SHAG ISLET CRUISING YACHT CLUB PREPARES FOR ANNUAL RENDEZVOUS
THE story of how the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) first formed, is something its founder Ken Thackeray says “you couldn’t have written a script for”.
It was early 2009 and Mr Thackeray, a cruising yachtie with an affinity for the Whitsundays, was in New Zealand, with his then partner and now wife, Rhonda Thackeray.
The couple wanted to visit the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to peruse over memorabilia from the America’s Cup, but despite Mr Thackeray’s suit and tie, their lack of membership to a reciprocal yacht club meant that access was denied.
A couple of weeks later, Mr Thack- eray was sitting on the beach at Montes in the Gloucester Passage, recounting the tale to an old ex-army mate. As the conversation deepened, the idea for an “exclusively non-exclusive” yacht club was formed.
The SICYC, named after Shag Islet, which Mr Thackeray was looking out on at the time, is a virtual yacht club, stripped of traditional hierarchy and connection to a physical clubhouse.
Its members are a group of yachties who are big on fun but low on pretence and have turned the traditions of bricks and mortar yacht club membership upside down.
The club has no commodore, but every member is a ‘vice commodore’ of the nautical location of their choice, about which they have some knowledge and are willing to share advice.
Having joined the club for a one-off $50 payment, there is no annual membership fee. All vice commodores are given life membership cards as well as discounts from a growing number of businesses that support the club.
From its humble beginnings, the SICYC now has 3202 members from 14 nations worldwide.
Mr Thackeray describes it as a great social network for cruising yachties.
“And because we’re not geographically bound, wherever the burgee is, that’s where the club is,” he said.
The club has also evolved into a major supporter of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, donating more than $82,000 to date.
Ironically, Mr Thackeray has been invited to the prestigious Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, to present the cheque for this year’s donated funds. “So the worm’s turned,” he joked. For more information, or to join the club, visit www.sicyc.org.
SPIRITUAL HOME: Local SICYC member Phil Solomon standing on Shag Islet, the SICYC's spiritual home, at a previous club rendezvous.
EXCLUSIVELY NON-EXCLUSIVE: SICYC founder Ken Thackeray has created a club that's effectively turned bricks and mortar style yacht club membership totally on its head.