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Top Olympic Windsurfing Coach wins NZ Sailor of the Year

by Sail-World and Yachting NZ on 28 Oct 2011
Tom Ashley and coach, Grant Beck after winning RS:X Gold medal in Qingdao © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

Top windsurfing coach, Grant Beck, was tonight named New Zealand sailor of the year at a function held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.


Beck has been the coach for all New Zealand's windsurfing medals going back to the 1984 Olympics with Bruce Kendall and continuing with Bruce and Barbara Kendall, Aaron McIntosh and most recently Tom Ashley who won a Gold medal in the event in the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao.

All told Beck has worked with sailors who have between them won seven Olympic medals, and is New Zealand most successful Olympic coach in terms of medals won.

The award was also made in recognition of Beck's wide impact throughout the NZ Yachting Community. His experience and judgement is used to act as an Olympic Selector in several classes and his he has had a long involvement with one of New Zealands top marine companies, Adhesive Technologies.


Grant Beck continues to make a major contribution to youth sailing in New Zealand with a variety of roles including coaching, advising and managing youth teams to compete internationally. He was spotted just a couple of weeks ago teaching some beginners to windsurf at Wakatere Beach on Auckland’s North Shore.

This award won by Beck on 28 October 2011 is the premier award in New Zealand Sailing, for outstanding contribution to yachting, and is given to someone who has demonstrated absolute world class abilities over their career. Yachting New Zealand in association with Singapore Airlines is presented Beck with the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy as the 2011 Sailor of the Year.

Young Sailor of the Year 2011

The sailor who was part of the youngest crew to ever sail at an Olympics, Peter Burling was named as Young Sailor of the Year at the same function. Burling is still only 20 and just squeaked under the age limit for the award, however he is now on his second Olympic campaign, this time in the 49er class. He placed 10th in the 2008 Olympics, along with Carl Evans (then 17). Burling had his 17th birthday at the 2008 Olympics.



In the past year campaigning his 49er with crew Blair Tuke, Peter Burling has achieved success by only placing outside the top four once.

His 49er results boast an impressive record including a first at Sail Sydney, first at the NZ National Championships, second at Sail Melbourne, and fourth at Perth International.

Burling also placed 4th at the 2011 Zhik Foiling Moth World Championships in Australia earlier this year.

His pinnacle event for 2011 was the Olympic Test Event in Weymouth (2012 Olympic Sailing venue), where he won a bronze medal. Burling and Tuke were the youngest pairing in this regatta, and are the first team to represent NZL in the 49er at the Olympic level since Sydney 2000.

Next major regatta for Burling, along with the other members of the NZL Sailing Team is December’s 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, where each team will hunt to qualify the country in their class for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Other finalists were:
Sam Meech- Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club
2011 Laser Standard, under 21 World Champion, 20 years old

Taylor Burn- Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
2011 Splash Class World Champion, 17 Years Old

Alexandra Maloney- Murrays Bay Sailing Club
Helm, 29er Class NZ National Champion 2010 and 2011, 19 years old

Yachting New Zealand’s Young Sailor of the Year is awarded in recognition of an outstanding performance in competition by sailors 20 years or under. The finalists at the New Zealand Yachting Excellence Awards on 28 October 2011 were all outstanding young sailors.


Emerging Talent Award 2011
Leonard Takahashi-Fry

Leonard Takahashi-Fry from Murrays Bay Sailing Club has not only won the 2011 National Optimist Championships in New Zealand, he has also won the 2011 USA Nationals, 2011 British Nationals, and came 2nd in the 2011 Japan National Optimist Championship.

Leonard only started sailing 3.5 years ago, in 2008, when he was 9 years old. He quickly progressed through Learn to Sail, and raced in the Optimist Nationals 2009 at Worser Bay, placing 7th in the green (beginners) fleet.

In 2009 and 2010, he climbed his way up into the big fleets gaining experience at regattas in the UK and Russia and came home to an impressive 21st at the NZ North Island Optimist Championships, and even better a 9th at the Australian National Optimist Championships.

From then on, Leonard joined a four member training squad coached by Chris Steele at Wakatere Boating Club. They trained hard four nights per week: It has paid off in 2011.

Two months from today, Leonard will also be representing New Zealand, trying for the big win in home waters at the 2011 Optimist World Championships to be held in Napier.

This award is for a sailor that has displayed outstanding potential for the future of New Zealand sailing.


Coach/Official of the Year 2011
Bob McDavitt


Bob McDavitt, otherwise known as 'Cyclone Santa' has given outstanding service to the whole yachting community as a meteorologist.

He has been the weather man for many successful yachting campaigns including Olympics and Americas Cup, and has voluntarily contributed to cruising safety since 1995 by issuing weekly Weathergrams for the Southern Pacific.

Bob McDavitt is widely recognized by the yacht racing community as an educator for weather at regatta briefings, yachting courses and seminars, and is a sought after speaker at conferences and events. Since 1992, he has been stationed in Auckland as MetService Weather Ambassador, promoting relations with weather users, communicating awareness about weather, and keeping an eye on the impact of weather for special events.

Bob plans to retire from Metservice in early 2012 and retire to Wellington.

Other finalists were:
Chris Steele- Optimist Coach
John Bullot- ISAF International Judge
Charles Baillie-Strong- Splash, 2.4mR and Optimist Coach


Yachting New Zealand President’s Award 2011
Torbay Sailing Club for the Sir Peter Blake Regatta


When Sir Peter Blake was killed at Macapa Brazil on 5 Dec 2001, New Zealand mourned the loss of a national hero. Nearly ten years later, the memory of Peter Blake sails on in the biggest regatta in New Zealand and the biggest centreboard regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

Torbay Sailing Club copes admirably with the demands of, several hundred competitors each year and the infrastructure they have put in place for this regatta is dazzling.

Where do all the boats park and rig up? Where do the Patrol Boats come from, and the people to man them? Look at the safety issues they manage and many other challenges such as obtaining serious sponsorship for such a huge undertaking!

The Sir Peter Blake Torbay Regatta is held annually on the first weekend of December for all Centreboard Classes and all ages. Torbay Sailing Club has created a monster that has taken on a life of its own!

The Yachting New Zealand’s President’s Award recognises work done in promoting, supporting and developing the interests of yachting. This year, the award was presented by Yachting New Zealand’s president, Jan Dawson.

Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards 2011

Significant achievement in the world of yachting by New Zealanders over the past year has been plentiful ensuring it was a tough job for the 2011 Yachting Excellence Awards Judging Panel to select the Performance Awards recipients from a good number of quality nominations.

Usually only ten would be awarded, but this year, it couldn’t be narrowed to less than eleven.

Performance Awards

Jon-Paul Tobin, Takapuna Boating Club, Windsurfing
Sara Winther, Takapuna Boating Club, Laser Radial Class
Andrew Murdoch, Kerikeri Cruising Club, Laser Standard Class
Sam Meech, Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club, Laser Standard Class
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, Takapuna Boating Club, 470 Class
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club and Kerikeri Cruising Club, 49er Class
Scott Leith, Pupuke Boating Club , Laser Radial Apprentice Master Class
Waka Racing, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, International Match Racing
Taylor Burn, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Splash Class
Bianca Barbarich-Bacher, Murrays Bay Sailing Club, 470 Class
Laurie Jury, Michael Edmonds, Logan Fraser, RNZYS, International Match Racing
Yachting New Zealand Service Awards 2011

Recognising exemplary and selfless service to yachting, the Yachting New Zealand Service Awards are a highlight in the evening’s programme. Often going without recognition these are the people who make our sport tick, and it’s a delight to see them rewarded.

Yachting New Zealand Service Awards

Phil Galloway, Mount Pleasant Yacht Club
Katy and Mark Kenah, Napier Sailing Club
David Whytock, Timaru Yacht & Powerboat Club
Mark Mulcare, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Ted Frankham, Wakatere Boating Club
Allan Garbutt, Ravensbourne Boating Club
Stuart Burrough, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
Gerald Flynn, Peter McKeogh and Neil Harris, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Tim Sandall, Wairoa Yacht Club and Napier Sailing Club
Alan Poore, Charteris Bay Yacht Club



Yachting New Zealand Cruising Award.

They are the Sea Cadets of T.S. Talisman with the New Zealand Cadet Forces and Danny and Yvonne Simms of the Mangonui Cruising Club.

The T.S. Talisman Sea Cadets from Nelson were the first Sea Cadet unit in New Zealand to sail overseas, cruising with six teenage cadets, and three adults. Together they completed a sailing voyage from New Zealand to New Caledonia aboard the 15 metre yacht 'Simply Wild', lead by the cadets in everything from planning the dream to navigating during the voyage.


Danny and Yvonne Simms completed an 18 month voyage aboard their boat Ocean Pearl a 53’ ketch, starting in Ft Lauderdale Florida, June 2009. Through adversity they sailed north up the American coastline, then back down to join the ‘Caribbean 1500 Rally’, through Panama to the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas, the South Pacific Islands, and finally in Late 2010 back to New Zealand. It’s not a bad effort for a first time offshore sailing couple in their 60’s!

The cruising awards recognise an outstanding non-competitive voyage or cruise, or services to this area of sailing.


KORC Trophy for Keelboat Sailing

After securing the IRC National Championship title this year at the Bay of Islands Sailing Week, Geoff Thorpe and his crew have won the KORC (Keelboat and Offshore Racing Committee) Trophy for Keelboat sailing.

The championships were hotly contested for, and aboard the Farr MRX 1997, North Sails, this team of sailors from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have reigned supreme.

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