Winning margins of seconds in Etchells Mini Regatta

The Squadron’s first mini regatta of the season for International Etchells underlined what the class is all about - close one-design fleet racing with just a few seconds deciding two of the three races for the 23 boat fleet.

The end results also emphasised that consistency of placings is the keynote to success in any Etchells regatta series.  

As far as the Squadron fleet goes, the mini regatta showed what a strong fleet, with great depth of talent, is racing on Sydney Harbour this summer.

With a light 10 knot south-easterly breeze, race officer Ian Kingsford Smith set courses from the start line in Taylor’s Bay to marks near Shark Island (125ºfor the first two races and 140º for the third).  The first two were over two laps, for the third he set three shorter laps with the weather mark now south-west of Shark Island.

The mini regatta saw three different winners while the minor placings were spread between four more boats.  Yet none of the three overall placegetters won a race, they just sailed consistently well.

Rupert Henry, helming Vivienne, set the pace for close racing in the first race, with a seven second win from Dot (David Seaton),  third going to Umami (Matt Whitnall).

Race two saw a wider margin for winner Shindig (Paul Thackray) from Special Mention (Mark Anderson) and Dot.
With the south-easterly shifting in direction and dropping in strength, the fleet started the third race with five boats in with a chance of being overall winner on the day: Umami (Matt Whitnall), North Star (Michael Coxon), Alchemist (Richard Hammond), Shindig (Paul Thackray) and Vivienne (Rupert Henry).
Hammond led for most the last race but was beaten right on the line by Doug Flynn’s Wobbegong. The official margin was one second – less than a foot. A close third was Umami.

Consistency paid off with Umami taking out the mini regatta with placings of 3-6-3, North Star finished second with a 4-4-5 scorecard, Alchemist third with placings of 5-7-2.   

The division racing on Saturday saw the biggest fleets of the season so far with 10 boats in Division 1 and Division 4 boosted to a dozen starters with the addition of three International Ynglings.

In Division 1, Euphoria (Anthony Coleman) led the pursuit of line honours winner Sydney (Charles Curran) and on corrected time took first place from Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid) and Ultreya (Rod Pearse).

Bruce Millar’s Jessica Rabbit scored an outright win in Division 2,  finishing far enough ahead of the rest of the fleet to take handicap honours from Campeador (Jonathan Threlfall) and Ambitious (David Matthews).

Wingsong 2(John Vickery) led home the fleet in Division 3, but placed well down on handicap, first place going to Marigot Bay (Merryl Semple) from Tingari (John Jeremy), third to L’Eau Co (Grant Pollock).

Til the Fat Lady Sin,  David Smith’s Sayer 25, scored her third consecutive line honours in Division 4,  but on handicap placed second to the 33-year-old Bonbridge 27 Hornblower (Steve Sweeney) the margin just 5 seconds.  Third place went to the Hood 23 Esquisse 2 (Richard Staines) just 20 seconds further back.

By Peter Campbell

International Fleet Review Road Closures & Traffic Restrictions

IFR Road Closures & Traffic Restrictions:

Kirribilli Peninsula traffic restrictions commences at 3.00pm. Further information on the pennisula closures can be found here.

Members who are already inside wishing to leave may do so freely until 6.00pm ie. Members booked for the daytime functions do not need a traffic letter.  If members unsure of their time of exit they can collect a letter on the day from Reception.

Members wishing to enter the peninsula between 3 – 6pm will need an original copy of the letter signed by CEO (available from Reception).

No access in or out of the peninsula will be allowed between 6 – 11pm.  Once Members are in for the evening functions they will not be allowed to leave until then.

Parking is for Members only, guests will need to find alternate forms of transport. Please note photocopies of the access letter will not be accepted by authorities..

For the latest traffic information including road closures and special event clearways visit Fleet Review Transport info website or call 132 701.

For timetables, maps and trip planning use the Fleet Review Transport info website or call 131 500.

2013 International Fleet Review

The IFR and associated events are scheduled for 3-11 October to commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet into Sydney.  With a fleet of approximately 60 ships participating both from Australia and overseas, it will be a spectacular event not to be missed.  It is tipped to rival the scale and public impact experienced during the RAN 75th Anniversary in 1986 and the Bicentennial Naval Salute in 1988.

On Saturday 5 October the following options will be available for Members and their guests wishing to celebrate this very special Harbour event;

RSYS IFR Family Day, 10am – 3pm,  to be held on the Club’s magnificent harbourside grounds.  Food and beverage stalls will be dotted around the lawns and a jumping castle provided for the kids.  Bookings are not required however an indication of attendance would be appreciated for catering purposes, please phone 9955 7171.

RSYS IFR Buffet Lunch, 12pm - 3.30pm where you can enjoy the fleet review from the comfort of the Carabella Room.  Tickets are $65 per person and bookings are essential. Please phone 02 9955 7171 for bookings.

RSYS IFR Careening Cove Anchorage Dinner, 5pm - til 9.30pm where you can enjoy the evenings fireworks and the brasserie menu.

All Members planning to attend either the Family Day, Buffet Lunch or the Brasserie Dinner on Saturday 5 October should collect a parking access letter from Reception prior to the day.  The Kirribilli peninsula will be closed to traffic from 3pm – 11pm.  Only those with an access letter will be allowed entry/exit during this time.

The Carabella Dining Room and Careening Cove Anchorage will be open as usual throughout the week should you wish to make a booking for lunch or dinner and enjoy the spectacular harbour views afforded from our location.

Further information is available from the IFR website at: 

VHF radio proves its value

The new safety rule requiring all boats racing in the Squadron’s Harbour Summer Series to carry a VHF radio proved its value in last Saturday’s fresh to strong winds. As did the rule empowering the Race Officer to order crews to wear PFDs as a safety measure.

Race officer Ian Kingsford Smith effectively used VHF to communicate with the fleet in the International Dragon and International Yngling Mini Regatta about a delayed start and course change.

Hoisting code flag Y, he also used the radio to advise the Dragons and Ynglings that he was invoking Rule 40 for the last race, requiring all crews to wear PDFs. 

“This is not a mandatory safety rule, but can be invoked as the discretion of the race officer,” Kingsford Smith explained. “Conditions were deteriorating with the southerly increasing to 20 knots plus and as there had already been some wild broaches and a man overboard situation in the Yngling fleet, I decided it was a wise move".

“The crewperson who went overboard was recovered quickly, again underlining the Squadron’s requirement that all boats must have a creditable MOB recovery plan. I hoisted code flag Y at the warning signal for the final race and also notified competitors by radio. “In fact, as Miss Pibb crossed the finish line, flying under spinner, we noted 26 knots on the committee boat,” he added.

Kingsford Smith said he had used the VHF radio to communicate with the Dragons and Ynglings that the race committee was postponing the start of the Mini Regatta after receiving information that a southerly was moving up the coast to the harbour. “Using the radio, we were able to tell the crews the reason for the postponement and indicate a change from a westerly course to a southerly course”.

Miss Pibb, skippered by Hamish Jarrett, clinched the Yngling mini regatta with a spectacular win in race three,  following an equal third in race one and a win in race two. 

Miss Pibb finished the regatta with 5.5 points, just half a point ahead of Schadenfreude (Daniel Marlay) which won the first race and followed this with a second and a third.  Third overall went to Karma (Gary Wogas) with only four of the nine boat fleet starting in the final race as the southerly continued to freshen. If you are travelling to UK to sail have a look at this Heathrow Airport Transfers website to book cheap airport taxi home.

A disappointing fleet of only three Dragons turned out for the mini regatta with Liquidity (Richard Franklin) winning two races and French Connection (Anthony Armstrong the other winner.

The strong southerly took its toll on the International Etchells fleet, with eight of the 17 starters in race two of the Spring pointscore pulling out as the breeze freshened to 25 knots-plus on the main harbour course.

Michael Coxon steered North Star to a comfortable win from Alchemist (Richard Hammond) and Wobbegong (Doug Flynn).

Division 1 saw a close handicap result with Equiknox (John Molyneux) winning by just 31 seconds on corrected time from I Super (Robert Peter Campbell), third place going to Ultreya (Rod Pearse).

The front runners in Division 2 also did well on corrected time.  Limelight (Alan Husband) finished third across the line but won handsomely on handicap from line honours winner Jessica Rabbit (Bruce Millar). Soundtrack (John Amos), second to finish, placed third on corrected time.

Robert Albert’s Norn finished second in fleet but first on handicap in Division 3, with Tingari (John Jeremy) notching up a second, third going to Windsong 2 (John Vickery, the first boat to finish.

In Division 4, Til the Fat Lady Sins (David Smith) again outsailed the fleet but did not finish far enough ahead to repeat its double the previous Saturday. First place went to Beowulf (Stafford Watts), second to Til the Fat Lady Sins, third to Hornblower (Steve Sweeney).

By Peter Campbell 

Splendid start to Squadron’s 152nd summer season

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron began its 152nd season of summer racing on Sydney Harbour last  Saturday, 7 September – a splendid sunny spring day with light easterly winds and a warm 29ºtemperature.  

Everyone was back ashore by the time a fresh to strong south-easterly change came through late in the afternoon.

The one disappointing aspect (blame it on Election Day, boats returning from the Race Weeks in Queensland, others still on the slipway, the football) was a relatively small turn-out of yachts. There were only five starters in Division 1 and seven in each of the other divisions. In the International one-design classes, 14 Etchells sailed their usual close competition, five Ynglings raced, but only three Dragons turned out. 

However, the outlook for the rest of the season is heartening; the club has received a total of 78 entries for all divisions and one-design classes – and more are expected.

For example, a total fleet of 21 boats has so far entered for Division 1 and 21 for the Etchells class.

Those who did sail last Saturday must have thoroughly enjoyed the conditions.  One skipper who should have been pleased with his racing debut at the Squadron is Royal Edward Yacht Club member Richard Smith with his fast Sayer 25 Til the Fat Lady Sins.

Til the Fat Lady Sins spreadeagled the seven-boat fleet, taking line honours by 9 minutes and 27 seconds and winning on handicap by just less than two minutes.

Second place on line and handicap went to Richard Staines’ Hood 23 Esquisse, third to Beowulf (Stafford Watts).

Geoff Davidson’s Jackie Claire sailed its usually consistent race to win Division 1 by a comfortable margin from I Super (Robert Peter Campbell), third place going to Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid).  Sydney (Charles Curran) led the fleet around the course, but in the light airs could not sail to her rating, placing fifth and last on handicap.

Division 2 stalwart John Waring was in good form with Alouette, finishing second astern of Ellipse II (Brian Bergin) but reversing the order on corrected time.  Third place went to Jessica Rabbit (Bruce Millar).

In Division 3, first place went to Come by Chance (John Nutt) from Mingara III (Philip Crane), an impressive third to newcomer to the division,  Grant Pollock’s l’Eau Co, which also was second to finish astern of Windsong 2 (John Vickery).

The International Etchells had the biggest fleet on the day, 14 boats enjoying the light breezes to engage in some tactical racing.  Dot (David Seaton) got the gun by just five seconds from North Star (Michael Coxon) with Avalon (Michael Bellingham) a more distant third. 

Former Olympic sailor Karyn Gojnich began the Yngling class season well, scoring a convincing win with Evie, beating the champion boat Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett),  third place going to Black Adder (Gary Pearce).

In the Dragons, Liquidity (Richard Franklin) had a runaway win from Tom Thumb III (Norman Longworth) and Abracadabra (Nicholas Hogg).

by Peter Campbell

Zeus II sets sail on 34th season with Squadron

When the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron started its 152nd season of summer sailing on the Harbour on Saturday this was the 34th season that Jim Dunstan’s Zeus II has raced under the burgee of the Squadron, both inshore and offshore.

Over that time the sturdy Currawong 30 has achieved some outstanding results, including winning the 630 nautical mile Sydney Hobart Race in 1981 and almost placing first overall again, 21 years later in 2002.

Zeus II joined a fleet of cruiser/racers and international one-design class yachts, Etchells, Dragons and Ynglings, as another great summer of racing for under way on Sydney Harbour.

RSYS member’s grand double at Hamilton Island

By Peter Campbell

Winter in the Whitsundays has proven highly successful for RSYS member Philip Grove and the crew of his Sydney 39Cr Huntress,  winning their divisions at the Airlie Beach Race Week and the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

Huntressdominated the Performance Racing Division at Airlie Beach, winning two of the seven races and never placing worse than fifth.

Heading across to Hamilton Island, Grove and his crew continued their form against a tougher fleet,  winning the first race of the  the strongly contested Performance Racing Division 1 at Race Week.

Huntresswent on to sail consistently well holding out a challenge from Matt Allen Farr 400 Ichi Ban to take the seven race series by one point.

There was more to come:  One of Grove’s crew capitalised on the on-the-water performance with some fast driving  to see Huntress win Audi’s $117,900 A6 allroad quattro vehicle on loan for one year.

The yacht’s winning result was combined with the layday Audi Final Drive Challenge at Hamilton Island airport when more than 100 yachties were pitted against the clock by Audi’s Chief Instructor and Australian Top Gear presenter, Steve Pizatti.

All yachts were invited to send a crew member to get behind the wheel of the  Audi R8 V10 plus model,  the fastest car produced by the luxury carmaker, Mastman, Marco Bergamuncha, a motor mechanic, represented Huntress on the road track. After his two timed laps around the track, Bergamuncha, had secretly recorded the most consistent times.

When coupled with Huntress’ final score at the end of their seven-race series, a one point divisional win over Matt Allen’s defending Farr 400 Ichi Ban, Philip Grove was declared the winner of the major prize from Race Week‘s principal sponsor, Audi. If you are traveling to UK to sail have a look at this Heathrow Airport Transfers website to book cheap airport taxi home.

Grove has offered his crewman the option to take the Audi loan car for a year. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s his,” said Grove this week.

“Marco has been sailing with me for four years so he’s one of my regulars. He does mast and bow and he’s always helping to fix things on the boat, he’s a very willing person,” added Grove.

The 30th edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, held from 18 - 24 August, was open to a wide spectrum of sailboats – from sport boats to cruising yachts, cruiser-racers and grand prix level keelboats, plus a new multihull and MC38 division and the creation of First Fleet division for the four originals from the 1984 starter’s list. The Squadron was well represented in many divisions with member Marcus Blackmore winning the prestigious IRC Racing class with his TP52 Hooligan, although racing under his RPAYC burgee.

Paul Clitheroe finished second overall in the IRC Passage division 1 with Balance while in the Cruising Division 1 Stephen Everett sailed Salacia into third place overall.

James Murchison’s Abracadabra won the final race in Cruising Division 2 but inconsistent results earlier in the regatta ended with her placed 11th overall.


Gascoigne Cup Win

20 October 2012

Peter Campbell

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia member Warwick Sherman scored resounding double win with Occasional Coarse Language 2 in Saturday’s Gascoigne Cup, the 104th running of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s historic annual short ocean race

The Sydney GTS 43 took out the Gascoigne Cup, decided on Performance handicaps, and also won the IRC division which is also part of the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore.

In the Cup scoring, Occasional Coarse Language 2 had a comfortable winning margin on corrected time from RSYS yacht Wine-Dark Sea (Peter Lowndes and Sarah Goddard-Jones) and Ariel (Ron Forster) also from the CYCA.


Under IRC scoring, Occasional Coarse Language 2 won by just 11 seconds on corrected time from the Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler, owned by Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik. The two boats had a great spinnaker duel to the finish, which saw the slightly higher rating AFR Midnight Rambler cross the line just 38 seconds ahead.


Third place went to Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest, which also took line honours in 37 boat fleet that sailed in a 15-16 knot east-south-easterly breeze off Sydney Heads, with the start and finish at Watsons Bay.

All three yachts are entered in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with both Psaltis and Steel previous winners of the blue water classic.


Celebrating his Gascoigne Cup win back at the CYCA, Sherman explained that he had been racing Occasional Coarse Language 2 in the CYCA’s Blue Water Pointscore with his regular crew complemented with crew members of the former Lake Macquarie yacht Tow Truck. As you are here have a look at this list of Australian poker websites to play online poker which is relaxing when sailing.


“They weren’t available for the Gascoigne Cup, so I looked around the CYCA during the week and came up with six experienced guys,” Sherman said. “Even though none of them had sailed on the boat before they worked as a great team with my five regular crew members.


“I am delighted with the win today….I must say the boat and people sailing her with me did a spectacular job.


“We had two excellent upwind legs and had a tremendous last spinnaker run back to Sydney Heads and the finish which gave us that narrow winning margin over AFR Midnight Rambler under IRC,” he aid.


Sherman said he would continue to race in the SOPS in the New Year once the Blue Water Pointscore finishes with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.


He has entered Occasional Coarse Language for the Rolex Sydney Hobart in what will be his first Hobart race in 18 years of ocean racing, including a dozen Lord Howe Island Races.


What no Sydney Hobart before this year? “The fear factor!” whimsically commented Sherman, who has recovered well from a cancer scare. “I guess it has to be on my bucket list, too,” he added.

RSYS principal race officer David Ross set the fleet an offshore windward leg of 2.7 nautical miles with a course of 150 degrees. “Both divisions had excellent reaching starts, although most were conservative to avoid being over early…only one boat was OCS but they returned and restarted,” Ross said.

Etchells Milson Silver Goblets

23 October 2012

Mike Tyquin

Following a highly successful World Championship in February, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is again set to host a large and highly credentialled Etchells fleet in November. The Sydney Fleet and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will host its annual Milson's Silver Goblets regatta each evening on Sydney Harbour from Monday 12 November to Friday 16 November and on Saturday 17th a 3 race mini regatta will be conducted offshore on the same course areas used for the World Championships.

As Sydney Fleet Captain, Richard Hammond explains "with no major regattas until early next year, we have decided to combine two of our key events to provide an opportunity for Etchells sailors to get in some high quality regatta sailing. The Milson's Silver Goblets is a highlight of the Sydney Fleet season. With a 1745 warning signal, sailing on the harbour without the usual weekend traffic issues is a fantastic experience. Traditionally we have attracted 30 boats or more and early signs are for a large high quality fleet. On the Saturday immediately following, we return to the world championship track for a 3 race mini regatta. All up its shaping as a great week."

The RSYS mini regatta season has so far attracted over 20 entries including current world champion Tom King and past world champion Cameron Miles and a strong turnout for both the Milson's Silver Goblet's and mini regatta is expected. To assist vistors The Squadron has arranged trailer parking and will conduct The Milsons Silver Goblets as a wet regatta. As with the Worlds, tow vessels have been arranged to get the fleet offshore for the mini regatta on Saturday the 17th.

Entries are now open for both The Milson's Silver Goblets and the Mini Regatta with the NOR and entry form available at or contact Sydney Fleet Captain Richard Hammond for more details.

As with the Worlds, the Squadron is seeking the assistance of volunteers to conduct the racing to ensure the smooth running of the event.

Cheryn notches up four straight wins in Division 4

27 October 2012

Peter Campbell

The Squadron’s only all women crew racing in the Saturday cruiser/racer divisions, Cheryn Croker and her team aboard Daydream last Saturday scored her fourth straight win in Division 4.

No other yacht has yet to achieve such a result in the division so far this season, and this is only the second season of open Saturday pointscore racing for Cheryn and her crew.


While she admits the victory of the season was the outcome of several yachts sailing the wrong course “winning the Rawson Cup by default still spurred us on.”


Describing Daydream as “old, heavy and slow, but very stable, but perfect to learn on” Cheryn said most of her crew were novices and ranged in age from mid-40s to 62.


“Not a bad effort from some very keen ladies,” she added. “We may be light on in muscle but having a competitive edge just makes it all worthwhile!”

Cheryn and her crew have certainly maintained that competitive edge, notching up three more consecutive wins in Division 4 with Daydream.


Daydream’s win last Saturday week proved the ladies can match the mostly male crews of their competitors in most weather, with the wind gusting to the low 30 knots. “We did not launch the spinnaker due to the strong, gusty wind and shortened crew numbers,” Cheryn recalled. “Even poling out the headsail was fraught with problems as the wind was so changeable.”


Daydream was last to finish the race but close enough to the leaders to win on corrected time and she repeated that performance last Saturday, beating fleet line honours winner Solay (David Smith) and Beowulf (Stafford Watts) on corrected time.


After eight races in the Spring Series, Daydream and Beowulf are level on the pointscore but after one discard race, the ladies are leading and to quote Cheryn are having “a hoot of a time out there!”


Last Saturday produced big winning margins on corrected time in Divisions 1 and 3 but a close double victory in Division 2.