We are sad to inform you that on the night of Thursday 23rd April, the Port Esperance Sailing Club in Dover was burnt down. All the club’s sailing dinghies were destroyed. The fire ripped through the back of the building, the roof and the recently re-built veranda. Although the brick part of the building still stands, it unfortunately will have to be demolished as it is now unsafe. The police have determined that arson is the likely cause and are investigating.
The 160-year-old Port Esperance Sailing Club acquired its current premises in 1948 when the building was generously donated by William Jackson. Built in 1921, it was originally a cold storage shed for apples. The hand-made bricks were sourced from the chimney of the Hopetoun saw mill.
A blessing in the tragedy was that one of Australia’s oldest sailing trophies, the William Jackson Memorial Cup, was not in the building at the time of the fire as minor renovations were being undertaken.
The loss of the sailing club is a shock not only to the sailing club’s members but to the Dover community as a whole. The club house has played an important function in the community, being used by many local groups, including by Sacred Heart Primary School for classes during the 2019 bushfires.
The sailing club will not be defeated by this terrible set back and will re-build its club house. To keep the members connected before a new building is constructed, the club will focus its fundraising efforts on acquiring some replacement dinghies (new or second-hand) so that children and families can get back in the lovely waters of Port Esperance with off-the-beach sailing in the coming season.
If you wish to make a donation to PESC to help raise funds for a new dinghy, please contact the sailing club by email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information call Matt Wardell, Commodore 0428 279 002.
The club is grateful for the messages of support it has received from the sailing community.