The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) and Youth Sailing Academy (YSA) have become the first to enter a team for the National Sailing League (NSL) Final, to be held in Sydney in April this year. Created from the successful Sailing Champions League model in Europe, the NSL will promote Club-versus-Club racing on board a fleet of one-design yachts.
But YSA Head Coach Jordan Reece won’t name our challengers just yet. He still has the difficult task ahead of choosing from the large pool of YSA sailors aged under 22 who competed last season with success, both nationally and internationally.
“We had a really successful season taking out the top three places at the Sharp Australian Youth Match Racing Championship and more recently winning the CentrePort International Youth Match Racing Championship in New Zealand,” Reece said.
“We will select a mixed youth team, possibly two, and we hope to see additional CYCA representation via a mixed open team and possibly a women’s team.
“The National Sailing League is a great concept and I see the April event kickstarting more talk about one-design racing without the need to own a boat. I’m looking forward to CYCA having the opportunity to host an NSL event within the next one to two years, and to the League’s expansion to staging several qualifying events each year leading into the final,” Reece added.
NSL directors Mark Turnbull OAM and Howard Elliott are discussing entries with multiple yacht clubs and anticipate the starting list will include Hobart’s Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and Sandy Bay Sailing Club as well as Southport Yacht Club in Queensland. Victoria’s Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Sandringham Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club have expressed an interest while in New South Wales Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club are expected to field teams.
The first ever NSL event begins with an opening ceremony at the host Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron the evening of April 25 followed by three days of fully umpired short course keel boat racing using six CYCA’s Elliott 7’s. A maximum crew of four with at least one of those female, will crew in the open division and a maximum of five will crew in the youth and women’s division
Twenty-four teams will take to Sydney Harbour to compete in 45 stadium format races of 12-15 minutes each to find the top six teams to compete in the final series.
The top Australian and New Zealand team will automatically qualify for a spot at the Sailing Champions League (SCL) final at St Moritz in August and the top youth team will be eligible to compete at the SCL Youth Event at Kiel in June.