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DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE TRADITION OF

sail past

at Eildon Boat Club

Eildon Boat Club Sail Past

When Sir Henry Bolte officially opened the Lake on October 19, 1956, EBC Members were invited to participate in the first ever sail past on Lake Eildon.

The tradition of Sail Past dates back hundreds of years, it is a ceremony about the inspecting of a fleet of ships, determining their readiness and capability to put to sea, as well as to mark the opening of the boating or sailing season and showing respect to the Commander-in-Charge. Pretty much like the trooping of the colours but on water!  

Protocols of Sail Past originally demanded that a flagship be anchored with the Admiral and staff on the quarterdeck to receive and return the salute. Vessels sailed past led by the Vice-Admiral and the final vessel in the line would carry the Rear-Admiral.

Our club’s tradition is almost identical except that the salute is received by the Commodore instead of the Admiral and the flagship is the Commodore’s own houseboat. The Vice Commodore leads the procession of boats and the captain of each leads the crew in giving three cheers to the Commodore on their way past, with the Rear Commodore being the last boat in the procession. As a Commodore’s term at the EBC is 2 years, every third year Sail Past also marks the welcoming in of a new Commodore to the helm of the Club.

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1st Sail Past held on Lake Eildon

as part of the official opening ceremony with Sir Henry Bolte and EBC Members were part of the Sail Past proceedings.

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EBC Sail Past's and still counting!

Since 1960 EBC has formally held annual Sail Pasts to mark the start of the Boating Season on the Lake.

EBC’s Sail Pasts are usually held on Melbourne Cup weekend to kick start the boating season on the Lake. However in recent years we had to break with tradition due to the COVID pandemic and  instead in 2020 we held a New Year’s Eve “Fire & Ice” Sail Past and in 2021 we had family friendly “Cartoon” Sail Past on 30th December, both of which were huge successes.

Sail Pasts are a grand annual event for the Club with a theme chosen by the Commodore and lots of fun festivities throughout the day beginning with a Commodore’s Luncheon (or Flag Officer’s Breakfast) and the Blessing of the Fleet. After lunch all the dressed-up houseboats and cruisers meet at the Dam wall and lead by the Vice Commodore they proceed into Anderson Harbour giving 3 cheers on their way past to the Commodore on the Welcome Dock and the Rear Commodore rounds out the procession.

There are awards handed out after the formal procession of Sail Past; these include categories of Best Overall, Best Family Boat, Best New Owners, Best Random Sail Past Boat, Can’t Believe You Did That, Best Cruiser and of course the Commodores Award.

Over the year’s Sail Past themes have included Australian Icons, Fire & Ice, Halloween, Disney, Travel and Cartoons.

Our members enthusiastically, and very creatively, get involved in Sail Past by dressing up their boats (and themselves!) to match the theme chosen by the Commodore. After the formal on water procession the Club usually hosts a huge BBQ, live music and celebrations continue well into the night!