The latest in a line of Rag & Famish Hotel 18ft skiffs, dating back to 1996, was launched in the rigging area alongside the Australian 18 Footers League clubhouse in Double Bay on Sunday October 30 and continues the unbroken, highly successful 26-year association between the hotel and the club.
An association with more in common than simply being the combination of a sport and a sponsor.
The North Sydney hotel and the iconic Australian 18 footers, both go back to the 19th Century, but still remain prominent features of Sydney and both have a strong family tradition, particularly since the late George Calligeros purchased ‘The Rag’ in May 1975.
Since George’s passing, the hotel has continued to develop the strong family values through Peter and Anna Calligeros, who continue to run the business under the Calligeros Hotel group.
The continuation of the association with the club is a great tribute to the memory of George Calligeros.
During the early years of sponsorship, George Calligeros was a regular in the Double Bay Park rigging area, speaking with his crew, then following the team as an on-the-water supporter, from the cockpit of ‘Bonito’, where he would sit, with a beer in hand, watching his crew go around the track and screaming at the top of his lungs “Go The Rag”.
One problem for George was eyesight and he was concerned that he couldn’t always see where his boat was on the track. A problem he solved when The Rag started carrying a bright fluro-yellow spinnaker, which could be seen all over Sydney Harbour in the 1999-2000 season.
Fortunately, George got to see his dream of winning a JJ Giltinan world Championship before he passed away in 2005, but his memory is still large at each JJs regatta when the George Calligeros Memorial trophy is presented to the winning team of Race 1 in the championship.
Now, following a great rookie season in 2021-22, Harry Price, Josh McKnight and Harry Hall are expecting to challenge strongly for the big prize at the 2023 JJs but are also sure to have their eyes on the possibility of winning the first race of that championship and getting their names, and the name of the Rag & Famish Hotel, on the George Calligeros Memorial Trophy.
Despite the tough financial commitment of sport sponsorship at the moment, the strength of the association between the Rag & Famish Hotel and the Australian 18 Footers League club can be seen through the comments of Peter Calligeros.
“It was a real tussle between the heart strings of loving the sport and our history with the club against the new financial commitment that is involved in getting one of these boats on the water.”
“With some wonderful help from sub sponsors, the club, and a confirmed dedication from the crew both Anna and I made the decision to extend our commitment to the sport and the club.”
“It has been quite exciting and re-invigorating putting this new boat together and being involved with the team as a whole.”
“We are looking forward to a magnificent season and I know the spectator ferry is always happy to see The Rag go around.”
“I was listening to the ferry last weekend and without a shadow of a doubt it is still the people’s choice. GO THE RAG”
The Australian 18 Footers League appreciates the ongoing association with the Rag & Famish Hotel. Commodore, Simon Nearn expressed the club’s delight about the decision, “It’s fantastic to have a new Rag on the water for the season. Peter and Anna, and their father George before them, have been stalwarts of the fleet for more years than I remember.”
“They have won the big prize before and this new boat and crew are in for a great a season and a clear chance come the JJ Giltinan in March.”
“On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank the Calligeros family for all their support and wish the Rag Racing Team all the best for this season and many years to come.”
The new skiff and team have already shown their potential with two outstanding performances in the Club Championship in her first race, then in last Sunday’s Race 4 of the Spring Championship.
The Rag will be on the water again on Sunday when the Australian 18 Footers League conducts Races 5 and 6 of the Spring Championship, for the Chris Webb Memorial Trophy.
Yandoo (John Winning) leads the championship, on 19 points, just ahead of The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Alex Marinelli) on 22 points. Ilve (Cam Gundy) is third on the overall points table with a total of 24 points, followed by Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) on 27, Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 28 and last Sunday’s winner Noakes Youth (Tom Cunich) on 31 points.
The full overall points table, after the first four races of the championship, is attached.
Spectators can follow the action on board the club’s spectator ferry, as they have done for the past 87 years, which leaves Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.
Booking online through the club’s website www.18footers.com is essential,
For anyone who can’t make it out onto the water, the League’s live broadcast team will be out on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at www.18footers.com
For all the club’s racing and up-to-date news:
Club Website www.18footers.com
Facebook International 18ft Skiff
For anyone who wants to take a look at Sail Media’s action videos from the 2021-22 season, including the 2022 JJ Giltinan Championship, go to www.18footers.com and click on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.