Presentation to Rupert Jeffares on his Retirement from HYC
Author: John Deane Posted on: 31/10/09 Print Version

Commodore Presentation to Rupert and Aideen Jeffares

Aideen & Rupert Jeffares and Commodore, Peter McKenna
Friday, 30th October was Rupert's final day as General Manager and in the evening at a large gathering of members the Commodore Peter McKenna paid tribute to Rupert and recalled his sailing and maritime activities over the years.

This is a shortened version of the Commodore's speech ....

This evening, we're honouring Rupert on his retirement from the "day job". But describing it as the day job doesn't begin to do him justice at all.

For very many years, he has been available to Howth's maritime community 24/7, both as a reassuring presence at all times for sailing people and their events and through his central role for the lifeboat, which includes being the Operations Manager.

The RNLI has already honoured Rupert for his forty years and more of service to lifeboats, now it's the turn of Howth Yacht Club. With a membership of more than 2,000, some of our newer members may not know him that well, so I have uncovered, with the help of a few spies, some background information.

Rupert's father and grandfather in their day were secretary to the Irish Rugby Football Union and although Rupert could give a gallant account of himself on the rugby field, his sport and his passion became sailing and the sea.

Rupert's association with matters maritime goes back many decades. He was brought up on the Burrow Road and spent most of his spare time in a little clinker built boat called "Maggie", rowing up and down the channel at the back of the house.

His talent in boats was obviously spotted, because he soon moved on to greater things when a neighbour, Seamus O'Friel, asked him to crew in the Howth 17 'Rita'. This, in 1961, was the beginning of a long association with the 17s where he is still their class measurer, as was his membership of Howth Motor Yacht Club and Howth Sailing Club, which later amalgamated to form today's HYC.

He has played a central role in moving the club into its prime status in the 21st Century, and he has ensured that it is being done with a healthy regard for our history, while at the same time he is someone who lives enthusiastically in the present and looks forward to the future.

He clearly decided that administration was the way to go as far back as 1962 when he became the Junior Secretary of HMYC. He was also an ISA Junior Sailing Instructor and in 1964 he and his sister Gowan jointly owned an IDRA 14 called "Dusk".

In 1966, with the advent of the Firefly class in Howth, Rupert bought one called "Loofah" in which, he distinguished himself by winning many trophies.

In 1967 he was one of the first to sign up to crew the newly introduced inshore lifeboat.

In 1971, he was voted onto the General Committee in Howth and three years later, he became Assistant Sailing Secretary to the legendary Gerard FitzGibbon and in 1980 he became Sailing Secretary.

His involvement with Howth's sailing community became complete with his partnership with Aideen McHenry, whose family had a Howth Seventeen. They are a great team and Aideen has been a rock to Rupert over the years, helping him when required. Most of what Aideen does is in the background, and is done all year round.

Together, they enjoyed many years sailing and racing in the Squib "Huppattee" which they bought from Winkie Nixon in the early '80s. They and their children Emma and Craig were regular visitors to the beach on Ireland's Eye on Sunday afternoons in the Summer.

Rupert continued to work tirelessly on Club matters and in 1984/85 was Vice-Commodore of the Club. For personal reasons, he decided not to progress to Commodore, something which disappointed many members at the time.

Then in 1987, when the new Clubhouse was built and it was decided that a full-time professional manager was needed, we were extremely lucky to attract Rupert to the job, which he has managed with continued dedication, distinction and commitment for over 22 years.

His practical approach to sailing, allied with his organizational abilities, have made this club what it is. It's said that if you want anything done, then you should ask a busy person to do it.

Rupert has achieved so much. And I know that he and Aideen will achieve much more in the future. This will indeed be an active retirement. And we know that boats and sailing and sailing people will be an important part of it.

Rupert, I want to close by thanking you on behalf of thousands of Club members, past and present, for all that you have done to make this Club what it is today.

The Commodore then welcomed the new General Manager
Nic Parton and his wife Marie to the club.

Marie Parton, Peter McKenna, Nic Parton
Nic Parton joined the club on 21st September and has over the past 6 weeks been on a steep learning curve. Nic has spent the last six years as Regional Operations Manager of the Sunsail base in Tortola.

The Commodore wished them both well in settling into their new surroundings.

Other Presentations to Rupert

John Bennett and Linn Taikul presented
a George McConkey Painting to Rupert
on behalf of the HYC Staff.

Niel Murphy presented a hamper of fine wines
to Rupert on behalf of the Puppeteer Class.

'Thank You' from Rupert

A huge thank you to the Commodore, Officers and all members of the Club for the presentation on the occasion of my retirement. I was flattered by the comments made by the Commodore and the potted history of my maritime life brought back many pleasant memories.

Thank you also to the members of the staff for their generous presentation of a fabulous George McConkey painting which I will always treasure and also the Puppeteer 22 class for the presentation of a selection of wine.

I would like to thank all the members of the Club who sent cards, emails and called to wish me well. I was overwhelmed by the compliments, good wishes and kind thoughts of so many. After twenty two memorable years I now look forward to enjoying retirement.