Michael Cooper – Sailor of the Year
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Board Member Michael Cooper has been named Tasmanian Male Sailor of the Year 2018, recognising his close second place in the 2017 SB20 world championship at Cowes, UK.
Cooper, who skippered Export Roo, was chosen from six finalists for the prestigious award, announced at the Australian Sailing – Tasmania awards function held at Derwent Sailing Squadron on Saturday evening.
Other RYCT members among the finalists were fellow SB20 sailors Brett Cooper and Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones and Nick Corkhill, winners of the 2017 SB20 Nationals, and offshore racing ‘guru’ Peter Fletcher.
Also listed as finalists were Robbie Hunt and Ben Price, silver medallists in the 2017-2018 B14 national and world championship and Nick McElwee, winner of the 2017-18 NS14 nationals.
Fifty-year RYCT member Roger Jackman, owner/skipper of the famous yacht Doctor Who and a stalwart of Tasmanian offshore racing, was inducted into the Tasmanian Yachting Hall of Fame.
Also inducted was the late Graeme ‘Frizzle’ Freeman, one of Australia’s greatest ocean racing crewmen.
Steve Catchpool, Australian SB20 class President, was named Yachting Personality of the Year for his role in having the SB20 worlds held on the Derwent last January.
His wife, Jane Austin, was among four individuals/groups to share the Volunteer of the Year award, also for her media work for the SB20 worlds.
Elliott Noye, coach of the Hutchins Sailing Program, was named Coach of the Year, while Josh Ragg received shared Instructor of the Year award for conducting the Tackers Program at the RYCT.
Other RYCT members and staff nominated as finalists for Tasmanian Sailing Awards included the RYCT itself (Club of the Year), RYCT general manager Daryl Potter (Administrator of the Year), the SB20 volunteer team that successfully ran the SB20 Nationals and Worlds with the Derwent Sailing Squadron volunteers (Volunteer of the Year), Tracey Matthews, RYCT Commodore and past Vice Commodore (Yachting Personality of the Year), Matt Bugg (Disabled Sailor of the Year), Peter Fletcher (Bennetto Medal and Male Sailor of the Year), Sam King (Outstanding Youth Achievement) and Athena Sailing Program (Female Sailor of the Year).
Tamar Yacht Club Vice Commodore Joanna Breen achieved a unique double as joint Female Sailor of the Year and sharing the Bennetto Medal as Offshore Sailor of the Year with Peter Brooks from Port Dalrymple Yacht Club.
Breen and Brooks sailed the S&S34 Morning Star into second place in this year’s two-handed Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race, a non-stop distance of 5,500 nautical miles from Australia to Japan.
Breen shared the Female Sailor of the Year Award with youth sailors Jasmin Galbraith and Chloe Fisher, from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, who won the bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Worlds in the 29er girl’s class.
Disabled Sailor of the Year is Wynyard Yacht Club’s Chris Symonds, silver medallist in the Hansa 303 dinghy class at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championship.
Steve Catchpool, the SB20 class Australian president, was named Yachting Personality of Year for his critical role in Hobart’s successful bid to host the SB20 World Championship 2018.
His wife, Jane Austin, was among four winners of the Volunteer of the Year award, for her media role in the SB2 worlds.
Port Dalrymple Yacht Club was named as Tasmanian Club of the Year, William ‘Bill’ Brown (Administrator of the Year), Mike Darby (Instructors of the Year) along with Paul Gray, Ken Gourlay and Wynyard Yacht Club Sailability volunteers (Volunteers of the Year),
Words and photos: Peter Campbell
5 August 2018