AS honours Sailors of the Year

Congratulations to the three Squadron Members honoured at the Australian Sailing Awards on Friday night:

Will Ryan, with Mat Belcher - Male Sailor of the Year (pictured aboved)
Will Cooley, with Bec Hancock - Youth Sailor of the Year
Matt Allen - Offshore Sailor of the Year.

Fantastic results, well done all!

View the full list of winners here

Will Cooley with Bec Hancock                                                               Matt Allen


2019 Gascoigne Cup and Thelma Plate

The second race of the CYCA Short Ocean Racing Series was held on Saturday, writes John Maclurcan. Under a long standing arrangement with the CYCA, the RSYS ran the race, awarding the Gascoigne Cup to the winner on PHS for Division 1 and the Thelma Plate to Division 2. The race was also the first heat of the Perseverance Trophy, an event exclusive to those who enter at the RSYS for three offshore races spread through the season.

The weather forecast predicted westerly, shifting in both strength and direction, which is always a great challenge for the race officials. David Ross, Race Officer of the day, once again set a really good start line for the reach to the Heads. He cleverly angled it so that neither end was favoured and this was reflected in the spread of competitors along the line for both Division 1 and 2. Rob Ridley’s course was perfect with two good windward legs and two good squarish runs.
In Morag Bheag, as 'Tail-End Charlie' in a big fleet of 16 entrants in Division 1 and 21 in Division 2, I am unable to tell you much about what all of the fleet were doing though we observed a few Chinese gybes and broaches on the second run but I can tell you about our exciting race: A quick reach to the Heads and as soon as we pulled away around the junction buoy off Lady Bay, up went the bulletproof 2.2oz kite. The wind was gusting 20+ kts and was quite shy but Morag Bheag was able to carry the kite and  run to leeward but abeam of larger boats who were without kites. The mark was laid four miles east of North Head. The wind backed and most yachts by now had kites. The breeze also abated in typical westerly fashion. When it returned, it had a nor’west slant and as the southernmost yacht, we were last to get it, dropped astern and were last to the first mark. There was plenty of southerly set running too.  

On the wind with a full main and no 2. There were plenty of shifts for the beat back to the shore to a mark north east of Bluefish. I tried to play the shifts which is not a good idea in the heavy Morag Bheag but eventually we settled into a 25 kt lift on the port tack, overtaking one boat. The run back out was very square so I opted to pole out the No 2 and we ran comfortably at 7.5 kts on a nice straight course to the mark, allowing for the set. As I felt the breeze was strengthening, the crew prepared the No 3 headsail for the beat back in and were we glad we made the change. With a full main and No3, the beat back to Bluefish was exciting but arduous and Morag Bheag ploughed through the choppy sea. The wind was easily over 30 kts and after we passed the mark at Bluefish, we put a reef in the main. I had been hesitant to do so earlier, although it might have been prudent, simply because I did not want to take any risks flogging either the sail or the rig any more than necessary. I felt it was better to feather the boat in the gusts. We beat back through the Heads very comfortably and eased sheets slightly for the leg to the finish.

In a race that favoured the big boats, Samarkand from MHYC won the Gascoigne Cup and the Sydney 38 Shine On from the CYCA won the Thelma Plate. Of the Perseverance Fleet, Peter Williams' Erica was first. and Ian MacDiarmid on Hellrazer, pictured above, came 2nd in Division 2. On Morag Bheag we achieved a 5th in Division 2 and the Perseverance, and it was one of those results where 5th place felt like a million dollars. We had a ball in a most challenging and thrilling event although I detected that the boat gave a groan of relief when it reached its mooring.

View results here

Article by John Maclurcan

Photo of Hellrazer taken April 2019 by Paul Barbour.

J/70 Australian Championship

The J/70 Nationals hosted by the CYCA last weekend attracted nine boats including three from RSYS and two from Victoria.  

Conditions on Saturday were challenging with a very shifty westerly which at times gusted over 30 knots.  Exhilarating downwind rides were offset with the lottery of the top mark rounding that quite often saw positions change as the breeze literally rotated 360 degrees around the mark underneath Bradley's Head. Sailing on Sunday took place in a 10 to 12 knot sou'easter with much closer racing in the fleet. Reg Lord and the team on Juno showed their experience and won each race of the regatta to take out the 2019 Australian Championship title.

Competing in the fleet was RSYS Captain Karyn Gojnich who said afterwards: 'Sara Ladd and I took ownership of the Jackal during the week so we were pleased just to get out to the race course and finish each race.  Big thanks to Pete Lowndes and Ewa Lindelöf who joined us for the weekend.'

Ray Carless of Junior commented: 'The winds and harbour conditions were at times challenging but overall it was an excellent event with great sportsmanship, camaraderie and most of all, fun J/70 sailing.'  

RSYS Members Sara, Karyn, Pete and Ewa on The Jackal

If you're wondering what J/70 sailing is like, RSYS Member Michael Nash explained why he is a fan: 'The J/70 is a great boat for mixed sailing as the main is manageable for anyone and the spinnaker is not too powerful. Olga (Skatkova) said just yesterday that she was surprised she had no problems playing the spinnaker on Saturday. The future for sailing could be mixed sailing with both men and women skippers. The nice thing about the J/70 is that even though it is manageable for women and us small men, it is still a wild and exciting ride for anyone when the wind gets up. The other great thing is you can sail four up if you are bigger or five up if you aren’t, as the ideal weight is 320 to 340kgs. I like the J/70 because it is a light, nimble boat, easy to manage coming into and in the dock and a pleasure to sail as the helm is super light.'

The 2020 Nationals are scheduled to take place over Easter, hosted by Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron.  RSYS is currently hosting a J/70 Twilight series with racing on Thursdays 31 October and 7 November.  J/70s can also be seen racing in the RSYS Mini B regattas in the sports boat division.

J70 One Design                                 Skipper                     Club     R1    R2    R3    R4    R5    R6    Points
1    Juno (7071)                                  Reg Lord                  CYCA     1       1       1      1       1     -1       5
2    James (AUS007)                          Tim Ryan                 CYCA     2       3    -10      4       3      3     15
3    Jabberwocky (AUS1129)              Andrew Tompson     MHYC    3       4       2     -6       2      5     16
4    Maybe-J (1303)                            Peter Nash               RSYS    -7       5       3      2       5      6     21
5    Spike (AUS196)                            Tony Landgren         SYC       9      -9       4      3       6      2     24
6    Madness (1305)                            Paul Breslin             RSYS    -8       2       5      5       7      7     26
7    The Jackal (AUS1130)                  Karyn Gojnich          RSYS     5       7       7     -7       4      4     27
8    Jumpin’ Jack Flash (AUS1284)     Andy McIntyre         BYS        4       6       6      8       8    -8      32
9    Junior (AUS7082)                         Ray Carless             MHYC    6       8    -10      9       9      9      41


Pictured top - Madness, Paul Breslin
Photos by Beth Morley of, view more at

Next gen mast and sail systems

Bret Perry from Advanced Wing Systems will give a free talk on Wednesday 23 October about new soft wing technology.

Drawing on his experience with America’s Cup and Farr, he will break down the myths and misconceptions about soft wings and explain why they are the perfect alternative for racing and cruising alike.

Over the past five years Bret has been primarily focused on the R & D of the Advanced Wing Systems soft wing – the SRW. He will bring the K8 Sports boat (pictured above) to the Squadron to give you a close look at the system, and if the wind allows, hoist the SRW in the dock. Please make your way down to the Pond from 5pm to examine this fascinating new technology. Do book a table for dinner afterwards.


Event details
Date: Wednesday 23 October
Time: 6pm for 6.20pm start 
Venue: Carabella Room
Cost: There is no cost to attend the presentation, but please RSVP to assist with the setting up. Please make a reservation for dinner in the CCA.










Sunday Twilights underway

The first Sunday Twilight race kicked off last weekend under spectacular conditions. After a weekend of showers, the sky cleared to a beautiful blue and we had a really pleasant 8-10 knot nor'easter. 

This season we have moved to fortnightly racing. We have 15 boats entered in the Open (non-spinnaker) division, and currently four in the One Design (spinnaker) division.  The Club Elliotts are available to charter for anyone looking to get out on the water, please contact the sailing office to find out more. 

Sunday twilight is a great way to finish off the weekend.  It is a family affair on 'Solacious' pictured above, with three generations on board.  I can highly recommend a roast for the family back in the CCA.  Please help our Club by booking in advance for your Sunday night dinner, and if you want to order a roast, orders need to be in by 3pm the Thursday prior to racing. Contact Reception. 

Next race is on Sunday October 27.



Laser 'Coasts' Championships 

RSYS was well represented this year at the Coasts, held at Gosford Sailing Club from 12-13 October. Three Laser 4.7 and seven Laser Radial Youth sailors made the trip to Gosford. They were ably coached over the two days by RSYS coaches Mike Leigh, (Saturday), Finn Alexander (Saturday and Sunday) and Oskar Hansen (Sunday). 

Winds on Saturday were light to medium, varying between 4 and 11 knots between noon and 4 pm. On Sunday they were again light and variable, from 4-7 knots. 

In the 4.7 fleet of nine, Xavier McLachlan made a tactical error in race 1 for a DNC, but followed this with two bullets to be well placed. Kane Seblatnig led into day 2 with a highly consistent three second places. On Sunday they swapped a 4th and 2nd place, and being even on points, Xavier took the regatta win - a little luckily - on a count back. Garth Bickford scored a bullet in the last race to finish 4th and will be a serious threat in the coming regattas. 

In the larger Radial fleet of 35 sailors, Otto Henry led into Sunday with Dan Costandi a strong third. These positions held at the end of the regatta, and Mark Louis finished a close 4th. It was great to see RSYS super coach Marlena Berzins return to dinghy competition and Matt Whitnall competing for RSYS in a full rig Laser. 

As always, Gosford Sailing Club ran a great regatta and were terrific hosts. 

By Richard McLachlan


Click here for regatta report from GSC

Full results here 

More photos

RSYS Optis at NSW Championships 

The NSW State Youth Championships were held at Point Wolstoncroft from 5-7 October 2019. Joining the Squadron's strong representation in Lasers, 420s and Boards, seven young Optimist Dinghy sailors enthusiastically participated.

Benedict McKay reports:

In the Intermediate class we had Ben Tattersall and Stirling McKay, and in the Open fleet, Harriet McLachlan, Spencer McKay, Connor Warner, Louis Tilley (pictured above) and myself. 

Day 1:
The Opti fleet had 70 boats across the Open and Intermediate fleets, many of these from interstate. After all the boats were rigged our Squadron sailors were ready to go for a 10am start. The course was set just around the head with a 6-10 knot breeze. At the end of the day, both fleets had some very impressive results, Stirling managed a 7th in the Intermediates, while in the Open fleet Harriet and Spencer both took advantage of the left-hand shift and achieved top 20 results.
Day 2:
Day two saw more consistent breezes which meant the race committee aimed to get four races in. The conditions were 7-15 knots as well as a consistent oscillating breeze. Both the first and second races were very light which proved testing for our sailors. The third and fourth races had more breeze which made the races very tactical. At the end of the day, Ben T finished with a very strong top 10 finish as well as two other top 20s. The Open fleet also had some good results: I finished 10th and Connor climbed in the standings after some good races.
Day 3:
The sailors left the beach at 9:15am ready for the last two races of the regatta. The forecast was looking light but as the competitors left, strong winds greeted them on the way out. In the Intermediate fleet, Ben finished the regatta with a 17th and a 15th which put him into a great spot to finish the regatta. In the Open fleet, the sailors were fatigued which meant that they had mixed results. In the last race, Spencer finished with a 12th place. The participants were done for the weekend and were pleased with their results. Everyone achieved their personal bests - a big shout out to Louis who smashed his previous record.

Thank you to RSYS Intermediate Members Charlotte Griffin and Jack Littlechild who coached both fleets and did a great job teaching everyone new skills and helping them to improve.



LOTS of courage, competition and camaraderie

Young Madi Kornman, skipper of the all female crew racing Zig Zag 2, steeled her nerves, called for the spinnaker hoist and beheld a most satisfying sight as the red kite unfurled and set.

"I had been too nervous to fly the kite in the first two races, but on the third, I finally summoned my courage and went for it. It was so exhilarating to watch it fly, my crew did an amazing job," said Madi afterwards.

Madi's sentiments were echoed by many other participants at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's inaugural Ladies of the Sea Coaching regatta held over the weekend 5-6 October. Many women said they had long sailed with family members but were now discovering sailing for themselves and especially the joy of helming. 

"I've sailed with my father, my brothers, my husband... Now I'm sailing for myself!" said one.
"I loved helming a smaller boat as a change from crewing on a yacht," said another.

The one design fleet

​Each day kicked off with a good stretch during the morning Yoga session.

An integral component to the event was classroom and on-water coaching conducted by Australian Sailing’s Chief Keelboat Instructor Nickie Jones, Ocean Respect's Vanessa Dudley and Lindy Hardcastle - a Sydney-Hobart veteran who worked with the larger keelboats. RSYS Captain Karyn Gojnich led the coaching for the One Design division with help from Linda Bell (Balmain SC), Courtney Smith (Newcastle YC) and RSYS Members Michael Nash and Eddie Moult.

Nickie commented, "I believe in showing, not telling. First we discuss techniques and manoeuvres in the classroom and then they head out on the water and try it for themselves. That kind of trial and error is invaluable to building skill and confidence." 

Her method certainly seemed to work: "It was great to test out what we'd learned in coaching. I've grown in confidence. I'm not just participating, I'm here to compete!" enthused one sailor.

The keelboat fleet

The regatta attracted 104 sailors across seven keelboats and 14 one design crews participating in International Ynglings and Elliott 7s. Teams nominated to sail in either an All Female or Female Helm category. In addition to 13 crews drawn from Squadron Members, we were delighted to welcome teams from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Manly YC, Middle Harbour YC, Sydney Flying Squadron, three teams from the Australian Defence Force Sailing Association as well as many individuals from Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Newcastle YC, Northbridge Sailing Club, Concord-Ryde SC, Lane Cove 12ft SSC, Woollahra SC, Georges River SC and Double Bay SC.

Bonded by a common love of sailing, the sense of collective purpose was palpable:
"It's brilliant to meet women sailors from so many clubs."
"I love the camaraderie, the sense of community."

Has the Squadron ever witnessed such a sight – more than 90 women gathered on the lawn around Captain Karyn Gojnich to mark the conclusion of a successful weekend of women's sailing. 

Has the Carabella Room ever witnessed such a sound - the laughter and excited chatter as our wonderful community came together for the presentation dinner on Sunday night.

Lisa Darmanin, Katie Pellew-Spithill, Lucinda Whitty, Karyn Gojnich

First there was a standing ovation for Karyn Gojnich whose brainchild this event had been. The audience was then treated to a talk and Q&A with Rio Olympic Silver medallist Lisa Darmanin, Match racing champion and Ocean Respect's Katie Pellew-Spithill, and London Silver medallist Lucinda Whitty, pictured above. They discussed the challenges all had faced balancing sailing at an elite level and progressing a career; their desire to see equal opportunities for females in sailing, equal pay and prize money; and how they juggled an Olympic campaign with family life. When asked what boats they would like to sail next, Lucinda exclaimed "A foiling moth!" adding “although maybe I am not ready to take on the associated boat work."  Lisa is considering an A class cat, and Katie will settle for a windsurfer: “Fast, but without the boat work." 

The event was also an opportunity to recognise and mentor females in the race management team. Regatta Principal Race Officer Trish Stanley was helped by Pat Grace, Robin Bishop, Nina Flakelar and Anna Connery. Eric Duggin helped as coxswain on Mischief and Trent Goldsack was laying marks.

The Zig Zag 2 crew

We are particularly grateful to the Squadron Members who offered their boats to our competitors:
Zig Zag, all Female Crew, Malcolm Shaw
Solange, Female Helm, Andrew King/Will Hutchinson
Rapunzel, Female Helm, Richard Lawson.
Sophie Nelson and Genevieve Slattery sailed their own boats.  

We also owe a debt of thanks to these Squadron Members for their time, effort and assistance in bringing this event to fruition: Jan Harper – graphic design; Amanda Hicks – sourcing sponsor prizes; Chris Harper – CCA set up; Kirstin Reblin – 2IC on the night; on-water coaches Eddie Moult, Michael Nash … and of course Karyn Gojnich.   

Keelboat Female Crew        
1    Zig Zag 2 (581)    Madi Kornman    RSYS
2    Finn (6508)    Janey Treleaven    CYCA
3    Lively (SM74)    Sophie Nelson    RSYS

Keelboat Female Helm        
1    Genovefa (6998)    Genevieve Slattery    RSYS
2    Peach Teats -Velocity (YC868)    Meredith Trevallyn-Jones    MYC
3    Rapunzel (3458)    Sandy Lawson    RSYS

One Design Female Crew        
1    RSYS 4 - Elliott ADF Lightening    Meika Wright    ADF
2    Mojo (AUS 47)     Kirstin Reblin    RSYS
3    RSYS 3 - Elliott    Rowena Cremer    SFS
One Design Female Helm        
1    CYCA 9 Elliott Toga    Samantha Morley    ADF
2    Holly (AUS58)    Elyse Guevara-Rattray    RSYS
3    CYCA 7  Elliott    Emma Cook    ADF

View full results here

There was a plethora of scintillating prizes from our event partners including Paspaley, Mariner Boating, Everyday Cashmere, Above and Beyond Boating and Marine Safety Works. First prize winners received beautiful Paspaley Keshi pearl earrings, second overall a Super Soft cashmere scarf from Everyday Cashmere, and third overall a Shrug from Everyday Cashmere.

Karyn Gojnich commented "To me it is great to place in a regatta but I also feel it is important to recognise participation. We had some great prizes for those that sailed with us and did not get on the podium.”  All participants went into a lucky draw and the winners were:

Louise Tillett       A place on the Mariner Boating Holiday Mallorca Yacht Rally in 2020
Vanessa Stack     Three nights at the Beach Club, Hamilton Island
Kate Moriarty      A Safety & Sea Survival Course with Marine Safety Works 

Each boat that entered received a voucher for an Online VHF Radio Course with Above and Beyond Boating.

We are grateful also to Berkelo for their fresh bakery treats and Dr Michael Finkelstein for his dental care packs.


Photo credit: Margaret Fraser-Martin
Hi res images available on request

Article by Isabel Wartho
RSYS Marketing & Communications Officer

#rsys1862 #rsyslots #shesails



NSW Youth Championships

The Squadron was well represented at the NSW Youth Championships held at Point Wolstoncroft on the shores of Lake Macquarie over the long weekend 5-7th October.

The event is the first big regatta of the Youth sailing season and more than 270 boats competed in 11 classes. RSYS fielded 18 sailors across the Optimist Intermediate and Open division, Laser 4.7s and Radials, and in Windsurfers.

RSYS Youth Members Otto Henry (pictured 2nd from right) had a convincing win in the Laser Radial class, and Mina Ferguson (pictured far let) placed 4th and won Best Female in the Laser. In the Windsurfers, Vaughan O’Shea placed 3rd in the Techno Plus class.

The Club sends out a big Thank You to Member Nikki O’Shea who played 'Camp Mum', preparing meals for all the RSYS competitors and their families who stayed together on site at Point Wolstoncroft.

The next big regattas for the Youth classes are Sail Sydney in early December and National titles held in Melbourne shortly after Christmas. 

The RSYS summer Youth sailing programme will restarts after the school holidays at the Club on 20th October 2019.
Tackers information here
Teens information here

RSYS Members shortlisted for AS Awards

We are proud to announce that four Squadron Members are in the running for Australian Sailing awards:

Male Sailor of the Year - Will Ryan with Mat Belcher (470)

Offshore Sailor of the Year - Matt Allen AM

Youth Sailor of the Year - Will Cooley with Rebecca Hancock (Nacra 15, pictured above) and Max Paul with Archie Cropley (29er) 

The winners will be revealed at the Awards gala dinner on Friday 18 October at the Sofitel, Sydney.  

Good luck all!

Read the full media release here


School holiday training camps

It's been a busy week for Club Dinghy and Youth sailing.

We have 18 youngsters going through the 'Tackers' learn to sail programme in the Club-owned Optimist dinghies and 13 teens sailing the Club Elliotts in the new 'Out There' sailing programme.

Why not introduce your children/grandchildren to the joy of sailing? There are a limited number of places still available for both the kids and teens learn to sail courses from the 8th to 11th October. Open to non-members.
Click here for more information on our courses

In addition to learn to sail activities, our Club ran a Laser performance camp from Monday through to Wednesday that was attended by 14 Laser sailors, pictured above.

Mike Leigh, our Laser coach commented, “The Laser camp has been a great training opportunity for our junior Members preparing to sail in the NSW Youth Championships. We have also welcomed a few newcomers to the group who are stepping into a Laser for the first time.”