The Australia Day Long Weekend of 2014 has been a great one for sailing. We have seen sailors rewarded with Australia Day Honours along with others who are behind the scenes of our sport. Over the weekend we also saw Richard Hinds counting down the current 100 greatest Aussie sports stars which was featured on the Daily Telegraph. Sailing as a sport is currently growing in interest and awareness. Australian Sailors have always been up there as some of the best in the world but recently the achievements have been even great to see them getting noticed more.
The Olympians, Paralympians and America’s Cup Sailors bring our sport into the limelight. It is not what everyone does when they go sailing on the weekend and many sailors often would like to see the focus shift away a little from the high profile events. As someone who is in the Sailing Industry and involved in my local club I honestly am happy to see anything that will help increase the participation rate of sailing. The more sailing is in the news the better chance we have of people deciding that it looks like fun and something worth trying out. The more people aware of how much fun it is spending time on the water and at your local club the better! Let’s face it, it is a lifestyle and makes us who we are. There are often boats looking for crew and many clubs have a variety of ways for people to get into the sport.
Seeing the sport of Sailing in the news and getting recognition can only be a good thing.
OAM ‘s on Australia Day were awarded to Our Medal Winning Sailors Tom Slingsby, Mathew Belcher, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, Daniel Fitzgibbon.
Liesl Tesch was recognised for more than her sporting abilities, awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for both her Paralympic success and her “promotion and facilitation of sport for people with disabilities”. Liesl is the co-founder of Sport Matters, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes disabled sport in developing countries. Make sure you check out all she does for Sport Matters. How she finds time to do all the she does is remarkable and she deserves to be recognised for what she does for those with disabilities as well as inspiring others.
Peter Campbell was recognised for his journalism in Sailing with an OAM. Just do a search for his name and many articles appear as he has been at the front of sailing journalism for a long time. He has been recognised by Yachting Australia a number of times for his efforts.
David Tillett was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia). For significant service to the sport of sailing. Here is a link to an article on just some of what he has done for our sport. His Yachting Australia Profile just gives us the tiniest insight into the time and energy he has given to Sailing.
Robert Oatley received appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day Honours. Bob received the honour in recognition of his service to the wine industry, tourism and yacht racing.
Next up was the list compiled by Richard Hinds. A Massive congratulations to Tom Slingsby, Mat Belcher and James Spithill for being recognised. To have a sailor at number 5 is just awesome and a fantastic highlight of where our sport is going. It is a shame that Nathan and Goobs missed out as their achievements have been fantastic and worthy. As with any list like this there will always be a big discussion on how you would see it differently. There is no doubt that I am more than a little biased when it comes to some of the sailors I have had the privilege to support and get to know.
Sailing in the spotlight. We need to see this more to ensure our sport continues to grow as when it grows it just gets better for us all! More competitors, better clubs, more crew, more skippers looking for crew, more chandleries, sail makers, boat builders and so much more.
Congratulations to those who have been recognised. If I have missed anyone please let me know so I can add them! Sailing going mainstream media, who would have thought!