Western Australian Yachting Awards - Meet the champions
by Jenny Honeybun on 9 May 2014
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Commodore Richard Timms and Yachting WA President Denys Pearce welcomed His Excellency Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia and Patron of Yachting WA accompanied by Mrs Tonya McCusker to the 2014 Meet The Champions – the annual Yachting WA Awards event held at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
His Excellency Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia, Kevin Owens Recipient of the 2014 Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Yachting and YWA President Denys Pearce Dani Girando
Dignitaries and invited guests witnessed the awarding of the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals and the Yachting WA special awards to this year’s recipients.
The Tough family were represented this year by the son and daughter of the late Ron Tough, Alan Tough (Past President of Yachting WA) and Dianne and her husband Peter Airey. Apologies were received from June Stevens and partner Bob Davis (daughter of the late Ron Tough) who was recently seriously affected by the Stoneville bush fires and Trevor and Sue Tough who due to hospitalisation are unable to be there this year.
To loud applause the prestigious Ron Tough Yachting Foundation Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Yachting was awarded by His Excellency Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia and Alan Tough, son of the late Ron Tough to Kevin Owens this evening at the annual Yachting WA Awards event – Meet The Champions.
Kevin’s children Mara and Malcolm Boyd, Kelly and Ken Lapham and Sharni Owens, his grandchildren and long time sailing associates Ray and Anne Lynch were amongst those supporters present to celebrate with Kevin.
Born and bred in Perth, Western Australia in 1930, Kevin Owens has spent the majority of his life mucking around in boats, mainly on the Swan River.
In approximately 1939 Kevin along with his cousins, the Addison boys (Bob and Les) sailed anything they could build at every opportunity. Their boats were tied up at the Perth end of the causeway where they hopped aboard and freely sailed to their hearts content.
In the 1940s Kevin's father, a member of the Perth Flying Squadron, joined young Kevin as a Junior Member. During World War II, with the Swan River being closed, the Perth Flying Squadron ran the occasional race on Perth Waters, where Kevin occasionally sailed as bailer boy in the famous Mele Bilo. Kevin's Dad bought him an American Snipe Aloma which he sailed for a couple of years until his father bought him another 16' boat named Vamp.
Mr Owens Snr, classified unfit for duty, volunteered for service with the Naval Auxiliary Patrol, offering the use of his 35’ motor launch for support duties on the Swan River, Rottnest Island and Fremantle and was occasionally accompanied by young Kevin.
At the end of the war the family bought a heavy weight Sharpie 'Atlanta' which was also sailed from Perth Flying Squadron Yacht Club and in about 1946 they bought a second heavy weight Sharpie 'Vega' which were sailed from Perth Flying Squadron Yacht Club. The Addison cousins sailed 'Atlanta' and Kevin sailed 'Vega'.
Kevin’s father was part of the Perth Flying Squadron Yacht Club positioned in those days at the base of William Street before moving to the Nedlands foreshore below Dalkeith in the early 1960.
In 1956/7 Kevin’s cousins each built a prototype hull complying with the Blue Book measurement keeping the costs down by transferring the gunter rig to the new hull. This set the stage for the popular new Lightweight Sharpies and a ‘trailer club’ was formed, meeting and sailing for some years from the Nedlands foreshore in front of the Nedlands Hotel (Steves) where after sailing a keg was always enjoyed.
Kevin left Perth Flying Squadron to join Laurie Bassire and together they sailed a Light Weight Sharpie with the informal Nedlands group.
At this time the Mounts Bay Skiff Club was sailing 16’ Skiffs in Crawley and a short time later invited the Light Weight Sharpies to join their ranks. The first LW Sharpies joined in the 1959/60 season amalgamating with the Mounts Bay Skiff Sailing Club to become Mounts Bay Sailing Club which was, at that time, a small timber building on Pelican Point; with the increased numbers of sailors, the men and women put in many hours of hard labour and fundraising to build the current clubhouse which was opened in 1961. Kevin was one of the movers and shakers who progressed the Sharpie Class through the various groups to become the solid Association it is today.
Enticed from LW Sharpies into 16' Skiffs by Jack Cassidy, Kevin built Villan in which he won two State Championships with Terry Gaunt. Kevin then teamed with Don Shack on St Andrew to win several 16' Skiff State Championships.
Kevin duly took on the various roles within the clubs and the Yachting Association of WA (later to become Yachting WA) where he sat on the management committee.
In the mid 1980's Kevin teamed with Ray Lynch on his S&S34 before moving to Fremantle Sailing Club where they raced numerous boats over many years in the Fremantle Inshore and Offshore fleet.
In mid 1983 Commodore Kevin Owens and Commodore elect John Steffanoni conceived the idea of a Commodore’s Association which has operated for some 30 years rotating its operating base between the Western Australian metropolitan clubs. The stated objective of the Association is to keep alive, by social gatherings of members and their partners, the friendships and associations made by Commodores whilst in office and to foster and preserve the good relationships that already exist between their respective clubs. Also, to provide moral support and if requested guidance, to the sailing and powerboat activities of those clubs. The Association is non-political and non-sectarian and is not a fundraising organisation.
In 2005 when his wife became ill Kevin retired from active sailing aged 75. Currently, aged 83 he maintains his membership of Fremantle Sailing Club, maintains his interests and voluntary service to the sailing community, and is still a regular boating enthusiast going fishing off Rottnest weekly.
Kevin Owen’s voluntary service to wider community of yachting is considerable and spans many decades. He has ably led Clubs, Associations and YAWA (YWA) in addition to organising state, national and international events.
Kevin Owen’s voluntary service to the wider community of yachting is considerable and spans many decades. He has ably led Clubs, Associations and YAWA (YWA) in addition to organising state, national and international events.
Mounts Bay Sailing Club
1970 - 1977 MBSC Management Committee
1977 - 1980 MBSC Rear Commodore (Three years)
1980 - 1982 MBSC Vice Commodore (Two years)
1982 - 1984 MBSC Commodore (Two years)
1985 - 1989 MBSC Management and Various Club Committees
1975 - 1984 MBSC Delegate to Yachting Association of WA YAWA
Fremantle Sailing Club
1987 - 1990 FSC Sailing Captain
1990 - 1992 FSC Rear Commodore Sail (Two years)
1992 - 1994 FSC Commodore (Two years)
1995 -1998 FSC Board of Management
1997 - 2013 FSC Delegate to YAWA/Yachting WA
2013 -- FSC Proxy Delegate to Yachting WA
2014 -- Commodores Association of WA Delegate to Yachting WA
Yachting Association of WA (Now Yachting WA)
1975 – 1984 YAWA Delegate for Mounts Bay Sailing Club
1975 - 1984 YAWA Delegate for 16' Skiff Association
1976 - 1984 YAWA Delegate for Mudlark Association
YAWA Delegate for Crest Cat
YAWA Delegate for 18' Skiffs
1978 – 1982 YAWA Executive Committee
1977 - 1980 YAWA Youth Committee (Foundation Chairman) retired 1980
Chairman of Yachting Association of WA (YAWA) and the Delegate on the Australian Yachting Federation (now Yachting Australian Inc) Youth Committee.
1977 Kevin attended the first Australian Youth Sail on Lake Burley Griffin (Canberra) and assisted with administration. He also assisted the Australian Coach, Mike Fletcher with on-water coaching.
1978 YAWA Organising Committee of inaugural National Youth Championship Dec 1978
1978 YAWA Organising Committee of the IRYU World Youth Championships hosted by WA
1979 Organising Committee of inaugural WA Youth Sail (now Westsail)
1979 Organised the inaugural WA Youth Sail event and selection of the first WA Youth Team to participate in the inaugural National Youth • Championships held in 1980. From this, the Australian Youth Team was selected to participate in the IRYU World Youth Championships.
1980 Organising Committee of WA Youth Sail (Westsail)
1980 Organising Committee responsible for the establishment of selection process for state, national and international youth competition.
Australian Yachting Federation (now Yachting Australia Inc.)
1977 AYF National Youth Committee YAWA Representative.
1979 AYF Organising Committee of National Youth Championship selection for World’s team
1978 - 1980 AYF National Youth Committee YAWA Representative (constituted formally in 1978).
Ron Tough Yachting Foundation
1996 - current Trustee Ron Tough Yachting Foundation.
1976 Principal Race Officer at the first Secondary School State Championships.
1976 Coached Christian Brothers College, Fremantle to win the first Secondary School State Championships
1979 Principal Race Officer at the GP14 State Championships, Australian Championships and World Championships.
1979 Principal Race Officer and Course Layer at the Laser State and Australian Championships.
1983 Formed the Commodore's Association of WA
1984 - 1990 Foundation President of the Commodore's Association of WA
Life Member of the Commodore's Association of WA
1987 Principal Race Officer for the 18' Skiff State Championships,
Principal Race Officer for 18' Skiff Australian Championships
Principal Race Officer for 18' Skiff World Championships.
1987 Race Director of the 18' Skiffs (Grand Prix Sailing) World Tour
Unfortunately due to work and family commitments he was unable to tour but he did conduct events at Burswood (River) and three at Thompsons Bay, Rottnest.
1993 Chairman of Yacht Services 1993 Whitbread Race
1996 Co-Chairman David Dicks Seaflight Voyage
1997 Member of 1997 Whitbread Host Port Committee
Also Officiated at:
Official Flying Ant State and Australian Championships
Course Layer Moth State and Australian Championships
Principal Race Officer 470 Association State and Australian Championships
Officer of the Day LW Sharpie Australian Championship at FSC
Officer of the Day Soling Australian Championships at FSC
Commodore and Committee Chairman 420s World Championships at FSC
Committee Chairman David Dicks Campaign Return to Fremantle
Introduced sailing as an optional subject at Hamilton Senior High School. Introduced sailing as an optional subject at Christian Brothers College Fremantle.
1948-49, 1952-53, 1955-56 and 1958-59 Representative in Western Australian Sharpie State Team
1955 Australian Sharpie Champion sailing with Roly Tasker in Falcon
1958-59 Australian Sharpie Champion sailing with Terry Gaunt in Viking
1978 Crest Cat State Champion on Bee Bee
1979 Crest Cat State Champion on K.GEE.O
16'' Skiffs – WA State Champion twice, Club Champion twice and represented Western Australia in State Team five times sailing Villan.
16' Skiffs – WA State Champion three times, Club Champion twice sailing St Andrew with Don Shack. Represented Western Australia in the State Team five times.
Offshore and Inshore - sailed with Ray Lynch on five different class boats (all named Trim) - won many races including two Harbour Races.
Social History Snippet 1977
The popular group ABBA visited Perth and one fine day whilst Kevin was taking his students from Hamilton High School for a sailing class at Point Walter, a large power boat stopped by. It was none other than the ABBA group who were on a river tour in a launch from Royal Perth Yacht Club. ABBA stopped to chat to the group of school kids and then one of the ABBA girls gave her shoes to a school girl in the group who was ecstatic. The school kids were absolutely thrilled as was Kevin but that is not the end of the story.
En route back to Royal Perth Yacht Club ABBA spotted the expansive green lawn at Mounts Bay Sailing Club and arranged to hire the place for a tour end party.
Who was Rear Commodore at MBSC - Kevin Owens. For security, the club grounds were cordoned off at a cost to ABBA and that night Rear Commodores Kevin Owens and Laurie Chivers hosted ABBA and had the party of their lives! Singing, dancing and partying with ABBA - what a memory…
Other Nominees were:
Arthur Brett Nominated by WA Laser Association
Peter Gilmour Nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
In addition, winners of the following categories were also included: Administrator of the Year, Official of the Year, Coach of the Year, Sailor of the Year with a Disability, Sailor of the Year – Female and Sailor of the Year – Male.
Carrie Smith and Ella Clark have dominated the National 420 scene for a number of years. They have won several female national and youth national titles, among various other local regatta victories.
During the nomination period Carrie and Ella finished in second place at the WA State 420 Championships (first female team) and also won the Mandurah Easter Regatta in the 420 class.
Along with their coach Belinda Stowell, Carrie and Ella have had their sights set on success at the ISAF Youth World Championships for a number of years and in 2012 the team managed to secure a silver medal at the event.
After many years of hard work and persistence the pair achieved their goal of winning a gold medal at the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships in Cyprus last year. This result was especially fantastic for the pair considering they beat the Italian team that had narrowly beaten them for the gold medal the previous year.
In October 2013, Carrie and Ella’s achievements were recognized nationally by Yachting Australia when they received the Yachting Australia Female Sailor of the Year and Yachting Australia Youth Sailor of the Year awards.
Following Carrie and Ella’s success at the 2013 ISAF Youth World Championships, Carrie has turned her attention to helming in the 470 class, whilst Ella has transitioned into a crewing role on the Olympic 49erFX.
Fremantle Sailing Club are proud of the role models that these two girls have become and the results the girls have achieved for both their state and country and we take great pleasure in nominating them for the Youth Sailor of the Year Award.
Other Nominees were:
Emerson Carlberg and Lachlan Gilmour Nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club & WA 420 Association
Alistair Young Nominated by WA Laser Association
In 2013, at just 15 years of age, Conor Nicholas has taken on the world and already made a name and a reputation far beyond his home waters of Western Australia. His competitive results in the past twelve months are by far the best of any junior Laser sailor in the country. He has achieved wonderful success with the added challenge of having to do so in a single handed boat – demanding a level of maturity and racing skills that are particularly impressive in a sailor of his age.
The past twelve months have seen him really blossom as an elite level sailor. He has won medals at state, national and international level. In bringing home trophies from the Laser 4.7 World Youth Championships, he achieved the milestone of being the first Australian male to ever finish on the podium in that highly-competitive regatta. His recent victory, this time in a Laser Radial at the Australian Youth Championships gives him a rare result in achieving back-to-back titles in different classes of boat, after winning in a Laser 4.7 in 2013.
In winning the Australian Youth Championship in Melbourne this past January, Conor prevailed over a highly competitive fleet and extremes of weather and conditions on Port Phillip Bay. He has shown his versatility, delivering a second place result in the light, shifty conditions of Singapore, where the whole regatta was conducted in four knots. The World Championship race course on Lake Balaton in Hungary provided similarly light, variable and testing conditions. His ability to adapt and compete in all these environments marks him as a truly versatile and talented sailor. The majority of his major successes have been achieved in large fleets, where race craft and tactical nous are essential.
Conor has grown and developed as a sailor over the past eight years since first venturing onto the Swan River in a Pelican dinghy. His contribution to club life through coaching juniors, crewing on keelboats and captaining the club’s Youth Team’s Racing team provides an outstanding example to the younger members of our club and of the sailing community in general. In January 2014 he was the youngest skipper to ever crew his own team in the Little Wheel Match Racing Regatta, and while beaten by more experienced competitors, was not disgraced and represented the club well.
His training and work ethic is exemplary. He attends training sessions at South of Perth Yacht Club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and Fremantle Sailing Club and regularly seeks out coaches and mentors from those clubs and the WA Laser Association to improve his understanding of his boat, his technique and knowledge. In addition, he takes on extensive private fitness training with the aim of improving his on-water performance.
Conor is highly regarded throughout the sailing community of WA as an enthusiastic, dedicated and highly talented sailor with immense potential. Moreover, his sportsmanship and generosity of spirit in both victory and defeat are noteworthy. He is highly regarded by fellow competitors and race officials and is known for never crossing a finish line without thanking the Committee Boat and crew.
Not surprisingly, given his high level of competitive involvement and success, Conor no longer sails exclusively at SoPYC. His potential has been further recognised in the form of a WAIS scholarship. We nonetheless think of him as one of our own. We are immensely proud of him as a club and a community and we are delighted to have this opportunity to nominate him as Junior Sailor of the Year for 2014.
Other Nominees were:
Jayden Dalton Nominated by Fremantle Sailing Club
Annabelle Davies Nominated by WA Int. Optimist Dinghy Association
Zachary Littlewood Nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Campbell Stewart Nominated by Hillarys Yacht Club
Matthew Wearn has had an outstanding year on the world circuit in the Laser Class, which is the most competitive class.
Matthew is the first Western Australian to ever win the Laser National Titles (first overall, first under 21), and under the ISAF World Rankings, Matthew is currently ranked sixth. He has qualified for the Australian Sailing Team.
In December 2013 Matthew placed third overall at the ISAF World Cup Sail Melbourne. In the past two months Matthew has cemented his world top 10 results with the Australian and West Australian Championships.
Other Nominees were:
Tristan Brown Nominated by Fremantle Sailing Club
David Gilmour Nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Former 4.7 World Champion Caitlin Elks has recently transitioned from the Laser Radial class to the Olympic 49erFX and during her first competitive season in the class has posted several top results at International regattas. Caitlin used the initial part of the year to learn the art of crewing and has since been competing both domestically and internationally.
Caitlin made her European debut in the class with Olympic Silver Medallist Olivia Price and they immediately set a high standard as a team finishing on the podium at Sail For Gold Regatta. Caitlin then backed this up with a second place finish at the world renowned Kiel Week Regatta.
With many more international teams competing Caitlin finished 16th at the European Championships in Denmark and had her sights set on a Top 10 finish at the upcoming World Championships.
Caitlin sailed consistently well throughout the World Championships to finish in ninth place in the first ever World 49erFX Championships. This top 10 result led to Caitlin achieving a childhood dream of qualifying onto the Australian Sailing Team.
Following the World Championships Caitlin has since changed skippers in her quest to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and is now sailing with Victorian sailor Tess Lloyd. This pairing has also achieved some promising results at the beginning of their partnership including a fourth at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Sail Melbourne and a fifth place at the Australian 49erFX Championships.
Other Nominees were:
Tessa Parkinson and Chelsea Hall Nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Carrie Smith and Ella Clark Nominated by WA 420 Association
Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden are both from Perth. They sailed together with Jonathan Harris from Sydney and competed at the IFDS World Championships held in Kinsale, Ireland in August 2013.
With very limited time together they came away with an outstanding result of third overall in a very tough fleet of 18 Sonars. This fantastic result has earned them selection in the Australian Sailing Team and achieved top level support.
Colin and Russell have teamed up before and achieved a bronze medal at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. Colin and Jonathan were members of the crew that competed in the London Paralympic Games in 2012.
The newly formed team of Colin, Russell and Jonathan are now looking forward to competing in several World Cup events in the European summer followed by the next IFDS Worlds to be held in Canada in 2014.
Other Nominees were: Graeme Martin Nominated by Sailability WA
Bob has been an inspiration and stalwart of Power Yacht Time Trialling at Swan Yacht Club for very many years.
Bob joined Swan Yacht Club in 1976 and Time Trialled consistently until 1989. Due to business commitments he dropped out and rejoined the Club in 1996. Upon his return he started Time Trialling again and is still competing.
Bob was Power Yacht Captain of the club from 2006 to 2013. Whilst Power Captain he organised all of Swan Yacht Club’s cruising in company and trivial cruise days. He also represented Swan Yacht Club on the YWA Cruising and Power Yacht Committee for two years.
Bob is currently in his second year on the Swan Yacht Club Committee. He has organised and provided the use of his boat for all Time Trialling training and generally as a transport vessel for state heat events. He is a keen Time Trialler and an avid supporter of all events, both competitive and social.
Tristan has had a busy year coaching. Although his main focus is Laser Coaching (where he can pass on the skills which have given him two World Championships), he also coaches other classes including O’Pen BIC’s, Bytes and keelboats (Foundation Youth Cup).
He participated in a Yachting Australia High Performance Coaching Course in July and since then has:
1. Coached the Australian Team at the Laser 4.7 World Championships in Hungary.
2. Been the Laser coach for the YWA State Sailing Team at the Youth National Championships at Blairgowrie.
3. Coached at Westsail (winning the coaches’ award) and the WA O’Pen BIC Training Camp.
4. Coached young and not so young Laser sailors at RFBYC and FSC.
5. Been selected as Laser Radial coach for Yachting Australia Youth Camp - Brisbane 2014
Tristan enjoys coaching, relates well to young sailors and leads by example.
Other Nominees were:
David Mann nominated by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Alexander Zimmerman nominated by WA Int. Optimist Dinghy Association
Geoff Brown is a dedicated and passionate volunteer at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. He has been involved with dinghy racing at the Junior Club for a number of years. Geoff is our Dinghy Club Race Officer; he runs the racing for the Summer Series from October through to April and for the Winter Series from June to August each year. With Geoff as the Race Officer, the Race Management team for these events are always professional and proficient.
Geoff is a positive mentor and role model to our volunteers and sailors alike. Geoff will always take time to explain aspects of Race Management and rules to our junior sailors – he is always willing to assist our junior sailors to expand their knowledge.
Geoff is also a positive mentor and willing to teach race management skills to new volunteers. Geoff is a very experienced Race Officer and Mark Layer; and is always willing to train new volunteers to be part of his successful Race Management Team. Geoff is very adaptable; he is able to run racing at a professional level whilst mentoring other, inexperienced members of his team.
Each year, the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club hosts the International Classes Regatta – Geoff has been involved with this event for a number of years. In 2013 Geoff was the Race Officer for Race Area 2 – Optimists and O’Pen BIC fleets.
Geoff also is involved in the behind the scenes aspects of Race Management – he often takes aspects of organisation upon himself to ensure the regatta will run successfully. This includes assisting with the development of Sailing Instructions, Notice of Race and building course boards. Geoff always arrives early before regattas to ensure all equipment is ready and to set up for the event.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is pleased to nominate Geoff Brown as the ‘Official of the Year’ for 2014; we wish him all the best with his future Race Management endeavours.
Other Nominees were:
Gerard Drysdale nominated by South of Perth Yacht Club,
Robert Jefferies nominated by Claremont Yacht Club
Trevor Milton nominated by Fremantle Sailing Club
Wendy Taylor has been a dedicated and valued volunteer at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for many years.
She first started volunteering when her eldest son began sailing at the Club around 1997. Since then Wendy has regularly assisted Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in many aspects of race management and volunteering.
Over her time at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Wendy has filled many positions on the start boat and on shore. She is adaptable; her start team is professional regardless of the type of sailing; fleet, match or team racing. Wendy is usually always several steps ahead; she is very familiar with the Racing Rules of Sailing and specific requirements of racing classes. Wendy most often fills the time keeper role, allowing her to manage the start boat team effectively to ensure racing is well run.
Wendy is a positive and gentle mentor, sharing her wisdom from her experience on the start boat with new volunteers. Wendy has been responsible for training countless volunteers at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, many of whom volunteer each week, and now form part of the Race Management Team.
Yachting WA’s General Manager Tony Claydon was farewelled as he embarks on his retirement after thirteen years at the helm of Yachting WA.
Tony Claydon was the General Manager of Yachting WA from October 2000 to April 2014 having moved from the Australian Institute of Sport where he was Manager of the national men’s and women’s hockey teams in the build up to the Sydney Olympics. Prior to this he enjoyed a long and successful career in Australian Customs.
Highlights of Tony’s exemplary stewardship include:
• Establishment of the WAIS High Performance Program and consequential Olympic success by WA sailors;
• The acclaimed success of the Perth2011 World ISAF Sailing Championships and the legacy of assets to YWA affiliated clubs;
• Accreditation of training centres to YWA ensuring they were accountable for their work – this became the model for the current Discover Sailing Centres;
• YWA support for the State Government Recreational Skippers Ticket initiative, resulting in YWA becoming an RTO able to facilitate RST delivery and the generation of a significant revenue stream for YWA;
• Growth of the class sailing development camps (Opisail, Lasersail, Pelisail, Mirrorsail, Junior Sail) and Westsail and the Youth Sailing Championships; and
• Re-establishment of the State Development Squad and State Sailing Team.
Tony leaves a viable Yachting WA which today is regarded as the most effective and robust Yachting State organisation in Australia.