Fairfield Canoe Club
2019 Centenary Year

Cappuccino Run Lesson - History Snippet 27

History, we are told, has the great capacity to repeat itself.  Here are two FCC tales to prove this very point!We believe that these tales also carry a particular message for those partaking of a restful beverage mid-paddle, The Cappuccino Run!

The first story begins in the December 1926 edition of ‘Water Sports’ (see Snippet Number 19) where Mr C.H.DeLaRue (FCC Club Secretary of the day) recounts “Misfortune very nearly befell a member on a recent afternoon, getting out on the bank, he pulled his canoe up, and commenced the usual job of preparing to eat; this necessity being eventually finished, a retreat to the canoe was made, but “jehosaphat” there was no canoe there. Was this a joke or had it managed to drift off the bank and head downstream? After much discomfiture and inquiry, and phone calls to boat houses downstream (this, after a search of several miles of river), the canoeist had to retire owing to the late hour.

Speculation was rife in his mind, did he have a sleepless night? We do not know, however, all’s well that ends well; for next day he received word that the canoe was safe and none the worse for its night out. It was rescued from grave disaster on the edge of Dights Falls.

It was found on the balance between life and death; any minute, and it might have gone over with a resounding crash to be smashed to pieces on the rocks below. Tom, you sure were a lucky man, watch it next time or you’ll be missing your step.”


Our second, and much more recent story is recounted by our erstwhile & current Club Secretary (what is it about Club Secretaries and stray craft?!) who was one of the ‘heroes-of the-day’. Evidently a kayak turned turtle on a training session last year – while the river was high/ fast after a rainstorm. After the novice paddler had swum to the shore our coach asked “where’s your boat?” to which the novice pointed at the red TK1 rapidly disappearing downstream towards Fairfield Park Boathouse. 

At this stage, the coach - subsequently nominated for our "Under the Yarra" award - asked for help in chasing the boat.  Club member #1 paddled off and returned 15 mins later “I saw it, it was floating downstream towards the freeway bridge”.  Half an hour later two canoeists – including said club secretary – set off for a paddle to try to find the recalcitrant TK1 … paddling bend after bend down the river, hoping at each one to find the lost boat and hoping against hope that it would not be too damaged.  With the current, the downstream paddle was fast. 

Eventually they arrived in “Far Kew” at River Retreat and found the red TK1, still with blue seat intact and no damage as far as they could see, communing with a large pile of rubbish and contemplating an escape towards Dights Falls.

After a reasonably thorough emptying of water and flotsam, the TK1 was attached to the back of the canoe with a handy strap and the paddlers set off for the journey back upstream.  The TK1 made it home in good time and after a bit of a clean-up was returned to club service.

Q. The lesson being?  

A. Do not go paddling without a Club Secretary in tow!

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