Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) was today announced as 2020 Yacht Club of the Year at the Australian Sailing Awards, following the biggest sailing season in the club’s 161-year history.
The announcement follows the club’s success in winning the Victorian Yacht Club of the Year award in September.
RGYC Commodore Stuart Dickson said the national award recognises the ongoing growth of club activity, Sailing, Learn to Sail and inclusive programs, community support programs, major community infrastructure development projects and the club’s huge Summer of Sailing during the 2019/20 season.
“Ours is a club for all the community with programs and facilities offering a world class experience, both on and off the water.
“It is a privilege and honour to be named as the Australian Yacht Club of the Year after all the hard work put in by our Board, members, volunteers and staff throughout the past year,” Commodore Dickson said.
RGYC also won Australian Sailing’s national Sport Promotion Award after delivering a series of valuable major events for the region, including the popular annual Festival of Sails and biennial Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong, as well as National and World Championships.
Over the 2019/20 sailing season, RGYC hosted an unparalleled ‘Summer of Sailing’ including the Cadet National Championship; the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 Oceania and World Championships; and the Laser Masters Oceania and Australian Championships.
RGYC has a strong focus upon inclusive sailing and maritime education opportunities, in line with the Victorian State Government and Australian Sailing’s ‘Inclusive Club Standard for Sailing Clubs in Victoria’.
Commodore Dickson said creating new opportunities for people of all abilities in the sport of sailing is enormously important to the club.
“The club currently hosts the Sailability program and Vision Impaired Sailing as well as offering sailing experiences as part of Cottage by the Sea’s enrichment program and supporting the St Ayles Skiff program – a partnership boat building and rowing program that integrates refugees into the Geelong Community.
“In 2019, RGYC also established its own SheSails group, providing development opportunities and encouraging more girls and women to get involved in the sport,” Commodore Dickson said.
With the funding support of the Victorian Government, Federal Government and City of Greater Geelong, the club is currently progressing development of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project, with the new publicly accessible Wave Attenuator, to be known as Wangim Walk, nearing completion.
The final pieces of the Wave Attenuator will arrive by sea from Ireland in November, enabling completion of the 440m on-water walkway.
RGYC General Manager, Phil Clohesy said the new on-water and off-water facilities provided by the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project will offer even greater accessibility and create a wealth of new community assets.
“Wangim Walk will be one of Australia’s longest on-water walkways, enabling us to grow our sailing activity and creating an iconic waterfront experience that will significantly contribute to Geelong’s visitor economy.
“Our club is committed to opening up and enhancing Geelong’s beautiful Waterfront for the enjoyment of all, attracting more visitors and generating new value, including jobs, for the city and region,” Clohesy said.
Stage 1 of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project includes a new Victorian Sailing School and Maritime Education Centre.
Aligning with the club’s endeavours to grow junior sailing, schools and youth groups from across Victoria will directly benefit from the maritime education programs delivered in conjunction with Newcomb Secondary College through the new Victorian Sailing School facilities.
Stage 1 and 2 of the project will transform the entire precinct, improving connectivity and public access to the waterfront, supporting tourism and community activities and promoting year-round visitation.
The Australian Sailing Club of the Year and Sport Promotion Award follow the club’s receipt of the 2020 Victorian State awards in these respective categories.