Vaucluse Yacht Club

Sydney, Australia | C.1936

Photo Credit: @herethereandhome

The Vaucluse Yacht Club is located in the harbor side suburb of Watsons Bay in Sydney, Australia and was the first club to race the Vee-Jay and Vee-Ess sailing vessels. Today they are a continuous force in the sailing community and offer highly competitive racing in the Sydney Harbor.

The Club essentially began in 1930, when Sydney’s leading Gun Smith Sil Rohu and Navel draftsman Charles Sparrow designed the first Vee-Jays – short for Vaucluse Junior – which was a sailing vessel designed to be sailed by two people under the age of 17.

The Vaucluse Amateur Sailing Association (V.A.S.A.) was established in 1932, shortly after the Vee-Jays were launched. This was the same year that the Sydney Harbor Bridge was opened. Members helped to build the first Vee-Jay prototype dubbed the “Splinter” to test their new sailing vessel on the water.

The Vee-Jays were smaller dinghy’s and soon V.A.S.A. found there was demand for a father-son boat. Charles Sparrow took to the drawing board and designed the Vee-Ess – short for Vaucluse Senior – in 1936 which was 3.5 feet longer than the Vee-Jay and could hold a crew of three people over the age of 18.

Members of V.A.S.A. originally had their Vee-Jays and Vee-Ess stored in “McKlellans” boat shed at the south end of Kutti Beach when they weren’t racing. However, V.A.S.A. soon outgrew McKlellans, and the “Vaucluse Amateur Sailing Association (Vaucluse Branch)” was opened in October 1939 to house the existing fleet in Marine Parade by Eric Harrison – the Postmaster General at the time.

By 1940, a fleet of 44 vessels were racing out of the club, with an active membership in excess of 100. Shortly after World War II, one hundred Vee-Esses were built in Sydney and shipped to Japan for use by the Australian Occupation Forces.

Advancing technology created faster boats over the years, and the Vee-Jays and Vee-Esses were finally retired from the V.A.S.A. fleet in 1972. Today the Yacht Club continues to hold competitive racing and training, but they now race in small one-man skiffs known lasers, and larger yachts.

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