Captain Rountree Cup Success

Jenny Farrell of Coco won the Rountree Cup


The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron hosted the Captain Rountree Cup on Saturday 3 October. Run as a pursuit-style race around Sydney Harbour, the event attracted 15 entries and more than 80 competitors and provided an opportunity for female sailors to race, either with an all-female crew or female helm and mixed crew.

RSYS Sailing Captain Karyn Gojnich writes, ‘Unfortunately with border closures and the recent uncertainty around sailing zones to minimise COVID transmission, the Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta planned for the October long weekend was cancelled. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to welcome more than 80 sailors to our Club to contest the Captain Rountree Cup.

‘Skippers nominated to carry a spinnaker or not.  The smallest boats in the fleet, the three Ynglings, headed off first. The start line was just off the Squadron and overseen by Race Officer and Life Member Joyce Warn.  The first mark was Naval Buoy #2 and it was then a good work in a 15-18 knot nor’easter up to Lady Bay.  It was a spectacular sight – the larger boats with spinnakers running down the smaller boats.  There were a few challenges for some trying to carry spinnakers around the Shark Island mark before the final leg back to the finish off the club.  Coco (Jenny Farrell) managed to get in front and hang on to the lead.  Euphoria (Peggy Sniffin) was the last boat to start but with a very fast finish, pipped The Jackal (Sara Ladd) by half a boat length to the finish line.’

Winning skipper Jenny Farrell of Coco shared a few words after the event. ‘It was great to see 15 boats out on the water – what a great job the handicapper did, as all the boats were very close at the finish!

‘It was a perfect day for sailing. A good breeze blowing around 15 knots which is the right breeze for us. We were on time for the handicap start and had a sluggish first leg to Naval 2. With the breeze freshening as we tacked to the top mark, we were happy with our decision not to reef the main as the breeze was constant and we didn’t have to contend with strong gusts. Being one of the first boats off, we didn’t have much to gauge our progress by, so we concentrated on maximising course decisions. The downwind leg was eventful sailing with pole troubles and the crew did a great job sorting out the problems. We were thankful the breeze kept in on the last reach home, it was just strong enough to keep us in front of the fleet.

‘The competition was close with many fine women skippers. I’m looking forward to more summer racing with the Ladies in the Paspaley Tuesday Twilight Series starting on 10 November.’



1st        Coco                  Jenny Farrell
2nd        Euphoria          Peggy Sniffin
3rd       The Jackal        Sara Ladd

Female Helm & Female Crew
1st        Zig Zag 2          Madi Kornman
2nd       Genovefa        Genevieve Slattery
3rd        Mojo                  Kirstin Reblin

Participation draw
Kirstin Reblin


The Jackal



Words of Thanks

I would like to thank Margaret Fraser-Martin who joined us out on the water to take these wonderful photos.

View more photos here

Joyce Warn with the Rountree Cup

I would also like to acknowledge the group of RSYS Members working behind the scenes to prepare for the event:  Sara Ladd, Jonathan McCray, Jane McCulloch, Jan Newland and Kirstin Reblin. Malcolm Shaw, not only for handing his boat Ziz Zag2 over to an all female team to race but also for driving the RIB for our photographer.  Thank you to Joyce Warn, our PRO, pictured above.  From the Club staff: Margaret Carney in the Sailing Department for helping with the results and Isabel Wartho for communications.

Thank you to our sponsors: Paspaley provided our winners with a Pearl Room tour at their Martin Place showroom for four guests; the Boat House for the $100 voucher; and Sam’s Pantry for the healthy snacks. We had many sponsors lined up and most have already committed to be involved next year.

Fleet under spinnaker

About the Rountree Cup

The Captain Rountree Cup, as we are referring to it, was won by Captain T. S. Rountree and his boat Truant in a first class race in 1858.  Captain Rountree was one of the original signatories of the foundation document of the  Squadron.  We do not know who donated the cup but we do know it is sterling silver, made by London silversmiths Samuel Hayne & Dudley Carter with a Hallmark 1857.

On that race day back in 1858, there were two divisions (referred to as classes.)  In the first class there were three entries, but only two made it to the start line.  In the second class there were four boats.  A trophy was awarded in each race: the first class trophy was valued at £40, the second at £20.

A steamboat carrying the judges followed the racing, and the band of the 12th Regiment played as it left the dock at Circular Quay.  Moorings were especially laid down in Farm Cove for each boat.  The start was signalled from the deck of the Iris, (with the Vice Commodore onboard) and … quoting from an article written in the day, ‘at the same instant, a cannon boomed forth the summons, and the yachts, to that moment under bare poles, gave their sails to the wind, and away they all went in beautiful style down the harbour.”

The boats set a course down to Manly, round a flag boat moored in Big Manly, back round a flag-boat off Fort Macquarie, thence round the Light-ship and Sow and Pigs, and back to the flag-boat off Fort Macquarie.


The Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta will be held 2-3 October 2021 – see you then!

Keep in touch with Women’s Sailing at RSYS by subscribing to our newsletter here.

ZigZag2’s bowman