Club History

Some Club History

The RANSA building and site history

The current RANSA clubhouse sits on the site of Australia’s oldest extant Naval Base, which has important historic associations with the development of sea defence in New South Wales. The site has close associations with the Naval Brigade of New South Wales, as its base until it was disbanded in 1907 and the RAN Reserve, as its base on formation in 1911. The base housed, in the Administrative Building, the RAN Anti-Submarine School while it played a great part in turning the tide against the U-boats in the Atlantic during World War Two. The Drill Hall, its two storey extension, the association parade ground, cottage, boatshed and sail loft are of considerable significance as a group for the evidence it provides of the way the base functioned during its initial period. The design and construction of the original buildings, in particular the choice of timber framing and corrugated iron cladding is a reflection of the need for economy during the years of hardship in the 1890s. The Administrative Building, the former torpedo workshop, jetties and Sayonara slipway are important in demonstrating the latter use of the base.


 1 C New Beach Road 1943                                                                                              1 C New Beach Road 2020                   

Background & Formation From RNSA

In 1935 the Royal Naval Sailing Association (RNSA) was founded in the UK to provide the means for interested sailors of all Ranks and Rates to enjoy the sport of sailing in all its forms. In June 1947, following WWII demobilisation, RNSA appointed the RAN Naval Officers’ Club as the Branch Secretariat on the Australia Station. In October that year the Royal Naval Sailing Association, Australia Branch was formed. The name changed in 1966 to the Royal Australian Naval Sailing Association, Sydney Squadron (RANSA) following RNSA approval of a new constitution and was officially recognised by the Minister for Defence. RANSA continues to be a branch of RNSA to this day and in recognition members have the privilege of flying the RNSA burgee. RANSA still has strong links to RNSA and if you are travelling to the UK members have found a warm welcome at many of the UK branches that have local sailing activities. If you are intending on visiting please visit the RNSA web site and reach out beforehand.

The Royal Australian Naval Sailing Association still exists to encourage sailing within the Navy and beyond. See the attached document Navy News from 4th March 1966 on page 12 where the formation of RANSA is announced for a read of what the tiimes were like back in 1966.

RANSA has had a continuing history of involvement in the local Sydney sailing scene ever since. RANSA has a busy racing schedule throughout the year, including a Winter Point Score Series on Saturdays, a Midweek Series on Wednesday afternoons, and a Friday Twilight Series during the summer months. Additionally RANSA is a keen supporter of Navy sailing activities. Social events are also regular items on our calendar. Monthly "theme" dinner nights and after race barbeques are very popular, as are weekend cruises and annual "Pirate's Day".

History of RANSA

Bill Ford

Photo: Bill Ford on RANSA One


A great deal of the history of RANSA resides in the heads of its current and former members, and not a lot of it has been formally written down.  However, the following link is to a collection of memories introduced by Dick Cowdery, with pieces written by Lawrence Hinchcliffe, Aurian Bird, Syd Sharp and Bill Ford. The booklet was produced for the 50th anniversary of the Royal Navy Sailing Association (RNSA), the body from which RANSA emerged in 1966.  To view the booklet, click here.





Membership is open to all serving and retired Naval personnel, and Service membership is open to serving and retired Army and Air Force personnel. A category of membership for non-service personnel is also available, so RANSA is not just for current or retired service personnel, but anyone with a passion for sailing.


Members may use the premises, on arrangement, for private functions, including the Rushcutters Room which seats sixty and the new undercover area. A slipway is available to members, rated to 4 tonnes, at a nominal fee. Moorings are available at very competitive rates. Their numbers are limited however and, dependant on availability, preference is given to current serving members in the RAN. Those who do not own their own boat and wish to sail are encouraged to come down the club on race days and usually there will be a place on a members boat. RANSA runs primarily on a volunteer basis. Members are asked to do occasional bar duties and provide assistance where possible. This proves to be a great way to get to know members!


RANSA will continue its commitment to encourage sailing throughout the Navy and its involvement in the Sydney Racing Calendar.

Files available for download