RSYS success in HIRW IRC

Hamilton Island 2019 has been run and won.

Held every year since 1984, ‘Hammo’ as it has become known, continues to grow from strength to strength. This year’s regatta was the second largest in terms of numbers of participating boats (234) racing across 14 divisions, with 40 different courses that could be sailed – which certainly kept navigators on their toes. Sailing around some of the 74 islands of the Whitsundays provided participants with stunning scenery on all the courses, in warm sunny conditions with 18-23 kt breezes on most days providing ideal sailing conditions. Participating boats ranged in size from the 66’ Wild Oats X to trailer boats and multi hulls.

Team Hollywood

The Squadron was well represented at the regatta and there  were many notable performances from Club Members: Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (pictured above) won IRC Division 1 (in fact all the skippers in IRC Division 1 were RSYS Members.) Ray Roberts, Team Hollywood, won IRC Division 2 (with a perfect score, winning every race). Charles Curran's Sydney took 1st in Blue Division and David Henry on Sweet Chariot placed 3rd in Orange division. Many other RSYS Members participated in the regatta on board other boats and had a great time at the regatta.

View full results here

Article by Declan Brennan
Photo by Salty Dingo


Sweet racing at Hamilton Island Race Week

RSYS Member Jill Henry, Sweet Chariot writes:

Sweet Chariot has just completed another very entertaining and rewarding Hamilton Island Race Week. This regatta must be one of the best organised race weeks anywhere. We congratulate the organising team and bestow special accolades on Jenny, the lady calling the count downs to the start for all 14 divisions. Her voice is as enthusiastic for the last start as for the first, and she leaves no one in doubt. 

This year HIRW attracted the second highest number of entrants at 234 boats. There were 14 divisions which included IRC, PHS and multi hulls. The boats ranged from Wild Oats 10 down to trailer yachts and provided a feast for the eyes, not only for the participants but also for the spectators ashore and the passengers on board the jets flying in - seemingly only metres above the tallest masts - to the airport alongside Dent Passage where the starts and finishes mainly were. It is an amusing sight at times. Five boats sailed under the RSYS banner: Ishtar, La Troisième Mitemps, Spectre, Abracadabra and Sweet Chariot. 

Save for the first two days, conditions were very blustery which at times caused some rather close calls, at other times too close with several collisions. We were in PHS Hamilton Island Orange Fleet Spinnaker division. We can now say our fourth place last year wasn’t a fluke as we have just improved that position to third. Good helming, good crew work and a good supply of red frogs and black cats for energy ensured our success.   

The Sweet Charioteers


We had the same ‘crack’ crew as last year: fellow Squadron Members Sharron and Graeme Kennedy, Macca Paton from Sydney Sails and one of David’s Etchells' crew, Mark Brown. We gave our spinnaker a real workout and I was a tad concerned when, at times, the wind gusted to 30 kts. We did see some spectacular spinnaker ‘explosions’ and out of control round ups but fortunately no torn sails on Sweet Chariot.  

26 boats competed in our Spinnaker division, many of which were less than half our weight, so we rejoiced in the windy conditions. It was rather frenetic at the start line especially with spinnakers flying in 25 to 30 kts of breeze. As the wind lightens Sweet Chariot struggles, so the first two days of races saw us mid fleet but then the wind kicked in for the rest of the week and we ‘swung low’ from start to finish. 

Our brilliant techie, Sharron, was again ‘mistress’ of our Starting App and she and David got us flying across the line giving us brilliant starts every race. 

Most days, the sun shone brightly and the water sparkled intensely blue, whales with their calves delighted us on occasion, and the wind obliged on five days. Dolphins joined the fray occasionally also distracting us from the main game. A luscious long lunch at the Ishtar house on Lay Day smacked of many a long Sunday in the Carabella Room.

All in all it was a successful campaign by Crew Sweet Chariot with lots of fun and fine food thrown in for good measure.  

We also congratulate the other boats sailing under the RSYS banner - Ishtar 5th place, Spectre 10th place and Abracadabra 15th, all in Pink Fleet, and La Troisième Mitemps rounding off RSYS’ success with a good 3rd in Grey non-spinnaker division, also a big fleet of 26 boats.  

Article by Jill Henry, Sweet Chariot

Photos courtesy of Hamilton Island Photography


Optimists TT2 at RSYS

The second Travellers Trophy of the Optimist season - 'TT2' was held at the Squadron on Sunday 25 August. 76 Optimist dinghy sailors registered to compete.

RSYS and the Sailing Office should be congratulated for organising and hosting a terrific and well run regatta. It is wonderful that so many parents and supporters volunteered, including some Laser sailors, other parents and friends, and even the parents of former sailors.

Many boats arrived across the Harbour from clubs such as Woollahra, Cranbrook and Hunters Hill, and it was all hands on deck to ensure that those who arrived by road were greeted by a phalanx of helpers on Peel St.

The breakfast BBQ fired up early and the coffee aromas streamed out of the CCA as sailors and their supporters enjoyed the superb sunny conditions. Everything was ready to go after the 10.30am briefing, except for one key ingredient - the wind!

RSYS turns Opti!

By about 12.10pm the wind finally came in and everyone launched without a hitch. The fleet met a very strong southerly and completed the five races in Athol Bay in fine style. It did prove a bit strong for the 17 Green fleet entries who did launch, but struggled with the conditions and came home early - a bit wet and weary.

Five RSYS sailors entered Intermediate fleet, and again TJ Ly showed great improvement finishing overall 6th with a top finish 3rd. Raphael McLachlan and Thomas Flannery were toe to toe in the middle of the fleet.

Doug Cassidy and Oliver McLachlan competing for the bottom mark

Seven from RSYS entered the Open competition, and Benedict McKay was the top finisher, overall 12th in a great return to form. Austen Cross from RPAYC won the day with three firsts and second, and Stella Hurley from HHSC finished in overall second place.

Article and photos by the Youth and Dinghy Sailing Committee


View full results here

View video by TillyLockMedia on our Facebook page

More photos by Darcie Collington Photography here


Background to Sailing Champions League

You've probably gathered by now that everyone at the Squadron is thrilled by our team's win in St Moritz, Switzerland at the weekend. 

If you're not familar with the format of League one design fleet racing and just what a huge deal this win is in the world of Sailing, here's a very useful explanataion by RSYS Member and SCL Director Howard Elliott:

Sailing Champions League started in 2014 in Germany as a European Club Championship. The core idea is the most successful clubs of the National Sailing League countries compete against each other for the title: “Best Sailing Club of the Year”.

Integral to this core idea is the format of the event. A large number of short course races in identical boats. Each race is around 12-15 minutes long. 6 to 8 boats sail in each race. Teams are rotated through the boats to eliminate any boat bias and to ensure that every team competes against every other team a number of times. The races are fully umpired. There are no off-water protests - what goes on the water stays on the water. The standard format is a qualifying series of around 45 races, followed by a final series. The top 4 boats from the qualifying series go through to the final series. The first boat to win two final races is the winner of the event. The top boat of the qualifying series gets one win and so has an advantage in the final series.

All the racing is held very close to shore and has live commentary ensuring spectators and supporters are fully engaged in the event. The boats are supplied so the teams turn up with their sailing gear and go sailing.

In 2014, 23 teams from 16 countries competed in Copenhagen in the inaugural final. The winner was Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub (KDY) from Denmark. Since 2014 the competition has grown in Europe. In 2016 the International Sailing League Association (ISLA) was established and has now grown to include National Sailing Leagues from 20 countries.

Sailing Champions League now consists of 3 divisions – Open, Women and Youth. Each have their own qualifying pathway. Each has their own World Championship.

The past 5 years has seen the competition grow from humble beginnings to become the most popular sailing event on the European calendar. Each of the ISLA countries run their own leagues and send their top teams to the World Championships. Due to the popularity of the event, the World Championships now consists of three qualifying events to determine the final 24 teams. Close to 100 teams from across Europe start this process.

In 2019 the final was held in St Moritz, Switzerland.

In 2018 during the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Mark Turnbull and I were approached by ISLA to help extend the concept outside of Europe and into Australia. In late 2018 we established the Oceania National Sailing League encompassing Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific; we became a class association of Australian Sailing; we formed an alliance with Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron; and, set about organising the inaugural Oceania final.

In April 2019 and with the support of RSYS, we held the inaugural final at RSYS. 18 invited teams competed in that final. We included Open, Women and Youth teams in the same final.

Our inaugural event attracted more female competitors than male competitors. We even had one Open team which consisted entirely of female team members. We also had a team from New Zealand.

The top teams of the inaugural Oceania event (Open: RSYS, RNZYS; Women: RFBYC; Youth RSYS, RNZYS) were eligible for wild card entries to the 2019 Sailing Champions League World Championships.

In July 2019, the RSYS Youth Team (Jack Littlechild, Max Paul, Maddie O’Shea and Alex Rozenauers ) journeyed to Kiel, Germany  for the Youth Sailing Champions League Final. They competed against the best youth teams in Europe and came away with 13th place and a wealth of knowledge. Their results far exceeded all expectations and sent a warning message to the Europeans that we were coming.

In August 2019, the RSYS Open Team (David Chapman, Fin Alexander, Charlotte Alexander and Zac Quinlan) competed in the 2019 Open Sailing Champions League Final in St Moritz. Team RSYS was the 4th placed boat going into the finals. The top placed team Kaløvig Bådelaug from Denmark was top placed team in the qualifying series and carried a 1 win advantage going in to the finals. With some great starts and highly disciplined teamwork, Team RSYS won 2 finals races in a row to hold out the Danish and take first place.

RSYS has joined some impressive company at the top of the Sailing Champions League.

The National Sailing League has released its calendar for next year.

  • NSL Oceania Open Final, Sydney (April 3-5, 2020),
    • NSL Southern Qualifier, St Kilda (February 8-9, 2020)
    • NSL Northern Qualifier, Sydney (March 14-15, 2020)
    • NSL Pacific Qualifier, Auckland (date tba)
  • NSL Oceania Youth & Women’s Final, Newcastle (March 21-22, 2020)

The expanded season includes a separate Women and Youth event.

In addition to teams from Australia and New Zealand, we are expecting teams from Fiji, New Caledonia, China and Singapore.

The National Sailing League is expanding worldwide, and Australia is at the forefront.


Howard Elliott


photo credit SCL - Sailing Energy

Video highlights from Sailing Champions League

Two bullets in the two Finals races secured the overall Championship win for the Squadron team of David Chapman, Zac Quinlan, Finn and Charlotte Alexander. 

Here is an exciting video comprising drone footage and interviews on the fourth and final day of racing. 

View final day video here

Scroll to 18 mins for flight 17 race 3 featuring RSYS in the pink boat no 7.
Interview with Charlie Alexander at 38 mins.
Finals race 1 starts at 1:21, RSYS in the yellow boat no. 2
Finals race 2 starts at 1:47, RSYS in the yellow boat no. 2. Some commentary on their style of racing at 1:55.
Interview with our victorious team at 2:06.

photo credit SCL – Sailing Energy.