Australian sailing 2022 NSW&ACT Award winners + Barranjoey pin recognitions
Congratulations to the winners of the NSW&ACT Sailing Awards for 2022 - and especial congratulations to Pittwater sailors who have been recognised for their recent, historic and ongoing contributions to the sport of sailing this year.
Female Sailor of the Year Winner: Nina Curtis
Nina Curtis is a member of the Australian SailGP Team after being the sole female athlete selected into the team in 2021. In 2021 she was the first female athlete to ever win a Sail GP event when the Australian team took the win in Sail GP Cadiz when female athletes were first introduced into the racing. Nina and the team went on to win the SailGP Sydney event in home waters. Nina and team finished a strong season by winning the Sail GP Grand Final in San Francisco with Nina becoming the first female athlete to stand at the top of the podium in Sail GP.
Male Sailor of the Year Winner: Tom Slingsby
Tom put together a phenomenal 2021-22 season, with significant international wins. In 2021 was recognised by World Sailing awarding him his second Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. Over the past 12 months Tom defended his Moth World Championship, winning 13 of the 14 races, securing back-to-back 2019 and 2021 title wins. He has also set the standard in the global SailGP circuit, winning four of the five events in the nomination period including the end of season Grand Final. He capped a fantastic year on the water by being a helmsman on Comanche which won the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race on IRC time correction, monohull line honours and breaking the monohull race.
Offshore Sailor of the Year Winner: Lisa Blair
Lisa Blair has claimed the World Sailing Speed Record for the fastest circumnavigation of Antarctica. She completed the journey from Albany around Antarctica to Albany, a full circuit in 92 days. She now holds the title for fastest solo non-stop and unassisted journey. Lisa is only the third person to ever succeed with this perilous journey, including navigating Iceberg Alley and the remotest place on the planet, Point Nemo, and she becomes the first woman to circumnavigate below 45 degrees non-stop and unassisted.
Para Sailor of the Year Winner: Jason Elwes
Jason has had a very successful year in the HANSA class. Consistently in the top three and finishing on the podium in both Sail Melbourne and the National Championships. He is also involved with the Class association, being the NSW rep, responsible for arranging annual NSW State Championships.
Youth Sailor of the Year Winner: Evie Saunders
Evie’s achievements over the last year have been placing 44th overall at the Open Womens world Championship in Oman and successfully gained selection to represent Australia in the Youth Worlds, where she came away with the silver medal. This is the first time in 14 years an Australian female has medalled in the ILCA 6 Class at the Youth World Championships.
Coach of the Year Winner: Carolijn Brouwer
Carolijn joined the Australian Sailing Team as the National ILCA 6 Coach in 2021 and the squad almost immediately started showing significant improvement in their results. Despite not being involved in international regattas since 2019, the Aussie contingent showed they were a force to be reckoned with under Carolijn and Assistant National ILCA 6 Coach Ben Walkemeyer. Mara Stransky won at Kiel Week, where all four Australian Sailing Squad athletes qualified for the Medal Race. There were also Aussies in the Medal Races at Palma, and Hyeres.
Club of the Year Winner: Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
NCYC have seen strong success with their SailPass program. 30% of users have transitioned into full memberships, increasing total club membership by 31.6%. The club has a strong SheSails Committee that work hard to offer female specific keelboat courses that saw over 200 women participate in training in the last year. They are the home base for the Making Waves Foundation in Newcastle and recently added a Veteran program – Saltwater Veterans. Their Discover Sailing Centre is ranked 4th Nationally and 2nd in NSW.
Instructor of the Year Winner: Freya Slater
Freya has been an instructor since November 2020 and in this brief time she has shown incredible growth in her instructing skills, and has shown incredibly leadership, especially in Youth Development and in the SheSails programs. Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club has wildly unpredictable weather, which Freya has dealt with through excellent planning and adaptability. She always has multiple lesson plan options for her students. Freya has also contributed to the newly released Club Participation Programs, assisting in the pilot group. This has also assisted in the success of the clubs recently relaunched Green Fleet which has grown to 18 sailors of all ages.
Official of the Year Winner: Hugh Leicester
Hugh Leicester is an outstanding International Race Officer. He has been involved with running the ILCA World Championships since 2001 and recently as a World Sailing Course Representative. A major highlight for Hugh in the last year was acting as race officer and World Sailing Course representative for the Tokyo Olympics. Other recent world competitions also include 2022 Mexico, 2019 Japan, Olympic Test Series and Enoshima World Cup Series. He is also the current Vice-President of the ILCA Work Council. On the home front Hugh can be found most Saturdays laying marks and assisting the race officer at Manly 16s.
Volunteer of the Year Winner: John Byrne
John has been a member of Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club for over 8 years. Since joining, John saw jobs that needed doing at the club and got stuck in. Gradually, John took on more responsibilities. John has been responsible for planning and delivery of the club’s racing, including creating and scheduling the racing calendar, administering results, calculating handicaps and being the permanent Race Officer - running all races from the start boat. And as if THAT was not enough, John took on a few extras, including – photographer, website administrator, apparel orders, security and grants officer, and safety boat roster. In the 2021-22 season, John’s last season with LJSC, he performed all these duties for the club and more, adding COVID officer and even finding time to support the growing youth division and its programs, by attending to launch-and-recover the safety boat, and checking the instructors had all the equipment they needed. John has recently retired from an active role in the club, necessitated by a move away from Jindabyne and he will be missed greatly for his dedication, contribution and commitment.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: David Pescud
David founded Sailors with Disability back in 1994 as President of the organisation, now known as the Making Waves Foundation. That year he put together a team of disabled sailors to contest the 50th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This was the first time ever a fully disabled crew had competed in a Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Earlier in the same year, competing in the Sydney Southport Race MWF was the first fully disabled crew to compete in an ocean race. MWF has since competed in 20 Sydney to Hobart yacht races. The foundation has provided sailing opportunities to more than 64,000 disabled and disadvantaged people. 2,500 people partake in their programs each year. He went to a lot of trouble to make boats for the disabled to sail on even with wheelchairs. It’s an experience they just wouldn’t get anywhere else. He felt it was important to get them out in an environment that they would never have dreamed of, and that expanded their horizons. David is a great advocate for the disabled and disadvantaged in yachting, and very widely respected for this. This has very effectively demonstrated to the sailing community that sailors with a disability can seriously compete on their level, often to their surprise and amazement. Looking at what has been achieved we have a great deal to celebrate as a result of one man’s vision as a catalyst for change in the sport of racing and sailing – the list of sailing achievements is significant, but more importantly it demonstrates the sailing community’s ability to put aside fear and prejudice and move forward inclusively acknowledging difference rather than hiding it.
SheSails Award Winner: Wendy Watson
Wendy has been the driving force and inspiration behind the inaugural Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto female skippers event, called “SheSkippers”. Through her perseverance and dedication to the task at hand she attracted 27 yachts in 2021 It was so well funded there was a surplus of funds that was donated to charity. In the second year (2022) she set out to better her efforts from the first time, which was achieved with 28 entries. She also enlisted the cooperation of sister clubs Lake Macquarie Yacht Club and Wangi Amateur Sailing Club and arranged for the three clubs to run a Tri-Series with a trophy being presented for the best performing woman from the three races series.
Sport Promotion Award Winner: Melvyn Steiner
Melvyn has held the position of Sailing Master and undertaken the responsibility for running the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta for Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto. The regatta consists of a 24 hour around the buoys race on Lake Macquarie covering 30 nautical miles. Melyvn was able to raise $500,000 over the past 8 years to assist recovering Cancer Patients.
Sustainability Award Winner: Australia SailGP Team
The Australia Sail GP Team has a clear purpose – race for a better sport and a better planet, and that underpins everything they do as a team. A key focus within the team is addressing issues of plastic pollution in the ocean, which the athletes have witnessed first hand. The Australia Sail GP team uses their platform to drive awareness an educate the world on the issues of climate change and ocean pollution. The team has made many operational changes such as: removal of single use water bottles and a 60% reduction in the use of single use plastics. They also commit to cleaning beach sessions, eating a minimum of one plant based meal a day, repurposing old apparel and donate old items to reduce landfill.
Australia SailGP Team beach clean session, June 2022. Photo: SailGP
Australia SailGP Team in Copenhagen (August 21, 2022) with Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark on board for a royal race between Australia and Denmark - and yes, of course they won the race with Princess Mary behind the wheel! Photo: SailGP
Barranjoey Pin Recognition: 2022 - Congratulations Katie Spithill!
Six sailors from across New South Wales have been recognised for their extraordinary sailing achievements at the international level, receiving their personalised Barranjoey Pins at the 2022 NSW/ACT Awards Evening last week.
With multiple Olympic Games and World Championships between them, Ian Winter (Pin #27), Richard Coxon (Pin #73), Sarah Kenny (Pin #85), Karyn Gojnich (#104), Katie Spithill (Pin #179) and Nicky Souter (Pin #181) were presented with their pins by Olympian Neville Wittey (Pin #147) at the RAN Sailing Association on Saturday night, September 17.
An embodiment of the great traditions and values of those who have competed and continue to compete at the highest level, the Barranjoey Pin is designed to acknowledge the legacy and history of Olympic and Paralympic class sailing in Australia.
To qualify for the honour, athletes must have represented Australia at either an Olympic Class World Sailing Championship, IYRU Women’s World Championship, Olympic Games or Paralympic Games and achieved a top 10 performance or have qualified for the Australian Sailing Team after 2006.
Three-time Olympian Karyn Gojnich said she felt privileged to be awarded the Barranjoey Pin and be included in a special part of Australian Sailing history.
“It’s an honour to be included - there’s so many of Australia’s legendary names that have been awarded the Barranjoey Pin and it a privilege to recognised amongst those people,” said Karyn Gojnich.
With a high-performance career spanning two decades, Gojnich also noted the importance of recognising athletes who have represented the country internationally.
“It was great to see people recognised from the 1964 Olympic Games all the way until the present day. It’s important for the sport to recognise people who have competed at the highest level, and it’s nice to know that the Barranjoey Pin is something that the sailors coming behind us will also be aiming to achieve.”
Australian competitor in the Two Person Star class at the 1984 Olympics, Richard Coxon also noted that it was nice to be recognised and to see the Barranjoey tradition continue.
“Having been there from the beginning in 64 when the Barranjoey was selected and won the Gold medal, it’s very nice to be recognised,” said Coxon.
“It was a nice touch that the Barranjoey Presentation was combined with the NSW Sailing Awards. My younger sister Lyndall Patterson (Pin #63) has already received her pin and she was able to be there so it was lovely to share it with family.”
Another Barranjoey Pin recipient recognised on the night, Ian Winter competed in the Flying Dutchman event with helmsman John Sawe at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. The event, which saw 21 nations take part saw Winter place 14th after a hard-fought regatta.
Sarah Kenny was Australia’s Sailboard Representative at the IYRU Women's World Sailing Championships in 1983. Among other achievements, she won the Freestyle event and placed second in the Pentathlon, Slalom and Marathon events at the Windsurfer World Championships in Fiji in 1985.
With a number of National Championship titles in various classes, Katie Spithill moved into women’s match racing in advance of its debut as an Olympic event at the London Olympics. Spithill placed 2nd at the world championships in 2007 as well as 5th in both 2009 and 2011.
The final recipient awarded their Barranjoey Pin at the awards evening, Nicky Souter won the 2009 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden. Her dominance in the field saw her go on to claim the bronze medal at the World Championships the following year, as well as qualify Australia for the London Olympics with 5th place at the Perth 2011 Worlds.
Australian Sailing wishes to congratulate each of the recipients on their incredible achievements in international sailing and welcome them proudly as the most recent Barranjoey Pin recipients.
The Barranjoey Pin is named after the yacht ‘Barranjoey’, which was sailed to Australia’s first Olympic sailing gold medal, at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.
William Northam CBE - Sailing
By Sport Australia Hall Of Fame
The finalists for the 2022 NSW/ACT Sailing Awards were announced prior to the Awards evening of Saturday September 17, 2022. Nominations came from clubs big and small and across the state and territory. They include Australian Sailing Team members, volunteers who put in incredible hours to help their clubs, professionals who are working for the sport and the promoters who use technology and social media to make sure we hear about sailing.
2022 NSW&ACT Sailing Award Finalists
Female Sailor of the Year
- Wendy Tuck - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
- Nina Curtis - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
- Lisa Darmanin - Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club & Middle Harbour Yacht Club
Male Sailor of the Year
- Matt Allen - RAN Sailing Association & Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
- Sam Newton - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia & Australian 18 Footers League
- Tom Slingsby - Woollahra Sailing Club
Offshore Sailor of the Year
- Lisa Blair - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
- Jules Hall & Jan Scholten - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia & Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club & Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Club & Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
- Matt Allen - RAN Sailing Association & Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
Para Sailor of the Year
- Lachlan Clear - Middle Harbour Yacht Club
- Jason Elwes - Lake Macquarie Yacht Club
Youth Sailor of the Year
- Evie Saunders - Manly Yacht Club & Double Bay Sailing Club & Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
- Will Wilkinson - Middle Harbour Yacht Club
- Daniel Links & Markus Sampson - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
Coach of the Year
- Zac West - Woollahra Sailing Club & Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
- Carolijn Brouwer - Australian Sailing
Instructor of the Year
- Lia Grosvenor - Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
- Freya Slater - Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club Inc
- Sarah Imlay - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
Official of the Year
- Winner to be announced on the night
Volunteer of the Year
- Melvyn Steiner - Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto
- John Byrne - Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club Inc
- Patricia Stanley - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Anthony Coleman - Lake Macquarie Yacht Club & Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
- Steve Hatch - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club & Pete's Yacht Club Incorporated & Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
- David Pescud - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia & RAN Sailing Association
- Wendy Watson - Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto
- Freya Slater - Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club Inc
Sport Promotion Award
- Margaret Fraser-Martin - Middle Harbour Yacht Club & Manly Yacht Club
- Melvyn Steiner - Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto
- Frank Quealey - Australian 18 Footers League Ltd
- Australia SailGP Team
- Double Bay Sailing Club
Club of the Year Award
- Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
- Woollahra Sailing Club
- Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
Tickets for the 2022 National Sailing Awards are on sale now. The event – set to recognise distinguished members of the Australian Sailing community – will be held at the stunning Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Friday November 4, 2022.
Each year the Australian Sailing Awards recognise the achievements and acknowledge the contribution of members of our sailing community. This year’s event will be no different, with the national evening set to celebrate more than thirty finalists from all around the country.
Winners from fifteen different categories will be announced on the night, including Male and Female Sailor of the Year, Sailor of the Year with a Disability, Volunteer of the Year and Club of the Year. Past winners include the likes of Olympic champions Mat Belcher, Will Ryan and Tom Slingsby, as well as Nacra 17 star Lisa Darmanin.