Vale John “Jack” Chapman – Life Member


John “Jack” Chapman

Life Member – Middle Harbour 16’ Skiff Club


It was with deep sadness that the Club received the news of John “Jack” Chapman’s passing last weekend. Jack was 95 years old and at the time the oldest living Life Member of the Club.

Jack joined Middle Harbour 16’s at the beginning of the 1944-45 sailing season. With his mate Ray Barter they purchased the 16’ skiff “Mazda” from Rupert Rabbidge. Whilst the early days saw many a capsize eventually “Buster” Brown came along and gave Jack a few pointers about staying upright and pointing the boat in the right direction!

Jack learnt so much about 16’ skiff sailing that in 1948-49 he competed in a race on Sydney Harbour sponsored by the famous Nock & Kirby store in George Street, Sydney. In Jack’s own words “we decided to take the eastern shore and to our surprise most other skiffs chose the western shore…we carried on and eventually won by some 14 minutes”.

Jack’s prize was a brand new 16’ skiff hull complete with “bumpkin and rudder” which was presented to him by Sir Norman Nock in the George Street store itself. Jack called the boat “Enankay” and carried the Seahorse insignia which befitted the store name and their outboard motor franchise. Again in Jack’s own words “Luck did not go with the luck of winning…I sailed her for some two years …but although we competed in races state wide we sailed into minor places (only).”

Jack was a great volunteer for the Club and his first official role was as a sail measurer in 1954. He followed this up with Assistant Secretary 1955-59, Management Committee 1956-69, Honorary Secretary from 1960-66, Treasurer 1979-80, Association Delegate 1969-70 and to top it off was an Umpire and Handicapper through 1969-72. It’s a wonder he ever found time to sail!

One of Jack’s proudest achievements was, as Secretary of the Club, overseeing the demolition of the old clubhouse and the building of the new two storey one which stood basically unchanged until the early 2000’s and now forms the basis of the Club as we know it today.

The Board, management, staff and most particularly the Members, wish to pass on their sincere condolences to Jack’s family at this time.

Clubs such as Middle Harbour 16’s would not exist today without the passion, drive and commitment shown by their volunteers and as demonstrated by the likes of Mr. John “Jack” Chapman.


Vale Jack.

Posted in Skiff Club.

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