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! 

Whimsical in Hobart for Sayonara Cup

This coming weekend, for the first time in 25 years, RSYS will challenge for the Sayonara Cup, an interstate match racing event in which the Squadron first participated in 1904 off Sydney Heads.

Back in 1904, the challenge was between two gaff-rigged 80-footers, Bona, representing the RSYS, and Sayonara which had sailed up from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria on Port Phillip. Sayonara, designed by the brilliant Scottish naval architect William Fife, won a hard-fought match against Bona, 2-1 and the Victorian yacht’s owner, Alfred Gollin, presented a perpetual trophy for future contests between ‘Royal’ clubs in Victoria and New South Wales, naming it the Sayonara Cup.

L David Giles and R Gordon Ingate

In contrast, the 2019 Sayonara Cup, a challenge between the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the holders of the Cup, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, will be sailed in International Dragon class yachts on the River Derwent at Hobart. RSYS member Matt Whitnall will skipper Gordon Ingate’s Prince Philip Cup winning Dragon Whimsical with a crew of David Chapman and David Giles against the RYCT’s Nick Rogers, sailing Karabos IX, his crew being Leigh Behrens and Oliver Burnell. Giles, a four-times Olympian and bronze medallist and world champion sailor in Stars, Etchells and Dragons, arrived at the RYCT with Whimsical on Tuesday. Whitnall and Chapman, an internationally recognised tactician, are due on Saturday morning. This will be Whitnall’s first tilt at the Sayonara Cup while Rogers has successfully challenged or defended the trophy seven times in Dragons. A very accomplished RSYS skipper who has sailed Dragons all over the world, including winning the Prince Philip Cup, Whitnall contested the 2019 Dragon Worlds in Perth and the 2018 Etchells Worlds in Brisbane.

It is also the Squadron’s first challenge in 25 years. In 1993 Mark Bethwaite, with Alwyn Jarman and Ian MacDiarmid as crew, regained the Cup from the RYCT, beating Nick Rogers in Karabos VIII, 4-3. However, Rogers regained the Cup the following year from the Squadron’s defender, Ellen J II (John Vickery). The former Dragon world champion has successfully defended or challenged for it several times since, the last being in 2009 when Karabos IX defeated the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club defender Tatsu, skippered by Sean Kirkjian.

The Squadron won the Sayonara Cup for the first time in 1910 when Walter Marks’ Culwalla III defeated Sayonara 3-0 in a series that was not decided until six months after the event. The outcome hinged on a ruling from the Yacht Racing Association (YRA) in England with regards to the use of the handicap assigned to the smaller Culwalla III. The YRA found in favour of Culwalla III and the fine trophy ended up in the Kirribilli clubhouse, unchallenged, for the next 21 years.

The trophy at RYCT (for the time being...)

RYCT member and Dragon class aficionado Leigh Edwards has compiled a detailed record of Sayonara Cup Matches since 1904.
In his summary, Edwards says the Sayonara Cup contests can be divided into four phases:

The original event in 1904, called the Interstate Yacht Race Cup, was sailed from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in 80-foot gaff cutters.  
The period from 1904 to 1910 saw Sayonara from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria initially challenging, then defending the trophy against several RSYS yachts until it was defeated by Culwalla III.

A second phase in yachts about 60 feet overall raced from 1928. The RYCV challenged in Acrospire then Eun-na-Mara and finally won the Cup in 1932 by buying the unbeaten RSYS defender Vanessa and challenging in her.

The third phase began in 1950 when the RYCT proposed the Trustees accept challengers in Eight-Metre class yachts. The Deed of Gift was also amended to accept challengers from Tasmania. This phase once against brought considerable general public interest in the Sayonara Cup, with Squadron member Bill (Sir William) Northam importing the world’s fastest Eight-Metre, Saskia, from England. This phase saw great contests between Frances (RYCV), Erica J (RYCT) and Saskia (RSYS) over more than a decade.

The fourth phase began in 1984 when the challenges were sailed in International Dragon class yachts. The Cup had been successfully locked up in the trophy cabinet of the RSYS since 1932 and the Squadron again defended it with Kirribilli II, helmed by world champion Rob Porter. Kirribilli won 3-0 against challenges from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. Since the Dragon was introduced, there have been 15 Challenge Matches, the last in 2009 when Nick Rogers won the Cup from Sean Kirkjian, sailing for the RPEYC.

Racing for the Sayonara Cup will be a best-of-seven match sailed on the River Derwent on Saturday, 16 March, with a scheduled starting time of 13:30 hours.  If racing is necessary on Sunday, 17 March, competition will start from 10:30 hours.


Words:  Peter Campbell
Photos:  Nick Hutton, RYCT