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Club in Focus: Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club

Published Mon 05 Sep 2022

Right in the heart of the working harbour of Newcastle, Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) sits peacefully away from the comings and goings of cargo ships. Founded in 1994 by a small group of enthusiastic sailors, NCYC has grown at an exponential rate, regularly hosting community events as well as sailing-focused activities, and national titles, winning the Australian Sailing Club of the Year award in 2019.

Having become an accredited Discover Sailing Centre in 2014, NCYC runs its multitude of courses throughout the week year-round. Their incredible popularity has led to NCYC being the number one National Keelboat Program centre in Australia, the number 4 Discover Sailing centre in Australia, and the number 10 Tackers centre in Australia.

NCYC’s accelerated growth, both on the water and off, is thanks to a dedicated board of directors, CEO, management team, and volunteers from their membership base. The NCYC team has an overall desire to make our sport of sailing accessible to the wider community. NCYC goes to great lengths to make sailing affordable and accessible to people of all ages to learn to sail and supports each individual on their journey through to competitive racing - holistic approach that is only achieved by a small number of clubs in Australia.

The club recently completed Stage 3 of their facility extension, with their clubhouse doubling in size and capacity, going from two function spaces to five. With a newly upgraded kitchen, the club’s in-house kitchen team (led by Luke Carpenter - executive chef with world class training) won the 2022 Clubs NSW Perfect Plate award for best dish in the Hunter and Regional NSW.

The view from the NCYC Clubhouse

NCYC is a community focused club, currently supporting over 1,300 members. It has grown by over 30% in the past 12 months. The club is home to Tokyo Olympic sailing Gold Medallist, Will Ryan, whose grandfather was a founding member of the club.

Programs on Offer:
NCYC is proud of the extensive courses offered by the Club’s Sailing Academy which has grown significantly to now operate six days a week in keelboats, powerboats and Tackers dinghies. Their three Development Regattas (open, women’s, youth) for their graduates of Academy courses are a great (and popular) first step into around-the-buoys racing.

NCYC also offers SailPass for those who wish to try sailing for the first time.

Key Club Events:
In addition to NCYC’s numerous events within the clubhouse, NCYC hosts a number of key races. NCYC is home to the annual TP52 Gold Cup, Farr 40 Nationals, and has been selected to host the 2024 Australian Yachting Championship.

In 2019, NCYC revived the historic Newcastle Regatta with SailFest Newcastle Regatta – an annual event which draws boats from Port Macquarie, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, and Sydney. The biggest race of the regatta is the TP52 Gold Cup, which draws the biggest gathering of TP52s in Australia. The regatta serves as a lead in to Sail Port Stephens, with the Newcastle to Port Stephens Race attracting those on their way up the coast from Lake Macquarie and beyond. This event is delivered with the assistance of the NSW & ACT Sports Promotion Award winner (2021), Mark Rothfield.

As another key part of SailFest, NCYC supports the running of and hosts the Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific, lending their resources and volunteers in support of the event.

NCYC SailFest 2022 – credit Salty Dingo

In 2022, NCYC started the Hunter Sailing League, focusing on bringing the best teams from sailing clubs in the Hunter region to compete over a weekend for bragging rights as the best team in the Hunter.

These events are proudly sponsored by a number of the NCYC sponsors, including City of Newcastle, Transport for NSW, and Pantaenius.

NCYC hosts a 180 berth floating marina, commercial centre, and a haul out and work area facilities. In addition, NCYC has opened its Sailing Centre of Excellence across the water from its primary precinct, which acts as a laser storage, hardstand storage for its Elliott 6 fleet, and maintenance facility. NCYC has a satellite site in Port Stephens called the Bay Sailing Centre, which has an offering of courses, and regular laser sailing. Previously known as the Port Stephens Sailing and Aquatic Club, the NCYC’s Bay Sailing Centre has an eminent history delivering major off the beach regattas and championships for junior and open classes.

A club with a strong community spirit and volunteer team (including 2021 NSW & ACT Volunteer of the Year, Andrew Buchan), the NCYC is a highly proactive club, regularly promoting the sport of sailing within their local community. NCYC continues to have strong connections with its neighbours within the harbour, and along the Hunter coast. NCYC continues to thrive, and provides an inclusive space for individuals of all skill levels to develop their love for sailing.

Commodore: Steve Rae