24.2.20 On the weekend of 22-23 February, a young team of eight sailors from RSYS competed in the 2020 ACT Teams Racing Championship on Lake Burley Griffin, ACT. The event was hosted by the YMCA Canberra Sailing Club, alongside 17 other teams from NSW and ACT schools and the ANU.
L to R: Issy Payne, Xavier McLachlan, Abby Gilbert, Raph McLachlan, Viraj Gupta, Hamish Longstaff, Oliver McLachlan, Ben Tattersall.
It was the first teams racing experience for most of our squad, and a steep learning curve. The team competed in seven races in variable conditions, from drifting starts in the morning with patches of wind coming through the course, to a thrilling afternoon of 10-15 knots. After tight losses against the experienced ANU and CGGS squads, our team quickly improved with the super-calm and supportive assistance of coach Zac Quinlan, finishing with four wins out of seven races (2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1) and a creditable 9th place after the first day.
The improvement across the day was marked, as the squad learned from the short-course format, using their fleet racing backgrounds to improve on the start line and get to the first shift. All our young sailors enjoyed it immensely, especially the instant debriefs with coach Zac after each race as the boats were changed over, putting new plans into practise in their next races and acquiring skills they’ll be using back in normal fleet racing.
Coach Zac Quinlan commented, 'The Squadron team did a great job to focus on their boat speed and were often some of the fastest boats in their races. Throughout the day, our sailors proved that as long as you have good boat speed you are able to get out of almost every teams racing situation and often sail around competitors.'
The squad were very keen to get back out there on Sunday, but a complete glass-out saw all racing cancelled by 1:30pm and an early departure for Sydney.
Abigail Gilbert, Xavier, Oliver, and Raphael McLachlan, Viraj Gupta, Isobel Payne, Ben Tattersall and Hamish Longstaff represented the Squadron, alongside two teams from SCEGGS Redlands, who also train at our Club. It was a sociable event, with much friendly rivalry between RSYS and Redlands (and parents). We gathered for a group dinner at the Kingston Hotel which was another highlight of the weekend. It was very pleasing to see the Squadron and Redlands teams working together as one big team to look after our Club's Pacers before, during and after the regatta to unload, rig, derig and reload the trailers. Special mention to Abby Gilbert, assisting so many boats out of the water on Saturday afternoon.
The RSYS team would like to thank the Sailing Office for their support and the provision of the RSYS Pacers for the weekend. We also thank coach Zac Quinlan, and Club Captain Karyn Gojnich in particular for her assistance and encouragement in sending this first team from the Squadron to a schools Teams Racing event.
Article by Sophie Hunt