Vale - Fred Downes

We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Maroochy Commodore and Life Member, Fred Downes on Monday 21 January. Fred was 93 years old.

Fred, a farmer at Palmwoods, was first associated with our Maroochy Sailing Club in 1965 when he brought his four sons - Greg, Barry, Peter and Ross - to the Club Sailing School operated by the Reid brothers, Ian and Elliot.

Soon the boys were sailing Sabots in Club races, and Fred was assisting with race and club organisation. He served as Commodore (sailing) for several seasons, and was one of the early Club Commodores when the position of President was replaced in the early 1970’s.

The Downes boys moved through a progression of sailing dinghies over the years — Moths, Thorpes, Cherubs, Corsairs and Sharpies - competing at Club, State and National regattas. Fred encouraged their participation, organising trips as far away as Perth with the support of his wife, Wilma.

Fred himself sailed as crew in Stan Clarke’s Sharpie before acquiring his own Corsair, Mijeyuke, in which he competed for many years, including a National’s in Melbourne.

Fred’s long service to the club was recognised in 1980 with the award of Life Membership. He “retired” from dinghy sailing, but took up Windsurfing (on the Maroochy!) and would often take a spell off the water to join us for lunch during the ‘80’s. Increasing age slowly restricted his windsurfing, and a few years ago Fred donated his remaining Windsurfing gear to the Club.

Fred’s contribution to Maroochy was also marked by naming two Club dinghies after him - firstly a Corsair in 2000, and later a Pacer in 2009 which is still in use.

Wilma passed away a few years ago, and increasing age has restricted Fred’s visits to our Club. His funeral will be held in Maroochydore on Friday 1 February.

We offer deep condolences to the Downes Family - he will be sadly missed!


Fred has provided the Club with many valuable photographs and recollections of his and his family’s involvement over the years.

We are pleased to share a some of those memories.

Past Commodores 1989 Life Members 1999 Life Members & Club Corsairs 2000

Max, Fred, Estelle, Charlie, Mike, Peter Charlie,Noel, Shirley, Fred, Keith

Fred’s Recollections of his experiences with the Maroochy Sailing Club written for the 25th Jubilee in 1984