Tasmanian Olympic sailors honoured
Four Tasmanians who have represented Australia in sailing at Olympic and Paralympic Games have been honoured as recipients of the prestigious Barrenjoey Pin.
Gary Smith and David Connor, who sailed in the Flying Dutchman class at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, accepted their pins from Australian Sailing executive David Edwards at the weekend’s Tasmanian Sailing Award ceremony.
The late Peter Atrill, who competed in the single-handed Finn class at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, was also honoured, his pin being accepted by Felicity Allison, Commodore of Sandy Bay Sailing Club.
Matt Bugg, who represented Australia at the 2012 London Paralympics and was a medallist at Rio in 2016, will accept his Barrenjoey Pin at a later function on the mainland.
Australian Sailing introduced the Barrenjoey Pin to recognise the legacy and history of Olympic and Paralympic class sailing in Australia.
The Barrenjoey Pin is named after the 5.5 metre yacht Barrenjoey in which Bill Northam and his crew won Australia’s first gold medal in Olympic sailing.
They include those who have achieved the Australian Sailing Team standard since the team’s establishment in 2006.
In addition, a uniquely numbered pin to commemorate their achievement is being given to every athlete who has represented Australia prior to 2006 and achieved a top 10 performance at either an Olympic class world sailing championship, an IYRU Women’s world championship or the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Speaking after accepting his Barrenjoey Pin, RYCT member Gary Smith recalled his and David Connor’s tough campaign to win selection to represent Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, with the sailing offshore from the South Korea port city of Pusan.
“We had campaigned in Europe but when we contested the trials back in Australia we were virtually unknowns on the FD circuit….we won selection in the final race,” he said.
The Tasmanian crew did not win a medal at Pusan, but they sailed exceptionally well against a fleet of brilliant international sailors, recalls yachting journalist Peter Campbell, who covered the sailing at the 1988 Olympics.
Gary brought along to the ceremony a framed photo of he and David in action at the Olympics, taken by and presented to them by Peter Campbell back in 1988.
Words and photos: Peter Campbell
5 August 2019