William ‘Bill’ Fisher • Live Sail Die


Master boat builder, champion skipper

William ‘Bill’ Fisher was a founding member of the League and sailed his ship Australia in the club’s first.

Arrived in the new league from the Sydney Flying Squadron, after a split between the SFS and the competitors, he held all the official positions of the club. He was Commodore, Vice-Commodore and Counter-Commodore before becoming President for a period of twenty-two years between 1940 and 1962.

He was a patron when he died on February 2, 1968.

Prior to joining the League, Bill sailed 6ft, 10ft and 16ft boats at various clubs, then 18fts at the Sydney Flying Squadron.

He was a master boat builder who built Australia (1921), Cutty Sark (1925), All British (1935), Australia II (1936), Miranda (1937), JL Glick (1937), Australia III (1938), Amy (1944) and Spindrift (1944).

In January 1931, it came within 20 seconds. to win the 1930-31 Australian Championship in his first Australian boat.

When he came to the League he sailed every other day only to enable him to continue his launching service from La Pérouse to Kurnell.

Bill won numerous championships with the Sydney Flying Squadron in the 1920s and early 1930s before moving to the League, but one of the most notable victories in Australia came in February 1930 when he competed at the annual Queen of the Harbor race.

In the ride, Fisher had a Miss Casey as a passenger, as she had raised money for a hospital charity. The most successful fundraisers were allowed to race in a boat of their choice.

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The girl on the winning boat received a free car.

According to reports, Miss Casey arrived in an elaborate white veil costume and offered ten pounds to Bill Fisher to win the race.

The usually placid Fisher let her know that she was not at Randwick Racecourse and that the skipper of an 18-footer had never needed encouragement to win. He always wants to win – every time!

Fishermen’s boathouse in the 1950s

Fisher had “predicted” that a strong southerly wind was coming and rigged his Australia with smaller sails than the rest of the fleet.

When the southern buster hit the fleet, Fisher was trailing but took full advantage of the blow to come back from behind and win the race.

Miss Casey got her motor car.

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