Go Laser Ladies!

RSYS was represented at Double Bay Sailing Club's Women's Laser Regatta at the weekend by: Kim Ketelbey, Freya Klomp, Mina Ferguson, Brooke Wilson, Evie Saunders, Annabelle Connery, Nikki O'Shea, Sophie Hunt, Issy Hunt, Vicki Kornman, Kirstin Reblin, Olga Skatkova and Jo van Hagen. Some of these Members usually sail Ynglings, keelboats or help our Youth sailors on to the water, and others are RSYS Laser Squad sailors.

The event was restricted to 50 entries and included in the fleet Olympic hopeful Mara Stransky and World Masters Champions Vanessa Dudley and Lyndall Patterson.

View results here

Read all about the event here  Our Younger sailors were particularly commended!

The event, promoted as a coaching regatta, included a day of skill development on Saturday and then six short course races on Sunday. Among the Coaches were RSYS Members Marlena Berzins, Karyn Gojnich and Charlotte Alexander who were joined by Katie Spithill and Krystal Weir.

On Friday afternoon, double Olympian and physiotherapist Krystal Weir, above right, was at RSYS to give some first hand tips on body positioning and posture when sailing a Laser.





RSYS members score major international titles

Across multiple classes at major northern hemisphere events over the winter months, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron members staged a world-beating charge to claim five key sailing trophies: the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, Sailing Champions League Final, 470 World Championship, Transpac Race line honours and the Etchells World Championship.

The most recent victory, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup at Newport RI, was led by former Farr 40 world champion and multiple national title holder Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. The RSYS team sailed 12 races in mid-September on an IC37 in a full range of conditions, becoming the first southern hemisphere club to be worthy of the coveted silverware.

“You can't describe the feeling of coming all the way from Australia, putting a team together on a boat we haven’t sailed before, and actually winning a championship like this,” said Belgiorno-Nettis amidst the dockside celebrations.

Less than four weeks earlier, the Sydney club that was established in 1862 scored a major interclub win at the Sailing Champions League Final at St Moritz, Switzerland. Skippered by David Chapman, the young team dazzled league organisers and followers with their fleet racing prowess in an unfamiliar class of J70s, and beat-up on the heavy European line-up. The fact it was Oceania’s debut year at the league made victory that much sweeter.

Chapman, siblings Finn and Charlotte Alexander and Zac Quinlan came to be up against 23 other teams on a lake in Switzerland having won the open division of the inaugural National Sailing League Final hosted by the RSYS in April. 

Around the same time, RSYS member and Rio 2016 silver medallist Will Ryan (pictured top left) and his 470 skipper Mat Belcher again showed they are a real medal chance at Tokyo 2020 when the pair claimed their fifth world title, this time in Enoshima, Japan, where the Olympic competition will play out. The victory confirmed their selection to represent Australia at what will be Ryan’s second Olympics and Belcher’s third.

Squadron member Jim Cooney and his supermaxi racing team on the striking black and red coloured Comanche won the Barn Door Trophy for first monohull to finish the 50th LA – Honolulu Transpac race in July. Comanche's time was 5 days 11:14:05, achieving a VMG of nearly 17 knots on the course and delivering the owner and crew the stunning carved slab of Hawaiian Koa wood trophy. 

Australians typically fare well at Etchells world titles and in June, Squadron members Iain Murray and Richie Allanson backed up RSYS member Martin Hill’s 2018 Etchells World Championship victory with a repeat, this time at Corpus Christie in Texas.

The Havoc team of Murray, Allanson and Colin Beashel were clinical, leading the series from the outset and spurred by the world-class competition snapping at their transom, in particular Graeme Taylor’s Magpie, with RSYS member James Mayo on main. The two Aussie teams finished two points apart and another three Australian teams made the top 10 from the 37-boat fleet.

On his club’s outstanding success across the northern hemisphere summer, RSYS Rear Commodore Christian Brook said, “What a great season for the club; our members taking top honours in multiple prestigious international events. Once they’re all back we’ll celebrate their successes and enjoy hearing about their experiences.”

Club Captain Karyn Gojnich noted: “What is fantastic about the SCL and NYYC results in particular, is that both teams included some of our most experienced members mentoring up-and-coming Youth Development Squad sailors.”

Testament to the club’s standing as an international event organiser is the recent announcement that RSYS be a key venue for the opening act of next year’s SailGP circuit, when the action returns to Sydney Harbour February 27-29, 2020. Later in the year the Squadron will host a third Farr 40 World Championship for the longstanding one design class.

By Lisa Ratcliff/OCC

Further information: 

Declan Brennan
RSS Sailing Manager
e. declan@rsys.com.au m. 0434 779 116

Isabel Wartho
RSYS Marketing & Communications Coordinator
e. isabelw@rsys.com.au m. 0404 575 886

Facebook @RoyalSydneyYachtSquadron
Instagram @rsys1862

Team Australia wins SailGP grand final

SailGP media release:

Tom Slingsby today made history, helming the Australia SailGP Team to victory over Nathan Outteridge’s Japan SailGP Team in the SailGP Season 1 Championship Final Race. The global league’s inaugural season culminated with a 10-minute match race between Australia and Japan, in which Australia secured the trophy and US$1 million prize in dramatic fashion.

The stakes for Sunday’s racing were unprecedented – US$1 million is the largest monetary prize in the sport of sailing, and the SailGP Championship trophy is a creation of Thomas Lyte, regarded as the world’s leading trophy maker.

“It feels amazing. We deserved it and I’m so happy for our whole team as the amount of work they put in was huge. We said going into today we were going to win as a team or lose as a team,” said Slingsby. “I feel for Nathan and his team. They have put in an amazing effort all year and it is just the way it is. One team has to win, and one team has got to lose. I am happy with the way it went but those guys were unbelievable competition all year and it was such a close battle.”

Race analysis determined that the final duel came down to a mere 78 centimeters at a crucial moment on the racecourse; if the Australians had been five-hundredths of a second slower, Japan could have forced them to incur a penalty. It was a risky play by Japan in an attempt to force Australia off its course that backfired and allowed Slingsby to move into the lead and ultimately take the win.

Japan led for the majority of the SailGP Season 1 Championship Final Race after being given the upper hand from the start when Slingsby took a penalty for entering the start box early.

“We made one error and that’s what happens. You can’t win everything and for every winner there is a loser. We knew someone was going to walk away unhappy,” said Outteridge. “It’s a shame it’s us. But that’s sport and we will just get ready for next season.”

Read the full media release here

Watch the videos on SailGP's Facebook

The action will return to Sydney Harbour 27 - 29 February 2020.


‘Ladies of the Sea’ Coaching Regatta open for entries

The Notice of Race has been posted and entries are open for the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s inaugural ‘Ladies of the Sea’ coaching regatta. The two day event on Saturday October 5 and Sunday October 6 is open to keelboats, and one design Elliott 7s, Ynglings and J70s. Boats can participate with an all female crew or female helm with a mixed crew and choose to use a spinnaker or not.

For all participants, across racing and race management, the event will aim to challenge and nurture crews with mentors providing the opportunity for all to enhance their capabilities, build confidence and develop skills on the water.

Racing will be conducted with short windward/leeward courses on Sydney Harbour both afternoons. In the morning, notable Australian yachtswomen will provide coaching sessions and in-boat mentoring. To ease our participants into the day, we will hold Hatha style Yoga sessions on the Club lawns overlooking the harbour. 

The event is the brainchild of Squadron Captain and Olympian Karyn Gojnich who was inspired by similar dinghy coaching events in Victoria. “RSYS has run Ladies Twilights on Sydney Harbour for 15 years and our community of passionate female sailors has grown tremendously in this time. During the 2018-19 season we had more than 180 sailors in yachts ranging from 20ft to 50ft most Tuesday nights. The time is right to up the ante with a full regatta including sailors from other clubs. My aim is to develop confidence and skills for Sailors, Coaches, Instructors and Race Officials,” said Karyn.

The Squadron is an accredited Australian Discover Sailing Centre and runs a packed schedule of introductory keelboat sailing courses popular with women of all abilities and ages. “We hold ladies only classes, branded as ‘Ladies of the Sea’ (LOTS), specifically to encourage women into our sport in a nurturing and supportive environment. Graduates are invited to join our Paspaley Tuesday Twilights for a taste of the camaraderie and exhilaration of racing. It is extremely rewarding to see our ladies grow from crew to helm and some eventually become boat owners too,” Karyn added.

The event will wrap up with a formal dinner ‘Inspirational Women in Sailing’ on Sunday evening. Our partner Paspaley will award beautiful pearl jewellery prizes, and we will hear from some of Australia’s most prominent female sailors including Olympians Lisa Darmanin and Lucinda Whitty, Ocean Respect Racing’s Vanessa Dudley and Katie Pellew-Spithill, and Australian Sailing’s Chief Keelboat Instructor Nikkie Jones.

Full media release here

Program & NOR here

Enter online here

Follow the action: 
Facebook @RoyalSydneyYachtSquadron
instagram @rsys1862
We encourage participants to snap and post, please use #rsys1862 #rsyslots #shesails


RSYS wins the NYYC Cup!

Three races were completed overnight with no shortage of drama on the race course, and ultimately Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron claimed the title as this year’s champion. The Invitational Cup will head down under!

Results here
Team profile


The successful Squadron team comprised: 
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Male Helmsperson), Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis, Marlena Berzins, Nicholas Cleary, Christopher Cook (Male Boat Captain) (*non RSYS), Michael Dunstan, David Edwards, Tom King (Tactician), Greg O'Shea, Ivan Wheen.  

Media release

Royal Sydney Shines on Challenging Final Day and Takes the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Down Under

NEWPORT, R.I. — It all came down to the final race, as it should. Two teams of accomplished and motivated amateur sailors from opposite corners of the globe battling on a lumpy, windy Narragansett Bay for one of Corinthian sailing's most-prized trophies, the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and San Diego Yacht Club started the 12th and final race separated by six points, which was anything but a safe margin in this competitive 20-boat fleet. The Australian team had the edge in the overall standings, but skipper Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and his team put the regatta title right in play with a sub-par start while San Diego bolted to the head of the fleet and was, for a while, back in the virtual regatta lead.

Using the superior boatspeed and sterling tactical that had gotten them out of trouble all regatta, Royal Sydney ground back into the top 10 and then into the top five, leaving San Diego hoping for a miracle that wouldn't come. The RSYS team was simply too polished. After 12 races in a full range of conditions, they sailed through the final finish line in fourth place to become the first Southern Hemisphere club to win the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

"It's unbelievable," said Belgiorno-Nettis shortly after a dockside celebration with his team. "You can't describe the feeling of coming all the way from Australia, to be able to put a team together who I love dearly, every one of them, starting with my wife, to actually win a championship like this. The New York Yacht Club Invitational is one of great regattas in the world." 

Save for one bad race on the regatta's third day, the San Diego Yacht Club team had sailed a nearly flawless regatta through nine races. Even though they carried a one-point lead into the final day, it was hard to bet against the youthful West Coast team. But then came the second windward mark rounding of today's first race. With Royal Sydney rounding ahead, in third place, San Diego tried to squeeze just too much out of a thin layline and ended up pasted to the windward mark while the bulk of the fleet sailed past. A certain top-10 finish became an 18th.

Now trailing first place by 13 points, SDYC skipper Tyler Sinks and crew showed remarkable reslience with a win in the second race while Belgiorno-Nettis and crew (at left) struggled to an eighth. That brought the title back into reach for the final race. With the pressure on, the Australians rose to the occasion.

"Luckily for us, we're good in the [stronger winds] and there was quite a lot of wind in that last race, and we were able to get the boat rumbling," said Belgiorno-Nettis. "Mike Dunstan, my main trimmer, and my other trimmer on jib, David Edwards, they just set up the boat so it was easy for me to sail. I could just punch the numbers out. It’s all about being consistent. So we were able to chip our way up from quite deep. We were in 12th at the start and ended up in fourth. That was pretty good. Occasionally I’d look around and see where people are…think to myself ‘oh how did that happen?'"

While most of the attention was focused on the battle for first, there were a number of developments lower in the standings. Anthony O'Leary and the Royal Cork Yacht Club team once again showed they love to sail in heavy air. They went 5-2-1, won the day, and took advantage of a couple of tough races by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to claim Royal Cork's first Invitational Cup podium.

"We're absolutely thrilled. This is our sixth visit, first time to make the podium, so it makes it very special," said O'Leary. "We were eight points behind Canada [starting the day] which is a lot in one respect, but with three races anything is possible. We had one dreadful result on Thursday. You just got to wait and see how the cards fall. We had a five [in the first race today] and you're thinking, 'They're may be two more races, maybe one.' Things seemed to go better and better for us. We're delighted."

Another team that spent the day on the up escalator was the crew representing the host New York Yacht Club (at right), led by co-skippers Andy Fisher and Ray Wulff. After a very up-and-down regatta, the team found its groove on the final day. With three solid races, including a wire-to-wire win in the day's first race, Fisher, Wulff and Co. moved from 10th to sixth in the overall standings.

"As a team we just came together, and each day we were getting stronger and stronger," said Wulff. "Today we just felt, 'You know what, we've just got to go out there and sail as strong as we can.' Representing the Club, we wanted to make sure we finished on a strong note."

The regatta closed with a spectacular Rolex Awards Banquet on Harbour Court. Regardless of finish, it was a time for to celebrate a week of great sailing against friends old and new. 

The next Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup will be sailed in September of 2021. The request for invitation process will begin before the end of the year. For U.S. yacht clubs, next September's Resolute Cup is the only path to securing an invitation to the big show in 2021. 

Photos @ROLEX / Daniel Forster

SailGP returning to RSYS in 2020

Following the successful launch of the SailGP series in Sydney earlier this year, the Squadron has again been selected to host key elements of the Sydney event in February 2020.

Media release:

Sydney was today announced as the season opener for SailGP in 2020. Following a hugely successful event earlier this year – when Sydney kicked-off the global league’s inaugural season – SailGP will return to the iconic Australian harbor on February 28 and 29 for the first event of SailGP Season 2. Tickets for Sydney SailGP will go on sale November 1. 

SailGP, the annual global championship, currently features teams representing Australia, China, France, Japan, Great Britain and the United States. 

SailGP’s 50-foot flying catamarans – the fastest sail racing boats in the world – are piloted by some of the world’s best sailors, including Australian Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby, who is currently leading the inaugural season heading into the Season 1 Grand Final next weekend in Marseille, France. Slingsby became the first-ever sailor to break 50 knots (100 kph) during an action-packed race last month at Cowes SailGP. 

“Sailing in front of a home crowd was simply amazing, and something that I had never experienced before at this level,” said Slingsby. “There is nothing more special and motivating for an athlete to have the support of the home crowd, and I am extremely excited that we are returning to Sydney. It’s one of my favorite places to sail and to win this year was the perfect start to our season. We’ll be aiming to make it a repeat victory next year.”

“Sydney was a spectacular venue to launch SailGP earlier this year on every level – the iconic harbor backdrop, the competition, the fans – and we can’t wait to return,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “The teams will be spending the winter testing new wing sails, and other exciting upgrades on the F50s. The boats are getting faster and the teams more competitive, and we expect Sydney will once again be a great natural amphitheater to showcase these incredible athletes and boats.”

More than 22,000 people representing 25 nations turned out to watch Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team win the historic home event on Sydney Harbour in February 2019. Overall, the landmark event reached 96 million people worldwide.

Recognizing the benefit of the event – which saw US$21 million spent in relation to Sydney SailGP and a total economic impact of US$18 million – Tourism Australia is supporting SailGP for 2020. Sydney SailGP will help promote Australia as a tourist and major events destination, and drive visitor growth and expenditure.

“It’s fantastic that New South Wales continues to attract major sporting events and we are delighted to welcome SailGP back for the second time," said Minister for Sport John Sidoti. “I encourage all fans to get out and see the Australia SailGP Team take on the world’s best sailors next February on Sydney Harbour.”

Next week, the SailGP Season 1 Grand Final will take place in Marseille, culminating with the season’s top two teams going head to head for the SailGP Championship trophy and a winner-takes-all US$1 million prize. Following Season 1 events in Sydney, San Francisco, New York and Cowes (UK), Slingsby leads the overall standings by four points ahead of fellow Australian Olympic gold medalist Nathan Outteridge, helm of the Japan SailGP Team. Tickets are available at SailGP.com/Marseille



SailGP is sailing redefined. Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and New York, SailGP is an annual, global sports championship featuring bold, cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. The fan-centric, inshore racing takes place in some of the most iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States battle it out in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph). Visit SailGP.com for more information.



Wine-Dark Sea wins at Magnetic Island

Wine-Dark Sea finally broke the second place barrier of previous years to score overall victory in Division 2 at Townsville Yacht Club’s SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.  

Peter Lowndes with a mostly RSYS team said it was 'An awesome week's sailing at Magnetic Island Race Week with an awesome crew. A true champion team. 

'There were tears when we crossed the final finish line and realised we had the win. Tears as we all remembered Sarah who would have loved to have been here sailing and celebrating the win.'

Despite being one of the smallest boats in division 2, Wine-Dark Sea sailed as the scratch boat for most of the week. The WDS crew took line honours in 3 of the 5 races and were on the podium for all but one race despite their handicap increasing by more than 10% over the regatta. Results of 1-3-3-(8)-2 won them the regatta by two points from Ian Edwards’ Wings (NSW), a relatively new Dehler 46 with carbon rig, and third placed Robbo Robertson's It’s Time. 

Said Pete of his Lyons 49, 'Not too shabby for a 17 year old alloy rigged cruising boat! That's the first time we’ve been called a lightweight flyer.'

A fitting celebration for this wonderful crew

At the presentation event, the crew of Wine-Dark Sea were also awarded the inaugural 'Sarah Goddard-Jones' trophy.  Nominated by the fleet, the award is for the team best representing the spirit of the regatta, the crew who most embodies Sarah's ethos for seamanship and sportsmanship above all else.

Magnetic Island Race Week was held from 29 August to 4 September with five days of racing on Cleveland Bay.  This year the regatta attracted 76 boats from around Australia.  

For all information and full results: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au
Regatta dates for next year 27 August to 2 September 2020.

Glorious Opening Day 

Thank you to all our Members who attended the Squadron's 157th Season Opening Day last Sunday. 

Commodore David Ward greeted the assembled audience of VIPs and Members and launched proceedings by firing the cannon from the Youth lawn. The participants in the Parade of Sail saluted the Commodore, boats decorated, bunting flying and sporting all manner of fancy dress. 

Congratulations to our winners: 

Best Dressed Boat - Mercier, James Merrington
Best Dressed Crew - Rapunzel, Richard & Sandy Lawson
Best Dressed Boat & Crew - Margaret Rintoul, Bruce Gould 
Commodore’s award (people’s choice) - Much Ado, Richard Brooks & Co



many thanks to Amanda Hicks, Karyn Gojnich and John Jeremy who took photos of the day's proceeedings,
You may view their photos here.

RSYS contests NYYC Cup

The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a Corinthian contest between premier clubs and being held from 7 – 14 September at NYYC, Rhode Island.

The Squadron is represented by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis, Marlena Berzins, Nicholas Cleary, Christopher Cook, Michael Dunstan, Dave Edwards, Tom King, Greg O'Shea and Ivan Wheen.

Our Club came 2nd overall in 2017 and was awarded the Resolute Trophy - so there's everything to play for! 
Read the story here

NYYC offered this humorous comment:
'Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, the skipper for the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's entry will surely do a good job of downplaying his chances of winning the 2019 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup. He'll mention his lack of experience with the IC37, or maybe that it's winter in Australia. Don't buy it. He skippered the Middle Harbour YC team to fourth in 2015 and the RSYS team to second in 2017, with very limited experience in the Swan 42. He's also a former Farr 40 world champion. Having Men's 470 gold medalist Tom King calling the shots won't hurt. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron team will be in the mix this year for sure.'

Race 1 day 1 saw light airs that perhaps frustrated our team's efforts, coming 11th in the fleet. 

You can fiollow the action via NYYC's Facebook and Youtube
View results here

Race 1 gets underway

Participating clubs:
Itchenor Sailing Club
Japan Sailing Federation
New York Yacht Club 
Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
Real Club Nautico de Barcelona
Royal Canadian Yacht Club 
Royal Cork Yacht Club 
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Royal Swedish Yacht Club
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
Royal Thames Yacht Club
Royal Yacht Squadron 
San Diego Yacht Club 
Southern Yacht Club 
Yacht Club Argentino
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Yacht Club de France
Yacht Club Italiano

About the event:

The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a biennial international Corinthian championship occurring on odd years. It was first run in 2009. Teams of amateur sailors representing yacht clubs from around the globe have journeyed to Newport to challenge for this prestigious trophy. The regatta has set a new standard for pure one-design competition with provided boats and sails and equalized rig tune. 

The first five editions were sailed in the Swan 42. The 2019 edition of the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup will be the first to utilize the IC37 yacht. This purpose-built 37-footer was designed by Mark Mills for the New York Yacht Club, with the hulls being built at Westerly Marine in California and FIBRE Mechanics in England. The Club will own a fleet of 20 IC37s, ensuring that the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup has a perfectly even fleet of yachts for this event for the next decade and beyond. Past champions of the Invitational Cup include: New York Yacht Club (2009),  Royal Canadian Yacht Club (2011 and 2013), Royal Thames Yacht Club (2015) and Southern Yacht Club (2017). To date 40 teams representing 21 countries on all six inhabited continents have competed for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

Photos by NYYC Media




RSYS success in HIRW IRC

Hamilton Island 2019 has been run and won.

Held every year since 1984, ‘Hammo’ as it has become known, continues to grow from strength to strength. This year’s regatta was the second largest in terms of numbers of participating boats (234) racing across 14 divisions, with 40 different courses that could be sailed – which certainly kept navigators on their toes. Sailing around some of the 74 islands of the Whitsundays provided participants with stunning scenery on all the courses, in warm sunny conditions with 18-23 kt breezes on most days providing ideal sailing conditions. Participating boats ranged in size from the 66’ Wild Oats X to trailer boats and multi hulls.

Team Hollywood

The Squadron was well represented at the regatta and there  were many notable performances from Club Members: Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (pictured above) won IRC Division 1 (in fact all the skippers in IRC Division 1 were RSYS Members.) Ray Roberts, Team Hollywood, won IRC Division 2 (with a perfect score, winning every race). Charles Curran's Sydney took 1st in Blue Division and David Henry on Sweet Chariot placed 3rd in Orange division. Many other RSYS Members participated in the regatta on board other boats and had a great time at the regatta.

View full results here

Article by Declan Brennan
Photo by Salty Dingo


Sweet racing at Hamilton Island Race Week

RSYS Member Jill Henry, Sweet Chariot writes:

Sweet Chariot has just completed another very entertaining and rewarding Hamilton Island Race Week. This regatta must be one of the best organised race weeks anywhere. We congratulate the organising team and bestow special accolades on Jenny, the lady calling the count downs to the start for all 14 divisions. Her voice is as enthusiastic for the last start as for the first, and she leaves no one in doubt. 

This year HIRW attracted the second highest number of entrants at 234 boats. There were 14 divisions which included IRC, PHS and multi hulls. The boats ranged from Wild Oats 10 down to trailer yachts and provided a feast for the eyes, not only for the participants but also for the spectators ashore and the passengers on board the jets flying in - seemingly only metres above the tallest masts - to the airport alongside Dent Passage where the starts and finishes mainly were. It is an amusing sight at times. Five boats sailed under the RSYS banner: Ishtar, La Troisième Mitemps, Spectre, Abracadabra and Sweet Chariot. 

Save for the first two days, conditions were very blustery which at times caused some rather close calls, at other times too close with several collisions. We were in PHS Hamilton Island Orange Fleet Spinnaker division. We can now say our fourth place last year wasn’t a fluke as we have just improved that position to third. Good helming, good crew work and a good supply of red frogs and black cats for energy ensured our success.   

The Sweet Charioteers


We had the same ‘crack’ crew as last year: fellow Squadron Members Sharron and Graeme Kennedy, Macca Paton from Sydney Sails and one of David’s Etchells' crew, Mark Brown. We gave our spinnaker a real workout and I was a tad concerned when, at times, the wind gusted to 30 kts. We did see some spectacular spinnaker ‘explosions’ and out of control round ups but fortunately no torn sails on Sweet Chariot.  

26 boats competed in our Spinnaker division, many of which were less than half our weight, so we rejoiced in the windy conditions. It was rather frenetic at the start line especially with spinnakers flying in 25 to 30 kts of breeze. As the wind lightens Sweet Chariot struggles, so the first two days of races saw us mid fleet but then the wind kicked in for the rest of the week and we ‘swung low’ from start to finish. 

Our brilliant techie, Sharron, was again ‘mistress’ of our Starting App and she and David got us flying across the line giving us brilliant starts every race. 

Most days, the sun shone brightly and the water sparkled intensely blue, whales with their calves delighted us on occasion, and the wind obliged on five days. Dolphins joined the fray occasionally also distracting us from the main game. A luscious long lunch at the Ishtar house on Lay Day smacked of many a long Sunday in the Carabella Room.

All in all it was a successful campaign by Crew Sweet Chariot with lots of fun and fine food thrown in for good measure.  

We also congratulate the other boats sailing under the RSYS banner - Ishtar 5th place, Spectre 10th place and Abracadabra 15th, all in Pink Fleet, and La Troisième Mitemps rounding off RSYS’ success with a good 3rd in Grey non-spinnaker division, also a big fleet of 26 boats.  

Article by Jill Henry, Sweet Chariot

Photos courtesy of Hamilton Island Photography