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CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year is a Sheila

Wednesday December 16th 2009, Author: Jennifer Crooks, Location: United Kingdom
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has presented the CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year Awards this evening at a gala cocktail party at the Clubhouse and for only the fifth time in the history of the Awards, a woman has been recognised for her dedication to the sport of sailing.

CYCA Commodore Matt Allen and Rear Commodore and Chairman of the Sailing Committee Garry Linacre joined Rolex Australia General Manager Richard de Leyser to announce the award winners at the prestigious function, which is also the pre-race Rolex Sydney Hobart skipper’s cocktail party.

The Rolex Skipper’s Party and Ocean Racer of the Year Awards Ceremony also served as the first remembrance occasion to mark the tragic loss of the lives of Andrew Short and Sally Gordon during the Flinders Islet Yacht Race in October this year. A one minute silence was observed.

Amanda Scrivenor was named Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year. The CYCA broke with tradition and awarded the Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year to a crew person rather than a yacht owner.

Scrivenor joins an elite list of women sailors who have been recognised by these Awards that includes Adrienne Cahalan (NSW), Lyn Wallace (VIC), Lori Wilson (NSW) and the late Sally Gordon (NSW).

The young CYCA member is a talented sailor and has shown great enthusiasm in just two years of ocean racing, developing her offshore racing skills under the guidance of Bill Sykes from Wot Yot.

An outstanding sailor who is prepared to go the extra distance, Scrivenor is an excellent role model to other young novice offshore racers. She is also recognised as a top level match racer and is part of the Australian Sailing Development Squad that won the 2009 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden.

Scrivenor also turns her hand to one-design racing, fitting in where she is needed and can often be found aboard Michael McMahon and Warwick Miller’s Sydney 38 X3. She is also studying for a degree in Marine Science.

For only the second time in the history of the Awards, the prestigious Ocean Racer of the Year Award has jointly been awarded to Bob Steel and Mike Green. A formidable team, owner Steel together with sailing master Green, claimed the overall win in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race aboard Steel’s TP52 Quest.

In the 2008/09 sailing season, Steel’s Quest excelled in a number of races, including placing second over the line, second overall and first in IRC Division 1 in last year’s Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

In an era when professionals are often engaged to win yacht races, Quest’s owner sails with a tried and tested crew, including his sailing master, which embodies the true Corinthian nature of the sport of sailing.

This year’s Ocean Racing Crew Person of the Year, Kingsley Piesse is a dedicated member of Bruce Taylor’s IRC 40 Chutzpah’s crew. Piesse clocks up more kilometres in the air and on the road before he’s wet his feet, commuting from Western Australia to Melbourne and other sailing ports joining the crew of Chutzpah to partake in a sport he competes in for the sheer love and adrenalin rush.

A veteran of 26 Sydney Hobarts, Piesse has supported owner Taylor for over 21 years throughout his sailing activities.

Glenn Cooper, a longstanding crew member of Mr Beaks Ribs, has been named as the Ocean Racing Navigator of the Year.

Cooper played a major role in helping David Beak and his well campaigned Beneteau 44.7, Mr Beaks Ribs, win the 2008-2009 Blue Water Pointscore, including a rare line and handicap double in the Flinders Islet Race last year.

The CYCA Ocean Racing Veteran of the Year award was not presented this year.

Since its inception in 1985, the Ocean Racer of the Year Award has gone to many of Australia’s most notable ocean racing skippers, starting with Tasmanian Don Calvert and including Victorians Gino Knezic and Lou Abrahams, South Australian Kevan Pearce, New South Welshmen Roger Hickman, Geoff Ross, Matt Allen (twice), Bob Thomas and Ed Psaltis (twice) and last year, Sydney yachtsmen Syd Fischer for the fourth time.

The Crew Person of the Year list of winners includes some of the best Australian sailors who have played significant roles in the success of the boats on which they sailed.

Among the winners have been David Blanchfield (NSW), Brad Stephens (NSW), Phil Thompson (NSW), Julian Freeman (Tas), Tom Braidwood (NSW), Ian ‘Barney’ Walker (Vic), Adrienne Cahalan (NSW), the late Sally Gordon (NSW), Lori Wilson (NSW), Brett Filby (NSW) and Tony Ellis (NSW).

The Ocean Veteran of the Year winners have included Alby Burgin (NSW), twice, the late Merv Finn (WA), the late John Bennetto (Tas), Dick Fidock (SA), John Walker (NSW), three times, Lou Abrahams (Vic), Don Mickleborough (NSW), Richard Hammond (NSW) and Alex Whitworth (NSW), twice.

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