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Cruising Yacht Club of Australia crowns champion racers

by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 22 Mar 15:09 PDT
Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore champion Matt Allen (right) and Audi Centre Sydney Dealer Principal Steve Cloete with the Jack Halliday Trophy and the all-new Audi A8 at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Darling Point, Sydney © Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

Legendary sailors Matt Allen and Wendy Tuck have headlined a long list of winners at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's annual gala function to herald a new round of Ocean Racer of the Year recipients and acknowledge the champions of the Club's 2018-19 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series.

Established in 1985 by the CYCA, the Ocean Racer of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of yachtsmen and women Australia-wide and since the founding year the nation's most recognised offshore sailors have been nominated by their peers and duly awarded by the selection panel.

Allen and Tuck, fresh off an Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore triumph and a Clipper Round the World victory respectively, claimed the prestigious Ocean Racing Yachts Person of the Year awards, with a collection of other honours shared amongst the best performers in Australian sailing.

"It's an incredible honour not only to win this award but to share it with Wendy Tuck," Allen said.

"What Wendy has done is inspirational for women in sailing, inspirational for this Club and inspirational for increasing the number of women and the diversity in our sport worldwide."

CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham paid credit to Allen, Tuck and all those who had competed throughout the series.

"Congratulations to all winners at the CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year and the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series awards," CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said.

"This year has been one of firsts and broken records and those on the water should be commended for their outstanding efforts.

"Off the water, the sport and the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series continue to grow culminating in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which in 2018 attracted record viewers across Australia in the Channel 7 broadcast in addition to millions across the world.

"We're looking forward to seeing even more growth in 2019, the 75th celebration of both the Club and the race to Hobart."

The Ocean Racer of the Year award is the most prestigious of the CYCA's five awards and is presented to the leader of an Australian ocean racing campaign who has excelled above others during the qualification period. This year the CYCA announced two worthy winners.

Allen has enjoyed plenty of sailing success throughout his career, but the last 18 months of the Ichi Ban program have been extraordinary including winning the most recent Blue Water Pointscore off the back of last season's 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart victory. Allen is a former CYCA Commodore and the current Australian Sailing President.

Tuck, winner of the latest 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World yacht race, became the first Australian skipper to complete a second Clipper race and in winning wrote herself into the history books as the first female skipper to ever win a round the world yacht race.

The Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Championship is a yearly six-race series that begins with the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and concludes with the double-points Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December.

"It's wonderful to be able to acknowledge the elite performances of racers in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore series, from the start of the series right through to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race," Audi Centre Sydney Dealer Principal, Steve Cloete, said.

"There's a wonderful synergy between Audi Centre Sydney and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and we're thrilled to be involved with the Club and Australia's best blue water ocean racing series. Congratulations not only to the award winners but all who participated in the 2018 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore series."

CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year award recipients

Dinah Eagle Sally Gordon Memorial Trophy for Ocean Crew Person of the Year

Dinah Eagle is an 11-time Rolex Sydney Hobart crew person and key member of the Wax Lyrical team. At sea Dinah drives, trims and is a watch leader, as well as cooking, sail packing and anything else to keep the boat racing fast. Her nominee describes her as a team player and a patient mentor to the less experienced team members.

Will Oxley - Ocean Navigator of the Year

The CYCA Ocean Racing Navigator of the Year was instituted in 2008. The 2019 recipient Will Oxley is one of the world's leading lights in yacht race navigation and an integral member of Matt Allen's highly successful TP52 Ichi Ban campaign. Oxley is a major contributor to the success of the current and previous Ichi Bans and outside of this role he shares his vast knowledge writing books and articles which concentrate on race navigation.

Anthony Kirke - Ocean Rookie of the Year

Awarded to an owner campaigning their own boat within the CYCA's prestigious Blue Water sailing program for the first time, this West Australian owner undoubtably has the best themed Blue Water entry Anthony nicknamed Captain Kirke and his boat called Enterprise, from the popular original series of Star Trek. Over the past season Kirke organised a remote operation from the west coast, and with his WA crew outperformed as east coast rookies onboard Kirke's Farr 40.

Bruce Taylor - Ocean Veteran of the Year

Awarded to a stalwart of the sport, Melbourne's Bruce Taylor is a longstanding and fierce competitor who most recently trumped the fleet overall in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race with his Caprice 40 called Chutzpah. His current Chutzpah is the sixth in the series of boats by the same name and with previous generations he's earned multiple top three places in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Taylor knows how to build a team and his core crew have stuck by him for decades.

Matt Allen & Wendy Tuck - Ocean Racing Yachts Persons of the Year

Inseparable after both enjoyed outstanding years on the water, Matt Allen and Wendy Tuck share the Ocean Racing Yachts Persons of the Year - Tuck the first female winner of the award. Allen won myriad events across the period including the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, IRC and ORCi at the Australian Championships and the 2018 Festival of Sails, and an overall win and a race record in the Brisbane to Gladstone. Tuck enjoyed a year to remember, claiming the 2018 Australian Female Sailor and Offshore Sailor of the Year awards, a Rolex World Sailor of the Year nomination and Honorary Membership of the CYCA after winning the 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Tuck was unable to attend the event, currently sailing in the Indian Ocean on board Maiden Factor on her way to Fremantle.

Click here for the full list of Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore award recipients

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