Racing for Sheep Stations

Sometime last year Blues Point Yacht Club and Sydney Amateurs  Sailing Club got together and established an inter Club challenge series called the “Sheep Station Series”. There may be some readers that do not understand the irony of the series name. I’ll try to explain – when a player or racer in any competition in Australia (and I suspect New Zealand) takes themselves too seriously they are politely told “Come on mate we’re not racing (playing) for sheep stations!”

The series is structured around a minimum of three boats and a maximum of five that will compete in each of four races, the top three from each club will score to theirrespective clubs. Individual boats performance will also be recognised.

The winning Club will have the honour of displaying the Sheep Station Trophy in their Club House for the ensuing year. (The trophy is a model of Sheep Station buildings). Our results in this series are here (2020 series).

For a better explanation of the Australian slang I defer to Wikipedia. “The phrase is a traditional Australian English term. It is used to describe the terms of a game, sport or competition, often a game of chance. A sheep station is a large sheep farm in Australia or New Zealand, hence denoting something important, large or valuable.

The phrase “playing for sheep stations” has both a literal and ironic usage. In the negative, it is used to encourage participants to play in a friendly and not too competitive manner. Playing sport or cards or a game of some sort, but not for prizes, one might say “take it easy, we’re not playing for sheep stations”. It could be used starting a game of cards or pool for example, to check whether the game would be played for money, beer, or just pride, asking “so, are we playing for sheep stations or what?”

In typical Australian fashion, it can also be used to mean the exact opposite, because a sheep station is such an expensive item that nobody would bet it on a game, the phrase “we’re playing for sheep stations” can also be used to mean that the game is purely for sport, and there is no bet or prize involved.”