Andrew Hunn, Amelia Catt receive Tasmanian Sailing Awards

Prominent Farr 40 skipper Andrew Hunn and Rio Olympic Games aspirant Amelia Catt today were named as the Tasmanian Sailors of the Year along with other annual awards.

Yachting Tasmania president Ron Bugg announced the awards at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, along with five new inductees into the Tasmanian Yacht Hall of Fame.

Andrew Hunn, best known as co-owner/skipper of the Farr 40 Voodoo Chile in which he finished second in the 2014 Australian championship, also won the national titles for the MC38 and Melges 32 one design keelboat classes. Recently, he sailed the US-based Voodoo Chile to fifth overall in the world championship in San Francisco.

His co-owner, Lloyd Clark was named Yachting Personality of the Year, also achieving excellent sailing results in steering Voodoo Chile to victory in the Queensland Farr 40 championship, second overall in the Tasmanian titles and, in California, a close third in the US West Coast championship, also winning the Corinthian division.

Female Sailor of the Year Sailor of the Year, Amelia Catt was talent-spotted from the single-handed Laser Radial class as a potential Olympic sailor in the double-handed women’s 470 class.

Teaming up with Queenslander Sasha Ryan, the pair have emerged as strong prospects to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics in 2016, having recently competed in major regattas in Europe.

Teenager Sam King was named as winner of the Outstanding Youth Achievement award for his outing performances in off-the-beach classes.

He won the 50th Australian Sabot championship in Sydney last summer, then went on to take out the Laser 4.7 Tasmanian title and finish second in the Queensland Youth championship.

Sailor of the Year with Disability is Matt Bugg, who is again on track to again represent Ausralia at the Rio Paralympics in the 2.4mR class. Matt has won four consecutive open national titles in the 2.4s and is back in Tasmania after a tour of world-ranked events, with impressive results, including qualifying Australia as a nation for the Rio Games.

Yachting Tasmanian recognises offshore yacht racing with the Bennetto Medal which commemorates the famous ocean yachtsman John Bennetto who competed in 44 Sydney Hobarts.

Winner for 2014 is Stewart Geeves who sailed his Young 88 Footloose to victory in the AMS category of last year’s Bruny Island Race as well as winning the AMS and PHS divisions of the Combined Clubs Long Race Series.

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Mick Purdon who has had a lifelong involvement in sailing and who is already a member of the Tasmanian Yachting Hall of Fame, in part because of being the first Tasmanian to win the Prince Philip Cup in Dragons and in recognition of his ongoing contribution in administration, notably as a racing rules administrator.

Yachting Tasmania introduced two new categories for this year’s awards – Club of the Year and Administrator/Sporting Professional of the Year.

Two clubs, Wynyard Yacht Club and Sandy Bay Sailing Club, shared the Club of the Year award, with Wynyard recently been chosen as Yachting Australia’s Club of the Year at the national awards in Sydney.

Wynyard Yacht Club has undergone a renaissance in the past year, engagig the community through local councils, schools and creating partnership through other sporting clubs to encourage greater participation in sailing.

Sandy Bay Sailing Club has been conducting off-the-beach sailing since 1948, producing many State, National and World champions. Currently, the club has introduced successful junior and youth programs in Tackers, Optimists as well as continuing produce high profile sailors in the International Cadet class.

The inaugural winner of the Administrator/Sporting Professional of the Year is Greg Rowlings, the part-time Executive Officer of Yachting Tasmania. Since his appointment, Greg has taken every opportunity to expand and promote sailing in Tasmania as well as encouraging more sailing clubs in Tasmania to come under the umbrella of Yachting Australia.

This has resulted in an additional 700 affiliated members in the past two years – a growth of 14% since his time in charge. As at September 2014 Yachting Tasmania had an all-time high state high affiliated membership total of 6,037.

From Peter Campbell

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