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Club in Focus: Cairns Yacht Club (CYC)

Published Mon 31 Jan 2022

Cairns Yacht Club overlooks the marina and waterfront of Trinity Inlet in the heart of Cairns, Far North Queensland. The club boasts a second superb dinghy location 30 kms north of the city at beautiful Ellis Beach. The history of the club stretches over a fascinating114 years including the founding years when the club was responsible for constructing some of the first navigation towers in the area.

The club offers a range of sailing activities beginning with juniors in dinghies through to regular keelboat racing. Cairns YC is an Australian Sailing accredited Discover Sailing Centre offering the widely recognised junior introduction Tackers program as well as regular Dinghy and Keelboat courses, The club offers the OutThere Sailing program as well as hosting School Team Sailing Regattas. CYC have an action-packed sailing schedule consisting of weekly events and regular regattas- there’s always something on at this vibrant club.

An extremely popular Discover Sailing Experience put on by CYC is ‘Wednesday Afternoon Go Sailing’ (aka WAGS) which has been running now every Wednesday for over 40 years. It has become famous as a fabulous way for visitors to get on the water. Come and meet some local yachting identities and enjoy both the competitive and social nature of sailing. It is estimated that since WAGS’ inception the club has been responsible for taking over 27,000 visitors out onto the beautiful waters of Trinity Inlet.

Membership: CYC’s current membership numbers are sitting at 110 members with ages ranging from 6 – 80 ‘something’. With 114 years of successful sailing as our heritage CYC is an important part of the Cairns community. Over the years CYC members have won many state, national & world titles including Nacra, Cobra, Skiffs, 125’s, Laser, Sabot, Tornado, A Class. CYC has produced World Champions with the likes of Adam Beattie & Jamie Leitner.

In 1985 CYC hosted the first international yacht race into Queensland waters from Noumea to Cairns. Today racing at the club spans across Green Fleet, WAGS, Keelboat & Multihull and Off-the-Beach racing.
Despite being an old club CYC has constantly evolved over the years. In 2008 the club lost its original site, clubhouse, and infrastructure which negatively impacted membership numbers significantly. A rebuilding program commenced with a strong focus on creating a family friendly and supportive learn to sail and racing environment. This has the helped the CYC to reconnect with the wider community and attract new members and club is alive, thriving and a hive of activity.

Key club events include the Fitzroy 5000 Regatta (sponsored by Allsorts of Sweets) held in late October between Cairns and Fitzroy Island, and the Ellis Beach regatta taking place each July at the Ellis Beach sailing facility with racing held over 2 days. Camping is available for competitors and families, and all are made welcome to join in the fun.

One of CYC’s recent success stories includes securing the funding and support to purchase 20 Tackers dinghies, 8 Pacers and 2 new support vessels. The club realised that for many families the purchase of sailing boats for their kids was a major hurdle to their participation. Providing access to club training vessels can reduce the cost of entry into the sport and build a pipeline of juniors who in turn will purchase vessels in the future.

Current Commodore: John Pool