Hans Clemmensen introducing locals to solar technology

Cruiser of the Year Nominations

Australian Sailing is again teaming up with Cruising Helmsman magazine to deliver the Cruiser of the Year Award to celebrate and recognise an individual, couple or crew, who has done something beneficial or exceptional in the cruising community.

The Editor of Cruising Helmsman will make the monthly selection and feature them in the magazine with nominations encouraged from the cruising market. A panel will select a winner who will be announced at the Australian Sailing Awards held in late 2017 and featured in Cruising Helmsman.

If you know of an inspiring cruising individual, couple or crew who you think should be recognised send your nomination in to Cruising Helmsman with a few lines as to why you think they should receive the award.

All nominations can be sent to

It could be someone who has written guides, destination articles or practical articles used by the cruising community. It may have been an altruistic act which has helped disadvantaged communities in Australia or elsewhere, without recompense or at least not a major source of income. Other considerations may be a person where sailing provided a life-changing epiphany that set them on a different more fulfilling life course.  We encourage nominations from the cruising community that fits the bill and deserves to be recognised.

2016 Nominees

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Alan and Patricia Lucas

Alan's first boats were built from scavenged materials found after the Second World War. In 1960 he moved onto his 31 foot cruising yacht and has never lived ashore since; except under special circumstances. He met Patricia in 1973 in Sydney and producing the first guide was her first experience at deep sea sailing and the love for the lifestyle started then and there. In November 2010, Alan was awarded a NSW Maritime Medal for his coastal guides and support of cruising.  In 2015, he was presented with the Medal of the Order of Australia. In total, he has published nine cruising guides, two of which have been revised nine and six times; plus five boat building manuals, one illustrated encyclopedia of boating and seven general interest books (about sailing naturally).

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - John and Leanne Hembrow

John and Leanne have cruised extensively around Australia and the Pacific, North America and South America. Before venturing to distant shores, John and Leanne cruised extensively along our eastern seaboard. They became aware that overseas cruisers often overlooked Australia as a cruising destination; often as a result of misunderstanding and/or misinformation. They felt that there was no readily available and up-to-date information that provides cruisers with an overview of visiting Australia.

In 2015 John and Leanne established, promoted and directed the inaugural Down Under Rally and sailed along with 25 yachts from New Caledonia to Newcastle. In the process promoting Australia and many local businesses while providing safety, navigation and entry information for cruisers undergoing the 990 nautical mile passage.

John’s contribution to cruising goes well beyond what we regularly do for each other as cruisers. He has taken the extra leap to improve the safety and cruising enjoyment of fellow cruisers with his SailFiji app and Down Under Rally as well as promoting Australia and local business along the way.

Cruiser of the year nominee - Rob Lovelace

Rob Lovelace circumnavigated Australia in a Top Hat sound, singlehanded and was nominated by a reader after contacting Lovelace to congratulate him he sent Cruising Helmsman the following story of that remarkable cruise. It did not start off as a circumnavigation of Australia. Rob  had been sailing for about two years in Westernport Bay (Victoria) and, after a shake down cruise to Tasmania on his Christmas break, Rob decided to quit work and sail up the east coast for winter and back south for summer. The idea being to find casual work to pay for another east coast cruise... CLICK HERE for full feature.

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Heather Sutton

Cruising skipper, racer, mentor, sailing instructor and instigator of a huge relief effort for the victims of Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Heather Sutton has been nominated for the inaugural Cruiser of the Year Award. Heather’s lifetime of sailing experience began as a child on Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands and encompassed racing Lightweight Sharpies at university and crewing in the Transatlantic ARC and world rally for cruisers. When Heather heard of the devastation in Vanuatu, she did not hesitate to put her plans for the Kimberley on hold and volunteer her beloved La Quilta to carry relief supplies to the victims of Cyclone Pam... CLICK HERE for full feature.

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Andrea and Ian Treleaven

Following the sale of the business, Andrea suggested that their Volvo 60 ocean racing yacht Merit, which raced in several Sydney to Hobart’s and still holds the Gosford-Lord Howe Island race record, be traded in for a cruising yacht in the Mediterranean. The plan ?was to sail around the Med. for two years then cruise home to Sydney - CLICK HERE for full nomination.

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Trevor Robertson

When it comes to selecting the toughest adventures, surely solo circumnavigation has to rank highly. Spending winters alone in the world’s polar regions requires a special kind of sanity.
Two Western Australian’s have nominated an old schoolmate who has secured an incredible record. John Clarke from Small Boat Salvage nominated his old friend and sailing mate Trevor Robertson. “I have known Trevor for some 50 years,” Clarke says. “and he has become a sailing legend, but little known in Australia.” CLICK HERE for full nomination.

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Peter and Cheryl Ainsworth

This month’s featured nominee has just won the Fremantle Sailing Club Cruiser of the Year for 2016.
After their separate, extensive, experience yacht racing both inshore and offshore for well over a decade, plus independent life-long sailing experiences since we were young, Peter and Cheryl set forth from Fremantle Sailing Club on April 18, 2003 to achieve a long held cruising dream. CLICK HERE for full nomination.

Cruiser of the Year Nominee - Hans Clemmensen

The final Cruiser of the Year Nominee is Hans Clemmensen. Has has introduced solar technology to Louisiade archipelago of PNG, installing panels and assisting locals with the ability to make the most out of the technology. Hans started the 'Louisiade Solar Light Project' in 2013 and has installed solar lights at the local hospital and at the local school as well as throughout countless villages. CLICK HERE for Hans' full nomiation.


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