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CLUB IN FOCUS: Mornington Yacht Club

Published Fri 10 May 2019

Name and Location of the Club: Mornington Yacht club, Schnapper Point Dr, Mornington, Victoria.

Establishment date & brief history: The Mornington Yacht Club began March 1946 and has been a big part of the local historical fishing village. In its 73 years Mornington Yacht Club has been a big part of its historical fishing village. A town steeped in maritime heritage and stories. An important part of the community, it has offered sailing as a sport for anyone. 


Commodore: Bret Levenspiel

Supported classes and types of sailing: Twilight Sailing, Club Sailing Saturday and Sundays (October to May) Long Distance Races / Destination Races.     

Key club events: Twilight Sailing, Club Sailing Saturday and Sundays (October to May) Long Distance Races / Destination Races.

Sailing programs: Sailability (Wed/ Fri/ Sun), Little Tackers, Tackers 1, 2 & 3, Youth Out There Fun, Discover Sailing Day, GOSS (Girls Out Social Sailing), Adult OTB courses, Adult Keelboat courses.

For the last few years MYC has had their own GOSS program – Girls Out Social Sailing. Teaching women to sail, or providing a refresher, and facilitating confidence, before matching them to a boat and crew. 

Sailability for those less able, is a charity tradition at Mornington for many years. With local support from the town’s community groups, a core group of club members enables others to also enjoy the sport they love.

All of these programs are aimed at different ages and groups, to inspire their involvement.

Club achievements: Mornington has over the years hosted numerous State, National and International Regattas. As well as the annual Schnapper Point regatta, this year we held the 420 State titles with a club boat winning and look forward to hosting the 420 Nationals in January 2020.

While MYC has had its share of champions, it has been in the forefront of improving sailing participation.  Since hosting the largest one design junior regatta ever in the Southern Hemisphere with the 2014 Australian Optimist Championships with 343 entries, MYC has focussed on the participation side. There is no one aspect to encouraging more sailors to join in. Multiple strategies have been tried, fine-tuned and developed.

Australian Sailing asked MYC to initiate its Victorian Junior Carnival as an annual event to improve the graduation of “Tackers” (kids) into a love of sailing. Others have noted the “Friday Fun” concept of kids “simply mucking around in boats” as a social, non-competitive weekly gathering. The aim is to give kids in our modern world - independence, resilience and to extend their boundaries. 

The club is unique because: It isn’t a big club, nor a small one, not just keelboats, more than trailables, not bad at off the beach dinghy’s and learn to sail and time too for Sailability for those less able. Something for everyone, approachable and a wee bit social. 

Member achievements: In recent years MYC has seen success in Sydney-Hobart yacht races, members placing at Etchell worlds, crew on Volvo round the world yacht races, kids competing at World, or Asian championships as well as numerous national and state champions. Mornington Yacht Club is certainly a club that punches above its weight.


Challenges faced by the club: Our biggest challenge is our harbour. While we enjoy the benefits of a deep harbour, it has also provided much heartbreak with storms beating boats. We dream of one day hopefully having a safe full-length protective breakwater.

Latest success: With lots of families who enjoy both big boat and kids sailing, a new concept is the annual “Kids on Keelboat” race when the trophies are awarded to those big boats with a junior steering. Another initiative is the 18-30 year old Friday night social teams racing to foster these young adults to get together when life is getting busy.

On the adult and big boat side, the busiest time of the week is the Thursday night social race, with often over 40 yachts competing in a stern chaser. A pleasant competitive social sail, with no spinnakers, and when the handicapper gets it right, the finish in Mornington Harbour can be a spectacle as the sun is setting. The crews can then retire upstairs to feast on meals from the critically acclaimed Rocks seafood restaurant. MYC’s Discover Sailing Day is now held on a Thursday evening to welcome new participants to join in for free, the sport they love to share. 

The motto “Family, Friendship, Sailing” says a lot, a club who sails well, and welcomes all to share their fun.