WAGGA WAGGA CITY COUNCIL

SPORTING HALL OF FAME

Garry Williams

Sailing

WILLIAMS, Garry

Courtesy Wagga Wagga City Council

Garry was born in Sydney on the 22nd December 1950. His family moved to Wagga Wagga in 1956. He attended Turvey Park Public and Wagga High Schools and Wagga TAFE.

He started sailing as a junior member of the Wagga Wagga Boat Club in his early teens. Garry began with club Sabot's and moved on to VJ's when his parents purchased one for him and his brother Philip. They became a successful team in their VJ called "Beatle" and then moved to a newer boat called "Intrigue" winning a number of club and Riverina Championships.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's Garry sailed a Northbridge Senior with various crew and was Riverina Champion in 1967, 1970 and 1971 and was a runner up for a State Title. For a short period he then sailed VS's with a crew of two. That became difficult to arrange and so by 1974 he purchased a Quickcat (a one man 16 foot plywood catamaran).

For the 1977/78 season he purchased a more competitive Quickcat called Solo 2 and his father provided a new sail for it. In the 1977/78 season Wagga Wagga Boat Club members dominated the Quickcat National Titles: Garry Williams, Wagga Wagga sailing "Solo 2", 1st; Peter Wild, Wagga Wagga sailing "Felix", 2nd and Ewan McArthur, Wagga Wagga sailing "Twynam" 3rd.

Then in 1979 Garry turned to Paper Tigers, another one man sailing catamaran. This class attracted him as it was smaller, lighter than and as fast as the heavier Cunningham designed Quickcat. It also held international events. His Paper Tiger was a second hand boat called "Snagglepuss".

In 1982 four club members built four new boats. They were Danny Fitzgerald, Garry Williams, George Williams and Chris Charters. Garry's boat was called "Characin". In 1990 Garry again built a new boat as part of a group of club members. The group consisted of Garry Williams, Danny Fitzgerald and Ewan McArthur. Garry's boat was called "Characin 2".

In 1998 Garry built his third Paper Tiger in another group. This time the group was Kerry Spalding, Cameron Fitzgerald, Garry Williams and Garry's youngest son Greg Williams.  Retaining the theme, he named this one "Characin 3".

Back in 1980, Garry was introduced to a sail maker called Ian Marcovitch who traded as Redhead Sails. Ian and Garry formed a strong sailing relationship. Ian had the excellent sail making design knowledge and was able to select the best cloths as well as the skill to accurately build the sails and Garry became his test pilot, providing the necessary "on water" analysis and feedback.

It was this team that has powered Garry's boats since 1982 and Ian is now working with Garry and Greg, supplying them with sails. Ian himself has also been a keen competitor in the Paper Tiger class as he sailed them in the 1980's and returned to the class in 2004.

Since 1979 Garry has been NSW State Champion 20 times and runner up once. He was also National Champion in 1984, 85, 88 and second in 1980, 86, 87, 89 and third in 1990 and 2000.  He was national veteran champion in 2009. He has been International Champion from 1983 to 1988 and came third in 1992. Although he won from 1983 to 1988 he only won the International titles Four times as it was not contested in 1984 and 1987.

In December 2008 Garry completed building his fourth Paper Tiger, a sister boat to his son Greg's that was launched in Dec 2007. Greg's Paper Tiger had been on the international podium in 2008 and is also a sister boat to one built by club member Denis Davis who also completed his in 2009.

Garry's most recent International event was sailed at Lake Illawarra (Wollongong) at Easter 2008. He sailed 'Against the Grain' built by his son Greg in 1998 and finished in 6th place overall, in front of many NZ and Australian team members.  After the event this boat was purchased and transported to its new home in NZ.

Garry has represented Wagga Wagga and Australia as part of the Australian International Team 14 times and has declined the offer on six other occasions. At the 2009 international event he did not make the team and sailed as an invitee. In January 2011 Garry's son Greg beat him by two points, sailing on Lake Albert, to win the NSW Paper Tiger Catamaran Championships for the third time. 

Those who had the biggest influence on Garry's career were his parents, wife, sons, club members, the sail maker Ian Marcovitch and competitor Peter Anderson. The approach which brought him so much success was to analyse, strive, review and strive again. Garry's favourite quote is 'If you think you can do it you probably can, however you think you can't, you're generally right.

Garry still sails in the class today as a veteran and is the Chairman of the Wagga Wagga Sailing Club Inc and works as Country Energy's Retail Gas Development Manager. 

 

 
 

 

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