Hall of Fame

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
Don Green
John Robertson
Norm Robertson

2018 RHYC Hall of Fame

Dinner and Inductions
Saturday, November 24th

On the evening of Saturday, November 24th, five remarkable RHYC members, past and present, were inducted into the RHYC Hall of Fame at a sold out dinner in the Champions Room. The five inductees were;

This was the second series of inductions into the RHYC Hall of Fame, with the first taking place at the club three years previous.  On that date the club inducted Æmilius Jarvis, Norm Robertson, John Robertson, and Commodore Don Green. We were indeed fortunate that both John Robertson and Don Green could join us for this second induction ceremony. 

The evening opened with Master of Ceremonies, and Chairman of the Heritage Committee, Rob Mazza welcoming club members and our many guests. Rob then introducing Commodore Jan Graves-Passmore to perform the traditional toasts, and to say a few additional words of welcome.

Rob returned to the microphone to highlight the large number of guests present that evening, honouring specific Inductees. There were two full tables of Harry Greening descendants, comprising four grandchildren (including club member Vicki Inness-Wondergem), and three great grandchildren (including club member Kelly Arnott). There was also a full table of Bill Cheek’s family, including club member Gerri Staples, and another full table of Scotts, including Larry and Susie, Ryan, and brother Rick.

Mazza emphasized that there are few sailing clubs on Lake Ontario, and even in Canada, that can match the achievements of RHYC members on a national or international level.
The permanent display of the Hall of Fame Members, mounted in a window in the Evergreen Lounge, was also open for viewing by club members on that evening,. The plaques honour our current nine Hall of Fame members, with room for an additional fourteen more, before we have to also occupy the second window in this room.

Mazza, in his introductory remarks, highlighted the multi-generational family nature of all five of our current round of inductees, with each representing an RHYC family. Harry Greening’s father was one of the founding members of RHYC in 1888, and his granddaughter, Vicki Innes-Wondergem, and great granddaughter Kelly Arnott are current members of RHYC.  Dick and Larry Scott are father and son inductees, as were Norm and John Robertson in the first round of inductions. Larry’s brother Ryan is also an active and involved member of RHYC, aned accepted Dick Scott’s inducvtion on behalf of the family. Bill Cheek’s daughter Gerri Stables carries on as an RHYC member, and Marty Essig’s parents Rolf and Betty are still extremely active in the Optimist program at RHYC that they started in the mid 1980s with other club parents. Previus inductee Don Green’s father was also a member of RHYC, as is Don’s son Steve and grandson Michael.  Mazza pointed out that family multi-generational memberships to RHYC are common, with such families as the Perrys, Browns, Blandfords, Crowders, Nelsons, Broe-Vaydas, Hynds, Metcalfes, Woods, and many more still active at RHYC. Indeed the goal of the club should be to continue to create these multi-generational memberships with all new members.  Mazza also pointed out that one common element in all these multi-generational family memberships was, and still is, the involvement in Junior Sailing.

The inductees spanned over 100 years of club history, through four clubhouses, and were inducted chronologically.

Special thanks to Heritage Committee members Barb and Paul Stoskopf, and Debbie Levo, for all their efforts in planning the dinner and organizing the permanent HOF display, as well as to Za Mazza for the flowers on each table, and Bob and Debbie Levo for the club burgee on each table. An extra special thanks, as well, to Joan and Chris McCormack for the phenomenal photos of the evening. It is important that these inductions are preserved for posterity.

Special thanks to General Manager, Katrina Lewis, Bar Manager Carolyn Eaton, Chef Bruce Morris,  and all the excellent bar and service staff for producing and promptly delivering a superb beef tournedos dinner. 

Thanks as well to Watson’s Engraving of Dundas for the production and mounting the display and presentation plaques. The longer biographies of all RHYC Hall of Fame Members will be available on the club website.
MC Rob Mazza, Chairman of the Heritage Committee, introduced the
presenters for each of the five Inductees.
  Stan Chambers, presenter for Dick Scott, with Dick’s son Ryan
and Commodore Jan Graves-Passmore.
Presenter Tom Dunmore with Harry Greening’s granddaughter Vicki Innes-Wondergem, and great granddaughter Kelly Arnott (both club members) with Commodore Jan Graves-Passmore.
  Vicki and Kelly with Harry Greening’s plaque and the Lipton Trophy, which Harry
won in 1928 for the North American powerboat racing championship.
Commodore Don Green inducted Bill Cheek. Bill’s plaque was presented to his daughter
Gerri Staples by Commodore Jan Graves-Passmore.
  John Finch inducted Larry Scott, with help from Ted Hains (not pictured).
Dot Blandford inducted Marty Essig, with the plaque presented to Marty’s parents
Rolf and Betty Essig by Commodore Jan Graves-Passmore.
  Inductors and Inductees gather for a group portrait in the Evergreen Lounge after dinner. Back row, left to right – Stan Chambers, Tom Dunmore, Dot Blandford, MC Rob Mazza, Betty and Rolf Essig, Commodore Don Green, John Finch, Ted Hains. Front row, left to right – Ryan Scott, Vicki Innes-Wondergren, Kelly Arnott, Larry Scott, Gerri Staples.

Harry Greening
Dick Scott
Bill Cheek
Larry Scott
Marty Essig

In Memory of Donald Green

1929 - 2019

Donald M. Green, one of Canada’s most successful offshore sailors and a key figure in its America’s Cup campaigns of the 1980s, has died at the age of 86. He had been inducted in the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame in August of 2018. Among many civic distinctions Don received, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1980, the nation’s most significant civilian honour. “As well as being extremely active in community endeavours,” the office of the Governor-General notes of his membership, “he has brought honour to the country as a yachtsman, winning the Canada's Cup in 1978 with his racing yacht Evergreen.”
Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1932, Don Green was a graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic University in mechanical engineering and enjoyed business success as the chairman and CEO of Tridon, an auto-parts company headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, where he made his home. He grew up sailing at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. As a teen in 1951, Don sailed around the world on Irving Johnson’s 96-foot brigantine Yankee and published a book on his experiences, White Wings Around the World. At the RHYC, Don developed a reputation as a skilled club racer, and was campaigning a C&C 36 when he decided to mount a challenge through the RHYC for the 1978 Canada’s Cup, the match racing competition between Canadian and American yacht clubs on the Great Lakes. The trophy had been contested since 1896, and no Canadian club other than the Royal Canadian Yacht Club of Toronto had participated. The trophy was held by Bayview Yacht Club of Detroit, which had won the contest in 1972 and successfully defended against an RCYC challenger on Lake St. Clair in 1975.
Don approached C&C Yachts of Oakville, Ontario, to design and build his challenger, christened Evergreen. As in the previous series, the contest would be held in IOR Two Tonners, which were about 41 feet long. He gave the design department carte blanche to come up with a yacht that could win a match-race competition in predominantly light winds on Lake St. Clair. Many of her innovative features would soon be outlawed or made prohibitive by changes to the IOR, which made Evergreen one of the most technically advanced keelboats for some time. A young design team led by Rob Ball, which included Steve Killing and Rob Mazza, responded with a radical design with a gybing daggerboard and tiller steering. Green recruited Californian Lowell North of North Sails to sail aboard her as well, and to provide the sail inventory, which included one of the earliest Mylar sails in keelboat competition, a “garbage bag green” genoa. Steve Killing served as bowman and C&C project manager John Fitzpatrick was on board as mainsheet trimmer. The crew otherwise was mainly comprised of club sailors from Hamilton, and included a teenager, Allan Megarry, who occasionally spared off Don at the helm and would go on to be a headsail trimmer in two Canadian America’s Cup programs. The Evergreen program also proved to be the launch of the career of Don’s teenaged daughter Sharon as an internationally renowned marine photographer.
Unusual for this level of competition was the fact that in addition to being the owner, Don served as skipper and helmsman, accepting the challenge of steering a complex design in a match competition that involved sailing’s elites. To reach the finals, Evergreen first had to win the Canadian challenge trials against two RCYC contenders. One was Mia VI, a new Scott Kaufmann daggerboarder owned by Paul Phelan and helmed by Olympian and sailmaker Hans Fogh. The other was a veteran German Frers design, ImpetusEvergreen prevailed convincingly over both.
In the finals in September 1978, Don and Evergreen faced Agape, a new Ron Holland design that had been converted during the American selection trials from a daggerboard to a fixed keel. The points-based series awarded one point for course wins, one point for its middle distance race, and two points for its long distance race. Evergreen won the first two course races, to go up 2-0, then had to retire from the middle-distance race when a grounding tore off the lead shoe on the daggerboard. She was leading the long-distance race when a chainplate broke, causing her dismasting. Now behind 3-2, Don would have to win two back-to-back course races to secure the trophy, which he did, in an at times acrimonious conclusion to the series. BYC officials had a hard time believing that Don was actually steering Evergreen, and monitored her closely to be sure tactician Tim Stearn, an American, never had a hand on the tiller, in contravention of the nationality regulations of the contest..
Back home in Hamilton, Don served as commodore of the RHYC in 1978-79. Evergreen was part of Canada’s 1979 Admiral’s Cup team, again with Don as skipper. Changes to the IOR that were designed to discourage further daggerboard designs caused Evergreen to be converted to a fixed keel. The Fastnet Race in that Admiral’s Cup was marred by a storm that claimed the lives of 15 competitors. While Evergreen did not complete the course, Don brought Evergreen and her crew safely back to harbour from the carnage in the Irish Sea.
After the 1979 Admiral’s Cup, Don sold Evergreen to a buyer in Long Island. Her ultimate fate has never been fully determined and it is thought that she probably ended her career stripped and chainsawed for disposal. Don’s next yacht, Evergreen II, was a 45-foot German Frers design that he campaigned very successfully offshore.
In 1982, Don was brought into the Canada 1 challenge for the 1983 America’s Cup as an advisor on sails. Around this time, he became involved in the sailmaking business, playing a role in bringing Hans Fogh and his Toronto loft into the North Sails system and serving as a director of North Sails Fogh Ltd. Canada 1, designed by Bruce Kirby and assistant Steve Killing, reached the semi-finals of the challengers’ trials. After Australia II’s victory in 1983, Don mounted one of two Canadian challenges for the 1987 series in Perth. The True North syndicate secured Steve Killing as designer, Jeff Boyd (tactician of Canada 1) as skipper, and Terry McLaughlin (skipper of Canada 1) and Hans Fogh as helmsmen. A two-boat program was launched. True North I finished sixth in the 1986 12 Metre Worlds in Perth. True North II was under construction when a lack of sponsorship funds forced the her to be left unfinished and Canada’s two challenge programs to merge. Canada II, a revamped Canada 1, was chosen as the Canadian challenger.
Don was an outstanding competitive sailor with a strong commitment, on and off the water, to technology and scientific research as foundations of competitive advantage. He served as chair of Innovation Ontario Corporation from 1986 to 1982 and as governor of Ortech, the Ontario Research Corporation, from 1974 to 1984. In addition to a wide number of corporate directorships, Don gave generously of his time to public service. To name just a few roles he played, he was a governor of the Olympic Trust of Canada, president of the Greater Hamilton YMCA, founding chair of the Hamilton District Health Council, chair of Hamilton Civil Hospitals and its school of nursing,  a director of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and chair of the board of governors of McMaster University, from which he received an honorary doctorate of laws in 2008. Don is survived by his wife Sandy, his son Stephen (Christine), daughter Sharon (Brad) and grandchildren Michaela, Michael, Kieran and Rachel.
In lieu of flowers the family encourages donations to the Able Sail or Junior Sailing program at RHYC. 

Timely Display of a 1912 Great Lakes Power Boat Trophy

The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club is not short of trophies that illustrate the phenomenal history of this club. Our oldest dates back to 1892! Perhaps that is one reason that people occasionally reach out to us with trophies that they find that add to and reflect that long history. Recently that was the case with the donation of the Bill Judd Memorial trophy as detailed in a previous article in Horizons, and featured by Jeff Mahoney in a Hamilton Spectator article.
It is RHYC’s long history that prompted Sylvie Sohn to contact us with regard to a trophy that 7 year old Kaden Klatt found while perusing the Barry’s Bay dump with his grandfather Bart Klatt. Bart lives in Barry’s Bay, but Kaden was visiting from his parents’ home in Sudbury. Bart is Sylvie’s cousin, and it is Sylvie who set out to find the background on this find. 
Sylvie wrote us saying, with regard to Bart and Kaden, “They both share a passion for old tractors and antiques.  3yr ago Kaden was with his grandpa at the dump and pointed to this dull upside down article that looked like a big bowl. Grandpa retrieved it from the scrap pile and Kaden took it to the garage where it stayed for a few years.  Last summer Kaden was spending more time helping grandpa fix tractors and he remembered the big bowl he had found.  Grandpa admitted almost throwing it out a few times but kept it as Kaden’s find. That summer Kaden decided to clean and buff it up and he was quite proud to see how old it was and wanted to know more.”
    Kaden and his grandfather Bart with Kaden’s “bowl”. 

The “bowl” that young Kaden found turned out to be a trophy from August, 1912, donated by the Hamilton Spectator to the Great Lakes Power Boat League. Coincidently, RHYC also has its own power boat trophy, also dated to August, 1912!
  Sylvie Sohm delivers the trophy prior to the Hall of Fame Dinner. Harry Greening’s Lipton Trophy 

The recovered trophy reads :”Great Lakes Power Boat League, 
August, 1912, Hamilton, Canada, The Hamilton Spectator”. for the North American Power Boat Championship in the background.
RHYC’s existing power boat trophy reads “Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, 
Fourth Annual International Motor Boat Race, August 1912”. 

We wrote back to Sylvie saying that, yes, the Heritage Committee would very much like to see Bart’s trophy. We pointed out that Harry Penny had written in his Centennial history of RHYC, “One Hundred Years and Still Sailing” that “In 1912 the RHYC had hosted the fourth annual International Motor Boat Race, which took place on Burlington Bay. RHYC power boat racers won two trophies at this event, one for "the competitive event and the other for the best speed." So, there was no question that these two trophies were linked to the same series of motor boat races that took place on the Bay in August of 1912.

Diligent research by Stan Chambers in the Heritage section of the Hamilton Library produced some interesting articles from the Hamilton Spectator. This regatta of the Great Lakes Power Boat League was hosted by RHYC. RHYC was one of the fourteen clubs in the league which extended as far as Detroit, Toledo and Saginaw, MI.  The Commodore of the GLPBL was C.H.O. Pook of RHYC who was also the regatta chairman.  Pook would become Commodore of RHYC in 1925. This powerboat regatta followed immediately on the heels of the 1912 LYRA Regatta, also hosted by RHYC. The three day LYRA ended on the Wednesday and the three day GLPBL regatta started on the Thursday. LYRA racing took place on the lake, while the powerboat racing took place on the Bay. Keep in mind, that both of these regattas were hosted at the RHYC Beach Strip clubhouse on the ship canal, before this building was destroyed by fire in 1915.
Our suspicions that Harry Greening raced in the 1912 GLPBL regatta is also confirmed by these article. Greening in Gadfly III won the 40’ displacement class race on Friday, and the time prize for the International handicap 20 mile race on Saturday.

We pointed out to Sylvie that Harry Greening was going to be one of five inductees into the RHYC Hall of Fame at a special dinner at the club on November 24th, and it would be an honour if we could display this trophy at that dinner, alongside our own 1912 trophy and the Lipton Trophy that Greening won in 1928 for the North American Power Boat Championship. Sylvie followed through, and an hour before the start of our reception arrived at the club, bearing the trophy.

This trophy was a reminder of the long history of power boating at RHYC, with many power boats appearing in period photos sitting at mooring in front of both the Bay Street clubhouse and at the previous 1939 clubhouse.  Harry Penny points out that in 1974 he was the first Commodore since 1954 whose flagship was a sailboat, not a power boat!

We are thankful to Sylvie Sohm for sharing this trophy with us, and allowing us to display it during the Induction of Harry Greening into the RHYC Hall of Fame. We are looking forward to finding more history of this power boat event that took place on the Bay in 1912.

Rob Mazza
Chair, RHYC Heritage Committee.

Harry Greening’s Gadfly III took part in the racing involving these trophies.

Great Lakes Power Boat League trophy on display at the Hall of Fame Dinner with our own power boat trophy, also dating August 1912.