Victorian Sailing Awards recognises female achievements
by Rosie Colahan
Congratulations to all the winners at the Australian Sailing Awards. Amongst a strong line up of nominees for the various awards, our female sailors and officials came to the fore.
The evening commenced with Yachting Victoria President Cherry Birch welcoming all aboard. Cherry reported another strong year of growth in sailing in Victoria with both increased membership numbers and events.
In keelboat sailing, it was refreshing to see several women rising in the ranks to take out top positions in mixed fleets.
Monica Jones at the helm of her Adams 10 Salamander 111 from Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS, remains at the top of her game with wins in Nautilus Marine Series (NMS) 2017-18 Div 2 PHS and Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS) 2017-18 AMS and IRC divisions. She still finds time to sail her Impulse dinghy and ocassionally her catamaran and had a leave pass for the awards evening as she was in SE Asia competing in another keelboat regatta!
Monica has held the trifecta crown (AMS, IRC, PHS winner)for PPWCS for the last two years, but this season saw her edged into runner up position of PHS division by Marnie Irving from Royal Brighton Yacht Club at the helm of her Cavalier 395 Cavarlo.
The Non Spinnaker Division of PPWCS was won by Sarah Allen from Sandringham Yacht Club sailing her regular boat the Northshore 340 Salt Whistle.
The PPWCS Teams Trophy rewards club spirit, recognising the number of boats and level of female participation for the third consecutive year was won by Royal Melbourne Yacht squadron.
Monica’s sterling and sustained efforts also earnt her a nomination for Female Sailor of the Year, along with Cath Beaufort from Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, owner skipper of the S80 Up ‘n Go. Cath had a great season winning Division 3 of NMS 2017-18 in PHS and runner up in AMS division of PPWCS. IRC for NMS Div 3 went to another female helm Barbra Feore on Skipjack from Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club.
The Female Sailor of the Year also saw hot competition from several off-the-beach sailors, including Casey Imeneo, Megan Bursa and Sophie Jackson. The title was finally conjointly awarded to Heather Macfarlane as an outstanding female skipper and sportswoman in the highly competitive Tasar and Fireball classes and previous award winners, the young duo of Laura Harding and Ella Grimshaw, who also landed the double as Youth Sailors of the Year. George Aulich , a member of the Victorian Sailing Team in the Laser class was also amongst the nominees in the youth category.
Great to see the talent emerging in the younger off –the –beach classes with female sailors taking out the honours in mixed fleets. The Victorian Sailing Cup saw Morgan Stewart take first in Laser Radial and VIS Squad members Matilda and Lily Richardson win the 420 Division.
The Krystal Trophy for Victorian Girls School Sailing this year went to Toorak College.
The Women & Girls in Saiing Committee Local Hero Award for 2017-18, recognised the dedicated efforts of Sandringham Yacht Club’s Megan Aulich who has been a driving force in increasing opportunities for female sailors for increased participation but also to develop leadership skills to become more active in the sport.
The awards then moved to recognising those who have provided services to the sport of sailing over many years.
Glenys Wilson, a veteran of Sail Melbourne regattas since their inception in 2001received a Services to Yachting Award for her support role in Race Management across multiple regattas and events.
Kate Hannah and Emma Morris were both nominated for Instructor of the Year awards.
The progress of the Inclusion agenda in clubs since the roll out by Yachting Victoria three years ago demonsrated a diverse range of activities across a wide variety of groups and highlighted the innovative changes that clubs are making to include all who make up our communities.
Rye Yacht Club nominated one of their new young recruits, Latisha Davenport who is legally blind and has been participating and progressing in their Grade 6 schools program. Despite visual impairment, Latisha has enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to get on the water with little need for adaptation of the equipment and has now been awarded a sailing scholarship by the club.
Sorrento Sailing & Couta Boat Club have engaged across a variety of different groups and programs , including their WOW (Women on Water) Sorrento regatta, NEXT GEN program and their Melbourne Indigenous Transition school activities.
Black Rock Women’s Sailing Program created an activity for women of all ages to come together to enjoy sailing and socialising in a environment predominantly managed by other women, with female sailing members of the club giving up their time to teach or coach this new group.
From a strong field, this year’s Inclusion award went to ‘The Unemployables’ a group of four retired male sailors who have built a strong relationship with the The Bridge organisation for people living with disability. For the last eight years, they have been taking people sailing on Albert Park lake every Monday and have demonstrated high retention rates and engagement. The program has grown to include individual Sailability students and their activities are a cultural inspiration to other programs.
Congratulations to all the winners for their achievements and all Award nominees for their commitment to the sport.
We look forward to seeing more women and girls on the podium in future editions.