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Yachting NZ announces 2012 Sailor of the Year

by Sail-World on 23 Nov 2012
Olivia Powrie and Jo Aleh salute the Nothe crowd soon after winning the Gold Medal at Weymouth in August 2012. Richard Gladwell

Orbit Corporate Travel Sailor of the Year for 2012 has been awarded to Olympic golden girls Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, while their coach, Nathan Handley has been named 2012 Singapore Airlines Coach/Official of the Year.

These and other Awards were presented at the 2012 Yachting Excellence Awards where a crowd of around 300 filled the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Friday evening.

Aleh and Powrie were presented with the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy by Sir Colin Giltrap and Brendan Drury from Orbit Corporate Travel. Their names are now engraved on the silverware alongside the likes of Sir Russell Coutts, Barbara Kendall, Sir Peter Blake, Grant Dalton, Tom Ashley and many more top NZ sailors and others, since the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy was first presented in 1969.

This accomplishment tops off an memorable year for the women’s 470 sailing crew who won the Gold Medal in the event at the Weymouth Olympics.

Gold medal coach, Nathan Handley was named the winner of the 2012 Singapore Airlines Coach/Official of the Year from a list of nine finalists in the category.

Nathan Handley has coached and nurtured Team Jolly - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – through the high points and set backs of their four year campaign in the Women’s 470 through to the very proud moment of an Olympic Gold medal.

2012 Singapore Airlines Young Sailor of the Year went to up and coming 49er sailors Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski. Among the six category finalists Hansen and Porebski, who are training partners to Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, were the crew whose recent results impressed the judging panel most.

They joined forces in the 49er just last year quickly demonstrating their formidable talent with selection to the NZL Sailing Team and sixth place at the 2012 49er World Championships in Croatia in May, while both just 19 years of age.

Another young talent was recognised last night with the Yachting New Zealand Emerging Talent Award supported by OKI which recognises considerable promise in yachting. Nominated by the Hamilton Yacht Club, Isaac McHardie started his sailing career with a learn to sail course in 2007 going on to become the most successful junior sailor from the Club in its 75 year history; he is Tanner Cup Champion for two consecutive years running (2011 and 2012).

The Yachting New Zealand President’s Award went to Napier Sailing Club and the 2011 Optimist World Championship Organizing Committee for the impressive combined effort in organising the 2012 Optimist World Championship held in January. This international regatta attracted 210 competitors from 48 countries covering all continents.

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