• The Stonehaven Cup will now be contested in RS Quest dinghies. Photo Ray Smith.
    The Stonehaven Cup will now be contested in RS Quest dinghies. Photo Ray Smith.
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In January 2019, Royal Brighton Yacht Club will host the 90th Stonehaven Cup – the longest continuously contested junior one-design dinghy trophy in Australian yachting.

This is the first time the competition will be conducted using the new RS Quest dinghies. This is an historic occasion for both the Stonehaven Cup competition and RBYC – the trustees of the Stonehaven Cup.

The Stonehaven Cup is a friendly competition for boys and girls under the age of 19 years who represent their respective participating clubs. It involves 3-crew sailing in the new RS Quest dinghies.

The Stonehaven Cup itself is won by an individual boat. However, clubs may also nominate a team of three boats to contest the Otto A. Meik Perpetual Teams Trophy. Scores for the teams event are calculated from the placings of the team boats in the Stonehaven Cup races, including the invitation races.

The Youth Challenge Program as it is managed at RBYC is aimed at teenagers of secondary school age between 12 and 18 years old. The focus of the program is sail training, racing, having adventures and making friends. The program aims for an equal spread of boys and girls and takes them at any skill level. The only pre-requisite is their desire to have fun with new friends and embrace the program.

Beginners typically go racing from day one on club owned boats to help keep costs down for participants and their families. The three or four person platform with three sails (main, jib and spinnaker) allows participants to progress through the roles on the boat as their skills develop. The pathway in is as a beginner, an experienced teenager or as an experienced junior. The pathway out is to youth performance sailing, senior off-the-beach, one design or keel boat sailing.

In moving from the much loved 12 Foot Cadet Dinghy to the RS Quest for the youth training program and subsequently the Stonehaven Cup competition last season, the review committee looked at the key boat selection criteria, namely – three or four young crew, seaworthy, easily handled, easily maintained, one design and produced world-wide.

The 90th Stonehaven Cup in 2019 will see young sailors from Royal Brighton Yacht Club, King Island Boat Club, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, St Helens Sailing Squadron and hopefully some other clubs who have recently acquired their own RS Quests.

Over 70 RS Quests have been sold around Australia since their release just 18 months ago, with nearly all acquired by clubs for training purposes.

A sign of the success of sales of these boats, RBYC’s first boat was had hull number #133, and 18 months later, its most recent acquisition has hull #1472.

An open division will also be run during the event with the primary objective being to provide opportunities for less experienced young people to be introduced to the Stonehaven Cup competition and community under the guidance of adults.

That said, there are no age restrictions and crew size may be 3 or 4 to accommodate a wide range of crew configurations. The RS Quest can comfortably carry up to three adults, so you might for example put together a crew of one or two adults with one or two young people, or you might be three young adults who have aged out of the youth event.

There are plenty of options. You are all welcome, so get your crew together and get down here. http://new.rbyc.org.au/rbyc_wp_new/90th-stonehaven-cup/ for entry details.

- Ray Smith

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