The PDSC Story

(by Claude Darwen, life Member, Trustee, Commodore 1952-1976)

Opening Day of P.D.S.C Sailing Season 1918 

Boats, left to right: Faith, Reliance, Denisona, Gulnare, Irene and Ruby. 


The first authentic record of Sailing on Port Denison was the appearance of the Santa Barbara, a 24-ton sailing schooner in which Captain H. D. Sinclair discovered the harbour in October 1859. (Ironically, he was drowned during a sailing race on Townsville's Clevland Bay on March 17th, 1869). 

From the settlement of Bowen in April 1861 to 1864, there remain no written records discoverable of any sailing contests.  However, the sport must have taken root here very early in the history of the town, because the Bowen Regatta Club was formed with Mr. Ellis Read as Secretary on 1st January, 1864, surely one of the first, if not the very first, sailing club in Queensland. 


First Race

The first recorded race was held on 2nd January, 1865 and was open to all sailing boats. This was won by the Pilot Boat, described as a whaleboat with a big sail.  The Regatta Club continued to function and there is a recorded meeting on 22nd May 1865.  The next race was held on the occasion of Governor Bowen's visit to the township on 12th October 1865.  This was open to all sailing boats.  Prize money was £15 first and £2-10s-0d second and the placings were filled by Capt. Emmerson's Marian and Mr. Schofield's Etta.


Around Stone Island

The fifth anniversary of Bowen's foundation on April 12th 1866 was the occasion of a more ambitious Regatta under the auspices of the Mayor, Aldermen and original settlers.  The first race was for all first-class boats.  Starters were Mr. Walton's North Star, Messrs Heron and Mason's Peri, Capt. Emmerson's Lizzie,  Messrs Wooster and Heath's Martha, Mr. Bell's Montmorency and Marion.  The course was through the North Channel, around Stone Island and finish at the jetty.  The winner was North Star which won by one hour.  This race marked the first appearance of the name of Tom Heron in Bowen sailing circles, a name that still appears in the P.D.S.C. in the person of Roy Heron, now deceased, the third generation to follow sailing here. The second race was for all open sailing boats and was won by Capt. Emmerson's Lizzie from Montmorency' Peri and Capt. Bugden's Gossip.  The latter capised and sank during the race but was luckily recovered the next day.


Match Race

In spite of depression which commenced at Bowen in 1866, the following years did to produce an occasional Regatta. St. Andrew's Day, 30th November, 1868, was the occasion of the next one,

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