Australian Sailing Awards recipients announced

Australian sailing stars Tom Slingsby OAM, Mara Stransky OLY and Chris Symonds have been recognised for their incredible achievements at tonight’s Australian Sailing Awards, with the trio taking out Male Sailor of the Year, Female Sailor of the Year and Para Sailor of the Year respectively.

Held in person for the first time since 2019, the Australian Sailing Awards were a celebration of the sport and its community, with success celebrated from the grassroots level through to high performance on the international stage.

Slingsby capped off an incredible season with a record-equaling fifth Male Sailor of the Year Award, drawing level with recently retired Olympic legend Mat Belcher OAM.

Slingsby dominated the global sailing scene with significant victories in multiple classes, including leading Australia SailGP team to their second consecutive SailGP championship, winning his second consecutive Moth World Championship and Helming Comanche to a monohull race record in the Rolex Middle Sea race.

The icing on the cake came in the form of being announced as 2021 World Sailing’s Male Sailor of the Year. It was the second time he won the prestigious award.

“So many people I look up to in sailing have won this award and I’m just so proud to be able travel the world representing Australia on the world stage,” Slingsby said.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Australia SailGP team for everything we’ve achieved and continue to achieve, and hope that we’re representing our country and every Australian sailor in good light.”

Mara Stransky after taking Gold at 2022 Kiel Week – Beau Outteridge pic

Stransky, currently ranked third in the world in the ILCA 6 class, won Female Sailor of the Year ahead of a strong field including Nina Curtis and Zoe Thomson.

Her win at Kiel Week along with top-10 finishes at the World Championships, Hyeres Olympic Week and Allianz World Cup Almere regattas were enough to see her claim her maiden victory in the category.

Hansa 303 Doubles World Champion Chris Symonds set a record in the Para Sailor of the Year category, becoming the first athlete to win the award four years in a row. His achievements saw him named as a finalist in both the Male and Para Sailor of the Year categories, another unique achievement for the Wynyard Yacht Club champion.

Chris Symonds stood out from his peers – Gregg Porteous pic

The Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club claimed the prestigious Club of the Year Award after an outstanding season that saw a variety of community and training programs boost their membership by over 30% in the past year. The club runs a highly successful Sailing Academy which operates on-water six days a week and has recently introduced a veteran’s sailing program which offers courses to the local veteran community.

Appreciated and celebrated by our entire community, volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. While it is always difficult to separate the Volunteer of the Year finalists, this year was next-to-impossible, with each finalist clearly giving so much of their time, energy, and passion to their local communities.

Peter Kinsman was announced as tonight’s winner, having made an extraordinary at Rye Yacht Club for more than ten years and currently holding the positions of Secretary and Registrar on the Club Executive Committee. A member of the Sailing School Committee, Peter is also a voluntary Sailing Instructor and is very active in all Discover Sailing Centre programs.

Manly Yacht Club (NSW) also had a fantastic evening, with Evie Saunders and Lisa Blair awarded the top spot in Youth Sailor of the Year and Offshore Sailor of the Year respectively.

Full List of Award Winners

Male Sailor of the Year
Tom Slingsby OAM – Gosford Sailing Club (NSW)

Female Sailor of the Year
Mara Stransky – Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron & Queensland Laser Association (QLD)

Youth Sailor of the Year
Evie Saunders – Manly Yacht Club (NSW)

Para Sailor of the Year
Chris Symonds – Wynyard Yacht Club, Australian Hansa Class Association Inc & Sailability Tasmania (TAS)

Offshore Sailor of the Year
Lisa Blair – Manly Yacht Club & Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (NSW)

Coach of the Year
Ben Durham – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (WA)

Club of the Year
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NSW)

Volunteer of the Year
Peter Kinsman – Rye Yacht Club (VIC)

Instructor of the Year
Holly Hunt – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (WA)

Official of the Year
Andre Blasse – Black Rock Yacht Club/Australian OK Dinghy Association (VIC)

Sport Promotion Award
Nick Bez – Windsurfer Class Association of Australia (VIC)

Sport Professional Award
Michael Robinson – Keppel Bay Sailing Club (QLD)

SheSails Award
Mooloolaba Women’s Keelboat Regatta – Mooloolaba Yacht Club (QLD)

Sustainability Award
Marine Environment Committee – Fremantle Sailing Club (WA)

President’s Award
Sean Hogan (VIC)

Australian Sailing media

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