Wendy Tuck, who this year became the first female skipper to ever win a round the world yacht race, has scooped the pool at the 2018 Australian Sailing Awards in held in Sydney. Tuck took out the top honour in winning the Female Sailor of the Year as well as bagging the inaugural Offshore Sailor of the Year award for her efforts in leading Sanya Serenity Coast to victory in the Clipper Round the World Race in July.
“It’s a great honour to win this award, it’s been surreal since winning the Clipper (race) I had a great team who helped me get there so this award really is for them.” Tuck said on the night.
Australian Sailing Team and Tokyo Olympics aspirant Matt Wearn took out the Male Sailor of the Year award, after a stunning year on the international circuit in the laser class. His year was highlighted by silver medals at both the World Championships in Kiel and the World Cup and Olympic test event in Enoshima, Japan.
16-year-old Chealseann Osborne from Townsville beat an experienced field to win this year’s Sailor of the Year with a Disability category. Osborne has been sailing for the past eight years and in April she won a gold and a silver at the Special Olympics Australia National Games in Adelaide.
In a good display of the sport’s bright future, there was a highly competitive field of outstanding performances by our young sailors vying for the Youth Sailor of the Year Award. The award ultimately went to Western Australia’s Zac Littlewood, who was crowned the 2018 World Laser Radial Champion in Kiel, Germany against an open fleet of 92 competitors from 25 countries.
The Sport Professional Award was given to The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Head coach, Jordan Reece. In 2018, he has organised and will run all of Australia’s match racing Championships including Open, Women’s, Youths and Schools as well as assisting with the Invictus Games. Jordan has coached Australia’s top teams and was the coach for the Youth MR World Champion, Australian Youth Match Racing Champion & NSW Youth Match Racing Champion from Oct 2017-July 2018. Jordan is also the current Australian J70 National Champion as tactician/mainsail trimmer.
Australian sailing legend John Longley AM was also recognised on the night for his outstanding contribution to the sport by being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
John Longley has been involved with sailing and the sea almost all of his life. He started sailing as a young boy in dinghies on the Swan River, graduating to ocean racing in Australia and later on in Europe and America, including the Transatlantic race. This lead to a long involvement with the America’s Cup, which saw him sailing as a crew member in five consecutive America’s Cup campaigns from 1974 to 1987 including the victorious Australia II campaign. He has continued his work with the sport, initiating the replica build of Cook’s Endevour and is the current Chair of the Dragon class and assisting in the management of the 2019 World Championships.
The prestigious President’s Award was this year awarded to three highly respected veterans of the sailing community. Kevin and Ross Wilson from Victoria are two of the world’s most highly qualified, respected and experienced Race Managers. They have been part of multiple Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Youth Olympic Games and several World Sailing events around the world as well as hundreds of National, State and Club events. Sydney’s Denis Thomson was also awarded the much sought-after accolade.