Sailing became a very popular holiday activity around Port Phillip Bay in the early 1960s. Clubs were already established at McCrae and Mt Martha, but at Safety Beach the informal off-the-beach races held there became regularly organised only after a group of enthusiasts met during the Australia Day long weekend 30th January1967. A steering committee of six members was elected from seventeen interested people at that time, and by February 1967 a public meeting on the beachfront attracted approximately fifty people who paid one dollar each (fifty cents for children) to adopt the first Safety Beach Sailing Club constitution, based on a model document kindly provided by Mt Martha Yacht Club.
At that 1967 public meeting a Safety Beach Sailing Club Committee of eight officers was unanimously elected with Dr Roy Bean as the founding Commodore. A Club newsletter was later circulated to subscribing sailors noting the first racing calendar, sailing rules and future club goals for the following summer season. We had no premises or equipment to begin with, but soon arranged storage for marker buoys, etc., in Ray Cooper’s Boat Hire sheds near Tassels Creek, where a small motorboat was rented at low rates to lay course buoys and act as a rescue vessel. Alongside the Boat Hire sheds, our club members soon erected a scaffold ’control tower’ that had ladder up to an open deck of planks for two chairs and table for the Race Officer to keep a watch on the fleet, fly signal flags and start races. During the first season of 1967-68 there were 38 official races organised for 66 members’ yachts comprising 26 Mirrors, 27 mixed monohulls and 13 catamarans.
Sixty to seventy people often came along to our early races and family meetings at Safety Beach, so the Flinders Shire Council and Port Phillip Authority became interested our request for some beachfront land. We eventually were granted a block of land adjacent to Tassels Creek to store yachts and other equipment behind a fenced enclosure. It took many meetings and fundraising efforts before a small building for a toilet, storing spars and a roofed control tower could be erected on the site between 1970 and 1971.
In 1974 an S.B.S.Club Co-Operative was formed by members and funding arranged to build the foundation clubhouse that opened in 1976 and served the members for the next thirty years without major alterations. By 1990 the Co-Op Loan was repaid and the Co-Op dissolved.
The Club activities grew in size and boasted large fleets of Mirrors, Paper Tigers, Mosquitos, 145′s, Sabres and several other classes of off-the-beach sailing dinghies and multihulls.
The Clubhouse building was dramatically expanded in 2006-07 to meet the new expectations generated by Martha Cove Marina’s huge housing development abutting our superb bayside location. Large keel boats safely berthed in the Marina quickly became members of Safety Beach Sailing Club, and this new fleet added a greater variety of sailing opportunities for all Club members and their families. Female participation in all yachting activities has also grown with special coaching days and family-friendly social events. In addition, the Club is respected among various interstate sailing groups for efficiently organising State and National Titles for many classes of yachts.
Our record of skilled sailors in this Club over the past fifty years has given keen competition to highly qualified racing enthusiasts from around the world, as well as providing safety standards and tuition for beginners of all ages. Come and pay us a visit, as a sailor or social member. You will find us ready to welcome you to a lifetime of sport and entertainment in a unique part of the delightful Mornington Peninsula.
A 290-page illustrated book detailing Safety Beach Sailing Club’s history was published for our 50th Anniversary in 2018. It is called S.B.S.C LOG BOOK 1967 to 2017 by Tom McCullough. Copies are available from the Club to purchase, or loans may be arranged from the Victorian State and local libraries (ISBN 978-0-646-96722-6).