Feeder Race – Combined fleet starts from Fremantle Sailing Club (FSC) down to The Cruising Yacht Club (TCYC)
Catalpa Classic – TCYC to Fremantle Sailing Club
The Catalpa Classic race commemorates the Catalpa escape in a fun re-enactment of the on water chase with TCYC yachts representing the Fenians and FSC yachts representing the chasing authorities.
Moorings and a ferry service ashore are provided and lunch is available at TCYC
Presentations for both races will be at FSC, followed by a combined TCYC FSC dinner in the galley.
Can take advantage of the race and stay over at FSC enjoy the club facilities and cruise out the next day. Boats wanting to join in the fun; arrange with our marina team for a berth. Visiting Vessel Form
The Catalpa escape is the incredible true story of one of the most extraordinary and inspirational prison breaks in Australian history.
Between the 17–19 April 1876, Members of the Clan-na-Gael agitors for Irish freedom; hatched a plan to free six Irish Fenian prisoners from the most remote prison in the British Empire, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.
Under the guise of a whale hunt, Captain Anthony sets sail on the Catalpa to rescue the men from the stone walls of this hell on Earth known to the inmates as a ‘living tomb’. What follows is one of history’s most stirring sagas that splices Irish, American, British and Australian history together in its climactic moment.
The last prisoner ship to Australia was the convict ship Hougoumont, in 1869, pardons had been issued to many of the imprisoned Fenians. Another round of pardons was issued in 1871, after which only a small group of “military” Fenians remained in Western Australia’s penal system.
In 1874, prisoner James Wilson secretly sent a letter to New York City journalist John Devoy, who worked to organize a rescue!
Using donations collected by Devoy from Irish-Americans, Fremantle escapee John Boyle O’Reilly, then living in Boston, purchased the merchant ship, Catalpa and sailed her to international waters off Rockingham WA.
On 17 April 1876 at 8:30 am, Wilson and five other Fenians working outside the prison walls, Thomas Darragh, Martin Hogan, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hassett, and Robert Cranston, boarded a whaleboat O’Reilly had dispatched.
They made there way to sea and were taken aboard the Catalpa, and escaped to New York.