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World Champions Belcher and Ryan add 2013 Australian Yachting Awards to their accolades

21 October 2013

SAILING: Another outstanding year for Australian Olympic and Paralympic sailing team members was celebrated at the 2013 Australian Yachting awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Friday night.  The Australian Sailing Team, including members of the up and coming Australian Sailing Squad, took home the Male, Female, Disabled and Youth Sailor of the Year Awards.

A year after the London 2012 Olympic Games the future of the Australian Sailing Team looks bright with the 2013 Youth World Champions Carrie Smith (WA) and Ella Clark (WA), newcomers to the Australian Sailing Squad, rewarded with both the Female and Youth Sailor of the Year awards. The young duo displayed maturity beyond their years in winning gold in the 420 girls class at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Cyprus in July. Smith and Clark also triumphed at the Australian Youth Championships and Australian National Championships in the same class. This success was the reward for three years of focused and committed training. Progressing into an Olympic Class will be their next focus.

The Male Sailor of the Year category was awarded to the 2013 World Champions in the 470 Class, Mathew Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD). This new combination were rewarded for their domination of the 470 Class winning a total of nine regattas including the ISAF World and European Championships, three ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and a number of other national and regional championships. Claiming the 470 Class World Championship in France in August was the duo’s biggest victory of the year. It was timely, coming on the one-year anniversary of Belcher’s gold medal win at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Malcolm Page. This represents four World Championship titles for Belcher and the first for new crew member Will Ryan. The pair has only been sailing together for nine months.

CEO of the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) Jason Hellwig presented the Sailor of the Year with a Disability Award to Collin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden. This was in recognition of their bronze medal at the 2013 IFDS World Championships in Kinsale, Ireland in August. It was the first regatta the crew sailed together and made for a promising start to their Rio 2016 Paralympic Games campaign. All three have a wealth of Paralympic class sailing experience. They are all veterans of competition at previous Paralympic Games; Colin Harrison (NSW) and Jonathan Harris (NSW) most recently at London 2012.

Yachting Australia President David Gotze presented the President’s Award to David Kellet, recognising him for his continued contribution to the sport nationally and internationally.

Sydney Fischer and the late Ian Grant were recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their involvement and contributions to the sport of sailing. Syd Fischer was acknowledged as one of Australia’s greatest ever yachtsman, his sailing career spanning a record 44 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races. He self-funded a record five America’s Cup campaigns and captained Australia to win at the Admiral’s Cup and Clipper/Kenwood Cups. Syd Fischer was also credited for launching the America’s Cup careers for many sailors, including Iain Murray and James Spithill.

Renowned sailing journalist Ian Grant’s work in championing the sport included time with several Queensland news outlets, amongst others the Brisbane Courier Mail and several sailing publications and online news channels. Grant, who passed away earlier this year, was also passionately involved in radio reporting of sailing events such as the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, Airlie Beach Race Week and Hamilton Island Race Week.

The Canberra Yacht Club was named as the Sport Promotion Award winner for the introduction of a special sailing program, Buoyed Up, which is designed to provide vulnerable young people aged 7-12 years with a fun, confidence-building sailing experience.

Victorian John Burgess was the recipient in the Sport Volunteer Award and Sandringham Yacht Club CEO Richard Hewett in the Sport Professional Award category.
More than 220 guests attended the event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Rocks, Sydney. ABC’s Angela Catterns was the MC of the evening.

Joining the finalists on the night were guests including MP and NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Honorable Gabrielle Upton, MP member for Hughes Craig Kelly, Australian Olympic Committee Executive Board Member and 2016 Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller, Australian Institute of Sport Director Matt Favier, CEO of the Australian Paralympic Committee Jason Helwig as well as supporters, patrons and sponsors of Yachting Australia and the Australian Sailing Team.

The Australian Yachting Awards are an annual event recognizing special achievements in Australian Sailing.

Yachting Australia