News - Yachting | Cruising | Learn to Sail | Waterfront Bar & Dining - The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - Newport, New South Wales


16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106   Tel: 61 2 9998 3700


16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106
Tel: 61 2 9998 3700

RPAYC Successful Invictus Launch

Most members will have seen some great footage of their Club conducting the Invictus Games Launch on Sydney Harbour yesterday. 

The day started with the Official Launch at Admiralty House, 500 days ahead of the opening of the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games and 108 days until competition begins for the 2017 Toronto Games. In attendance was the 2017 Australian Invictus Games Squad, their friends, family and other supporters.  RPAYC General Manager Suzanne Davies was invited to represent the RPAYC at this event in recognition of the Club’s contributions to the day. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, Chairman of the Invictus Games and he introduced the speakers, the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photo by SailingSports Photography Photo by SailingSports Photography

The heavy rain often obscured the spectacular harbour views from the marquee on the lawn where the ceremony was conducted, but a fortunate break in the weather allowed the speakers to be clearly heard over the faint, protective buzz of choppers in the sky. All speakers referenced the terror attacks both in the UK and Melbourne in the week prior which underlined the importance of the roles and sacrifices of many of those in the room. 

Prince Harry’s speech was heartfelt and moving.  He spoke of the catalyst for the Games being the moment he was forced to leave his fellow soldiers on the front line in Afghanistan in 2008 after his presence there was leaked. While he realised that to remain would have endangered his company, the guilt he felt was overwhelming. The flight he departed Afghanistan on carried the body of a Danish soldier and other badly injured soldiers and he reported that this was the moment he knew he had to do something for these people to help them and thus the Invictus Games were born. 

On launching the Games, Prince Harry said; “Sydney will soon be the custodian of the Invictus spirit and the focus for hundreds of men and women using the Invictus Games to motivate their recovery from physical and mental injuries. “I know that people across the country – from Perth to Sydney, from Darwin to Adelaide – will embrace the Invictus Games and show their support for competitors from their local towns and right across the country. I have no doubt that the Sydney public will make these games their own.”

Prince Harry concluded “The Invictus Games are coming to Australia – game on down under!"

It was Gladys Berejiklian who announced that sailing would be included in the Invictus Games for the first time in Sydney!  As the event broke for a morning tea with the Prince, the dock of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was a buzz with RPAYC and RSYS representatives and veterans preparing to head out in the wet and blustery conditions to conduct the sailing demonstration.

The event was executed by RPAYC Club Coach Tom Spithill who had worked tirelessly in recent weeks ensuring plans were in place, the boats were ready, volunteers engaged and veterans prepared to race.  With everything in check it was game on!  RPAYC Race Officer and Vietnam Veteran Ted Anderson was in charge of the day’s racing and with the assistance of David West and Sue Anderson they trained up a number of veterans who, while they were unable to participate by sailing, enjoyed learning to participate in the race management activities. 

Bill Ebsary’s Le Billet and Andy McKillop’s Winifred were out on water supporting the fleet and providing spectators with a great viewing platform, not to mention a handy refuge for those on support ribs to take a moment to warm up. 

One of the Club’s Elliott 7s was proudly displayed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal for visitors to view, conveying to those on land that sailing would be the new sport for Invictus 2018.  The other six were all part of the sailing demonstration, crewed by veterans and each accompanied by an RPAYC Member which included; Commodore Ian Audsley, IdS Board of Governors representative Norm Weaver, William Sherman, Nial Powers and Rod Walton. Also in support ribs were Members Simon Grosser, Jim Bullough and Geoff Sherman.

The fleet racing kicked off just after 12.30pm and there was plenty of wind, plenty of Sydney icons and plenty of passion with some close racing in Farm Cove. Prince Harry made his way out to greet the fleet at around 1.30pm as thunder rolled through as though announcing his arrival on water. He made his way to Tommy Spithill’s rib first where he spoke with Tommy and veteran David Savage (Soldier On Ambassador) inquiring about the program that RPAYC has run for veterans. Unfazed by the now pelting rain, The Prince then made his way over to talk to crews on other boats who happily took a moment out of racing to fill him in on the benefits they have received from participating in the RPAYC and Soldier On sailing program. After 15-20 mins out on water, Prince Harry made his way back to shore. Soon after Prince Harry left, racing was abandoned due to the threat of lightning strikes. 

The welcome from the RSYS was outstanding – a warm cosy bar and a sausage sizzle for all who made the event possible, the competitors, their families and friends. Tommy Spithill conducted the prize giving taking time to thank the RSYS and the CYCA for their assistance and hospitality. The CYCA had arranged a ferry for the family and friends of those racing to watch from.

Back in the bar Tom Spithill couldn’t remove the smile from his face when asked about the demonstration match race he had just coordinated, not to mention his chance to meet Prince Harry.  “It’s just amazing, the people, the volunteers, the veterans. It’s been an epic day, no amount of rain could dampen the spirits of everyone here and I just can’t wait until October next year! Prince Harry seemed like a really nice bloke, he has a military background and founded the Invictus Games so I have a lot of respect for that,” said Tom Spithill, who was also announced as a technical sailing advisor to the 2018 Games.

While the weather continued to show its presence, the spirit and meaning of Invictus shone through as everyone talked through what a great day they had had.  Veterans and their families conveyed their gratitude for all the club has done to assist the veterans with one veteran’s wife commenting to the Commodore, “this program has helped him heal, the only time his mind is quiet is when he is sailing”.
We now look forward to the preparations ahead for the 2018 Invictus Games which is sure to be another proud moment in RPAYC history.

More than 500 competitors from 18 nations will compete in 10 different adaptive sports in Sydney from 20-27 October in 2018. The RPAYC, CYCA, and RSYS will play a key part in hosting the sailing component of the games. The events will be staged across Greater Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and on and around Sydney Harbour.

For further information, please visit:




Rigging up for Prince Harry

Early yesterday morning a group of RPAYC volunteers, led by Commodore Ian Audsley and, Club Coach Tom Spithill along with half a dozen Veterans, met at the Club to get ready to take the opportunity of the good weather window to transport the Club’s Elliott 7s to Sydney Harbour in preparation for tomorrow’s demonstration Match Race for Prince Harry.  

After rigging up, radio tests and a mandatory briefing over coffee the boats were  towed out to Barrenjoey and set sail for the Harbour at 11am.  After a pleasant sail down, the boats arrived and were greeted by friends at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron just before 3pm. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, along with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, have been integral in assisting the RPAYC to deliver tomorrow’s event.

While the weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t great, Integrated disAbled Sailing Board of Governors representative Norm Weaver who sailed one of the boats south said, “We had a lovely trip down today and although the conditions on Wednesday are forecast to be very different, that is sailing!  We will focus on the things we can control and that is a great sailing demonstration, a great day on the water for the veterans and their families and a warm welcome for Prince Harry.  We have a lot of member support for this event, many on water and others who are making their way to the Harbour today to join in the spectator fleet and take out some of the friends and family to see their loved ones on the water.  It makes me very proud to be a member of the RPA and to be part of the club’s community giving program”. 

Scott Reynolds a veteran who first participated in the Club’s veteran program with Soldier On, went on to complete RPAYC sailing courses and now residing in Queenstown, purchased a yacht which he sails on the lake with a local club.  Scott has returned to Sydney to participate in the demonstration on Wednesday.

The RPAYC fleet of Elliott 7’s will be an integral part of the Invictus Games launch, hosting a sailing match race demonstration crewed by Members and Solider On veterans. Many Members and families of the Soldier On crew will be on the harbour on-board Le Billet and Winifred showing their support and hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry. Prince Harry, who has served in the British Armed Forces for over 10 years helped develop the Invictus Games which is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. The 2018 Invictus Games will take place in and around Sydney 18-29 October 2018 and will bring over 500 competitors to Sydney from 17 Nations to compete in 11 sports.


To keep up to date with the demonstration event tomorrow you can follow the Club’s social media pages;




Norm Weaver, RPAYC Director, and Ben Rahilly, COO of Invictus Games


Geoff Sherman, RPAYC Volunteer and Georgina Edwards from Soldier On 

First Friday draws big audience to hear of the sailing adventures of ‘Toucan’

Members and guests were treated to an enthralling talk at last First Friday when Di Fitzgerald and Bruce Jameson spoke about sailing their 46ft catamaran ‘Toucan’ back from the east coast of the USA to Australia. One hundred and forty members and their guests heard about the destinations, the friends, the many ups and a few downs of the trip.  A big ‘thank you’ to Di and Bruce for all their preparations for the talk and for sharing their experiences with members.  First Friday is organised by the RPAYC Cruise Committee and is held on the first Friday of each month with a range of speakers and other social events.  All members and their guests are very welcome to attend.


IRC Re-validation 2017 - Due Now

Get across the line first this year!

2017 IRC revalidation applications are now available

The 2016 IRC Rating Year will conclude on 31 May 2017, and all boats that were rated in 2016 and those that didn’t revalidate in 2015, will be able to revalidate their certificate for the 2017 IRC rating year.

An elemental approach towards aft riggings (backstays, running backstays and checkstasys, etc.), and an unprecedented review of rule 2.6 “calculation of IRC Ratings is unpublished and contains subjective element” are some of the changes to the improved 2017 rating formula.

Please refer to the following links to help you before starting your application:

Revalidation reflexRevalidation reflex

Start your 2017 Online IRC Revalidation here

The history of the Driftwood Trophy - Held this Sunday 28.05.17


This unassuming trophy was first competed for at the end of the 1983-84 centreboard season in Laser dinghies loaned by the Laser fleet sailors, and is probably the most sort after centreboard trophy in the club. Look at the winner names and you can see where some of our gun sailors got their pedigree from. 

Driftwood TrophyDriftwood TrophyThe Driftwood Trophy is now held in conjuction with the Portuguese Beach Rally and Picnic during the winter months when the Rear Commodore of Centreboard hosts the day. 

The main instigator was Kendal Barry-Cotter, who wanted to give the parents/volunteers a chance to race each other. After negotiating the terms and getting agreement from the Laser fleet sailors, he dropped in the last condition; “You will need to supply a trophy”!

Not only had we poor, young Laser sailors agreed to loan our prized possessions, we had to supply an appropriate trophy. We had all thought the idea of seeing the parents out hiking and capsizing a great joke, so we decided the trophy had to be cheap, something that related to the club and a bit of fun.

RPAYC sailing demonstration part of the launch of the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games

In October 2018 Sydney will host the 4th annual Invictus Games and Invictus Patron, Prince Harry will visit Sydney next month to launch the Games. In line with its commitment to the support of veterans through Soldier On, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) will play a key role in kicking off the celebrations hosting a demonstration Match Race, crewed by veterans on Wednesday 7 June in its fleet of eight Elliott 7s on Sydney Harbour.

RPAYC Club Coach, Tom Spithill will run the launch event assisted by fellow clubs the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.  “It’s wonderful to see our clubs all involved in what will be a great spectacle and we will be encouraging our members and general boating public to get out on water next month to show their support of our veterans as they participate in the launch race”, commented Spithill.

Prince Harry, the Invictus Patron, claimed that it was an “easy decision” to name Sydney as the 2018 host city noting that Australia’s proud military heritage and Sydney’s iconic and welcoming reputation combined with its sports mad population made it the perfect destination. 

While he may be kept from attending the launch next month, preoccupied trying to back up his America’s Cup victory in Bermuda, Invictus Games Ambassador and RPAYC Club Member James Spithill is looking forward to being a part of the 2018 sporting festival. 

“I am really proud to be an Ambassador for the Invictus Games and I can’t wait to get out there with the competitors in my home city and I’m thrilled that my home Club is so involved”, said James Spithill between training sessions with the USA Oracle Team.

RPAYC Coach, Tom Spithill, has worked tirelessly with his club’s volunteers over the last two years in developing a sailing program for veterans through Soldier On as part of the club’s award winning Integrated disAbled Sailing Program.  Over 70 veterans have taken part in the program facilitating their rehabilitation out on the water by participating in a sport focused on teamwork, trust and mateship. 

The 2018 Games will take place in and around Sydney 18-29 October 2018 and will bring over 500 competitors to Sydney from 17 Nations to compete in 11 sports. 

“It’s been a rewarding and privileged part of my career to help the country’s veterans get back on track and enjoy sailing on Pittwater, the members have stepped up and really helped out which has seen it grow and it will be great to show off our achievements when the club helps to launch the 2018 Invictus Games!” said Tom Spithill.

The club’s last brush with royalty was when Harry’s grandfather, Prince Philip laid the foundation stone of its Clubhouse in 1968.  Commodore Ian Audsley commented, “This is another wonderful and proud moment in our club’s history.  We are currently celebrating our Sesquicentennial year and are still hopeful that a member of the royal family will accept our invitation to help us celebrate the big day later this year!”

Prince Harry, who has served in the British Armed Forces for over 10 years helped develop the Invictus Games which is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. 

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is a proud racing club with one of the most comprehensive yacht racing calendars in the country.  Located in Newport on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the club has a proud history and on 15 October 2017 will celebrate its Sesquicentenary. 

For media inquiries contact Stephen Collopy RPAYC 02 9998 3700. 


The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC is a yacht racing and sailing club based on Pittwater.

The yacht club offers year round inshore and offshore racing, cruising, centreboard dinghy racing, sail training and courses plus has a large marina accommodating up to 352 vessels.

There is also a modern boatyard with comprehensive marine services to help maintain your vessel.

Membership, including family membership is now available.

Weather Links