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

Stepping Stone House FUN raiser

RSYS was pleased to host the 20th running of the Stepping Stone House Bridge and Regatta days on Tuesday 5 and Thursday 7 March. This fund raising event attracted 320 participants who raised much needed money for this important Youth charity. 

Event organisers and Club Members Richard and Sandy Lawson write: 

The annual Bridge day was held in the Carabella Room and attracted 136 players - a record number! Ladies and gentlemen enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, a day of fun, complemented with a delicious lunch. Max Connery entertained everyone with a heart-warming success story about a Stepping Stone House 'graduate'. A substantial contribution was made to the raffle and the prize was won by one of the ladies.

Sandy Lawson addresses the Bridge players

The Regatta day was wonderfully supported by the donation of 19 yachts and crews from the Squadron, four from CYCA and one from MHYC. This allowed us to entertain 184 guests on a beautiful afternoon, with the breeze varying from 14 down to 10 knots. We had the harbour to ourselves except for the 18 ft Skiffs sailing their Australian Championship, which added interest to the day.

Commodore David Ward presents the winner's trophy to Quest

At the conclusion of the sailing we returned to the club for refreshments and enjoyed a carvery meal. We then conducted a successful auction, run by our great supporter Glen Madsen, and announced results of the giant raffle. Although it is still too early to confirm the exact amount raised, we believe we have raised similar sums to last year, ie close to $100,000. This is an outstanding effort! I would like to thank the yacht owners, sponsors and individuals who so generously supported this annual event.

Please visit www. steppingstonehouse.com.au

Photos by John Jeremy and Isabel Wartho
More photos on Facebook


Outlaw wins Farr 40 Nationals

Tom and Alan Quick’s Outlaw sailed in a league of its own at the three-day Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy, winning eight races from 10 starts. Outlaw was formerly Ruffian, owned by RSYS Member Guido Belgiorno-Nettis.

The regatta was hosted by RSYS from 8-10 March 2019 with Rob Ridley as PRO. Day two was contested offshore in heavy conditions, pictured above.

RSYS Member David Chapman was Tactician on Outlaw, pictured below. Squadron Member Sam Hill finished third and onboard he had Youth Members Finn Alexander and Oscar Hansen. 



1    Outlaw (AUS040)    Tom & Alan Quick    
2    Double Black (SM2008)    Rob Pitts    
3    Forty (8001)    Sam Hill    (RSYS) 
4    Edake (007)    Jeff Carter    
5    Nutcracker (6530)    Rob Davis & Andy Baker    
6    Exile (8884)    Rob Reynolds    
7    Zen (64221)    Gordon Ketelbey    
8    Good Form (5588)    Joe de Kock    
9    Solymar (9327)    Jason King    9

View full results here 

Watch highlights video here 

By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media
Images Tilly Lock Media

New Women's Sailing Award

I am pleased to announce a new perpetual trophy: the Tuesday Twilight Inspiration Award, kindly donated by Member Jan Williams.
The award objective is to encourage women aged 55 and over who have either sailed as a teenager/earlier in life and/or completed the LOTS program (Ladies of the Sea) at our Club, thus they are returning to sailing or starting later in life. The characteristics are the love of sailing, commitment and enthusiasm and a growing skill base. We are seeking nominations now.

Tuesday Twilight sailors - please submit your nomination here by Sunday 10 March. [Nominations have now closed] 

The award recipient will be revealed on Tuesday 12 March at the Tuesday Twilight end of season presentation.



RSYS Captain & Tuesday Twilight Co-ordinator
Karyn Gojnich

Optimist Travellers Trophy regatta

It is a great demonstration of the strength of RSYS Youth Sailing that 16 of our Youth Sailors, with ages ranging from 8 to 14, represented our Club at RPAYC in the International Optimist class on Sunday 3 March. There was a total fleet of more than 105 boats, so RSYS sailors made up over 15% of the overall fleet, and the eight RSYS Green fleet sailors amounted to more than 30% of their fleet. If our Youth are an example, the future of RSYS is assured.

Conditions were fantastic, with sunshine all day and moderate winds on the three courses on Pittwater near Scotland Island, allowing four to five races to be completed by each fleet. The regatta was very well run by our hosts at Prince Alfred.

Several of our sailors stepped up to Intermediate from Green fleet, and in particular our girls Harriet McLachlan and Vidhi Gupta sailed really well, with Harriet winning the first race and finishing 5th overall and Vidhi finishing her first regatta in the Intermediate fleet. 

A few of our Open sailers were fatigued by the schools regatta at Woollahra the previous day, but overall everyone performed well with Connor Warner our standout and strongest Open sailor.

Our Green fleeters had a great day. Stirling McKay scored a second place and many had several top 10 finishes. It was a great regatta for the Green fleet sailors, several of whom were in their first Optimist Regatta, demonstrating great depth and hope for our future Youth program, and most importantly, they had great fun!

Our next Optimist regatta is the NSW State Championship at Gosford on 30-31 March, and we hope for a similar representation from RSYS Optimist sailors. We also have the Laser Metro Championship at RPAYC on 15-16 March, so March will be very busy for the Youth sailors, staff and coaches.

By Richard McLachlan