The 2017 Western Australia Sailing Awards have concluded for another year with Australian Sailing Paralympians Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden taking home three of the top honours.
Colin and Russell alongside Jonathan Harris (NSW) won Gold at the Rio Paralympics in the Sonar Class. Both Colin and Russell were recognised at the awards night at South of Perth Yacht Club, with Sailor of the Year with a Disability, Male Sailor of the Year and the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation (RTYF) Gold Medal.
“It is an honour to be recognised by the sailing community in Western Australia with these very prestigious awards,” Colin said. “There are a lot of people who have contributed to our journey including our Coach, Grant Alderson, his efforts with our team to get us where we are have been remarkable.
“We have also had great assistance from Yachting Western Australia, the Ron Tough Foundation, our Clubs, local Coaches and match racing teams, in particular Redline Racing Team who have been training with us and pushing us hard, helping improve our skills to ultimately win that Gold Medal in Rio.”
Colin also acknowledged the strategic direction provided by the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) which encouraged them to dig deep and find the edge to get the results
Australian Sailing Paralympic Team, Sonar Coach Grant Alderson won Coach of the Year, recognised not only for his coaching finesse with the national team but also locally with Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC).
Zac Littlewood who recently returned from Karatsu, Japan with the Australian Sailing Youth Team, also went home with both hands full after being awarded the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation Scholarship and the Junior Sailor of the Year (RTYF Bronze Medal). Youth Sailor of the Year (RTYF Silver Medal) was won by 2016 Australian Sailing Youth Team Laser Radial representative, Zoe Thomson following her nomination by RFBYC and Fremantle Sailing Club.
Australian Sailing Team 470 Rio Olympian and local RFBYC sailor, Carrie Smith was awarded Female Sailor of the Year.
In the hotly contest Volunteer of the Year Award with seven nominations, Maree Picket was the stand out for her contributions to sailing. Australian Sailing Regional Manager Gerry O’Dea said that Maree
“Volunteers are an integral part of our sport and we rely on their services on and off the water to maintain and develop the future of sailing,” Gerry said. “To have so many nominations in this category really demonstrates the appreciation across the board that our Clubs, Associations and community have for volunteers.
“Maree is the Commodore at Walpole Yacht Club, one of our regional Clubs and she does an outstanding job at the Club orchestrating the annual Walpole in the Trees Regatta. Under her leadership the Club has been successful in sourcing a range of local sponsors and support equipment to make the regatta a success. Walpole is now regarded as one of the best places to sail in Western Australian and Maree ensures that this reputation remains in tact.”
Barry Johnson from Royal Perth Yacht Club won Official of the Year with Chelsea Hall taking out Instructor of the Year following her contributions at South of Perth Yacht Club.
Brian Smith was awarded Power Yacht Person of the Year while Redline Racing consisting of four members, Matt Jerwood, Alex Landwehr, Pat Vos and Niall Morrow, took out Match Racing Sailor of the Year.
The David Walters Memorial Medal (Safety) was awarded to South of Perth Yacht Club for their ongoing commitment to safety on and off the water.
The prestigious title of Club of the Year was awarded to Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for the second consecutive year.