by Yachting WA
The annual Yachting WA awards night was held on Friday 11th May 2012 at the Royal Perth Yacht Club. During the ceremonies, the female Sailor of the Year was revealed. Nominees included Ella Clark and Carrie Smith nominated by WA International 420 Association, Caitlin Elks nominated by WA Laser Association and Belinda Stowell and Elise Rechichi nominated by Fremantle Sailing Club and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
2012 Sailor of the Year - Female: Carrie Smith and Ella Clark
The winners were Ella Clark and Carrie Smith. 2011 was a significant season for Carrie Smith and Ella Clark resulting in the girls being recognized as the benchmark female 420 team in Australia.
The year started with selection to represent Australia as the 420 Youth Female team in the July 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds in Zadar, Croatia.
Carrie and Ella completed their 2011 International campaign with excellent placings in both Croatia and the 2011 Kiel Week Regatta.
On their return from Croatia, Carrie and Ella embarked on a tight schedule of training in both the 420 and 470 Classes, focusing on their preparation for the 2011 ISAF World Championships in Perth in the 470 class, and the 2012 420 Australian and Australian Youth Championships in Brisbane.
They won the Australian 420 Championship and claimed a first Australian in the open and first female crew in the OAMPS Australian Youth Nationals. This qualified the girls to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships in Ireland in 2012.
The International media, at the ISAF Youth Worlds, described the girls as the 'surprise combination of the regatta' and acknowledged that they had given their older competitors something to watch out for in the Youth Worlds in Dublin in 2012.
Carrie and Ella have recently returned from the Japan having accepted an invitation from the Japanese Sailing Federation to compete in a training and regatta programme at the Wakayama Olympic Sailing Centre, Osaka. The girls finished the regatta with a strong score line using a third as their drop. At a fundraiser last year, Carrie and Ella raised $1500 for the Japanese sailors affected by the tragic tsunami and were recognized for their contribution by the Japanese Sailing Federation.