Squadron Development Program EOI

We are seeking expressions of interest from sailors aged 13-30 years, members and non-members, to participate in the 2019/2020 Squadron Development Keelboat Program. 

Training is conducted on our fleet of Elliott 7s and provides on and off water training sessions and regatta experience. The program focuses on building core team work dynamics and advanced sail trim techniques while exposing the sailors to the format of Match Racing.

The SDKP consists of two squads which run adjacent to each other but with different durations:
Development Sailing Squad (DSS) for ages 13-25 yrs, May – August (6 months)
Senior Development Sailing Squad (SDSS) up to 30yrs, May – March (11 months)

Both squads will introduce participants to performance keelboat racing and enhance their sailing skills to an advanced level. Sailors must have demonstrated sailing ability at a club level and keelboat experience is also desirable.

Interested? Please come to our Information and Training day on 4 May at 9am in the RSYS Youth Training Room.

Further information here or email angus@rsys.com.au

Dinghies' final summer race

'RSYS dinghy sailors enjoyed their final race day of the Summer season on Sunday afternoon in a sparkling nor’easter,' writes Youth sailing parent Sophie Hunt. 

We had a terrific turnout, including additional competitors in the Laser fleet in the form of Jervis Tilly and Campbell Mackay who took on our incredible Youth sailors in the Laser Radials.

The Opti race fleet was joined by three of the new Club Pacers, and swelled even further with our big Opti Green fleet joining in for the last two races. 

There were some standout results after three races for each fleet, notably Spencer Mackay, who won all three heats in the Optimist Open fleet.

In the Laser Radials, there was tight racing between Brooke Wilson, Zac West and Dan Costandi who each won a race. Xavier McLachlan and Kane Sablavik raced hard in the Laser 4.7s, and in the Pacers, Gianni Watson and Hamish Longstaff enjoyed success. The day finished with a terrific Burger Night in the CCA. 

From here the Youth and dinghy sailors get straight into the Winter season with a great program of training, racing and regattas ahead.  

A very special thanks to RSYS Youth Co-ordinator Locky Pryor for his excellent organisation of the Dinghy and Youth programs, as well as his unfailing enthusiasm and encouragement of all our Youth sailors (and parents).

Article and photos by Sophie Hunt

Find out more about RSYS Dinghy Sailing here

Learn to Sail courses here


MYC Women's Challenge - Take 2

Last Sunday some of our female Members, as well as a few LOTS graduates and Club staff, sailed in the re-run of the Manly Yacht Club's Women's Challenge, an event that has been running for 22 years on Sydney Harbour.

Sailors were spread throughout the fleets on Mondo, Peach Teats-Velocity, Moonraker, Morkuska, Evie and Shining Star-Holly. All boats had a female on the helm, and some consisted of all-women crews.


It was a sparkling sunny day, a vast improvement on the torrential rains of the original scheduled race day two weeks prior. The abating westerly winds funnelling over the course area between Quarantine Beach and Balmoral provided plenty of opportunities for big gains, as well as big losses, throughout the afternoon.


The Ynglings had a successful day with Evie (AUS59) comprising Jane McCullough, Vicki Kornman and Karyn Gojnich taking 1st on corrected time in Division 2. Elyse Guevara, Phillipa Howse and Alison Cowle on board Shining Star-Holly (AUS48) pictured top and above, came 3rd.  


As it was an hour's sail to Manly, then a two and a half hour race, both crews were very appreciative to have Adam Tran onboard a RIB for a tow back to the Squadron after racing.

Some great photos by Dale and Crosbie Lorrimer here
and more by Marg Fraser Martin here
View results here


Photos above by Dale and Crosbie Lorrimer, Adam Tran & Isabel Wartho

Gold at 420s NSW State Championship

Congratulations to RSYS Youth Sailors Ryan Littlechild and Jack Ferguson who won the International 420 NSW State Championship hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club last weekend. 

Teams came from QLD, VIC as well as NSW to contest the regatta. Ryan and Jack notched up eight back to back race wins and stunned the competition in an impressive display of skill, boat speed and strategy.

Jack and Ryan are pictured above in RALOAH 56448, rounding a mark; below, leading the fleet and bottom far right, at the presentation.

The team are in the NSWIS gym two mornings a week, and on the water Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays preparing for the International 470 Open World Championship to be sailed out of Vilamoura, on Portgual's south coast 3-11 July. The boys will then have two days to make their way to Gdynia, Poland for the Youth Sailing World Championship being sailed 13-20 July.

View results here

Optimist NSW State Championship

After great lead up work and training from Locky and the coaches, RSYS Youth Sailing assembled a big fleet of Opti sailors to head up the M1 to Gosford for the Annual State Championship.

TJ Ly pulled on the RSYS bib for his first regatta, so big congratulations to him, he did really well.  Unfortunately injuries to three of our team left us with 17 at the starting gun. Heavy rain Friday night and Saturday morning made for a muddy boat park, however the skies cleared and the wind blew for terrific conditions by the first signal on Saturday. 

The Open fleet were in their 3rd race on Saturday before a very strong southerly, gusting well over 20 knots, blew up Brisbane Waters and had its way with the fleet. Luckily the Intermediate and Green fleets were already safely ashore. Harriet McLachlan was the top girl in Intermediates on day 1, and Connor Warner and Benedict McKay had a great first day in the Opens.

Sunday started early after the premature finish on Saturday. The first gun was at 10am, again with superb conditions of 10-12 knots, though with a slightly strong (for the Green fleet ) southerly with a bit of a nip to it, so all sailors rugged up.

Stirling McKay showed real class in Green, but they all sailed really well and as always learnt a lot with time on the water.

A special mention to RSYS sailor Nick Kellaher in Green fleet: he won the Sportsmanship award for pulling out of a race and circling RSYS sailor Abby Tattersall in his boat when she was in trouble, blowing his whistle to attract the attention of the coach boat and staying with her until they came over. As a result he didn’t have time to finish the race, but that didn’t bother him a bit. This fantastic effort is wonderful and Nick is highly commended for his great efforts and tremendous values.

In Intermediates, Harriet worked hard and just held on to her top 10 position, winning the trophy for highest placed female sailor, with Ben Tattersall and Maddie and Kate Atkinson showing great improvement and good results from their hard work. They will be a real threat in future regattas.

In Opens our team worked hard for some mixed results. Benedict and Spencer McKay showed their class and experience and were the top RSYS sailors at the end of the weekend and big congratulations to them, both having a better second day. 

Congratulations to Gosford Sailing Club who ran a great regatta all weekend and were terrific hosts. The location, management and organization could not be faulted. 

The Summer season finishes soon, and then we move to Winter training, the East Coast Championships in June and State Youths in September. The Squadron looks forward to hosting a Travellers Trophy Regatta for the Optis in late August.

By Richard McLachlan

DF65s Boatshed Challenge

The big RSYS Boatshed Challenge was held last Wednesday using the Dragonforce65s loaned by our Radio Sailing Division owners.

It started out as a team building exercise and quickly developed into a fun event with plenty of banter, shouting and a few beers. The racing was very close and we were amazed how easily these boats sail and how close the One Design racing is.


These photos showcase the beautiful RSYS location and the ideal sailing location. Bragging rights went to Max on a countback from Justin.

  1. Max 23 pts (countback on more wins)
  2. Justin 23
  3. Robbie 24
  4. Alex 32
  5. George 34

Thanks to all the DF65 owners who loaned their boats for the Challenge and Bruce McArthur for being RO. The Boatshed team are keen for a rematch, so will organise another event  in the coming months.

By Phil Burgess

Sayonara Cup heralds new era of Match racing

'Sydney sailors wrest back control of Sayonara Cup,' writes John Curnow in the Sydey Morning Herald. 

'A thrilling duel on the River Derwent and the triumphant return of the Sayonara Cup to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron points towards a match-racing revival among young Australian sailors after a decade of dormancy in Hobart at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Dubbed a mini-America’s Cup, the Sayonara Cup is one of the oldest and most famous yachting trophies in the southern hemisphere. For more than 115 years, the trophy has cast a special spell over match racers, providing a forum for racing in its purest form since 1904 when a race between Australia’s two most powerful racing yachts was felt to mark the occasion of Federation well.

The more recent knife-edged battle between two of Australia’s oldest Royal sailing clubs and their finest teams attracted crowds on the sparkling waterway and drew immediate offers to challenge from Tasmania and Western Australia.

“It seems the Sayonara Cup has opened up an area of sailing that people thought they had moved on from,” said Australian Sailing performance director Iain Murray, who has skippered, directed and designed boats for the America’s Cup.

“We all look to the recent editions of the America's Cup and think of speed and foiling but there is a genuine appreciation of the original skills of match racing used in past America's Cups and the Sayonara Cup. The technical skills of match racing - principally of tacking, gybing and boat placement over technology - are skills that are often sought at the highest level and that have been the foundation of Australian crew saturation on the world sailing stage."

Murray is positive about the future of match racing at a national level.

“The values of club, state and national-originated challenges have an important place and now RSYS has the helm it is important to re-establish the Sayonara Cup as a desired pathway for our future champions.”

The buzz about match racing is in part due to the quality on board each boat. David Chapman, the emerging 30-year-old star tactician on the RSYS challenger Whimsical, is nephew to one of Australia’s greatest ever tacticians Hugh Treharne of the ’83 America’s Cup crew of Australia II.

Armed with local knowledge and a steely determination to win, he joined a stealth trio that included Olympic veteran David Giles and the coolly-collected World Cup helmsman Matt Whitnall. Enjoying the match race structure and the chance to sail with and against the greats, Chapman says: "I really liked the idea of the Sayonara Cup for there is a massive hole in match racing around the world.”

Read the full article in the SMH here

Youth success at NZ 420 Nationals

RSYS Youth Sailors Natasha Nisbet, Gretel Payne, Jack Ferguson and Ryan Littlechild made the trip 'across the ditch' to the New Zealand 420 National Championship in Takapuna, Auckland from 13 - 17 March. 

Natasha and Gretal were the 5th female team and 15th overall. 

Ryan and Jack were 3rd overall.

In the photo above are Jack and Ryan, 2nd and 3rd from left. Natasha and Gretal, 2nd and 3rd from the right with two 420 Victorian Teams.

Well done!

Nominate your Sailor of the Year!

RSYS Yachtswoman, Yachtsman and Crewperson of the Year awards - let's recognise our top sailors!

The RSYS Sailing Committee is calling upon Members to nominate an appropriate person for one of the three significant awards for the 2018-2019 sailing season.

Those awards are: 

Yachtswoman of the Year (Joanne Trophy)
Awarded to a Squadron Member who sails regularly from the Squadron, is enthusiastic, deeply involved and an active participant in any aspect of sailing.

Yachtsman of the Year (Idris Cup)
Awarded to a Squadron Member for excellence in local, national and international sailing competition who has demonstrated the art of good seamanship and sportsmanlike conduct. 

Crewperson of the Year (Carabella Tray)
Awarded to a Squadron Member who has shown outstanding achievement as a crew member of a team or yacht.  

If you know someone who you think should be acknowledged, please complete the online nomination below:
Nominations close on Monday 7 May.  

Annual Awards nomination
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Past Winners

Yachtswoman of the Year
2017-18 Maddie O'Shea (pictured above)
2016-17 Jeanne-Claude Strong
2015-16 Millie Brown
2014-15 Jeanne-Claude Strong

Yachtsman of the Year
2017-18 Rupert Henry and Greg O'Shea (pictured above)
2016-17 Rob Lowndes 
2015-16 Paul Clitheroe
2014-15 Roger Hickman

Crewperson of the Year
2017-18 Will Ryan
2016-17 David Chapman 
2015-16 David Chapman
2014-15 David Chapman

RSYS wins the Sayonara Cup…by seconds

The RSYS challenger has won back from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania one of Australia’s oldest and most famous yachting trophies, the Sayonara Cup, in a day of extraordinarily close match racing on the River Derwent, writes Peter Campbell.

The Cup Challenge Match was sailed in one-design International Dragon class yachts with the RSYS challenger, Whimsical, steered by Matt Whitnall, winning 4-2 against the defender, Karabos IX, skippered by Nick Rogers.  

“A win for yachting” was how RYCT race officer Nick Hutton described the match while Gordon Ingate, at 93 years of age, the doyen of the International Dragon class, commented: “The River Derwent at its best.”

Ingate came to Hobart as the patron of the RSYS Challenge, providing his boat Whimsical to Matt Whitnall and his crew of David Chapman and David Giles. On Friday he steered Whimsical in a trial sail on the Derwent with Chapman and Giles, adding “This may well have been my last sail on the River Derwent, but what a glorious day.”

Of the six races sailed in the Sayonara Cup Challege Match sailed on Saturday 16 March, the winning margin was only once greater than 14 seconds; in race three just one second separated the two Dragons as they crossed the finish line; in race five it was two seconds.

Whimsical won the first race, the first time in many years that a challenger had won the opening race of a Sayonara Cup challenge match. Karabos IX levelled the score with a sailaway win in race two, finishing one minute and 21 seconds ahead. Then came Whimsical’s two-second win in race two after a spinnaker luffing match to the line. The RSYS boat led 2-1.

Rogers and his crew of Leigh Behrens and Oliver Burnell scored their second win with Karabos IX in race four, by 12 seconds, to tie the score at 2-all, but Whitnall’s two-second win in race five gave the challengers a 3-2 lead.

They needed just one more win to take the Cup back to Sydney, and this they did with a hard-fought 13-second victory in race six, winning the best of seven race series 4-2.

In the two closest races, daring manoeuvres by Whitnall and his crew nearing the finish line gave the Sydney sailors two vital race wins. The first winning tactic was to make three fast spinnaker gybes right on the finish line, thus gaining the right-of-way over Karabos IX. They crossed one second ahead.

The second tactical move was to force a penalty against Rogers, again right on the finish line, and thus nullify the penalty the Tasmania crew had gained on Whimsical earlier in that race.

“To win such a great event as the Sayonara Cup is very exciting and an honour,” the 49-year-old Matt Whitnall said at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania after the late afternoon finish to the Challenge Match.

“Not only is it a famous yachting event, full of great history, but is a contest where there is such goodwill between the competitors and each of the clubs,” the Sydney sailor added.

Whitnall, who regularly sails Dragons and Etchells out of the RSYS, was ful of praise for his crew. “They are real tradesmen, calm and collected at all times…David Giles has sailed in five Olympics in Stars, David Chapman is a world champion tactician in several classes.”

Matt Whitnall’s father Max was an outstanding sailor in high performance centreboard classes, including 505s and Flying Dutchman, and Matt’s children are all sailors, too, with his elder son, AJ, a top ten youth sailor in Laser 4.7s.

The inaugural event that created the Sayonara Cup was an Interstate Challenge off Sydney Heads in 1904 between the gaff-rigged 80-foot cutters Sayonara from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and Bona, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Sayonara won, and owner Alfred Gollin presented the ornate silver trophy, named after his yacht, as a perpetual trophy. The Sayonara Cup became a famous yachting event, with a large public following, and has been contested, with wartime and other gaps, in 80-footer and 60-foot gaff-rigged cutters and post-World War II in Eight Metres, then for the past 35 years in International Dragons.

‘Royal’ Clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong and Hobart have been challengers, winners and defenders, with RYCT holding the trophy since 2009 when Nick Rogers in Karabos VIII won the trophy on Sydney Harbour.

Mark Bethwaite was the previous Sayonara Cup winning skipper for the RSYS steering Sea Joy VIII, to a 4-3 win over Nick Rogers in Karabos VIII on the Derwent in 1993.

Driving force behind the RSYS’s challenge has been Squadron member Nicole Shrimpton, owner of the Eight-Metre class yacht Defiance.
“I came down to see the finish of a Sydney Hobart Race and, visiting the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, I saw this magnificent trophy, with all its history, in a trophy cabinet,” Ms Shrimpton recalled.

With the influence of Gordon Ingate, she convinced the Squadron to issue a challenge…"and today we have won it back!” an excited Nicole said this evening as she and the crew of Whimsical celebrated their victory in the Sayonara Cup Challenge Match 2019.

Words:  Peter Campbell
Photos:  Penny Conacher

Paspaley Tuesday Twilight Winners

The capacity crowd cheered loudly when the inaugural Tuesday Twilights Inspiration Award was presented by Jan Williams to Genevieve Slattery at last night’s Ladies’ Twilights presentation. This award recognises women over 55 who have either started to sail later in life or returned to our sport after a hiatus. Those who nominated Genevieve, pictured above left, lauded her competitive yet calm demeanour and praised her enthusiastic mentoring of her crew. 

RSYS celebrated the 15th year of Ladies Tuesday Twilights sailed at our Club. RSYS Captain and Tuesday Twilights Co-ordinator Karyn Gojnich described it as a sensational season: 'We kicked off with a Networking Night in September, sailed three warm up nights in October (for those that needed a refresher after the winter break) and started the 12 race series in November, with six races before Christmas. There was great support for the two non-pointscore races in January before coming back to the six remaining pointscore races starting early February. Participation is up. We had 38 boats entered across three divisions with 34 of these racing regularly. There were more than 180 sailors on the water each week with at least 36 of these being graduates from the Club's Ladies of the Sea (LOTS) and Adult Keelboat programs.

'Thank you once again to Paspaley for supporting our series, their fourth with RSYS. I feel our partnership with Paspaley has contributed to the growth of our Ladies sailing and Tuesday Twilights community. It has provided unique and beautiful prizes for our winners, encouraged participation and a sense of community, and promoted enjoyment of our natural environment. We were delighted to welcome Chris Paspaley to present four pairs of Keshi stud earrings to the overall winners and an additional four pairs to the lucky draw winners. The allure of these beautiful pearls is manifest - this season, a record 28 of the 29 registered boats were eligible!' Karyn added.

Above - the delighted 'participation' recipients (pictured above) were L to R: Jackie Taylor (Allegro), Nikki O'Shea (Elliott 1) Sarah Bartels (Karma) and Sandy Lawson (Rapunzel). 


The Ladies Division non-spinnaker

Main Series - the Jan Rowed trophy

1st  Jill Hammond, Kookaburra
2nd Kristina Brenke, Gaia
3rd Jenny Farrell, Coco HYC17

Each skipper was presented with a pair of Paspaley pearl earrings.

Above - overall winners in the Ladies non-spinnaker division from Kookaburra were L to R: Nicolette Birkhold, Susie Weir, Millie Brown, Julie Clarke, Jill Hammond, joined by Chris Paspaley. 


The Ladies One Design Division spinnaker

Main Series - the Lady Helm trophy

1st Megan Howard, Mojo
2nd Sophie Hunt, Elliott 1
3rd Kim Ketelby and 'Ben’s Belles’, Elliott 3 

The winning boat was presented with a pair of Paspaley Pearl earings.

Above - Amanda Hicks (left) and Megan Howard (right) with the Lady Helm Trophy donor Joyce Warn (middle).


Trophy Series

Within the Tueseday Twilights we have a 'mini series' made up of three races, and these were sailed on December 11, February 12 and March 12. 

The Gypsy Moth IV trophy awarded in the Ladies non-spinnaker division

1st Jill Hammond, Kookaburra

The Bluebird trophy awarded in the Ladies One Design Spinnaker division

1st Megan Howard, Mojo

See the Trophy Series results here


The Open Division non-spinnaker

1st James Merrington, Mercier

See the full results here


The 2019/20 Tuesday Twilight series will commence on 12 November 2019. See you then!