On 5 May, Jonathan Stone, one of DBSC’s beloved Life Members, announced his retirement from competitive sailing. Jonathan has a record of 34 consecutive seasons of racing at our club – incredibly serving on the management committee for 33 of those. When Jonathan joined the club in the mid 1980s, most members were racing Herons, including Jonathan. But after several seasons of racing these older designed boats (including competing at Nationals around the country), he joined the burgeoning Laser fleet, and was one of the proponents of making that class the mainstay of the club. He was a Club champion in both dinghy classes; when injury meant he could not stay in dinghies he raced in his Hood 23 (Time & Tide), winning the State titles in 2011, with Chris Bowling. He and Chris went on to sail DBSC’s first entry in the Sydney-Hobart fleet (in Illusion, a 34ft Davidson) in 2010, finishing a respectable middle-of-the-fleet, after surviving a brutal southerly. And in 2012, in Breakthrough (a First 40) he and Mat Vadas raced to a top-quarter placing in the iconic race. Jonathan went on to organize the DBSC Big Boat Fleet. Jonathan, as Club Patron, also worked with his good friend Don Roach to improve and extend the clubhouse and has served as our Laser Championship PRO for many seasons.
Luckily, Jonathan has made it clear he won’t be a stranger and will continue his involvement with the Cub. We will all miss Jonathan racing with us on the harbour, but will reflect on the many good times we have shared. To that end, several long-time members have imparted these reflections of Jonathan’s involvement at DBSC:
When I first joined DBSC I hadn’t sailed since I was a child. Jonathan took the time to show me the right knots to use and how to plait the ropes. It demonstrated his kindness and willingness to help everyone around the club, setting the courses, organising the rosters and running the races which I have seen him do for over 20 years.
Jonathan has given so much to the club; acting as PRO, leading the Big Boat fleet and having a DBSC entry in the Sydney to Hobart.
While I was messing around with outboard motors, Jonathan was a steady and sensible hand in controlling some serious club politics and family rivalry during the eighties and early nineties. With this period over and done with, Jonathan's unobtrusive presence, along with his friend Don Roach, produced an organization of calm happiness. In his quiet way, he was always appreciative of the members who did the nut and bolt items around the place, which of course included me.
On the physical side, we had a little deck out front which in effect was a balcony, not much larger than the one Juliet stands on. Jonathan's negotiating ability pulled the strings of Council and State Government to have a proper and useful deck built (extended by another third during the club extension). Grants were obtained through his patience and energetic application and some opposition.
As a modest person there is much more that he has given through the years which we fail to notice but have been absolutely essential to a great sailing club.
Julian Van Aalst:
In so far as I can recall Jonathan, Dean and possibly Paul joined the Club around the same time as me and Don Roach. The Club had two fleets, one was a mixed fleet comprising a class called “Leaders” and I think there was only one or two Lasers. The other class was Herons which had several very good sailors. Jonathan, Don Roach, Dean and Paul were then in that fleet. Sailing was on Sundays. About a season or two after I joined I bought a Laser as did Dene, Don and Jonathan. Keith Piggin, Lee Norman, Graeme Hislop, Ron and John Young his son and others also had Lasers. The average size of the Saturday fleet was about 10 boats or thereabouts.
The Laser sailors found sailing on Sundays inconvenient and tried, without success, to persuade the then Committee to allow Laser sailing on Saturdays. The result was that the Laser sailors revolted and stacked an AGM with the result that we managed to have our class race on Saturdays. If I recall correctly, from then on the Committee comprised a majority of Laser sailors with the result that the Club became what it is today. I was on the Committee with Dene, Don and Jonathon.
About 12 years ago I was putting my old 24-footer back on its mooring when an old timber boat came alongside. Don Roach told me there was racing every month at DBSC and invited me to join. When I went into the club the first person I met was a quiet, unassuming, gentle guy called Jonathan. I gladly joined in because DBSC is the only club that allows me to race singlehanded, without the hassle of finding a crew. It was some time later that I found out that Jonathan stands at the absolute pinnacle of Australian medical research. His leadership style is quite unique; he is just such a nice guy that everyone wants to help him.
When Jonathan found out that I had done a few Hobarts he asked me to help him fulfil his dream of doing Hobart himself. He joined up with Mat Vadas (another major figure in medical research) and on my flawed advice bought the old ¾ tonner “Illusion”, which had won Hobart years before. It turned out to be not a great choice, with keel problems and rig problems, but we worked through that and made it to the Hobart start. We even made it to Constitution Dock, albeit slowly, through a couple of quite savage southerly fronts. I hope Jonathan is proud of being skipper of DBSC’s first Hobart entry.
Jonathan even loaned me the boat for another try the following year. When I returned it with keel damage, he would not accept any contribution to the cost of repairs. This man’s generosity is absolutely boundless. He even asked me to sail with him in the Hood 23 series, where in heavy weather we did a Bradbury, coming through to win at the last minute when everyone else fell over.
Jonathan’s energy and dedication have kept the big boat fleet going through thick and thin. Sometimes we have had good numbers and occasionally only two or three, but Jonathan’s enthusiasm has kept it alive and made some great racing. We have had many years of good fun and sometimes the racing has been sharply competitive.
Jonathan. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We will try our best to keep the big boat racing going but your energy and leadership will be deeply missed.