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Australian Sailing – Victorian Sailing Awards

Published Tue 19 Sep 2023

On the evening of Friday 15 November, the glittering waters of Port Phillip Bay provided the perfect backdrop for the 2023 Australian Sailing – Victorian Sailing Awards night, hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club. 

There were a variety of trophies and awards handed out. These included perpetual trophies for School Team Sailing, the Port Phillip Women’s Series, the Range Series, and the Association Cup; and the Barranjoey Pins, a symbol of excellence presented to two past Olympians. 

However, the focus was well and truly on the Australian Sailing – Victorian State Awards. Across many categories, the various awards celebrated individuals, clubs, associations, and teams that have made particularly valuable contributions to the sailing community, or who have excelled in competition. 

Australian Sailing – Victorian Sailing Award Winners 

Club of the Year 

The Club of the Year award is traditionally given to a single club with outstanding membership and participation growth, events, promotion, and governance. This year, for the first time, we have split the traditional award into two categories, giving us the opportunity to recognize both volunteer and professional clubs equally. 

Hobsons Bay Yacht Club, Category A Club of the Year  

for their welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, innovative programs, and commitment to community engagement. 


Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club, Category B Club of the Year  

for their unique island club spirit, commitment to inclusivity, impressive growth, and community engagement reflecting their exceptional contributions to the sailing community. 


Female Sailor of the Year 

The Female Sailor of the Year award is given to a female athlete who has performed outstandingly in the sport of sailing within the nomination period.  

Casey Imeneo of McCrae Yacht Club and Sandringham Yacht Club  

For her remarkable results in various international and national events, and not only excelling on the competitive stage but also actively contributing to her home club's development and young sailors' training. 


Male Sailor of the Year 

The Male Sailor of the Year award is given to a male athlete who has performed outstandingly in the sport of sailing within the nomination period.  

Bruce McCraken of Hobsons Bay Yacht Club 

for his exceptional achievements, consistent victories, and dedication to giving back to the sailing community. 


Para Sailor of the Year 

The Para Sailor of the Year award is given to an athlete who is classified, or is eligible for classification, under the World Sailing Rules of Para Classification, the Virtus Athlete Eligibility Criteria or, the Deaflympics Athlete Eligibility Criteria and who has performed outstandingly in the sport of sailing within the nomination period.  

Alison Weatherly of Ballarat Yacht Club and Royal Geelong Yacht Club 

for her excellence as a para sailor with victories in the Australian Para Sailing Championships and Victorian Hansa Class Championships, and her impactful contributions extending to her roles in organizing events and representing the para sailing community internationally. 


Youth Sailor of the Year 

The Youth Sailor of the Year award is given to an athlete under the age of 21 who has performed outstandingly in the sport of sailing within the nomination period.  

Aidan Simmons of Indented Head Yacht Club and Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club 

for his achievements including securing 1st place at the ILCA 4 Australian National Championship, 23rd place at the ILCA 4 Youth World Championship (1st Australian), and further victories at the ILCA 4 Victorian State Championship, Sail Sydney, and the New South Wales Youth Championship. 


Team of the Year 

For the first time in 2023, the Offshore Sailor of the Year award has been replaced with the Team of the Year award. This new award recognises a particularly outstanding team in Victorian sailing. 

Alex Newman, Matt Turner & Peter Williams of Sandringham Yacht Club 

for their collaborative efforts and remarkable victories in multiple prestigious events, including the Australian Yachting Championships and the Victorian Rating Championships, driven by a strategic program that pooled resources, emphasized youth and female participation, and fostered fun and learning. 


Coach of the Year 

The Coach of the Year award is awarded to an Australian Sailing qualified coach that demonstrates great sportsmanship, is known for their self-development and leadership, and contributes to quality performance.  

Brody Riley of McCrae Yacht Club & Royal Brighton Yacht Club 

for his remarkable achievements, including nurturing a core group of talented sailors who now shine on national and international stages. 


Discover Sailing Center of the Year 

The Discover Sailing Centre of the Year award is awarded to the center that has contributed to the conduct of significant events and programs, while developing themselves and the leadership of others. 

Rye Yacht Club 

for their commitment to fostering a vibrant sailing community through innovative programs like Tackers, OutThere Sailing, and Adult Start Sailing, with an extraordinary conversion rate from beginner programs to membership. 


Instructor of the Year 

The Instructor of the Year award is an award given to an Instructor who has demonstrated exceptional levels of self-development and leadership, along with great sportsmanship.  

Bob Cooper of Rye Yacht Club 

for his commitment to community engagement and innovative approaches, engrained with his passion for sailing, making him an exceptional role model and instructor. 


Official of the Year 

The Official of the Year is an award given to an official who has contributed their expertise to the conduct of significant events and demonstrated exceptional levels of self-development and leadership. 

Ben Fels of Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club 

for his commitment to self-development, mentoring, and fostering the growth of sailing officials underscoring his passion for the sport's continued progression, along with his significant involvement in high-profile events and program development, coupled with his exemplary conduct. 


Volunteer of the Year 

 The Volunteer of the Year award is given to a volunteer who made a significant voluntary contribution to sailing. 

Felicia Brown of Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron 

for her extensive history of selfless volunteering, coupled with her significant role as a regatta manager for multiple events, her dedication to fostering the growth of sailing through various committee memberships and instructional roles, and her unwavering commitment to numerous aspects of the sport, epitomizing her passion for giving back, building camaraderie, and creating lasting impact within the sailing community. 


SheSails Award 

The SheSails award is an award given to an individual, group or club that has made an outstanding contribution to female participation in sailing.  

Norma Watt of Albert Park Yacht Club 

for her remarkable dedication to Albert Park Yacht Club, particularly in fostering female participation and growth. Her contributions as an instructor, committee member, and as the driving force behind events like CitySail, play a pivotal role in advancing gender equality in the club. 


Sport Professional Award 

The Sport Professional award is awarded to an exceptional individual who has positively contributed to sailing in areas including instructing, coaching, officiating, management, and administration.  

Jan Hurst of Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron 

for her warm and caring nature, commitment to creating a positive club environment, and ability to uplift members' experiences as a true ambassador for sailing in a professional capacity over the last 20 years. 


Sport Promotion Award 

The Sports Promotion award is awarded to a Club, individual or organization that has excelled in positively promoting sailing within the community through media, events of other channels.  

Ocean Racing Club of Victoria  

for their strategic efforts in attracting participation, and delivering impressive results across various media platforms, significantly elevating the profile of ocean racing and their commitment to creating connections, inspiring sailors, and highlighting the camaraderie and teamwork involved in ocean racing.  


Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Lifetime Achievement award is given to an extremely deserving member of the sailing community who has been involved in sailing for over 20 years and continually displayed great sportsmanship and character within their tenure of contribution. It is at the discretion of the review committee to recognize as many or as few people as they choose with this award. This year we were pleased to recognise four nominees for their exceptional contributions.  

Ian Lane of Derrinallum Yacht Club 

for being a dedicated lifetime member, mentor, coach, and a true friend to all sailors, stands out as a sailing legend with over 60 years of sailing experience. He has excelled across various classes, from Fireballs and Mosquitos to RL24s and Flying Fifteens, amassing numerous championships and accolades. As Commodore for six years, and a driving force behind Yachting Western Victoria, Ian's contributions to sailing extend far beyond his impressive achievements on the water. His legacy as a knowledgeable and approachable mentor, always ready to lend a helping hand, makes him a beacon of sportsmanship and camaraderie in the sailing community. 

Ian Reichelt & Maralyn Bengert of Royal Yacht Club of Victoria 

for making an indelible mark on the sailing community through their lifelong dedication to both racing and cruising. With over 60 years of combined experience, their sailing journey has been one of learning, sharing, and mentoring. As active members of numerous yacht clubs, including Sandringham Yacht Club, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, and the Cruising Yacht Association of Victoria, their impact on the sailing landscape is immeasurable. From competing in races to embarking on challenging cruising adventures, their influence extends from the waters of Melbourne to international oceans. Their commitment to nurturing fellow sailors, sharing practical wisdom, and fostering camaraderie has shaped the sailing experiences of many. As leaders of the Cruising Yacht Association, Maralyn as President, and Ian as newsletter editor, they have been instrumental in educating and inspiring sailors to explore the seas. Their unassuming nature, generosity, and immense sailing knowledge make them exemplary figures in the sailing world. 

Graeme Watt of Sandringham Yacht Club 

for his unwavering dedication to Sandringham Yacht Club spanning an incredible sixty-nine years, during which he has not only been an avid participant in countless club events, ocean races, and championships, but has also made significant contributions as a committee member, race officer, and mentor. His commitment to sailing and his invaluable roles have left an indelible mark on the SYC community. 

Robert Ware of Sandringham Yacht Club  

for a lifetime of dedicated involvement. Robert Ware stands as a cornerstone of the sailing community, from his decades of racing and officiating to his extensive contributions in mentoring, committee work, and the development of young sailors and sailing programs. 



We would also like to recognize the panel who come together year after year to review the many deserving nominations we receive. This year that had to review over 100 nominations to complete the challenging job of selecting our winners. Thank you to Alistair Murry, Amanada Nutting, Glenys Hitchen, Paul Pascoe, and Sean Hogan for your important contribution to this evening.  


Barranjoey Recipients 

Pin 58 – James Byrne 

Represented by his son, David Byrne. The late James Byrne was a fantastic sailor, competing in the Tempest event along with helmsman Jörn (Yorn) Hellner at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Byrne and Hellner finished 10th overall, with their best single race being a fourth-place finish in race five.  

Pin 204 – Will Phillips 

Born and raised in Sorrento, Victoria, Will Phillips represented Australia alongside his brother Sam Phillips in the 49er class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After a strong start to their campaign with four consecutive top-8 places, including a win in race three, the pair finished 12th overall. 


School Team Sailing Awards 

State Championship Division 1 - Brighton Grammar School Div 1 Red 

State Championship Division 2 - Woodleigh School 

John Middleton Trophy - Woodleigh School 

Helen Middleton Trophy - Toorak College 

Krystal Trophy Girls Award - Firbank Grammar School 

Port Phillip Womens Championship Series  

PHS - Katie Holroyd – Serious Yahoo, Royal Brighton Yacht Club 

AMS - Robyn Ragauskas – Bullet, Sandringham Yacht Club 

Kingston Teams Trophy - RMYS and RYCV 


Association Cup 

AMS Challenge Trophy 

WATERMARK II, David Suda/Herschel Landes - Sandringham Yacht Club 


XPRESSO Ari Abrahams - Sandringham Yacht Club 

ORC Challenge Trophy 

THE MUPPET SHOW, Peter Williams, and Matthew Turner - Sandringham Yacht Club 


VELOCE, Phil Simpfendorfer Sandringham Yacht Club 

Max Peters Memorial Trophy 

XPRESSO, Ari Abrahams - Sandringham Yacht Club 

RJ Green Memorial Trophy 

THE MUPPET SHOW, Peter Williams, and Matthew Turner - Sandringham Yacht Club 

Perpetual Association Cup 2023 

Sandringham Yacht Club 


Range Series  

Division 1  

YV, ORC and AMS – IKON, Bruce McCracken, Hobsons Bay Yacht Club 

Division 2  

AMS and ORC - The Muppet Show, Peter Williams and Matthew Turner, Sandringham Yacht Club 

YV – Pegasus, Andrew Lynch, Sandringham Yacht Club 

Division 3  

AMS & ORC – Intrusion, Luke Reinehr, Sandringham Yacht Club 

YV – Magic, Phil Spry-Bailey, Sandringham Yacht Club 


As we draw the curtains on the 2023 Victorian Sailing Awards, it is with immense pride and gratitude that we congratulate all those who were nominated, named as finalists, and those who took home the coveted trophies. Each nominee represents a unique story of dedication, passion, and achievement, and your presence added a special brilliance to the evening. 

To all our winners, your accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable. Your commitment to excellence has inspired us all, and you are now part of the illustrious history of Victorian sailing. May your triumphs serve as a beacon for aspiring sailors and a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and a love for the sport. 

We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who attended the awards evening, making it an unforgettable occasion. Your presence and enthusiasm created an electric atmosphere, reminding us of the vibrant community that surrounds sailing in Victoria. 

As we bid farewell to this remarkable evening, we invite you to mark your calendars and save the date for the 2024 Victorian Sailing Awards. We look forward to another year of celebrating excellence, forging new connections, and strengthening the bonds of our sailing family. 

As we transition into the 2023/2024 sailing season, we encourage you to reflect on the individuals and teams who embody the spirit of sailing excellence. Think about those who deserve recognition for their contributions and achievements and consider nominating them for the 2024 awards. Together, we will continue to elevate the sport we hold dear and inspire the generations of sailors who will follow in our wake. 

Once again, congratulations to all, and thank you for being an integral part of Victoria's vibrant sailing community. Here's to the future and the many adventures that await on the open waters. 

Fair winds and following seas. We hope to see you again soon, the Victorian Australian Sailing Club Support Team