View of the stern, heading towards land.

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Dinner 2015

First Annual RHYC Hall of Fame Dinner 
May 2, 2015 

What a magnificent evening at RHYC! A sold-out audience of almost 100 members and guests applauded the inaugural induction of four prominent past and present members into the newly initiated Royal Hamilton Yacht Club Hall of Fame. The evening opened with a cocktail party with club members mingling with the inductees and the many out of town guests.

Commodore Michael Cox opened the formal part of the evening with a welcoming speech thanking the Hall of Fame Steering Committee of Rob Mazza, Colin Jacobs, Rolf Essig, and Joan Lumsden. Emphasizing the importance of honouring greatness, Michael referred to all four inductees saying “Their shared narratives are woven into the living legacy of the club’s values, myths and folklore. They are a large part of what makes RHYC the great club that it is and their unique stories of personal self-determination, commitment and achievement breathe life into the club’s culture to motivate us all to be all we can be.”  

Following the toast to the Queen and Sailors Everywhere, Master of Ceremonies Rob Mazza than took the podium to thank all those attending, and to point out that our four inductees span the whole 127 year of the history of RHYC, and the one thing they had in common was that they all learned to sail as youngsters on that body of water known variously as Burlington Bay, Hamilton Harbour, and even Hamilton Bay. Mazza than also acknowledged the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and the great work done in the past by Colin Jacobs and Rolf Essig, and Kathy Dyer and Paul Draper in preserving and displaying the achievements of a number of past club members. 

Mazza than introduced the people to be honoured starting with Nadia Jarvis and her daughter Stacy Jenkins who would be receiving the Induction on behalf of Stacy’s great grandfather, Æmilius Jarvis. This was followed by the introduction of John and Sue Robertson, and their daughters Elizabeth and Jane.  John would be receiving both his own and his father’s induction. Don and Sandy Green were then introduced, along with Don’s son Steve and grandson Michael.  Other special guests in the audience included George and Helen Cuthbertson, Rob Ball (who travelled up from Massachusetts for this event) and his son Dayton, Steve and Marg Killing, Queen City Yacht Club Commodore Ron Mazza and his wife Pam, Past Commodore Wayne Mullins of NYC, Evergreen crew members Jim Talmage, Ron Barr, and Fred Rowell, as well as John Robertson’s Int’l 14’ dinghy crew Mike Dale. Other guests included John Bobyk, Mike Vollmer, past RHYC 14 sailors Ron Ormiston and Dennis Toews, with a special acknowledgement of Hugh and Sue Brown who had travelled down from Midland for this event. 

Throughout the evening a slide show illustrating the sailing careers of all four Inductees was shown, and a shorter slide show, coordinated with the Induction speeches, was shown to illustrate the accomplishments of each Inductee, 

Colin Jacob’s read the official induction of Æmilius Jarvis, stressing that it was Jarvis 20 years of sailing on Hamilton Bay starting at the age of 10, then with Tar Pot at 12, then Saunterer at 13,and Annie Cuthbert at 14. After returning at 18 from two years at sea, sailing `before the mast`` to England, the Mediterranean, and Brazil, Jarvis campaignedCacique, and designed and had built   Whistlewing, Samoa. Chaperone I &II, and Viper, with his greatest success coming in the Cuthbert built White Wings. This sailing success led to his organizing the establishment of the Hamilton Yacht Club in 1888. Jarvis would leave Hamilton in 1890 to take a promotion with the Bank in Toronto, from where he would go on to win the first races for the Canada`s Cup in 1896, and race in every contest after that save one, up to 1907, and become three time Commodore of RCYC. 

Nadia Jarvis thanked RHYC for this honour and presented the club with a framed letter on Hamilton Yacht Club stationary dated November 8th, 1890 from EH Ambrose to the membership requesting subscriptions to buy “Captain Jarvis” a gift before he left the city, “in recognition of the valuable services he has rendered the yacht club and the sailing interests of Hamilton generally”. Nadia mentioned that this gift was a gold repeater pocket watch which Jarvis treasured his entire life.

Past Commodore Paul Vayda then read the induction of Norman Robertson, emphasising Robertson’s early 16’ dinghy sailing with his brother Archie, his campaigning of the 25’ Whirl, especially in the storm tossed first ever Freeman Cup race from Hamilton to Kingston in 1921, his ownership of the 1907 Canada’s Cup contender Crusader, and his purchase for $200 and complete rebuilding and conversion to a schooner of the 60’ steel cutter Vreda, as well his ownership in partnership with Colin Dunbar and Hugh Brown, Sr., of the Herreshoff designed and built P-Boat Nutmeg III. Paul also detailed Robertson’s selection as the first ever Canadian Olympic sailor, beating out the best sailors on Lake Ontario for that honour.

Past Commodore Rolf Essig then inducted John Robertson into the RHYC Hall of Fame, detailing John’s early sailing on the Bay in a boat built by his father, his first Snipe Little Nutmeg, and then a Lightning, Rhoda (named in honour of his Mother),  built by Morris Boatworks in Hamilton, financed by the sale of his Father’s Nutmeg III. John sailed in both the 1948 London Olympics and the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the two man Swallow class, then the three man Dragon. After marrying Sue and starting a career he returned to sailing in the International 14s, representing Canada on three International Teams in 1967, 1971, and 1975, and winning most every CDA trophy, some multiple times. John had already been inducted into the Canadian Fourteen Foot Dinghy Hall of Fame. After his “retirement” from racing John and Sue bought an early Nonsuch 30, Such ‘n Such, which they cruised extensively for fifteen years. John has built six boats in his basement, with the latest emerging only a month ago. 

In his thank you speech on behalf of both he and his father, John stressed the importance of his father and his wife Sue to his sailing success, as well as his daughters. John also stressed the importance of a good crew in the success of any racing program, asking Mike Dale to stand and be recognized. 

Past Commodore Russ Perry, after a short 7th inning stretch, read the induction of Don Green, starting from Don’s early days of sailing on the Bay with his father Victor, followed by Don’s eighteen month circumnavigation at the age of 18 as the youngest member of Irving Johnson’s crew aboard the Brigantine Yankee. Don’s reintroduction to racing was through his children and the members of the RHYC Junior Sailing program aboard Motivation I and II, which led to his 1978 Canada’s Cup challenge and victory in Evergreen, his campaigning of Evergreen in the 1979 Admirals’ Cup racing in England which included surviving the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race, as well Don`s campaign for the 1986 America’s Cup with the Steve Killing designed 12 Metre True North, and his later SORC racing in the Frers’ designed Evergreen II. 

In his acceptance speech, Don too thanked his family for their support and enthusiasm, and took the time to ask each of his Evergreen crew who were present to stand to be recognized. 

At the end of the evening, Rob Mazza thanked all for attending and initiating what will be a continuing program to honour those who have brought significant recognition and prestige to the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club over the club’s long and illustrious history. It was a truly memourable evening celebrating the exceptional history of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and all its members over the entire span of the club. Special thanks were extended to Lize Lance and Tim Stephenson, and their whole RHYC team who produced and served an exceptionally fine meal to almost 100 people in very short order and good honour. 

2015 Hall of Fame Dinner
Emilius Jarvis Biography
Don Green Biography
John Robertson Biography
Norm Robertson Biography