The finalists of the 2023 Australian Sailing Awards have been announced, with clubs, volunteers and sailing stars from around the country all in the running for recognition at the nation’s peak sailing awards.
In the Female and Male Sailor of the Year categories, finalists include major regatta medallists, world champions and Olympic gold medallists.
After an outstanding international season, it is a clean sweep for the Australian Sailing Team ILCA 6 squad in the Female Sailor of the Year category with Casey Imeneo (VIC), Mara Stransky (QLD) and Zoe Thomson (WA) announced as the three finalists.
Imeneo secured a stunning Bronze at the French Olympic Week regatta in Hyeres from a world-class fleet of 94 boats and finished in the top 10 at Kiel Week 2023. Reigning Australian Sailing Female Sailor of the Year Mara Stransky is back again, having accrued a remarkable string of top 10 finishes at several international regattas. Zoe Thomson is the third finalist, with the Western Australian putting the world on notice when she won Silver at the Palma regatta in March.
Australian Sailing Futures athlete Will Sargent (TAS) is a first-time finalist in the Male Sailor of the Year category after winning the SB20 World Championship and Youth World Championship in June this year. He will face stiff competition from 2022 Male Sailor of the Year and three-time SailGP Champion Tom Slingsby OAM (NSW), and 2018 winner Matt Wearn OAM (WA) who won the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event in the ILCA 7.
2023 has seen the Club of the Year Award split into two, providing the opportunity for clubs to be recognised for their achievements regardless of size.
The Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia (SA), Keppel Bay Sailing Club (QLD) and Woollahra Sailing Club (NSW) have been named as finalists for the Club of the Year (Category A) award, while Humpybong Yacht Club (QLD), Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club (NSW) and Sandy Bay Sailing Club (TAS) have been named as the three finalists for Club of the Year (Category B).
As always, the volunteer of the year category will be hotly contested. The judges reviewed incredible nominations from around Australia and have whittled them down to just three – a near impossible task. Felicia Brown (VIC), Sarah Cooper (SA) and Anton Mann (WA) have each contributed hugely to their local sailing communities, selflessly and continuously giving their time and passion to the benefit of all.
The winners of each of the categories will be announced at the National Sailing Awards on Friday November 3 at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
The full list of finalists for the Australian Sailing Awards is as follows:
Male Sailor of the Year
- Will Sargent (Derwent Sailing Squadron, TAS)
- Tom Slingsby (Woollahra Sailing Club, NSW)
- Matt Wearn (Royal Perth Yacht Club/Fremantle Sailing Club, WA)
Female Sailor of the Year
- Casey Imeneo (McCrae Yacht Club, VIC)
- Mara Stransky (Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron/Queensland Laser Association, QLD)
- Zoe Thomson (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA)List Item
Youth Sailor of the Year
- Evie Haseldine (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia/ Drummoyne Sailing Club, NSW)
- Harry Joyner (Fremantle Sailing Club, WA)
- Louis Tilly (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, NSW)
Para Sailor of the Year
- Lachlan Clear (Middle Harbour Yacht Club, NSW)
- Chris Symonds (Wynyard Yacht Club/Australian Hansa Class Association Inc/Sailability Tasmania, TAS)
- Alison Weatherly (Ballaarat Yacht Club/Royal Geelong Yacht Club, VIC)List Item
Team of the Year
- Australia SailGP Team (NSW)
- Cam Owens & Susan Ghent (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club/Nedlands Yacht Club, WA)
- Logan Radford & Joel Beashel (Gosford Sailing Club/Belmont 16s/South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club, NSW)List Item
Coach of the Year
- Ben Durham (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA)
- Brody Riley (McCrae Yacht Club, VIC)
- Madeline Salter (Adelaide Sailing Club & Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, SA)List Item
Club of the Year – Category A
- Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia (SA)
- Keppel Bay Sailing Club (QLD)
- Woollahra Sailing Club (NSW)
Club of the Year – Category B
- Humpybong Yacht Club (QLD)
- Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club (NSW)
- Sandy Bay Sailing Club (TAS)
Volunteer of the Year
- Felicia Brown (Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron, VIC)
- Sarah Cooper (Henley Sailing Club, SA)
- Anton Mann (Geographe Bay Yacht Club, WA)List Item
Instructor of the Year
- Sophie Baynton (Keppel Bay Sailing Club, QLD)
- Robert Cooper (Rye Yacht Club, VIC)
- Natasha Nisbet (Woollahra Sailing Club, NSW)List Item
Official of the Year
- Damien Boldyrew (Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, NSW)
- Remy Donraadt (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA)
- Ben Fels (Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, VIC)
Sport Promotion Award
- Derwent Sailing Squadron Media and Sport Promotion Team (TAS)
- Dockside Festival (SA)
- ORCV Media Team (VIC)
Sport Professional Award
- Mark Dingley (Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, QLD)
- Alanna Field (Darwin Sailing Club, NT)
- Brett Yardley (Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club, SA)
- Nicole Douglass (Jervis Bay Sailing Club/Canberra Yacht Club, NSW)
- South Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (Cruising Yacht Club of SA, SA)
- Women’s Racing and Mentorship Program (Fremantle Sailing Club, WA)
- Royal Perth Yacht Club (Royal Perth Yacht Club, WA)
- RSYS Environmental Sustainability Committee (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, NSW)
- Ian & Annika Thomson (Whitsunday Sailing Club, QLD)
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