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Australian Sailing Victorian Awards – Robert Ungar – Motor Yachtsperson of the Year

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019

In June 2019 Mr Robert Ungar was awarded 2019 Victorian Sailing Awards, “Motor Yachtsperson of the Year” at a state awards function held at Sandringham Yacht Club Sandringham Victoria. 

This award came as a very great honour to Robert, humbled and somewhat surprise by being recognised by his various clubs, Peers and many, many, friends.

Rob accepted his award watched by his immediate family and a large gathering of Yachtsmen and women from various clubs and organisations around Victoria.

Rob has since been asked to summarise, in his words, why he might have been honoured with such an award and what does this mean to him personally.   

As Robert is a quiet and at times a shy person who actually doesn’t seek personal attention, he has asked me if I could answer the above question. I at first was a bit taken aback knowing Rob as well as I do, but also understanding it is very hard to actual write about one’s self! So I accepted this challenge to expand on his boating back ground and contribution towards power boating in the Victorian area and spreading throughout Eastern Australia’s cruising grounds over the past 20 years.  

I am actually in a privileged position to do this as I have been Robert and Rosemary’s skipper for the past 18 years.

Much has been recorded about Rob’s earlier years in boating and a very good article was written and published in the Club Marine magazine recently Vol.33 No 4  and this article covers well his past actual boats  up until the recent purchase of 7TH HEAVEN  their 88’ Princess .

Robert has always been a devoted power boatie, I believe the reason why, is that he never had time to sit and enjoy the wind, quiet and solitude of sailing as he was always way too busy with business’s, family and selling, everything had to be planned and run to a time! Sailing doesn’t allow for this but power boating does – well most of the time anyway.  One only needs to own a power boat to realise that there isn’t always a plan that works regards boating!

Rob’s involvement began at Beaumaris Yacht Squadron with trailer boats fishing and cruising thru out the Melbourne area and further afield with trips to Lake Entrance, he became a commodore of this local club and again today is held in high regard for his time, when serving in this club and his very generous support over the years.

Once Rob out grew trailer boating he moved up to larger  semi displacement and planing  boats and he then moved into Sandringham Yacht Club as they had boating facilities that would  allow him to continue boating on Port Phillip Bay and as his boats became larger  so did Rob’s  play grounds.

He and his good friends started cruising across Bass Strait visiting most places, as long as they sold fuel! There are many stories to be told about these adventures, but as they were before my time they are best recounted by others who were actually there!

Rob and Rose made a decision about 20 years ago to upgrade into a boat that would allow them to cruise further afield, allowing them to utilise their holidays and have the range to cross Bass Strait safely and winter up in the Whitsundays.  This was the start of our relationships as I would do his delivering for the next 4 years. 

Never one to stop planning, Rob would always be planning the next big adventure and the next boat that would make these adventures happen! It sure has been fun filled and never a dull moment with lots of rewards and interesting people we have meet on these travels. 

During these times of cruising and boating both locally and as far west as Port Lincoln South Australia, Broome Western Australia and Port Davey in Tasmania with all their 7 Princess’s and (Hostess) 60’ Monte Fino Rob and Rose have entertained fellow boaters both sail and power, been happy to have them aboard, shared notes and adventures (we even had a whole school aboard in Bermagui one trip as a show and tell)!  His generosity in sharing what others guard jealously is a gift few people have, Rob has it in spades!

Thru all Robs clubs he is first to put his hand in his pocket, when required (I know he will not want me to say this but it is the type of people both Rob and Rose are) his boats have always been available for social duties be they officially required on opening days, race starts or other functions, it is always part of the planning that we have to be back in Melbourne for opening days! 

I think Rob really started to get noticed as a serious ‘Offshore Yachtsman’ when he did an extended cruise from Melbourne thru the Kimberly to Broome and return in 2014, he did a full cruise blog during this trip and I think we had about 400+ people following our adventures.

Upon returning to Sandringham we were all over whelmed by the number of members and general people who came up to us on the boat to congratulate us on not only the trip but including them in our adventures of that particular trip.  Most will remember Rob published a coffee table book “Kimberly Odyssey” of that trip with all funds raised from the sale of the book going to new and improving facilities for the SYC juniors.

It was from then on other power boaties started to ask whether we were planning any more trips as they were keen to tag along. The next Summer we were accompanied by 8 other power boats as we did a lap of Bass Strait, then we did another trip down the east coast of Tasmania as far south as Triabunna, then a trip down the west coast of Tasmania as far as Strahan and up the Gordon River with our last trip in March this year 10 boats headed down to circumnavigate Tasmania which we did west about.  A lot of these boat owners had never been outside Port Phillip Bay but put all their faith in Rob’s ability to lead them into unknown waters and to allow them to challenge themselves, wife’s/ partners and crew.  His ability to plan, have fun and take others on a journey is indeed a rare ability.  Robert Ungar is indeed a worthy recipient of this year’s Sail Victorian Motor Yachtsperson of the Year Award.


Mike Percy



Robert with his family