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Australian New Year honours for Sailors

by Peter Campbell on 2 Feb 2001
Wellknown Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member, James Otto Albert AM RFD RD, has been made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, announced in the 2001 Australia Day Honours List.

He is among several Australian yachtsmen and women on the New Year Honours List, including the seven gold medallists at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Paralympics.

Mr Albert has been made Officer in the General Division for service to the community through programs providing support for charitable projects, cultural activities and educational institutions, and the preservation of Australia's maritime heritage.

He has been a longstanding Member of the Board of the Sydney Heritage Fleet and a major supporter of the James Craig Restoration Trust.

A member of the RSYS since 1955, Mr Albert crewed for his father, Sir Alexis Albert, in their Dragon class campaigns, and currently skippers Norn in the Half Ton division.

Mr Albert was also a prominent member of the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, including being Commanding Officer of the Attack class patrol boat and Commanding Officer of the Sydney Port Division of the RANR as HMAS Waterhen, among other senior posts in the RANR.

The four Olympic sailing medallists, Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell (470 women) of Sydney and Tom King and Mark Turnbull (470 men) of Melbourne, received the Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Australia Day Honours, as did Perth yachtsman Noel Robbins and his crew, Jamie Dunross and Graeme Martin, who won gold in the Sonar class keelboat at the 2000 Paralympics.

Another Sydney yachtsman honoured is Lionel James Shipway who also received the OAM for services to sailing through promotion of the Sabot class and instruction of juniors, and to junior rugby union.

Mr Shipway, who turns 90 in July, was a founding member of the Vaucluse Amateur 12' Sailing Club, President for many years and is still Patron of a club which has produced many of Australia's best sailors.

He was the driving force in introducing the Sabot dinghy to Australia when he and group of other members in 1958 obtained plans from New Zealand and set about building and promoting the Sabot as a junior class in the 12' skiff dominated club fleet. Five boats were built at the club and at members' homes, including one in the Shipway's loungeroom.

His son, wellknown ocean racing yachtsman Peter Shipway, recalled today that the first Sabot race was held in November 1958….'Dad was on the helm and I was crew as an eight-year-old.'

The Sabot is now one of the largest and widely sailed junior training classes in Australia. One youngster who began his sailing in a Sabot is 2000 Olympic gold medal winner Mark Turnbull, on the Tamar River in Tasmania, later winning an Australian title.

Mr Shipway is a life member of the Australian Sabot Association.

Further information: Peter Campbell - 0419 385 028 or email -

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