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Four new categories of Finalists announced for Australian Sailing Awards

The winners to be announced at the 2023 Australian Sailing Awards on November 3 in Sydney.

Youth Sailor of the Year Award

Evie Haseldine (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia/ Drummoyne Sailing Club, NSW) is the first of the finalists to be announced, having emerged alongside Skipper Olivia Price to become not just Australia’s Number one ranked 49erFX team, but also a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

The fledgling team only joined forces last year, and with Haseldine as crew guiding Price and the boat, the pair have gone on to record three consecutive top twelve finishes at major international regattas as well as a first place at Sail Melbourne 2023 earlier this year.

Haseldine and Price were Australia’s selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event, where they went on to qualify for the Top Ten medal race before finishing the regatta in tenth.

A talented iQFoil athlete, Harry Joyner (Fremantle Sailing Club, WA), has represented Australia internationally at the highest level of Youth and IQFOiL competition over the past year.

Joyner has participated in various Youth Championship events, most notably the iQFOiL European Championships held in Lake Garda in July 2023, where, having led the 400+ contestant regatta throughout qualifying, he ultimately placed second in the outright one-race final.

Additional results include seventh at the 2022 IQ Youth & Junior European Championships in Brest France, and second at Sail Melbourne 2023.

Joyner demonstrates an incredible work ethic and is determined to continue developing in the sport of Olympic Class Windfoiling.

The past 12 months have seen Louis Tilly (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, NSW) perform outstandingly at State, National and International levels, both in the WASZP and Elliot 7 classes.

In January 2023, Tilly placed second in the Australian WASZP Nationals before competing in the New Zealand WASZP Nationals, again finishing second overall (first Junior).

Additionally, after winning the SailGP Inspire event in Sydney, Tilly represented Australia at the SailGP Inspire Grand Final in San Francisco in May. He was the youngest competitor and, against champions from all over the globe, finished 7th in the male category.

Tilly is not only dedicated to his craft but committed to giving back to his club, recently instigating and instructing at several “Try a WASZP” days at his club, contributing to the explosive growth in the WASZP Class on Pittwater.

Respected Para Sailors Award

A talented and committed sailor, Lachlan Clear, has dedicated himself to competition over the 2022-23 sailing season.

Clear contested both the New South Wales and Victorian Hansa Class Championships and travelled to Hiroshima in October for the Asia-Pacific Hansa Class Championships and Para Sailing World Championships in the Liberty, placing fifth and fourth respectively at the latter two regattas.

Sailing a Liberty, Clear also placed sixth at the Australian Hansa Class Championships in Wynyard, Tasmania in April this year.

Furthermore, Clear is the founder and President of Deaf Sailing NSW, acting as the driving force behind the organisation, which has arranged a number of training days for novice and developing deaf sailors.

No stranger to this award, having won it the last five years in a row, Chris Symonds is an inspiration to the para sailing community.

As well as championing the campaign to have para sailing included in the 2024 Paris Paralympics, Symonds has competed nationally and international in the Hansa 303 class this season.

In October 2022, Symonds placed first at the Asia Pacific Championships in the Hansa 303 Doubles and fifth in the Men’s Hansa 303 Singles. He also placed fifth at the Para World Sailing Championships in Hiroshima in the same class.

In addition, Symonds is actively involved in the para sailing community, acting as the Vice President of Sailability Tasmania and as the Commodore of Wynyard Yacht Club, and is personally involved in skippering the Sailability sessions at his club.

Victorian delegate for the Australian Hansa Class Association and member of the Para World Sailing Committee Inclusion Working Party, Alison Weatherly, has achieved top finishes across multiple regattas and classes.

Weatherly finished third at the 2022 Para Sailing World Championship in the Women’s Hansa 303 class in October 2022, before backing up her podium finish with a gold medal at the Victorian Hansa Class Championships in February, an event which she organised.

In the same month, she placed first at the 2023 Australian Para Sailing Championship in the Liberty Open.

Weatherly is actively involved in the para sailing community and is an inspiration to female para sailors Australia-wide.

National Sports Professional Award

Mark Dingley has been Sailing Manager at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) for almost three years and in that time has built a strong team of administrators, instructors and coaches who have fully committed to increasing participation and success in all sailing activities and events.

Dingley and his team introduced Brisbane Race Week in March 2023 to encourage a mixed fleet of classes and experience levels to enjoy the fun of being out on the water.

In addition, Dingley was instrumental in the successful running and organisation of events, such as the Brisbane to Keppel Bay Yacht Race in June 2023 and the Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race in August 2022.

Ever vigilant, Dingley also led a rescue at the Etchell National Championships in January which ultimately could have been fatal yet resulted in a happy ending.

Having initially moved to Darwin from Geelong in 2018 to be a seasonal instructor, Alanna Field has progressed through a variety of roles at Darwin Sailing Club.

Since taking on her current role of Training Academy Manager in 2021, Alanna has worked hard to develop strong relationships with community groups such as schools, youth diversion, defence and disability groups, resulting in a participation increase across group programs of 561% over the last two and a half seasons. Due to Alanna’s efforts, the DSC Training Academy now operates seven days a week across three locations.

In addition, Alanna is also the only Senior Dinghy Instructor in the Northern Territory and is accredited as a Regional Judge, making her the only female in the Northern Territory to hold a regional qualification.

Since starting with the Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club (BSYC) seven years ago, Brett Yardley has had a significant and lasting impact on the sailing school, the club and its members, with the sizable growth of the sailing school in part due to Brett’s instructing and coaching abilities.

Yardley’s Tackers graduates can now be seen sailing in a variety of boats and classes including ILCA’s and 470’s, and he has also encouraged and supported three of his Tackers parents to become members of the BSYC management committee. Additionally, Brett has successfully managed five private schools for after school teams race training.

Brett holds many instructor qualifications including Senior Instructor in Dinghy, Powerboat and Windsurfing, and conducts Dinghy and Windsurfer instructor courses on behalf of Australian Sailing. Furthermore, Yardley continues to mentor, encourage, and train young instructors in New South Wales.

National Sport Promotion Award

The Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS) Media and Sport Promotion Team have notably amplified the promotion of the DSS, enhancing the visibility of sailing in the local community and nationally.

Made up of five committed and diverse talents, the Media and Sport Promotion Team have collectively built a captivating and engaging mix of journalistic, photographic, and promotional media across all platforms.

This year, the team provided extensive coverage of key sailing events held in Tasmania, including the Pipe Opener and the Two Capes race, gaining wide exposure through local newspapers, television media, and various online sailing-centric publications. Their coverage of the 2022-23 Sharpie National Championships, hosted by the DSS, typified their characteristically comprehensive, accurate, timely, engaging and enjoyable style.

An initiative lead by local sailors Harry Fisher and Nick Bice in conjunction with the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, the inaugural Dockside Festival was held in December 2022 as a three-day program that nurtured the coming together of South Australian sporting, arts and cultural communities.

The festival-scale event generated a footfall of 21,000 visitors over the three-day period, and also acted as an opportunity for clubs to introduce people to the sport of sailing in a more accessible way.

The main sailing event, broadcast by the in-house event media team, was watched via live stream by thousands of sailors across Australia, and the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia also used the event to launch its inaugural Defence Industry Cup.

Other on-water activations included dragon boat racing and come and try, model yacht racing, inclusive sit-down paddle boarding, and stand-up paddle come and try sessions.

The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) has consistently demonstrated exceptional efforts in promoting sailing, fostering community engagement, and showcasing the sport of sailing through outstanding media and communication initiatives.

Over the past year, the club has used the power of the media to increase participation, most obviously through their 50th Melbourne to Hobart race campaign which saw a carefully crafted media plan break 25-year race record of forty-nine yachts and 371 sailors onboard.

As part of the media plan, online newsletters, TV, social media, print media and video content were all utilised, resulting in a 34% increase in Facebook followers and 35,000 visits to the official Race Tracker on the ORCV website during the race.

The winners to these awards will be announced at the 2023 Australian Sailing Awards in Sydney on November 3. For more information on the National Awards as well as ticket availability, click here.