Optimists TT2 at RSYS

The second Travellers Trophy of the Optimist season - 'TT2' was held at the Squadron on Sunday 25 August. 76 Optimist dinghy sailors registered to compete.

RSYS and the Sailing Office should be congratulated for organising and hosting a terrific and well run regatta. It is wonderful that so many parents and supporters volunteered, including some Laser sailors, other parents and friends, and even the parents of former sailors.

Many boats arrived across the Harbour from clubs such as Woollahra, Cranbrook and Hunters Hill, and it was all hands on deck to ensure that those who arrived by road were greeted by a phalanx of helpers on Peel St.

The breakfast BBQ fired up early and the coffee aromas streamed out of the CCA as sailors and their supporters enjoyed the superb sunny conditions. Everything was ready to go after the 10.30am briefing, except for one key ingredient - the wind!

RSYS turns Opti!

By about 12.10pm the wind finally came in and everyone launched without a hitch. The fleet met a very strong southerly and completed the five races in Athol Bay in fine style. It did prove a bit strong for the 17 Green fleet entries who did launch, but struggled with the conditions and came home early - a bit wet and weary.

Five RSYS sailors entered Intermediate fleet, and again TJ Ly showed great improvement finishing overall 6th with a top finish 3rd. Raphael McLachlan and Thomas Flannery were toe to toe in the middle of the fleet.

Doug Cassidy and Oliver McLachlan competing for the bottom mark

Seven from RSYS entered the Open competition, and Benedict McKay was the top finisher, overall 12th in a great return to form. Austen Cross from RPAYC won the day with three firsts and second, and Stella Hurley from HHSC finished in overall second place.

Article and photos by the Youth and Dinghy Sailing Committee


View full results here

View video by TillyLockMedia on our Facebook page

More photos by Darcie Collington Photography here


Background to Sailing Champions League

You've probably gathered by now that everyone at the Squadron is thrilled by our team's win in St Moritz, Switzerland at the weekend. 

If you're not familar with the format of League one design fleet racing and just what a huge deal this win is in the world of Sailing, here's a very useful explanataion by RSYS Member and SCL Director Howard Elliott:

Sailing Champions League started in 2014 in Germany as a European Club Championship. The core idea is the most successful clubs of the National Sailing League countries compete against each other for the title: “Best Sailing Club of the Year”.

Integral to this core idea is the format of the event. A large number of short course races in identical boats. Each race is around 12-15 minutes long. 6 to 8 boats sail in each race. Teams are rotated through the boats to eliminate any boat bias and to ensure that every team competes against every other team a number of times. The races are fully umpired. There are no off-water protests - what goes on the water stays on the water. The standard format is a qualifying series of around 45 races, followed by a final series. The top 4 boats from the qualifying series go through to the final series. The first boat to win two final races is the winner of the event. The top boat of the qualifying series gets one win and so has an advantage in the final series.

All the racing is held very close to shore and has live commentary ensuring spectators and supporters are fully engaged in the event. The boats are supplied so the teams turn up with their sailing gear and go sailing.

In 2014, 23 teams from 16 countries competed in Copenhagen in the inaugural final. The winner was Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub (KDY) from Denmark. Since 2014 the competition has grown in Europe. In 2016 the International Sailing League Association (ISLA) was established and has now grown to include National Sailing Leagues from 20 countries.

Sailing Champions League now consists of 3 divisions – Open, Women and Youth. Each have their own qualifying pathway. Each has their own World Championship.

The past 5 years has seen the competition grow from humble beginnings to become the most popular sailing event on the European calendar. Each of the ISLA countries run their own leagues and send their top teams to the World Championships. Due to the popularity of the event, the World Championships now consists of three qualifying events to determine the final 24 teams. Close to 100 teams from across Europe start this process.

In 2019 the final was held in St Moritz, Switzerland.

In 2018 during the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Mark Turnbull and I were approached by ISLA to help extend the concept outside of Europe and into Australia. In late 2018 we established the Oceania National Sailing League encompassing Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific; we became a class association of Australian Sailing; we formed an alliance with Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron; and, set about organising the inaugural Oceania final.

In April 2019 and with the support of RSYS, we held the inaugural final at RSYS. 18 invited teams competed in that final. We included Open, Women and Youth teams in the same final.

Our inaugural event attracted more female competitors than male competitors. We even had one Open team which consisted entirely of female team members. We also had a team from New Zealand.

The top teams of the inaugural Oceania event (Open: RSYS, RNZYS; Women: RFBYC; Youth RSYS, RNZYS) were eligible for wild card entries to the 2019 Sailing Champions League World Championships.

In July 2019, the RSYS Youth Team (Jack Littlechild, Max Paul, Maddie O’Shea and Alex Rozenauers ) journeyed to Kiel, Germany  for the Youth Sailing Champions League Final. They competed against the best youth teams in Europe and came away with 13th place and a wealth of knowledge. Their results far exceeded all expectations and sent a warning message to the Europeans that we were coming.

In August 2019, the RSYS Open Team (David Chapman, Fin Alexander, Charlotte Alexander and Zac Quinlan) competed in the 2019 Open Sailing Champions League Final in St Moritz. Team RSYS was the 4th placed boat going into the finals. The top placed team Kaløvig Bådelaug from Denmark was top placed team in the qualifying series and carried a 1 win advantage going in to the finals. With some great starts and highly disciplined teamwork, Team RSYS won 2 finals races in a row to hold out the Danish and take first place.

RSYS has joined some impressive company at the top of the Sailing Champions League.

The National Sailing League has released its calendar for next year.

  • NSL Oceania Open Final, Sydney (April 3-5, 2020),
    • NSL Southern Qualifier, St Kilda (February 8-9, 2020)
    • NSL Northern Qualifier, Sydney (March 14-15, 2020)
    • NSL Pacific Qualifier, Auckland (date tba)
  • NSL Oceania Youth & Women’s Final, Newcastle (March 21-22, 2020)

The expanded season includes a separate Women and Youth event.

In addition to teams from Australia and New Zealand, we are expecting teams from Fiji, New Caledonia, China and Singapore.

The National Sailing League is expanding worldwide, and Australia is at the forefront.


Howard Elliott


photo credit SCL - Sailing Energy

Video highlights from Sailing Champions League

Two bullets in the two Finals races secured the overall Championship win for the Squadron team of David Chapman, Zac Quinlan, Finn and Charlotte Alexander. 

Here is an exciting video comprising drone footage and interviews on the fourth and final day of racing. 

View final day video here

Scroll to 18 mins for flight 17 race 3 featuring RSYS in the pink boat no 7.
Interview with Charlie Alexander at 38 mins.
Finals race 1 starts at 1:21, RSYS in the yellow boat no. 2
Finals race 2 starts at 1:47, RSYS in the yellow boat no. 2. Some commentary on their style of racing at 1:55.
Interview with our victorious team at 2:06.

photo credit SCL – Sailing Energy.

RSYS wins Sailing Champions League 2019

Media Release: The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron turned on the afterburners in a thrilling four-boat showdown to win the SAILING Champions League 2019 on the lake of St. Moritz. 

The crew from Sydney was the only non-European team among 24 clubs representing ten nations at the August 15-18 championship, and now the trophy flies out of Europe for the first time, winging its way to Australia. 

Second place went to Norddeutscher Regatta Verein from Germany. The other two clubs that contested the four-boat final represented Denmark: Kaløvig Bådelaug finishing third, and Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub in fourth place.

David Chapman, skipper of the winning team, commented: “We are absolutely stoked. We struggled to get a crew together for this regatta so we nearly didn’t come. But what a great team to have sailing with me: Finn and Charlotte Alexander and Zac Quinlan. I think the other teams didn’t rate us going into the Final, which was just fine. Winning the Oceania Final really put us in good stead. We didn’t make a mistake and the crew were just awesome – you can see that in how hard they hiked.”

Compared with the 51 races of eight-boat heats over the previous days of competition, the four-boat final required a more aggressive approach. No one could match the starting prowess of Chapman and his crew - all with high-level match racing or experience in other small boat classes - who won the first race of the finals and then followed up with an even more dominant display in race two. 

“I hope we inspire more teams from Down Under to compete in the SAILING Champions League. It’s such great racing - turn up with your mates and your lifejacket and race in equally-matched, provided boats,” Chapman added. Usually he would be tactician for Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood at Hamilton Island Race Week, that crew taking out IRC division 2 race 1 just hours before the Australians’ victory in Switzerland. 

Much was made by the SCL commentary team of the Alexander siblings’ choice to race barefoot in the cooler mountain climate, Charlotte laughing: “It works, so we’ll keep doing it!”

View final results here

The Oceania league launched in April 2019 and the dates for the second season were announced recently: 
NSL Oceania Open Final, Sydney (April 3-5, 2020), 
NSL Southern Qualifier, St Kilda (February 8-9, 2020)
NSL Northern Qualifier, Sydney (March 14-15, 2020)
NSL Pacific Qualifier, Auckland (date tba)
NSL Oceania Youth & Women’s Final, Newcastle (March 21-22, 2020)


photo credit SCL – Sailing Energy.

Good luck RSYS at SCL Final

Australia debuts at the Sailing Champions League Final at St Moritz


Twenty-four yacht clubs are set to fight for the title of “Best Sailing Club of the Year“ and the prestigious silver trophy in the SAILING Champions League Final 2019, due to start today, August 15 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 


Joining the hot European contingent for the first time is an Oceania team flying the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron burgee, the club qualifying for a starting position when they took out the open division of the National Sailing League Oceania’s launch event on Sydney Harbour back in April.

On the eve of day one of the four-day competition using J70 class boats, RSYS skipper David Chapman said: “From what we know of this league, it’s going to be extremely tough. We need to learn the boats and venue in a very short space of time.”

All four crew have come through the RSYS youth program – Chapman, Zac Quinlan and Charlotte and Finn Alexander. David and Charlotte were part of the team that qualified Oceania, and Finn and Zac have stepped in for the international final.

Chapman is a former youth match racing champion turned professional tactician with a seasoned resume in Dragons, Farr 40s, Etchells and other classes. Finn Alexander is past Laser youth world champion who now races full-rig Lasers, and is a member of the Australian Sailing Squad. Both Charlotte and Zac have strong match racing backgrounds.


After a long summer of qualification battles, it’s crunch time for the SAILING Champions League having enjoyed champagne sailing in Palma de Mallorca and in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, and tricky conditions and very light winds in St. Petersburg, Russia.


The SAILING Champions League qualifier series is due to begin at 1300hrs local time today and Chapman says the forecast looks light. Sunday afternoon’s final series result will deliver the world’s best club for 2019.


Photos by Darcie Collington





Members assist at Pacific Games

RSYS Members Captain Karyn Gojnich and Howard Elliott have just returned from Samoa, where they generously devoted their time to support young sailors at the 2019 Pacific Games. 4,000 athletes and officials from 24 Pacific Nations competed across 26 sports over a two week period in Apia. 

Howard was a member of the International Jury appointed for the regatta and Karyn was part of the coaching team supporting four Australian sailors at the event. Karyn commented, "There were many highlights during our two weeks however the most rewarding was working with some very talented young sailors, watching them rise to the challenges, soak up advice, learn and adapt both on the race course and onshore. The future of Australian Sailing is looking very bright with these sailors coming through." said Karyn

A warm welcome at the Opening Ceremony

Week one included racing for the Women’s single hander event sailed in the Laser Radial.  Australia’s Paris Van Den Herik from Darwin got off to a solid start day one with a 2,2,4 in the three races sailed. The weather throughout the regatta was challenging, quite often huge clouds building over the land and rain clouds coming in from the ocean affecting the local wind on the course area. On day 3 Paris picked up a second yellow flag but she was able to bounce back on day 4 and pick up two race wins. Points were close going into the final day of racing however Paris was able to secure the bronze medal.

Karyn with the Australian sailing team

The Oceania Championships were held alongside the Pacific Games and in week one this included a Kiteboarding event in which Australians Logan McCormick and Levi Fowler collected the Gold and Silver medals respectively.  
The inaugural Para Hansa 303 single handed event was held and Australia's Russell Phillips collected the silver medal.
In week two the Open Catamaran event was contested in the Hobie 16. Lake Macquarie Nacra 15 sailors Tom Dawson and Sarah Hoffman had to put on weight before the event to stay above the class minimum of 130kgs. The Pacific Games experience was a major development opportunity for the two 16 year-olds, who were racing against athletes twice their age with a wealth of experience competing on the world stage.

About the event Sarah commented "It was an amazing opportunity to be able to relate with other athletes from different sports and be able to have the experience of being a part of a multi-sport Australian team. It was really interesting to learn the mindset other athletes carry when they achieve or don’t achieve their goals when competing. Overall, this event gave me a wide insight to the scope of sport and future opportunities in sports as well as giving me a further appreciation for sport itself." Tom observed "It was an awesome experience, heaps to take away from it and put back into our sailing back home."
Also in the second week of competition was the single handed men's event that was contested in the Laser full rig. Due to the limited number of Lasers available in Samoa competitors sailed in split fleets. Will Sargent from Tasmania was up against some top opposition with French sailors Maxime Mazard and Etienne Le pen representing New Caledonia. Will racked racked up 12 second places and managed a win in race 13. There were some great battles on the water, and one that also went before the international jury, only to be dismissed, but nevertheless a very valuable learning experience for both teams. In the final race of the series Will had to beat Eroni Leilua from Samoa for the Bronze medal. After a match racing style pre-start, Will comfortably stayed three to four boat lengths in front of the Samoan to claim his spot on the podium.
On reflection Will commented "This event has highlighted to me the skill and fitness levels required to be able to compete at the top end of Olympic class fleets and has given me an insight into what I need to improve on to compete near the top end of the fleet of Olympic classes."


Australian Sailing honours our Members

Congratulations to RSYS Members who were recognised by Australian Sailing at the NSW Awards night on Saturday 6 July. 

Tim Cox - Lifetime Achievement Award, pictured above.

Martin Hill - Male Sailor of the Year, below right. 

The Squadron (along with RPAYC, CYCA, MHYC & RANSA) was awarded the Sports Promotion Award for its role in supporting the sailing events of the Invictus Games. Below right, with Vice Commodore Christian Brook attending.


At the same event, Barranjoey Pins were awarded to:

Sir James Hardy. A two-time Olympian, first at the Tokyo 1964 Games and four years later at the 1968 Mexico Games in the 5.5 Class. 

Mark Bethwaite. Competed in the Flying Dutchman class at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and 1976 Games in Montreal. 

Rob Thornton. Competed in the two-man Tempest class alongside Gordon Ingate at the 1972 Munich Games. 

Joshua Grace. Represented Australia in the Soling class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics alongside teammates David Edwards and Neville Whitey.

We are very proud of our Members.


Photos by Darcie Collington Photography view more here


Podium finish at Laser Worlds

Congratulations RSYS Youth Members Zac West and Mark Louis who have achieved 2nd and 3rd place respectively at the 2019 ILCA Laser Radial Men's World Championship. They competed in a fleet of 32 at the event in Sakaiminato City, Japan.  

The prize giving and closing ceremony will be held tonight, 24 July.

View provisional results here

Gold in Nacra15

Congratulations to RSYS Youth Member Will Cooley and his team mate Rebecca Hancock who have won Gold in the Nacra 15 class at the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championship in Gdynia, Poland. 

Close team work and consistency were key to the pair's unbeatable nine point lead, according to Will: 'Being consistent and working together as best as we can, that’s what this came from. There wasn’t any secret to it. All the effort we’ve put it, to see it come out the other end is just the best feeling.'

Results Nacra 15 (Mixed team) 
Will Cooley and Rebecca Hancock (NSW): 2, 3, 2, 5, 5, 4, 7, (8), 4, 2, 8, 5 – 1st

Squadron Members also competed in the other classses:

Boys 29er - Max Paul and team mate Archie Cropley 3rd  
Boys 420 - Ryan Littlechild and Jack Ferguson 12th
Girls laser - Maddie O'Shea 26th

These great results contributed to Team Australia coming 6th overall - well done everyone! And thank you to all your supportive (and well-travelled) families. 

View all class results here
Videos on the event facebook pafge here

Photo by Robert Hajduk / World Sailing

RSYS Members win the Etchells Worlds (again!)

Squadron Members Iain Murray and Richie Allanson have won the 2019 Etchells World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA along with fellow crew member, well known Sydney yachtsman Colin Beashel, in their boat Havoc.  The Havoc team were clinical in their sailing all through the event and led the regatta from the end of day one and continued to lead the regatta everyday thereafter to comfortably win the event by two points from their fellow Australians on Magpie: RSYS Member James Mayo, sailing with Graeme Taylor and Tom Slingsby.

It was a fantastic regatta for all the competing RSYS teams who finished in the top half of the 37 strong fleet, drawn from across the globe and featuring previous Etchells world champions, Olympic gold medalists and America's cup sailors. The excellent performances by all of the RSYS Etchells teams at the World Championships highlights the enormous depth of talent amongst the RSYS Etchells fleet; the Squadron has now producing back to back Etchells Worlds champions for two years in a row following on from Martin Hill's (our 2019 Yachtsman of the year) win at the 2018 Etchells Worlds in Brisbane. Martin and his crew finished a very respectable 8th in the 2019 event.

Congratulations to all the RSYS Members on great results.

View full results here