March 10-16, 2024: Issue 617


RPAYC Celebrates Outstanding Achievements: Looks Forward To A Year Of Inclusive And Competitive Sailing

Coming up: 2024 Pittwater To Coffs Harbour Yacht Race, Gwen Slade Regatta, Expressions Of Interest For The 2024 Youth Development Program Are Now Available

Commodore, Rob McClelland is proud to announce and celebrate the remarkable achievements of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) members at this year's 2023/24 CYCA Blue Water Pointscore Awards, held Friday 1 March.

RPAYC, is known for its comprehensive sailing programs that cater to enthusiasts from 7 to 90 years of age, and continues to excel in various sailing disciplines, from dinghies to ocean racing yachts.

This year, RPAYC is thrilled to acknowledge the awardees and exceptional talents within our club, including:

Youth Ocean Racer of the Year: Jarrah Sheppard ("Pretty Woman"), for his outstanding performance and dedication to ocean racing.

Ocean Crew Person of the Year: Matt Gerethy ("Pretty Woman"), recognised for his exemplary teamwork and contribution to boat maintenance and race preparation as part of a crew.

Navigator of the Year: Alice Parker ("URM Group"), awarded for her exceptional navigation skills.

Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS) Achievements: “Pretty Woman" 1st place in the Wild Rose division and 2nd in IRC Corinthian, and “Sticky” 1st place PHS Division 1, showcasing the competitive spirit and sailing prowess of our club members.

These accolades underscore the diverse talent and commitment within the RPAYC community, from youth sailors to seasoned veterans.

Expanding Our Sailing Horizons:

RPAYC is not only a breeding ground for award-winning sailors but also a hub for sailing enthusiasts of all levels. Our fleets include dinghies like Optimists, LCLAs, Manly Juniors, multihulls and foilers such as WASZPs, as well as a mixed fleet of keelboats ranging from OD Etchells, 5.5ms to ocean-racing yachts. These vessels and crews regularly participate in club, state and national events extending to the East Coast Series, the Sydney to Hobart Race, and prestigious events like the Pittwater Regatta, the Pittwater to Coffs Ocean Race, and the Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race. 

A Club for All Sailors:

At RPAYC, we pride ourselves on being a multi-disciplined club that offers something for everyone. Whether you're a young sailor just starting out, a competitive racer seeking glory in international waters, or a sailing enthusiast enjoying the camaraderie and challenge of the sport, RPAYC is your sailing home. 

Commodore Rob McClelland states, "These awards and recognitions are a testament to the dedication, skill, and spirit of our club members. The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club remains committed to fostering a love for sailing among all ages and skill levels. We look forward to another year of competitive sailing, inclusive programs, and celebrating the achievements of our sailors."

For more information about the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, our programs, and upcoming events, please visit our website 

About the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club:

Founded in 1867 the RPAYC is one of Australia's leading yacht clubs, offering a wide range of sailing activities and training programs. Located in the picturesque Pittwater area of NSW, the club promotes sailing across all age groups and skill levels, from beginner sailors to elite racers competing on the global stage.

2024 Pittwater To Coffs Harbour Yacht Race   

The Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race has always attracted an extensive array of seasoned offshore yachts and sailors from NSW and other ports, including this year, as owners sign on for the 38th running of the 226 nautical mile warm water race. 

The fleet off the start line in a previous race. Photo: Andrea Francolini 

Starting off Barrenjoey at 1pm on Friday 22 March, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC) east coast classic is open to monohull, two-handed and multihulls. It has attracted yachts from Geoff Hill’s 72 foot Antipodes down to Michael Blaxell’s 30ft Highway Patrol. 

Craig Douglas returns to the fold having taken third place overall last year with Popeye. His Beneteau First 47.7 holds the distinction of being the only fully crewed boat on the overall podium last year. Two-handed entries filled out first, second and fourth places. 

“We’ve been working on the boat with Shane Guanaria from Doyles to optimise the sails. He’s sailing with me again, so is navigator, Julie Hodder,” Douglas says.

“We feel confident with the boat and the new sails. Keeping an old boat competitive (she’s 24) is a lot of work. We’re sailing to our rating and doing quite well,” he says of his Pittwater to Coffs result and a subsequent second overall in the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, winning division in both races. 

“It is a challenge though. I feel the pressure of those results.”

On Popeye’s preferred conditions, Douglas says laughing, “A hurricane on the nose! Seriously, uphill with a bit of strength suits us best.”

Having sailed the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart two-handed with Showdown, Drew Carruthers has opted to sail this race fully crewed. 

“This is my first major race since the Hobart (they were second two-handed entry to finish). I’m looking forward to getting on the water again and the Coffs is always a good race. The people are friendly and the Alfreds always look after us.” 

Carruthers who is predominantly a multihull sailor, bought a Ker 40 and renamed her Showdown: “It’s a good monohull, but I’m a multihull man. It’s a new challenge, and a challenge it’s been sailing the last three races. Hopefully we’ll get a bit of downwind this time. 

“The boat is quite dynamic, it planes downwind. I do struggle a bit, as it’s not as smooth as a multihull. We did the Brisbane to Hamilton Island race though and won the Two-Handed division in downwind weather.”

Two Newcastle entries from the same club also did the 2023 Hobart and will be eying each other off throughout the race. The Sydney 40, Mako, owned by a syndicate and entered by  Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club CEO, Paul O’Rourke, finished second overall in PHS for second in Division 1. 

In the other corner, She’s The Culprit, also owned by a syndicate, finished third overall in PHS to win Division 2. Let the games begin!

Geoff Hill and his Santa Cruz 72, Antipodes, took line honours in the RPAYC’s inaugural Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race in October last year, ahead of crossing the line 13th in the 2023 Sydney Hobart, representing Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in both. 

“I did Pittwater Coffs races on my TP52 and Lyons 49 (both named Strewth) back in the day. I think I still have the record for the most tacks in the race. To this day I remember I did 46 of them,” Hill recalled. 

“Antipodes is a big heavy boat, so if we get a bit of breeze all will be good, but if it’s light… I’ll be looking at the weather, but I’ll be working with what I get, I guess,” he said, laughing.

“I’m looking forward to the race. I like it. It’s not too long and it’s challenging with the current and the weather. It’s also nice to get to Coffs; the people are always welcoming and its warm,” Hill concluded.

Coffs Harbour Yacht Club is gearing up for another great race and has volunteers ready to meet and greet teams on arrival and welcome them back to the Club.   

Entries closed on 8 March, but you can keep up to date as we head towards the start line at the official website: 

By Di Pearson

Calling all female helms and crew!

Come helm or crew an Etchell as part of the annual Gwen Slade Regatta, Sunday 5 May 2024.

Let us match you with a member’s loan Etchell.

Expressions of interest now open - register today;


Expressions Of Interest For The 2024 Youth Development Program Are Now Available! 

Following on from a successful program, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC is pleased to invite Youth sailors, aged between 13 and 23 years of age, to apply for the club's premiere training program

The Youth Development program was established over 30 years ago, to provide a pathway for youth members to develop their keelboat sailing experience. The club’s commitment to youth sail training has seen graduates move into competitive classes and racing events such as the World Match Racing Tour, Olympic Games, around-the-world Ocean Racing, America’s Cup, Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and various professional sailing circuits. 

The program has also created career opportunities for graduates into the sailing and marine industry, including in boat building, sail making, electrical and mechanical engineering, and as shore crew for international sailing teams. 

Expressions of Interest close on 31 March 2024. Successful applicants will be notified after the closing date. 

Learn more and apply via the link below 👇