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