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2024 J/70 NSW Championship at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron - Overall

by J70 Australia Class Association 24 Jan 08:54 PST 13-14 January 2024
2024 J/70 NSW National Championship, day 3 © Darcie Collington Photography

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) recently hosted the 2024 J/70 Australian Championship, delivering four days of close competition on the famous Sydney Harbour.

Nineteen high-calibre J/70's and 80 sailors from around the country battled it out over eleven races to determine the nation's top J/70 sailors.

"We experienced a tricky set of weather patterns and the usual summer North East breeze failed to eventuate over the four day series. Instead, we had wind conditions typically in the East or South leading to very challenging sailing, particularly for the interstate visitors" commented Vamos's Tim Ryan. "Racing was tight at the top of the fleet and I felt that any of six or seven boats could have won the regatta depending on how conditions evolved."

Day 1 of the championship kicked-off with a delayed start due to light winds. An unexpected breeze developed from the south that later went left to the south east. The second day of the championship presented another challenge with tricky winds from the east. Competitors had to navigate the conditions carefully as they vied for supremacy in the highly competitive fleet.

Day 3, the winds shifted back to the northeast. However, the sailors not only contended with the changing breeze but also had to navigate through the bustling Saturday Harbour traffic, as multiple fleets raced alongside the J/70 Australian Championship participants. Day 4 again the boats were delayed onshore waiting for a steady breeze to develop. Eventually it came in from the NNE 8-12 knots.

After 11 exhilarating races, it was Rob Davis and his crew on Celestial (AUS 507) from RSYS / SYC who emerged victorious, securing the title of the 2024 J/70 Australian Champions. Rob and his crew displayed incredible consistency throughout this championship scoring a remarkable 25 points at the end of the series.

"The J70 class is making terrific in roads in Australia, and as a consequence attracting some of the top amateur and professional sailors in the country" commented Rob Davis. "We were very fortunate to be able to do the Nationals this year aboard Celestial which was generously made available to us by owner Sam Haynes. The strict one design rules make for fantastic close fleet racing, but the boat is just so much fun to sail when it lights up in downwind planing conditions."

"The 2024 Nationals were a very closely fought affair with Vamos, Ambiton, and Juno all being in strong contention to win the title. Sydney Harbour always presents very challenging conditions and certainly rewards consistency. Aboard Celestial we were just that little bit more consistent than the other boats, perhaps favoured by our preferred weather conditions. There was never an easy race result or a moment to relax, and the tension going into the final day was palpable ! We managed to hold our nerve, a testament to the calibre of our team made up of David Chapman, Alex Gough, Jack Acton, Rob Davis."

Tim Ryan's Vamos (AUS 1567) from RSYS/CYCA claimed the second spot, closely followed by Chris and Lachlan Dare's Ambition (AUS 1780) SYC in third.

Tim Ryan commented "Racing was tight at the top of the fleet and I felt that any of six or seven boats could have won the regatta depending on how conditions evolved. The standard of racing is definitely lifting in the Australian fleet, evidenced by 6 different winners in the 11 race program. Celestial got off to a great start with 2 wins on day 1 and the fleet played catch-up for the remainder of the regatta. It remained tight throughout though, with Vamos, Ambition, Juno, Swish and Sequel winning races. Overall Celestial handled the conditions best and were deserved winners of the 2024 Australian Championship."

The first placed Corinthian team in the overall score was Auretta (AUS 1782) from Sandringham Yacht Club skippered by James Sly who said "One design racing always provides for great racing and that was certainly the case for the J70 Nationals. Given the calibre of the Australian fleet, our team of was thrilled to come away as the top Corinthian team and to be mixing with the top teams in the regatta. We are really excited at Sandringham Yacht Club (SYC) after recently acquiring four new Club J70s through the support of many generous SYC members and our SYC Foundation and after having only had the boats for a few months, we can't wait to continue to learn the intricacies of the J70 and see where we can take our SYC J70 Sailing Program to in the years to come."

The event would not have been possible with out the support of a great race management team lead by RSYS's Rob Ridley (IRO). He was supported by sailing office staff Margaret Carney, Claudia Thackray, Will Imlay and Luke Kingston.

On the water supporting the race management many thanks to Ian Kingsford Smith, Phil Maloney Gaye Rosen, Martin Gill and David Ritchard. The protest committee member / chair Ed Vincent was busy most days with arbitration, and thank you also to Howard Elliott and Peter Lowndes for assisting on the Protest Committee.

Thanks also to measurer Trent Goldsack and honorary handicapper John Maclurcan and our media boat drivers throughout the NSW And Australian Championships Jono McCray, Richard Kornman, Michelle McGrath, Sean and Josie Wong.

A huge shout out also to the families that took on billets for the event housing the 15 youth sailors that came up from Sandringham Yacht Club. These families included: Natasha and Rory Miller, Verity and Bruce Hodgkinson, Jennifer and Charles Fox, John and Karyn Gojnich.

Thanks also to event supporters North Sails, Sail Racing Australia and Wet Tech Rigging.

The championship showcased the incredible skill and crew work of the J/70 sailing community in Australia, highlighting Sydney Harbour as a premier destination for competitive sailing events.

Overall Results:


  1. Celestial J70 (AUS 507) Rob Davis, David Chapman, Alex Gough, Jack Acton
  2. Vamos (AUS 1567) Tim Ryan, Robert Greenhalgh, Charlie Gundy, Jess Grimes
  3. Ambition (AUS 1780) Chris Dare, Lachlan Dare, Ben Lamb & Murray Jones


  1. Auretta (AUS 1782) James Sly, Nick Neale, Eliza Davis, Emma Maertens, Mats Maertens
  2. Sirocco (AUS 1770) Harrison Sly, Brandon Demur, Felex Duell, Hayden Brown, Allie McLennan
  3. Madness (AUS 1305) Brendan Lee, Adam Keyes-Tilley, Murray McDonald, Paul Grimshaw


  1. Sirocco (AUS 1770) Harrison Sly, Brandon Demur, Felex Duell, Hayden Brown, Allie McLennan
  2. Mistral (AUS 1781) Josh Griffith, Rain Forbes, Patrick Distefano, Daniel Conacher, Aaron George

Performance Handicap

  1. Ambition (AUS 1780) Chris Dare, Lachlan Dare, Ben Lamb, Murray Jones
  2. Vamos (AUS 1567) Tim Ryan, Robert Greenhalgh, Charlie Gundy, Jess Grimes
  3. Mistral (AUS 1781) Josh Griffith, Rain Forbes, Patrick Distefano, Daniel Conacher, Aaron George

Clubs represented at the 2024 J/70 Australian Championships:

  • Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron
  • Concord Ryde Sailing Club
  • Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
  • Derwent Sailing Squadron
  • Drummoyne Sailing Club
  • Gosford Sailing Club
  • Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club
  • Manly 16 foot Skiff Club
  • Middle Harbour Amateur Sailing Club
  • Middle Harbour Yacht Club
  • Northbridge Sailing Club
  • Parkdale Yacht Club
  • RAN Sailing Association
  • Royal Brighton Yacht Club
  • Royal Motor Yacht Club
  • Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
  • Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
  • Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
  • Sandringham Yacht Club
  • Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club
  • Townsville Sailing Club
  • Whitsunday Sailing Club

Full Results here.

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