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Australian Sailing Hall of Fame to induct Olympians, Paralympians, America’s Cup champions and ocean racers

Published Fri 01 Jan 2021

Seven Australian Sailing ‘greats’ will tonight be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame (ASHoF).  In its inaugural year, the ASHoF will honour Olympians, Paralympians, round-the-world sailors, America’s Cup champions and ocean racers.

Established earlier this year by Australian Sailing in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame will recognize the greats of the sport of sailing – those who have inspired many and contributed so much to make the sport what it is today.

“Sailing has a long and wonderful history in Australia, and has been responsible for some of the most iconic sporting moments the country has ever seen,” said Australian Sailing President, Matt Allen.  “Recognising those who have been part of this history and acknowledging their contribution is at the heart of the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.”

“The Australian National Maritime Museum is delighted to be a part of this important new venture with Australian Sailing,” said Kevin Sumption, Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum. “Our hope is that the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame program will promote greater recognition of the role of the sport in Australia’s history and community life and encourage development of the sport in Australia.”

The 2017 inductees for the Australia Sailing Hall of Fame are:


“As the first Australian women to win an Olympic Gold Medal in sailing, Jenny Armstrong & Belinda Stowell paved the way for Australia’s female sailors.” Selection panel

Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell created history when they became the first Australian women to win an Olympic sailing medal, winning Gold in the 470 class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Games.  In doing so, they also broke Australia’s 28-year sailing Gold Medal drought.



“The achievement of the Australia II team in winning the America’s Cup in 1983 was one of the most remarkable feats in Australian sporting history.” Selection panel


John Bertrand AO (skipper),

Colin Beashel OAM

Will Baillieu OAM

Peter Costello OAM

Damian Fewster OAM

Ken Judge OAM

Skip Lissiman OAM

John Longley AM

Brian Richardson OAM

Phil Smidmore OAM

Grant Simmer OAM

Hugh Treharne OAM

Rob Brown OAM

Sir James Hardy OBE

Scott McAllister OAM

Syndicate Chairman: Alan Bond

Syndicate Executive Director: Warren Jones AM

Designer: Ben Lexcen AM

Coach: Mike Fletcher AM

Australia II captured the hearts of a nation when it won the America’s Cup in 1983, breaking America’s 132-year winning streak in sport’s oldest trophy.

Perhaps the most iconic of Australian sporting moments, the competition caught the attention of sailors and non-sailors alike, throughout Australia and around the world.



“Kay Cottee inspired generations of female sailors when she became the first woman to sail unassisted, non-stop around the globe.” Selection panel

Kay Cottee is the first woman to perform a single-handed, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation of the world by way of both hemsipheres. She performed this feat in 1988 in her 37 foot (11 m) yacht Blackmores First Lady.



“In 2016 Daniel Fitzgibbon & Liesl Tesch became the first Australian sailing team/crew to defend a gold medal at either the Olympics or Paralympics.” Selection panel

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch created history when they become the first ever crew to win back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in Sailing.  Their achievement of winning gold medals in both London and Rio also made them the first Australian sailing team or crew to defend an Olympic or Paralympic gold medal.



“Victor Kovalenko OAM has altered the course of Australia’s achievement at the Olympic Games since coming to this country 20 years ago.  The impact he has had on our Olympic sailing program will be forever admired.” Selection panel.

Known as the “Medal Maker”, Victor Kovalenko is renowned as the most successful Olympic sailing coach in the world. Since arriving in Australia in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Games, he has coached Australia’s 470 athletes to five gold and one silver Olympic medal.



“Sir William Northam CBE, Peter ‘Pod’ O’Donnell & James ‘Dick’ Sargeant achieved Australia’s first Olympic sailing gold medal, winning the 5.5mR class at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.” Selection panel

Bill Northam CBE, Peter (Pod) O’Donnell and James (Dick) Sargeant won Australia’s first Olympic sailing gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, in the 5.5-metre class in Barranjoey.  Northam, the skipper, was 59 and a grandfather of five, the oldest Australian to have ever won an Olympic gold medal.



“Australia’s first sailing world champion, our first Olympic medallist and a highly respected ocean racer, Rolly Tasker AM has a sailing record that covered more distance than to the moon and back.” Selection panel

Rolly Tasker won Australia’s first Olympic sailing medal and first sailing world championship.  He was a highly regarded and successful ocean racer who built one of the world’s most successful yachting businesses.

Nominations were considered by a highly regarded Selection Panel, which was chaired by David Tillett AM.  Mr Tillett has served as Chairman of the Jury at numerous Olympic Games and America’s Cup events, in addition to serving on the World Sailing Council and Australian Sailing Board.  He was joined on the Selection Panel by Amanda Lulham, Michael Spies, Karyn Gojnich, Greg Johns, David Staley, Matthew Allen (representing the Australian Sailing Board) and Kevin Sumption (representing the Australian National Maritime Museum).

The ASHoF acknowledges exceptional performance and contribution at the highest level, by an individual or a team, both past and present, and covers all disciplines of the sport.

The 2017 inaugural inductees will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame tonight, Friday, 3 November 2017 at the Hyatt Regency, Sydney