Youth Development June update!

Youth Development June update!

It’s been a huge couple of months since the 30th anniversary Youth Development squad programs commenced at the beginning of May! Only a couple of weeks into the program the sailors were thrown into competition!

First up was the Sailing Champions League Asia-Pacific Final, hosted at RPAYC. The club welcomed 16 teams from all around Australia and one team from Vanuatu to compete in the short course fleet racing series. Both RPAYC teams, skippered by Daniel Kemp and Hugo Butterworth, had some fantastic results throughout the qualifying series. No doubt the hometown advantage was a huge help for our teams who have a strong understanding of the shifty Pittwater conditions. Hugo finished the qualifying series and event in 8th position, and Daniel’s 3rd place qualified his team for the Grand Final (top 4 boats from qualifying). With the wind blowing up to 30knots, the race committee elected to run the second Grand Final race with no spinnakers! It was intense spectating as the 4th placed boat picked up a huge gust and closed in on the rest of the fleet heading downwind. Fortunately, Dan held onto their 3rd place across the line to finish the event in 3rd overall and 2nd Youth team.

2023 Youth Development Squad

As a result of Daniel’s team finishing in 3rd place, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has now qualified for the Sailing Champions League World Open Final, and World Youth Final. Daniel Kemp has elected to compete in the SCL World Youth Final, to be held in Kiel (Germany) in September. As the next ranked team in Sailing League at RPAYC, Hugo Butterworth will head to Travemunde in July to compete in the SCL World Open Final

This is a tremendous result for Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and a huge opportunity for our youth members. RPAYC is excited to increase our involvement with the SCL racing format, which is proving to be an exciting and popular format with yacht clubs and sailors from around the world.

Back to training at RPAYC, the increase in participation in Youth Development this year makes for some exciting and productive in house training sessions at RPAYC. With the YD squad and Intermediate YD squad joining together on Saturday mornings for some practice racing, we have been able to simulate some great regatta training with 6 or 7 Elliott’s regularly on the course to bring our newest participants up to speed. The greater participation also brings in sailors from more diverse backgrounds and allows the club to expand our training programs into other areas such as big boat and offshore sailing and more international sailing events.

In our Intermediate Youth Development squad, we welcome a mix of talent from Centreboard sailors, School program participants, and sailors from other clubs in Sydney coming to RPAYC. This program not only focuses on keelboat handling skills, but also developing crucial teamwork and communication skills that can be applied in all areas of sailing. We are proud to be able to offer instant benefits to our new members in the IYD program, including access to the Elliott 7s, coaching and club facilities.

Under the guidance of coach, Rob Brewer, our Senior YD squad have been establishing themselves in some new team combinations to focus on future regatta opportunities. There is a great mix of experienced keelboat sailors and sailors from other areas of sailing, keen to get their teeth into match racing! With an initial focus on boat handling and the SCL regattas, now attention turns to match racing and the busy calendar of events coming up soon!

The Interclub Challenge has been a big focus in the last two months of training, with IYD and YD teams participating in this friendly series between NCYC, RPAYC, RSYS and CYCA. The aim of this event for the RPAYC teams has been to rotate sailors through new roles, get rookie skippers familiar with keelboat racing, get the squad to be more familiar with eachother, and for our Sailing League teams to continually develop their short course racing skills and knowledge. 

Well done to all of our IYD sailors for their continuous improvement and perseverance while up against some more experienced teams, and a special mention to Hugo Butterworth’s YD team for taking out ‘Boat of the day’ at Round 3 on the 18th June (at RPAYC)!

The Interclub Challenge series wrapped up at Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Sunday 25th June. Despite RPAYC finishing as the 4th place team in the overall series, all of the IYD and YD sailors found the racing to be hugely beneficial to their sailing and it identified plenty of strenghths and weaknesses to be worked on in upcoming Saturday training sessions. It was also encouraging to see the leadership of our senior Youth Development sailors by mentoring our younger and newer IYD sailors and integrating them into the teams throughout the series. 

Coming up in July, RPAYC will be represented at the Australian Youth Match Racing Championships, hosted by Royal Perth Yacht Club in Western Australia. We will also have some teams competing in the Captain John Piper Regatta at CYCA, Mick Hole One-Design Regatta at RPAYC, and then the Aircalin Match Racing Cup in Noumea in August.

It’s an exciting time for all of our youth sailors as they prepare for the upcoming regatta opportunities, whilst also juggling HSC, university and work commitments, and of course club racing at the Alfred’s!

Niall Powers
Senior Head Instructor

History of RPAYC Youth Development

Past Commodore, and one of the founders of the Youth Development Program, Angus Gordon has written about the introduction of the YD program at the RPAYC at how a radical new training program has produced some of the worlds best sailors.

David Lukins Match Racing Regatta

The David Lukins Memorial Match Racing regatta is an annual event on the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club racing calendar that sees current and former Youth Development program participants & Club Members compete in a Grade 4 Match Race event.