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A Final Farewell from the Secretary

posted Jul 4, 2018, 4:12 AM by David Churchward

Gwen and I arrived in Nowra in mid 1986 which was a return to my home town after leaving 25 years earlier to go to boarding school. From school I attended the University of Sydney and then joined the Soil Conservation Service with postings around country New South Wales. 

I had kept in reasonably close contact with my family and friends in Nowra and knew of the establishment of the JBCYC in 1970. I enjoyed occasional sailing with the Dallaway family on “Osprey” during the early 1970’s. 

In 1986, the number of vessels moored at Callala Bay and in Currambene Creek was substantially less than the current numbers. I purchased an old Roberts 24 yacht “Bintani” in partnership with my friend Bruce McLaughlin and participated in Club races from 1987 onwards. 

In 1987, the Commodore was Tony Lewis who held that position for five years. I was Vice Commodore in 1987 which was a steep learning experience. We had a handicapper at that stage so I was able to share decisions with the Sailing Committee. The next year, I became Club Secretary which was a position I felt more comfortable with. During the 1980’s, the Committee had monthly meetings at the old White Ensign Club in Bridge Road, Nowra. Many members had an affiliation with the Navy so that worked well. 

In 1990, I sold “Bintani” and purchased “La Paloma”, a Clansman 30 which was a fine yacht and a big step up for me. However, the early 1990s coincided with children being born and resulted in the yacht being sold due to family commitments. I stayed as Secretary until 1993 and then left the Committee for seven years. 

The Club struggled during the 1990’s with the emergence of the JBSC which offered a keelboat division. There was also a lack of leadership in our Club and some headstrong members which resulted in disagreements and arguments. 

In 1999, Peter Dallaway returned to Nowra after many years overseas and shortly afterwards, Tony Byrnes discovered sailing. They brought fresh enthusiasm to the Club and joined the Committee. 

In 1999, I became Club Commodore and was determined to set the Club back on track to success. I stayed as Commodore for six years ably assisted by a good Committee. During these years, I wrote and distributed 60 newsletters to members at the rate of eight per year. In 2005, I stepped down as Commodore in favour of Peter Dallaway and again commenced the supporting role of Secretary. 

Peter was Commodore for two years followed by Tony Byrnes for three years. The Club had turned itself around with many new members, more yachts and more social occasions. 

I have now been Secretary for six Commodores; Tony Lewis, Peter Dallaway, Tony Byrnes, Mark Tobin, Shane Firkin and David Churchward. They were all dedicated, worked hard and were successful in their leadership of the Club. They were all different which is not a bad thing as they each brought something new to the role. 

Most of the Committee from last year is staying on and I think now is the right time for me to step back from the leadership group in the Club and let someone else take on the role. 

I intend to stay in the Club and have my yacht “Double Time” ready for next season. 

Peter Cowman

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