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Vale John ‘Willo’ Willams

Thursday, 19th November 2020

The Commodore, Flag Officers, members and staff of Sandringham Yacht Club mourn the passing of John Williams – universally known as ‘Willo’.

John first joined SYC in 1978, and with his lifelong friend Graeme Ainley (GA), sailed Bacardi Sm377, fondly known as ‘The Bus’. They competed successfully in club, state and national events, including 25 Sydney – Hobarts, winning their division in 1993, and gaining Second Overall in 2006.

They won many trophies, including the AD Mackenzie Trophy (3 times), First Division Trophy (3 times), JJ Jarold Trophy (twice), Jisuma Trophy (3 times), Katoura Salver (3 times), SYC Cup (twice),Tam O’Shanter and Wyvern Cup, Commodore’s Trophy (4times), Commodore-in-Chief’s Trophy (5 times), and were Club Champions (Summer Series) six times between 1991/92 and 2006/07. They were part of the team that won the Association Cup for the club in 1992.

They were also Club Champions in Georgia in 2008/9, but sadly she was lost after hitting a submerged item off Bateman’s Bay in the subsequent Sydney to Hobart. They then purchased Calm a TP52 and raced her, winning Line Honours and 1st IRC in the Melbourne – Stanley Race in the 2009/10 season.

John then changed to multi-hulls with Tyee 3, a Catana 431 catamaran. He was very competitive, with numerous successes over the next six years at Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island and Hamilton Island. He won the Australian Multi-Hull Nationals at Airlie Beach and Matt Allen, on presenting John with his trophy, remarked that his first Sydney-Hobart was with Willo and GA.  One of John’s proudest achievements was to be awarded the Boss Hog’s trophy at Airlie Beach in 2018.

John had a great love of his club and made a significant contribution when his firm surveyed the site for the new floating marina.

Willo and GA willingly passed on their sailing skills to many young sailors and the camaraderie and friendships of former crew members of ‘The Bus’ is well known and spread across Australia.

Willo was the loving husband of Yvonne ‘Mrs. Willo’ (who also recently passed away) and the father of Pete, Michael, Bruce and Elizabeth.

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Williams family.

Graeme Disney
Club Historian and Club Chaplain