Please select your home edition
Edition
Vaikobi 2021 Boots - LEADERBOARD

Belcher, Ryan and Darmanin create history at Australian Sailing Awards

by Michael Martin 25 Nov 2021 11:30 GMT 25 November 2021
Mat Belcher (left) and Will Ryan winning Gold at Tokyo 2020 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Olympic champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan along with Nacra 17 star Lisa Darmanin have created history at tonight's Australian Sailing Awards, taking out Male Sailor of the Year and Female Sailor of the Year awards for the fifth and fourth times respectively.

Their staggering totals are records in their respective categories, and just reward for their performances at this year's Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Awards were announced during a one-hour online special on the Australian Sailing Facebook page and website tonight, with the virtual event hosted by Gordon Bray AM.

Despite disappointment that the sailing community couldn't gather for an in-person event, the online production was a fantastic way to showcase the highlights of the past season and celebrate the successes during what was another trying year for the sailing community. Border closures and localised lockdowns played havoc on social and serious sailors alike, but tonight's awards showed that the fighting spirit was alive and well in sailing clubs across Australia.

The 2021 Male Sailor of the Year award was actually Belcher's sixth, having won his first in 2012 with London Olympic crew Malcolm Page. It was a hotly contested category this year, with Belcher and Ryan narrowly edging fellow Tokyo gold medallist Matt Wearn and Glenn Ashby who was the main sail trimmer for Emirates Team New Zealand's second consecutive America's Cup win.

"It's a real honour. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to get out and do something that we enjoy every day," said Belcher on receiving the Award.

"The Australian Sailing Team is such a tight-knit team. I have now spent more time in the team than out of it and you wouldn't do that unless you felt like-minded people were striving towards the same things you are."

The Award gave the pair the chance to reflect on what they had achieved.

"We are look forward to ten or 20 years down the track, getting together and looking back on those two weeks in Tokyo," added Ryan.

"Our coaches Victor (Kovalenko) and Iain (Murray) were such a huge part of that journey, so this is as much for them as it is for us."

Darmanin's fourth gong is two more than any other winner in the history of the Female Sailor of the Year Award which was introduced in 1996.

Along with cousin and Skipper Jason Waterhouse, Lisa finished fifth in the foiling Nacra 17 class in Tokyo. The Manly 16ft Skiff club junior credits her success to the women who pioneered Olympic sailing and anticipates that there are plenty of other young female sailors following in her footsteps.

"2021 has been a wild year of ups and downs and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens over the next 3 years as we move towards Paris 2024," said Darmanin. "I'm also excited to watch some of the younger female sailors rise to the challenge of bringing home some hardware like our male counterparts."

Olympic Laser coach Michael Blackburn continued the night of records by taking out an unprecedented fifth consecutive Coach of the Year Award. Blackburn led Wearn to Olympic Gold, an astonishing feat considering Wearn did not leave Australian shores for the final two years of his preparation.

The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria claimed the prestigious Club of the Year Award after an impressive season where they hosted nine major sailing events whilst also growing club membership by 35% and training participation by 76%.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, and the Awards are an opportunity to recognise just a few of those who give so much of themselves to ensure their local club thrives.

Whilst almost impossible to separate this year's finalists, Max Gundy from Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club was announced as tonight's winner for the Volunteer of the Year category. Gundy was instrumental in keeping the club thriving through the dual disasters of a fire that flattened their boatshed which was closely followed by the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

Western Australia's Swan River Sailing had a fantastic night; taking home both the SheSails and Sustainability Awards. The awards were due recognition for growing female participation in sailing and their work in the environmental sustainability space including the reduction of single use plastics and Beach Clean Up events.

Full list of Award Winners:

Male Sailor of the Year
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan - Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron/Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron/Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club/Cruising Yacht Club of Australia/ Southport Yacht Club (QLD/NSW)

Female Sailor of the Year
Lisa Darmanin - Manly 16ft Skiff Club/Middle Harbour Yacht Club (NSW)

Youth Sailor of the Year
James Jackson and Harrison Chapman - Mornington Yacht Club/Royal Brighton Yacht Club (VIC)

Para Sailor of the Year
Chris Symonds - Wynyard Yacht Club (TAS)

Offshore Sailor of the Year
Duncan Hine - Derwent Sailing Squadron (TAS)

Coach of the Year
Michael Blackburn - Australian Sailing Team (NSW)

Club of the Year
Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (VIC)

Volunteer of the Year
Max Gundy - Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club (NSW)

Instructor of the Year
Andrew Omotosho - Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NSW)

Official of the Year
Louise Davis - Wynnum Manly Sailing Club (QLD)

Sport Promotion Award
Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (VIC)

Sport Professional Award
Justine Kirkjian - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (NSW)

SheSails Award
Swan River Sailing (WA)

Sustainability Award
Swan River Sailing (WA)

President's Award
Garry Langford (TAS)

Related Articles

Sail Melbourne 2022 Overall
Strong winds and strong wins to wrap up Sail Melbourne 2022 wrapped up on Port Phillip today, with a number of classes relying on the final race of the day to decide a winner. Posted on 17 Jan
Tess Lloyd receives AIS Scholarship
A program supporting athletes to be successful in sport, education and life Tess Lloyd has been included in Sport Australia's list of thirty-seven athletes that have been awarded more than $100,000 in AIS Education Scholarships, a program supporting athletes to be successful in sport, education and life. Posted on 18 Dec 2021
New sports Director education course
A free online resource created by a team of sporting directors and governance experts Australian Sailing CEO and Commonwealth Games President, Ben Houston and Vice-President of World Sailing and Chair of the Sport Integrity Advisory Council, Sarah Kenny, have joined a team of sporting directors and governance experts. Posted on 16 Dec 2021
Sail Sydney 2021 overall
A gusty southerly provides perfect racing conditions Sydney Harbour put on a show for the last day of Sail Sydney, with a gusty southerly providing perfect racing conditions for the 200-plus competitors. Posted on 12 Dec 2021
Sail Sydney day 2
Storms cross the harbour leaving whitecaps and delaying racing A wild storm lashed Sydney Harbour on the second morning of Sail Sydney, creating delays to the morning racing and a racecourse filled with whitecaps and a strong westerly breeze when racing eventually got under way in the afternoon. Posted on 10 Dec 2021
Sail Sydney 2021 Day 1
Future stars of Australian sailing on show The future stars of Australian sailing were on show at Sail Sydney, with a mix of Australian Sailing Team, Australian Sailing Squad and Australian Sailing Futures athletes among the big winners on day one of the annual regatta. Posted on 9 Dec 2021
B&G and the Australian Sailing Team
The AST rely on B&G for the gathering and display of data on board their coach boats When you are so utterly focussed on getting the best out of a particular programme, you need to put only the very best into it. In a way, this would have to be a streamlined version of one of the key messages from our super-coach, Victor Kovalenko. Posted on 8 Dec 2021
Fast-Finishing Aussies 'on the up'
Mara Stransky finishes 6th at the ILCA 6 Worlds in Oman The ILCA 6 World Championships concluded in Oman overnight with two Australians finishing in the top 15. Tokyo Olympian Mara Stransky finished sixth overall and made it clear that she has the skills and determination to make her mark at the 2024 Olympics. Posted on 7 Dec 2021
Stransky secures race victory at ILCA 6 Worlds
Mara Stranksy finally found her form on day 5 Tokyo Olympian Mara Stranksy finally found her form on day 5 of the ILCA 6 World Championships in Oman. The young Queenslander shot up the rankings to 6th overall after three solid races including a win in the last race of the day. Posted on 6 Dec 2021
Starting skills the key at ILCA 6 Worlds
A brutal wait out on the water before the racing finally got under way on day 4 in Oman Day four of the ILCA 6 World Championships in Al-Musannah Sports City of Oman saw a brutal wait out on the water before the racing finally got under way late in the afternoon. Posted on 5 Dec 2021