Three contributors recognised with Australian Sailing Life Memberships

Three key contributors to the sport of sailing in Australia have been recognised with Australian Sailing Life Memberships.

Matt Allen AM, Sarah Kenny and David Tillett AM were all bestowed the honour after a vote at Australian Sailing’s Annual General Meeting.

Honorary Life Membership is available to people who have been judged to have given outstanding service to Australian Sailing or to the sport of sailing.

Matt Allen AM served as an Australian Sailing Director from 2011-19, which included time as Vice President and President where he was a key player in leading Australian Sailing through its One Sailing governance reforms. He was Vice Commodore and Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Australian Farr 40 Class President, International Farr 40 Class treasurer and the Royal Ocean Racing Club Rear Commodore among countless other official posts within the sport.

Allen is also a three-time winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and continues to contribute to sport through his roles as the Chair of the World Sailing Oceanic & Offshore Committee and Australian Olympic Committee Vice President.

Sarah Kenny is another who will be remembered as one of the most significant contributors to sailing administration in Australia’s history.

Kenny competed in the windsurfing exhibition event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and remains an active sailor today. She was a longstanding Director and Vice President of Australian Sailing until 2019 and a member of Australian Sailing’s Olympic Selection Panel since 2008.

She has served in myriad roles at World Sailing including the Windsurfing and Kite Committee, Youth and Development Committee, Women’s Forum Chairperson, Events Committee Chairperson, Council Member and is a sitting Vice President. On top of that she is the current Sport Integrity Australia Advisory Committee Chairperson and in 2023 won the Windsurfer LT Oceania Women’s and Overall Championships.

David Tillett AM has spent the last 30 years making the big calls at the top rungs of international sailing as both an umpire and jury chairman.

His list of accomplishments is long. He has been involved in eight America’s Cups, five Olympic Games and five Volvo Ocean Races as an Umpire, Jury member and/or Jury Chair.

He has also made a significant contribution to World Sailing, having sat on their Racing Rules Committee (2000-12), Constitution Committee (Member 2012-present, Chairman 2020-present) and as a Council Member from 1998-2017. In 2022 he was awarded World Sailing’s prestigious Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.

“Matt, Sarah and David have changed the state and shape of sailing in our country for the better as much as anyone over the past thirty years,” said Australian Sailing President Alistair Murray AM.

“On behalf of the entire Australian sailing community I would like to thank each of them for their contributions, our sport is in a better place as a result of their thankless work.”

The three administrators take the total of Australian Sailing Life Members to just fifteen since the first honour was bestowed to Lloyd Burgess in 1971.

A full list of Life Members can be found on the Australian Sailing History page.

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