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Vale Michael Leydon

"Michael Leydon has crossed his last finish line 19 October 1952- 1 September 2023

It is with great sadness that I note that Michael crossed his last finish line on 1 September 2023 after a difficult battle with cancer.

Michael lived for sailing, he was always happy to talk sailing, dreaming of new theories to sail fast.

Michael started sailing in New Zealand in P Class boats. The move to Australia saw Michael sailing Fireballs, he was NSW Champion 4 times in 1994, 1996, 1997 with Tasmin Cowap in Sheep on a Mission and in 2007 with Dan Teubert in Mudal.

Michael started sailing 2.4mR yachts in 1999 finishing third at the Nationals as the 2.4mRs prepared for the Sydney Paralympics. He was National Champion 5 times in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010. 2.4mR World Championships provided wonderful opportunities for Michael earning the respect of international sailors with top ten races. He competed in the 2000, 2003, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 World Championships with a best place of 12th in Gavle, Sweden in 2018.

Michael had a magical ability to keep his 2.4mR moving in any conditions. He was happy to take flyers regularly converting them to winners. In training he was happy to stay on one beat for hours testing jib twist, but we also had days on Port Philip Bay, where we surfed waves like children with spray up to the shrouds.

Michael won the Hansa 303 Singles World Championship in Whitby, Canada in 2007; Michael and Tish sailed together for the first time in 2009 winning the Hansa 303 Doubles World Master’s Games in Sydney. Michael and Tish won the Hansa 303 Doubles World Championship with Michael also winning the Singles World Championship in Sydney in 2012. Tish’s Hansa 303 is called Pumpkin, so her T shirt logo changed from Alone on a Pumpkin to Sharing the Pumpkin. Michael’s 2.4mR is called Kurpitsa – the Finnish word for pumpkin. Pumpkin comes from a quote from Henry David Thoreau, "I would rather sit on a Pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."

Michael supported Sailability initially in Canberra then Batemans Bay conducting training programs and working to build the Sailability Batemans Bay boat shed. He sailed as support crew in the Special Olympics in Shanghai in 2007 and Athens in 2011. An Australian Sailing coach Michael worked with many sailors including Paralympians, Special Olympians, Suto Masakazu (JPN) for the Rochester Paraworlds in 2007and Invictus Games sailors in 2018 always instilling a love of sailing and respect for the rules.

He was actively involved with yachting administration always looking to encourage participation in sailing. Michael leaves a wonderful legacy with events, sailing programs and friends around the world.

Michael was fortunate to enjoy the care and companionship of his wife Tish who we hope will sail his beloved Kurpitsa into the orange sunset.

Peter Russell and Tish Ennis 4 September 2023


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Vale Sir James Hardy

The arrival of Jim hardy in Sydney (from Adelaide) in 1962, to become the representative for his family wine company, coincided with the early days of the two main sailing clubs in Canberra, the Canberra Yacht Club (CYC) and the YMCA Sailing Club (YMCASC). Canberra was part of Jim’s business territory and he had several visits here promoting wine products over the years, and some to sail here. In particular, he participated in the March, Canberra Day Regatta in each of 1964, 1965 and 1966. The 1964 regatta was intended to be sailed on the newly formed Lake Burley Griffin. The valves on the dam had been closed in September 1963 but by March 1964 there was insufficient water in the lake to hold the regatta there – thanks to Murphy’s Law, the lake filled a month later! Instead, the regatta was transferred to nearby Lake George where the locals had been sailing since 1960.

In 1964 and 1965 Jim sailed his Flying Dutchman named Eileen, after his mother, with a fleet of 18 and 14, all from Sydney, in a total fleet of 220 and 238 respectively. In the 1966 regatta he sailed his famous 505, Black Bottle, named after the wine company’s brandy and in which he won the world championship that year. In the 1964 regatta, Ted Albert won the race, with Hardy second and Craig Whitworth third – see the accompanying photo (left to right, Albert, Whitworth, Hardy).

I have fond memories of two subsequent occasions when Jim, then Sir James, returned to Canberra at our invitation. In June 1993, our most successful sailor at the time, Rod Dalgleish, was admitted to the ACT Sport Hall of Fame. Jim and Rod had sailed against each other in the 505 class and, in June 1967, Rod had been selected as one of two skippers to compete against Jim in a series to decide who should represent Australia in the forthcoming World Tempest Class championship to be held in England in Auguust 1967. Jim won, Rod second. Then, in June 2008, Jim again came to Canberra to launch the CYC’s new book, From Lake George to Lake Burley Griffin, recording the story of Canberra’s early sailors. I was Jim’s ‘minder’ on behalf of the CYC on those two occasions and as others have said, he thoroughly deserved the title Gentleman Jim!

Peter Forster 13 September 2023

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The Capital Brewing 2023 CYC Winter series

"The Capital Brewing Winter Series has been completed for another year, the results can be found via the Racing/Race Results page. Thank you again to Capital Brewing for some wonderful local brews on offer as prizes each week! "

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CYC Sailors Regatta Results and Report

The Canberra Yacht Club's members often participate in interstate regattas and racing. Here are some recent results and a report from the 2023 Marlay Point overnight race.

Victorian Waszp Titles at Sorrento: Mark Louis 7th overall, 1st Youth Division

NSW OPTI states at Lake Macquarie Dexter Swinsburg 31st Open fleet, with some top 20 results. Jeremy Jorand attended his first interstate regatta and sailed well in the Opti green fleet.

Laser Metros held at Double Bay SC Ed Alexander – radial - 6th of 38; 1st under 17yo. Matt Power – radial - 13th of 38Charlie Walker - 4.7 - 13th of 23

From Juan Guerschman - Mate’s story from Marlay Point

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The Champion of the Lake

With the final Pointscore Race of the 22-23 CYC summer season completed it was time to run the annual Champion of the Lake series. Each leading divisional winner from the CYC and YMCA sailing clubs, compete to decide who is the champion of the the lake. Using the CYC Sailability Hansa one design yachts, the racing was held in good conditions that led to enjoyable and intense racing with plenty of shouting fans on shore.
Andrew Reed triumphed and retained the Champion of the Lake trophy for the CYC as well as securing the America’s Mug. Chris Sant came 3rd and won the YMCA SC Champion of Champions trophy.


  1. Andrew Reed CYC
  2. Shane Gaddes CYC
  3. Chris Sant YMCA
  4. Michael Forster YMCA
  5. Peter Russel YMCA
  6. Col Durran CYC
  7. Nick Ward YMCA
  8. Dexter Swinsburg CYC
  9. Will Howard CYC
  10. Bronwyn Ponder CYC

Congratulations to all of our Canberra Sailors for an outstanding summer season. Photos below.

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World Sailing News

Whitbread Round the World Race 85-86 Official Film
1 Oct 2023, 11:00 am  The latest in the series of historical re-uploads... The 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race. Lionel Péan skippered L'esprit d'équipe to victory over 14 other teams, marking the first time a French team would win the race.
Arkea Ultim Challenge Brest: 100 days to go
1 Oct 2023, 10:41 am  On January 7, qualified sailors will attempt a challenge which has not yet been achieved in the world of sailing: a solo round-the-world race on a giant Ultim multihull.
Bartercard Sail Paradise 2023 Day 2
1 Oct 2023, 10:37 am  The second day of Bartercard Sail Paradise commenced promptly, setting the stage for an action-packed series of races in truly magical conditions for yacht racing enthusiasts.
Clipper Race 2: Hundred Years Cup - Day 15
1 Oct 2023, 6:35 am  Deputy Race Director, Dale Smyth, gives us his insight into the conditions ahead for the fleet as the teams head towards the Equator.

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