Welcome to this first edition of Southern Cross Yachting Enews for 2017. And what a special year it is for us here at Southern Cross.
1997. John Howard is Prime Minister, Rob Borbidge is Premier of Queensland, and US President Bill Clinton has a young intern called Monica Lewinsky working in his office. Mobile phones were used only for phone calls, and a text was something found in a book. The internet was only for freaks and geeks, and the Apple Corporation was only saved from bankruptcy by an injection of cash from Microsoft. Businesses’ advertised in magazines and the yellow pages, and we only ‘searched’ for things that we had misplaced. The films ‘The Castle’ and ‘Titanic’ were released, Mark Taylor captained the Australian team to its 5th successive Ashes victory, and the Kerry Packer inspired Super League split Rugby League into two competitions. Michael Hutchinson and Princess Diana both passed away, and the Simpsons surpassed the Flintstones as the animated TV show with the most episodes ever.
In yachting that year, Tony Bullimore was plucked from deep in the Southern Oceans by the Royal Australian Navy after capsizing in the Around Alone race, Brindabella took line honours in the Sydney to Hobart with Beau Geste winning over all. Amazon took line honours in the 48th Brisbane to Gladstone race with No Fear taking out the Courier Mail cup for 1st overall. Our oldest son Bill was born, and he is now in the third year of his University degree.
And, Southern Cross Yachting opened its doors for business! Yes folks, this is our 20th year in business and we are extremely proud of this fact.
We launched the business at the Brisbane Boat Show and our first training boat was a Sonata 6.7.
Since then we have generated some interesting statistics.
Over the past 20 years we have trained over 12000 students, our yachts have sailed over 150 000 miles (the equivalent of 5 circumnavigations) and we are now the largest RYA school in Australia by certificate issue and in the top 15 on Earth.
Jenny has prepared over 20 000 individual meals for the live-aboard courses in that time.
When I think back to those early days – the office and class room were under the house, we did 5 day courses on an Adams 10 and both Jenny and I would work around 90 hours a week, with two toddlers ‘helping’! Class room theory courses were big back then – we taught Day Skipper on Tuesday nights and Coastal Skipper on Thursday nights on continuous loop – 3 semesters a year. We also did 5 day intensive theory course about 10 times each year, often with up to 20 students on each. I could literally teach these courses in my sleep and as these courses are now delivered completely online, I can now sleep whilst they are being delivered!
How times have changed. In 2003 we became the first school to become accredited by the RYA in Australia and I became the country’s first RYA yachtmaster examiner. This opened the door to international students and for many years some 60% of our students were from the UK with all other nationalities represented. An Aussie on board was a rare thing back then.
So it is with some pride that we look back on what we have achieved. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the staff that have worked for us over the years particularly to long time employees Ken Sleight, Steve Crocket and of course Di O’Donnell who has managed the office for some time now – and still laughs at my jokes. A special mention to skipper Phil Lester who, despite attempting to retire on no less than 3 occasions, still skippers regularly for us after 15 years.
The greatest pleasure has come from watching what so many of our students have gone on to achieve – circumnavigating on their own boats, becoming full time live-aboard cruisers, winning the Clipper Round the World yacht race, podium places in the Sydney to Hobart, forging careers in the Superyacht Industry or just enjoying their spare time afloat. To be able to assist people in achieving their goals and living their lives to the fullest is truly an honour and a pleasure.
Two of our first students, Laurie Jenson and Carolyn Ross remain close friends to this day, as do many others.
So I want to thank each and every one of you that have supported the school over the past 20 years.
I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to have had a career doing what I love. This year will see several 20 year anniversary events so stay tuned to our newsletter for more information, but in the meantime…. we have 2 spaces available on our Introduction to Sailing course on Friday 17/3/17, or for those wanting some intensive parking and berthing practice, we have spaces available on our upcoming Boat Handling course this Sunday 12/3/17. Contact the office on 3396 4100 to reserve your spot.
That’s all for this edition.
Until next time stay young.
Cheers Mike Job.