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National Sport Promotion Finalists Announced

Published Sun 23 Oct 2022

Three outstanding national finalists have been announced in the Sport Promotion category, with the winner to be announced at the Australian Sailing Awards on November 4 in Sydney.

The first finalist in the category, World Champion Nick Bez is no stranger to Windsurfing. President of the Windsurfer Class Association of Australia for the past five years, he has been instrumental in the organisation and growth of the class in Australia.

Through his role, he recently oversaw the 45th Australian Windsurfer Class Championships which were conducted from January 20-January 23, 2022 at Parkdale Yacht Club (PYC) in Victoria.

It attracted 112 athletes from all jurisdictions except Western Australia (impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions), with competitors aged 14 years and 77 years.

The event generated significant local and international media attention through a variety of digital channels, including a specific news post on the World Sailing website and a feature on the Channel 7 weather during the event.

A comprehensive post-regatta survey conducted by independent researchers Mobium Group was completed by 81 competitors (72 percent of those registered for the event).

The feedback about the Championship was highly positive and complementary. According to the report; “There was widespread appreciation and praise for the event – on water and on the land.”

Mike Middleton is the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) official photographer and founder of Royal Queensland TV (RTV), an outlet which over the past 18 months has grown into a vibrant expose of life on the water.

Affectionately known as "Spikey Mike", he captures amazing footage and action shots of every regatta, championship and everyday sailing and cruising event that is hosted or organised out of the RQYS.

His coverage originally became a smash hit with members excited to see themselves in action, prompting Mike to think bigger – nothing seemed to excite the participants more than reliving the glory and excitement of the on-water action on the big screen!

RQTV now has its own registered trademark and has received a lot of interest from the International Council of Yacht Clubs. They are interested in working with Mike to assist them in sharing the concept with other Yacht Clubs around the world.

In addition to RQTV, Mike is always on hand to capture Club presentation and award nights and social events for the Squadron's history, and assists with the organisation of media publications, annual Magazines, newsletters, brochures and general Club collateral.

Last but not least, Melvyn Steiner from the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto took over as the chairperson of the Heaven Can Wait Organising Committee in 2013, and by 2015 it had become the centerpiece of the overarching and hugely successful Lakefest event on Lake Macquarie.

Heaven Can Wait consists of a 24-hour round the buoys race on Lake Macquarie with a 12 Hour and One Lap Dash race held as pre-cursors, attracting quite a number of multihulls from the local area and beyond.

It is a major fundraiser for the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW – with 10 percent of the funds raised going to Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue. As of 2022, RMYC has raised more than $500,000 in support of the two charities.

On the back of the successes of Heaven Can Wait and after consultation with those involved, it was concluded that the event could be part of something bigger. Mel garnered support from the other clubs around Lake Macquarie and Lakefest was born in 2015, incorporating Heaven Can Wait and featuring several interclub races and regattas.

Today, Lakefest has expanded to run over a 4-week period and in addition to sailing events, includes classic boat building and restoration and a Lakefest Ball.

The winner of the Sport Promotion Award will be announced at the Australian Sailing Awards on November 4 in Sydney. For more information on the national awards, please click here.