Dad's sailing history

written by Noel Sutcliffe for the Black Rock YC
published on 10th May 2018.

BRYC Club Legend - Keith Frost

Often in life we refer to a person as a 'good bloke' or an 'absolute gentleman' and perhaps we overuse such terminology, but not in the case of Keith Frost.
I have known Frosty since my young teenage years and had the pleasure of sailing with him a few times and on the water he has the same calm methodical approach that he displays on dry land. In fact I think his naturally calm manner and his attention to detail was one of the reasons for his sailing success.

In 1959 Keith made a decision after a few drinks (lots) at the Beaumaris Hotel that was to impact on his life for nearly four decades. At the ripe old age of 29 he decided to buy a yacht, a Heavyweight Sharpie, which he purchased from local yachtsman Keith McDonald. While it probably appeared a good idea at the time, he had just acquired a yacht and had no idea how to sail. While he may have started off knowing very little about sailing it wasn't going to be long before that changed.

In 1959 the Heavyweight Sharpies at Black Rock were dominated by Impala, sailed by Porky Newman with a young forward hand by the name of Keith Higgins. In most club races in that season the crew of Impala were in the clubhouse having a beer by the time Frosty finished the race. Frosty and his crew provided entertainment for all by frequently capsizing coming past the Cerberus into the harbour. For his efforts, his first sailing trophy was the 'Submarine Trophy'.

Frosty only sailed the Heavyweight for one season as it was the time of transition to Lightweight Sharpies. He purchased his first 'Lightweight' built by Ron Allatt and Stan Le Nepveu at the Ronstan factory in Advantage Road Highett. It was one of the very early ones built, number V4, which he named Omega the name he used for all his Lightweight Sharpies. After Keith sold V4 it went on to become Michael Golding's very first Sharpie and was renamed 'Active 4', so it stayed in our club for some years.
By now Keith's sailing had come a long way from a very humble start. By 1962 he had yet another new Omega V50 and finished 2nd in the 62/63 Australian Championships in Brisbane. That series was won by George White, with his crew of Brian & John Collins in Futura, but interestingly they both beat the great John Cuneo who was third.
John Cuneo was no mug sailor! He went on to win five Sharpie National titles, a third in the 505 Worlds against the likes of Paul Elvstrom & Jim Hardy before becoming an Olympic Gold medalist in the Dragon Class.

By 1971 Frosty had yet another Sharpie called Omega (V138) in which he again came second in the National Titles in Sydney.

In all he had 5 Lightweight Sharpies which he sailed until the mid 70s.
For much of that journey he stuck with the same team, Rolly Newman on main and Alan (Willo) Williams up forward.

During later years Frosty sailed Sabres for approximately 10 years until his body had had enough.

During the early 60s when the club was struggling financially Frosty and his wife Maureen would organize dances and helped raise a considerable amount of money for the club.
Sadly Frosty lost his life partner, Maureen on the 29th of June 2017, after 64 years of marriage.
Now at 87 he can still be seen riding his bike between Beaumaris and St Kilda about 4 days a week. You just can't keep a good man down.

Keith Frost we salute you, you are an example to all and an absolute legend.


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