Social Most families were involved including their Teenage children (the kids learned too fast and made a few of us old sailors take notice).

We went out for a social Dinner once a month in the early Days and bi- monthly in the latter years (in my opinion this is really a must for a happy, social, sporting group like ours)

We made sure we had at least 1 if not 2 articles published in the Addy every month without fail

We made the East Gippsland Tourist Booklet, the Weekly Times and local radio activities lists etc.

Every AGM got at least a ¾ if not full page spread.

(If anyone would like to see some of the articles I have a scrap book of cuttings)

Every year we started the season with the “Starky Cup” and the next was always the “Public Open Day”.  We placed flyers in the windows of businesses from Paynesville to Lakes Entrance, the Shire Club lists, Addy Club Calendar and all the sporting and hobby shops We had 2 “Open Days” a year and on one day we had 47 members of the public lined up to have a go (Visitors book for Insurance).

We had sailing days at Lakes Entrance (near Ocean Rescue) & North Arm. Bairnsdale, Howitt Park Rowing course, Eagle Point, Sunset Cove, Metung and on each occasion we advertised that we would be there.

We had sailing days with students of The Lakes Entrance & Bairnsdale High schools, Nagle, Swan Reach Primary and Bairnsdale Special school ( all the schools had hobby clubs and BHS and Nagle built rc yachts)

In summary, the club was built around Building Boats, (we had building days like a men’s shed) but above all Having Fun. No Protests, using the 10 basic sailing Rules (Not the Blue Book) & not getting too serious.

We raced as “One Design” for years, then used the Canadian RC H`cp rules to give the slower boats a chance of a Trophy/Prize

Most days we had prizes of Wine Bottles with special (Humorous) labels. Prizes for “Mug of the Day” for the best disaster (Malcolm or Jim usually won it when they fell in the drink off our floating Boat Launching Platform nearly every time we sailed) Silly Prizes for “last place”.

If the winner received a bottle of wine, last place usually got a Can of Coke or a Stubby with a suitable label.

And the highlight of each AGM was the Annual “Snorkel Award” usually a Poem and special prize for the disaster of the year (also printed in the Addy).

What Happened?

After a few years new members and some slow novices tried to purchase faster boats i.e.: Catamarans, MH`s, 10 R, A class, etc. We ended up with a multitude of different Boats and the Racing and especially the handicapping became a nightmare

Lots of arguments and several clashes of personalities started (e.g. Radio`s smashed on the ground etc and we soon learned yelling and complaining about different boats Handicaps and sailing rules etc) which is the best way to destroy a club. I can list about 15-20 good members we lost for this reason

At one stage, an Extraordinary General Meeting was called to wind up the club. Fortunately, Ken saved the day and we managed to continue.

Ray Mackay bought back an IOM from Qld and it sailed very nicely. So Jim Robinson purchased a hull from a builder in QLD What Luck (we called it the “ORCA”)

It sailed very well so I purchased one, Ian, Noel, Tony, Malcolm and a few others did so as well so we started with a fleet of 9x “ONE DESIGN” Club IOM`s" ( we even purchased the Mold sometime later). [Editor's note: hulls from that mold are still racing, and winning, now called the Orka, due to another design named Orca]

For several Years we raced a fleet of Identical IOM`s all with Ken Dobbie Sails etc.

We raced a division of IOM`s and a B Div of Odds and Sods. Sanity returned and the Club grew to an active Social Happy group again, Not too serious Sailing Club, with a membership of around 30

Another happy few years went by and some new & old members who were not winning wanted faster Boats to compensate for their lack of experience or skill so our “ONE DESIGN” IOM Policy went out the window and we were back to members purchasing expensive, more modern designs which were faster IOMS.

The existing One Design Fleet of older yachts could not compete. With the new more expensive more modern boats being purchase and constructed. [Editor's note: hulls from that original mold are still racing, and winning, now called the "Orka", due to another design named Orca]

Resignations occurred and we reverted to the fastest boat over the fastest (most skilled) Sailor. The old serious “Have to win at all costs” even out and out cheating occurred. Arguing over rules etc returned.

Graham Veal tried to go back to the One Design philosophy by designing the “BUDGIE”.  Quite a few were built (I built 2) and they sailed well, but the cat was out of the bag and it failed to stop the IOM (Development Class) of club Yacht, so more resigned from the club


Our little club has a smaller membership now. Our fleet is a mixture of different design IOM`s [majority], Budgies,1.5`s, Marblehead and off the shelf rc yachts, etc

In my opinion, we still take the “Racing” too seriously (raised voices, the odd rule arguments and the old win at all costs is still present) even when new novice sailors are in the fleet they are not coached like we did in the “Old Days” All Novice sailors flew a BLUE PENNANT so sailors could identify them and explain the rules (No use screaming 'Starboard' at someone who doesn’t know what you are yelling about?)

3 - 4 years ago a group of members who were not very happy with the way the club was going decided to have one or two days a month to go back to the old days of “Just Playing Boats”, building yachts and other types of craft like Steam, Electric boats etc and started "Newlands Arm Group Sailors" (NAGS). “Playing boats Days” have been a great success (just like the old days at Nicho). We have a monthly BBQ, Playday with any sort of RC Boats or Yachts, invite visitors, No serious racing etc. All of this is how and the reason we formed the Club 17 years ago.

Bob Moore