Lake Macquarie History

RMYC Race Day memories

Sarah Fairbairn

One of my grandfather's favourite stories to tell happened back in the early 1950's. The Toronto Royal Motor Yacht Club was holding a Queens Birthday speedboat race. The story he tells is of how his father, my great-grandfather (Chas Trigg), Chas's friend Col Scofield and himself (Dennis Trigg) played a prank on the unsuspecting spectators along the Toronto foreshore.

It was the 1953 Queen's birthday speedboat race day in Toronto at the Royal Motor Yacht Club. My great-grandfather had a speedboat called Palzy. During the lunch break the spectators and other drivers noticed Palzy coming past the starters box at full speed with the driver (my great-grandfather Chas Trigg) standing on the back of the boat fighting with an unknown woman. Nobody was at the helm driving the boat.

photo: a young dennis trigg and father chas. the photo is dated january 1953.

All hell broke loose at the club house when spectators saw both Chas and the mystery woman fall into the water and the driverless boat speed off in the distance towards Bolton point. There was a mad scramble for any available boats to get going and try to catch Palzy, to try and stop it before it hit another boat or land.

About a minute passed and a head popped up from under the dash board and my then-14-year-old grandfather (Dennis Trigg) calmly turned the boat around and piloted it back to the RMYC amid a lot of applause. The errant swimmers Chas & Col (dressed in disguise as the mysterious woman) were picked up from the lake and the surprise prank comedy event was over.

One of my grandfather's other favourite stories to tell also happened during a RMYC Toronto Speedboat race, although a few years later.

My Grandfather (Dennis Trigg) was racing his father's boat, Palzy. The boat in front of him stalled and although he took evasive action, he hit the rear deck narrowly missing the person sitting in the passenger seat.

Unbeknownst to my grandfather, he had a big hole in the front of Palzy. The hole was just above the water line and while ever he had the nose of the boat up he didn’t take on water – hence he hadn't realised he had suffered such extensive damage right away.

When he was coming into the wharf after the race he could see people on the wharf waving to him to lift the nose and go home. My grandmother (Alison Trigg) can vividly remember being one of those people on the wharf, making up wards arm motions and screaming at him.

By the time he got back to his father's boat shed at Carey Bay the boat has filled with water, he managed to drive it up onto the slip way as it was sinking.

photo: chas trigg driving the boat palzy at toronto c.1950

Fortunately, the boat didn't suffer much water damage from its 'swim', but it did have substantial hull damage. All just a part of racing. My Grandfather was banned from the boat by his father, that is until Chas calmed down.

Palzy was a 1949 custom built (in Swansea) Chris-Craft design with a double planked Cedar Wooden Hull and a Ford Mercery side valve V8 engine – a real powerhouse and good-looking boat for the time.

Even to this day there still is a large framed photo of Palzy up on the wall of the Toronto RMYC hall, with my great-grandfather and grandfather in racing action.

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