by Craig Heydon
Australian Yachting Awards are being held this Friday, 26th October 2012, when Australia’s sailing community will come together to celebrate a successful year for the sport.
2011 Male Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby with the AOC’s Craig Phillips
The 2012 Australian Yachting Awards will be held at Byron Kennedy Hall in the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney.
Joining the finalists on the night will be guests including Federal Sports Minister, the Honorable Kate Lundy MP, Shadow Minister for Youth and Sport, the Honorable Luke Hartsuyker, New South Wales Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Honorable Graham Annelsey, and members of the board and staff of the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Olympic Committee.
Winners will be announced in seven categories, Male Sailor of the Year, Female Sailor of the Year, Sailor of the Year with a Disability, Youth Sailor of the Year, Sport Professional Award, Sport Promotion Award and Volunteer Award. A Lifetime Achievement Award and the Yachting Australia President’s Award will also be presented.
The Male Sailor of the Year category will see Australia’s three London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal winning crews go up against each other for the award. The finalists are Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, with all five also named as finalists in the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.
In the Female Sailor of the Year category the award will go to either Tasar World Championship winning crew Bronwyn Ridgway, London 2012 Women’s Match Racing silver medallists Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty or fellow Olympians, 470 women’s crew Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell.
There are four finalists in the Sailor of the Year with a Disability category, IFDS International Blind Match Racers Kylie Forth and Erin McGlew, London 2012 Paralympic Games representative Matt Bugg, Access Liberty World Champion Greg Hyde, and London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallists Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch.
The winner of the Youth Sailor of the Year Award will be either ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship Laser Radial representative Mark Spearman, ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship Multihull crew Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland or ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship 420 girl’s team Carrie Smith and Ella Clark. Between the crews they won a gold and two silver medals at the 2012 event in Ireland.
The largest category at the 2012 Australian Yachting Awards is the Sport Professional Award with six finalists this year. The award will be presented to either Michael Blackburn, Victor Kovalenko, Euan McNicol, Tim Lowe, Emmett Lazich or Peter Conde.
The Sport Promotion Award will be decided between four finalists. Middle Harbour Yacht Club has been nominated following its staging and promotion of the 2012 Access World Championships, Sail Melbourne is a finalist for the work the event does to promote the sport to the wider community, the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club for the development and promotion of its Youthsail program and the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship for raising the profile of Olympic class sailing across Australia and around the world.
Australian sailing legend Mike Fletcher will be recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award on the night, following his many years of contribution, both on and off the water, to the sport.
There are two finalists in the Volunteer Award category, Lyn Wallace and John Middleton, who have both made significant voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.
Yachting Australia President David Gotze will also present the President’s Awards, with the recipient to be announced on the night.