John Herbert (Bert) Ferris Memorial – Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron

John Herbert (Bert) Ferris Memorial – Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron – 21 November 2019


Family and friends gathered at the Squadron to remember the contribution of Bert Ferris who passed away on 12 November after sustaining a debilitating stroke in February 2018.


In welcoming family and friends, Commodore Charles Meredith announced that in recognition of Bert’s long service, one of the Squadron’s most historical race events would be renamed the ‘Bert Ferris Cactus Cup’.


Doug Ferris, Bert’s cousin related details of Bert’s life and how he started sailing at 17 in 1944. Many members were  surprised that, in addition to his sailing and writing, Bert was an active ball room dancer for many years.

Past Commodore Stephen Hawes spoke about how Bert had been a part of the Squadron over five generations of his family, relating how Bert was a stickler for tradition and that things had to be ‘right’.

Murray McCutcheon, also an Honorary Life Member, spoke about extensive discussions with Bert about constitutional matters when he was Honorary Lawyer of the Squadron.

Past Commodore Harry Leggett presented some of his memories, including that Bert was the author of 3 books about the Squadron. ‘The History of 100 years of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron’ released in 1976; ‘The Long Hard Beat’,  1990 and most recently ‘RMYS 140 Years on Port Phillip’ completed 2017.


Whilst general manager Matt Solly acted as MC, he related knowing Bert from his time as a Cadet and then over the last 4 years working closely on the most recent publication.


All referred to the many papers he had authored about other clubs, yachts and events. All speakers referred to  his strict attention to detail and that every fact was researched and confirmed with sources listed.


Until sustaining a stroke about 18 months ago, Bert continued to be active about the Squadron.


All joined in a tribute to Bert – truly the passing of an era.

Peter Chapman,
Past Commodore, RMYS

Thank you Peter Chapman for the photos and recap