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Who was Ron Tough?

Ron was born in Stoke Newington, London in 1906, moving with his family to Western Australia in 1912. During all his years of sailing Ron 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.

Ron was also active in the first 25 formative years of the Yachting Association of WA (now Yachting Western Australia). He was President in 1953 and became Honorary Secretary in 1958, a position he held for a further 18 years. He was twice President of the Australian Yachting Federation (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, Ron being awarded an MBE.

Ron, who owned an engineering foundry prior to his retirement, had a dream for many years of establishing a fund in WA which, by protecting its capital, could continue to support young yachtsmen and women to improve their sailing and thereby be assisted to achieve their maximum potential. Thus was born the idea of The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation.


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

The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation was established to encourage excellence in sailing in Western Australia with an emphasis on youth, and continues today with this as its guiding principal. The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation financially supports Western Australian sailors in achieving competitive success at an international level. It also supports a number of clubs and class associations in their endeavours to grow the talent pool of competitive sailors within Western Australia and to increase yacht club membership.

Until recently, The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation was managed by a Board of Trustees, some of whom having served for 37 years since the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation ‘s inauguration. Dr Andrew Kingsbury, Trevor Betts, Kevin Owens, David Paris and Dr John Baron-Hay recently retired as Trustees after providing years of dedicated service on behalf of the Foundation for Western Australia sailors. Their invaluable contribution over many years in establishing the Ron Tough Yachting 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 Ron Tough Yachting Foundation .

The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation 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 . Current Governors are Dr John Baron-Hay (past Commodore of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club), Barry Honey (past Commodore of Royal Perth Yacht Club), Colin Cowden (past Commodore of South of Perth Yacht Club) and Cliff Lawrence.

Current Directors are Philippa Packer (Chairman), Dean McAullay (secretary), Paul Green,  Vicki Baldwin, Dr Brien Hennessey, and Rob Rooke. The Ron Tough Yachting Foundation has supported many successful sailors over the years including the following West Australian Olympic Games’ Gold Medal winners:

Belinda Stowell: Sydney Olympics 2000

Noel Robins,Greame Martin and Jamie Dunross: Sydney Para Olympics 2000.

Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson: Beijing Olympics 2008.

Colin Harrison, Jamie Dunross and Russell Boarden: Rio Para Olympics 2016.

We are thrilled to add Matt Wearn to the list, who won Gold in the Laser Class at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics representing (Western) Australia! His lead was so insurmountable that he had won the Gold medal even before the final medal race, with its double points score – which is an phenomenal achievement considering the quality of yachtsmen there. Many Congratulations, Matt!