Ron was born in Stoke Newington, London in 1906, moving with his family to Western Australia in 1912. During his years of sailing, he was active in the running of Claremont Yacht Club, holding most positions including Secretary, culminating in his election as Commodore in 1947-49, with a further term in 1956-57.

In the first 25 formative years of the Yachting Association of WA (now Yachting Western Australia) Ron was active. He was President in 1953 and became Honorary Secretary in 1958, a position he held for 18 years. He was President of the Australian Yachting Federation twice (now Yachting Australia), travelling many times overseas to represent Australia at the then IYRU (now ISAF). This long service to our sport was recognised in the honours list for 1974, with Ron being awarded an MBE.

Prior to his retirement Ron owned an engineering foundry prior and had a dream of establishing a fund within WA which, by protecting its capital, could support young sailors as they improved their sailing and thereby be assisting them to achieve their maximum potential. Thus, the idea of The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation (RTYF) was born.

In June 1980 the first meeting of the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation was held. Syd Corser was the inaugural Chairman and the Founding Trustees included David Paris, Dr John Baron-Hay and Trevor Betts. Since that time and with the continuing support of many of the clubs in Western Australia the Foundation has experienced steady growth. In 2019, RTYF achieved a significant milestone awarding in excess of $1,000,000 in grants.

Until recently, RTYF was managed by a Board of Trustees, some of whom having served for 37 years since its inauguration.

Trustees, Dr Andrew Kingsbury, Trevor Betts, Kevin Owens, David Paris, and Dr John Baron-Hay (recently deceased) provided years of dedicated service on behalf of the Foundation. Their invaluable contribution in establishing the Foundation and developing it into the unique, independent, and vital WA sailing financial support system it is today, is recognised and appreciated by everyone associated with the RTYF.

RTYF now incorporates a board of Governors who are joint shareholders of the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation. They elect a board of Directors who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation.

RTYF Governors

Current Governors (left to right), Cliff Lawrence, Greg Moore, Greg O’Neill (RPYC), and John McKechnie (NYC and RFBYC).

About the RTYF Governors

Cliff Lawrence joined the Foundation in the mid 1990’s and has served as a Trustee and Chairman of the former Foundation body for a period of 5 years.   In 2017 Cliff became a Director of the Board of the ‘new’ RTYF Pty Ltd and was appointed a Governor of the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation in October 2020.

He is passionate about sailing, both on the River and on the Ocean and has served as Sailing Captain and Keelboat Vice-Captain, as well as the Division 1 Fleet Captain at SoPYC. He was also a member of RPYC for 10 years, and has been an active member of the South of Perth Yacht Club for the last 40 years, owning two Foundation 36’s.

On the YWA Awards panel for 15 years Cliff represented RTYF, whilst also keeping his finger on the pulse of all up-and-coming young talented sailors.

As the longest serving current member of the organisation, Cliff’s passion for RTYF ensures that the function of the Foundation is stable and that it remains independent, allowing it to continue to focus on the same objectives and with the same intent as its Founding members would wish.

Having served as a Trustee of the former RTYF, Greg became a Director of RTYF Pty Ltd in 2017 and accepted an invitation to become a Governor in 2023.

Greg has sailed all his life. From Mudlarks, Flying Ants, and Herons, to Javelins, Intl. 14’s, and Sharpies, he currently sails on a Beneteau 411 at RPYC.

He was Commodore of Maylands Sailing Club (1982+83) and was made a Life Member in recognition of his service at the club. He then joined Perth Dinghy Sailing Club becoming Commodore from 1997 to 1999. Greg was made a Life Member of PDSC in 2003.

As an excellent custodian of the Foundation, Greg ensures the current Board continues to operate responsibly and sustainably according to the aims and objectives of its forebears.

Greg started sailing in 1990 and joined Royal Perth Yacht Club in 1993. He enjoys power boating and also sails regularly on “Itinerant’ a Farr 9.2. He joined RPYC’s General Committee in 2003, volunteering for the Finance Committee.  

He was RPYC’s Honorary Treasurer (for 9 years), Vice Commodore and then Commodore from 2019-2021, overseeing the major rebuilding of the Clubhouse.

In 2023 Greg accepted the invitation to become a Governor of RTYF and has settled into the role focusing on helping to achieve the Foundation goals and objectives.   

John started sailing at age 11 as his family were one of the founders of Nedlands Yacht Club.  He has enjoyed sailing in a variety of dinghies, catamarans, and keelboats since. John was made a Life Member in 2022 and is still an active member at the club. 

Joining RFBYC in 2013, John volunteers with race management at both Clubs.

He is an accredited National Race Officer, member of the Australian Sailing Safety Committee, regularly RO’s for State and National Championships, and was awarded WA ‘Official of the Year’ for sailing in 2021.

In January 2024, John was honoured with an ‘Officer of the Order of Australia’ for his services to the Law.