Inaugural Tasmanian Yachting Awards announced

The individual achievements or contributions of six Tasmanian sailors to the
sport of yachting over the past 12 months were recognised tonight when the
inaugural Tasmanian Yachting Awards were announced at the Yachties' Ball in
Hobart.

Deputy Premier Lara Giddings announced the winners, chosen by a panel
chaired by Chief Magistrate Michael Hill on behalf of Yachting Tasmania.

The Awards cover a broad range of sailing in state, national and
international events by talented Tasmanians and include the John Bennetto
Medal for Offshore Racing, itself commemorating the late great ocean racing
yachtsman who competed in 44 Sydney Hobart Races.

JOHN BENNETTO MEDAL FOR OFFSHORE RACING: Stephen 'Rowdy' McCullum from the
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania has had more than 30 years of high performance
one-design and ocean racing that has made him a 'must have' crew member on
many top racing teams, including the ketch Tasmania when she won line
honours in the 50th Sydney Hobart Race. Over the past 12 months he has
competed in major offshore regattas in Thailand, Malaysia and the
Philippines but his most recent success was in the crew of Mr Kite which
took line honours and won the PHS division of last weekend's Maria Island
Race.

SAILOR OF THE YEAR – MALE: Nick Richardson from the Wynyard Yacht Club for
his achievements in finishing second in the B14 Australian Championships and
second in the B14 World Championships, both sailed in Hobart earlier this
year. Nick, who is Commodore of Wynyard Yacht Club, also won the 2009 NS14
State Championship at Beauty Point.

SAILOR OF YEAR – FEMALE: Dianne Barkas from the Royal Yacht Club of
Tasmania for outstanding results with her Sydney 38 yacht Asylum that
include being the first female skipper to win the 111-year-old Bruny Island
Yacht Race and the first female skipper (and crew) to win an RYCT summer
pennant. Over the past 12 months she finished second overall in the
Australian Women's Keelboat Regatta in Melbourne and also sailed Asylum into
first place in the Fully Crewed division of the 2009 Three Peaks Race and
placed second in the 2008 Launceston to Hobart Race.

OUTSTANDING YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT: Tom Kennedy and Ellie Chesterman from Sandy
Bay Sailing Club achieved a third placing in the International Cadet World
Championship held at Medemblik in The Netherlands in 2008. A fleet of more
than 85 boats from 13 nations contested the regatta, with Tom and Ellie's
third the best result by an Australian crew at a Cadet Worlds in more than
20 years.

YACHTING PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR: Adrian Beswick, a member of the Royal
Yacht Club of Tasmania, has made many significant contributions to the sport
of yachting over the past 12 months. Adrian was a major driving force
behind the success of the B14 National and World Championships held in
Hobart last January and is a coach with the DSS/RYCT Dinghy Group, but his
most public venture was the attempt he and Josh Phillips made to set a world
record by sailing a B14 across Bass Strait in under 13 hours to beat the
record set by Olympian Michael Blackburn in 2005. The Bass Strait bid was
directly related to their efforts to raise money for research into the
disease threatening the Tasmanian Devil population. They didn't break the
record but they are still the only sailors to sail a B14 skiff across the
Strait.

 – Peter Campbell

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