CYCA’s achievements recognised at 2021 Australian Sailing NSW and ACT Awards

Australian Sailing NSW & ACT celebrated the achievements of the states’ sailors and Clubs at the 2021 NSW and ACT Sailing Awards.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is extremely proud to have received four awards.

WILL RYAN – Male Sailor of the Year

  • GOLD – Men’s 470, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (with Mat Belcher)
  • 4th – 2021 European 470 Championship
  • 1st – 2021 NSW Etchells State Championship

As a CYCA Member and alumni of the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy, Will has always been very supportive of the YSA and the development of youth sailing in general. His success at the recent Olympics and in other events this year is testament to the tireless work he puts in both on and off the water.

MATT DONALD and CHRIS TOWNSEND – Offshore Sailor(s) of the Year

With their all-conquering team on the TP52 Gweilo, Matt and Chris were victorious across a range of offshore sailing events over the last year, winning the 2020-21 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore and 2020 CYCA Pointscore.

Their involvement week-in, week-out at the Club is equally impressive; the ‘White Ghosts’ compete in almost every series that the Club runs.

“Chris and I are both proud and honoured to win this award,” Matt said. “It came as a nice surprise to us both.

Gweilo has had a great two years on the water, building momentum the more we sail.

“This award reflects the hard work we have put in. It’s a team effort; we have a great bunch of 20-odd sailors on our roster and we would not have achieved the incredible results without each and every one of them.

“Not to single anyone out, but a big thanks to Peter Merrington and Ben Psaltis, who present Gweilo in amazing condition week in week out.

“We’d also like to thank the CYCA staff and Members, who have welcomed both Chris and I into a great club. We both have formed many friendships over the last few years.

“We look forward to getting back on the water to do battle against a fantastic fleet of boats. The sailing is close and exciting. WE ARE RARING TO GO!”

JUSTINE KIRKJIAN – Sports Professional of the Year

Having taken the reigns as CEO in March 2020 after 19 years as Sailing Manager at the CYCA, Justine has successfully steered the Club through an extraordinarily challenging period of COVID-19 lockdowns and race cancellations.

Her positive attitude, management style and people skills bring out the very best in her team and her ongoing contributions to the organisation of sailing events are recognised across the globe.

“I am very humbled by this award, however, you are only as strong as your team and I am so lucky to be surrounded by amazing staff and receive unlimited support from the Board and the Members,” Justine said.

“I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to assist in shaping the way forward for a Club and a sport I have been passionate about since childhood.”

MITCHELL BURNS – Sustainability Award
Chair, CYCA Sustainability Working Group

Mitch was nominated for his leadership of the Sustainability Working Group and for raising the profile of sustainability and the Club’s objectives and initiatives throughout the year.

He strongly believes that “… as sailors, we all have a responsibility to look after the environment that we play in and as a leading Club, we have a responsibility to lead by example”.

“I’m surprised and humbled by the award and would like to thank the team of both Club Management and volunteers for all their time and hard work in getting our sustainability program up and running,” Mitch said.

“It’s been a big team effort and I’ve found it enormously satisfying to be able to contribute something back to the Club that has given me a lot of enjoyment.”

Commodore Noel Cornish AM was delighted for the recipients and sees these awards as deserved recognition for the successes and ongoing work that they have put into the Club alongside their teams and colleagues.

“The five winners have excelled in their contributions to sailing throughout 2020 and 2021 and we are all enormously proud of their achievements,” Commodore Cornish said.

“I’d personally like to thank each of them, on behalf of the Board and Management, for helping to make the CYCA the success that it is and will continue to be”.

The Club also offers its warmest congratulations to Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club for being recognised as NSW and ACT Club of the Year for 2021, as well as to the many other clubs and their members that received awards: Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club, Belmont 16 Footers, Wangi Amateur Sailing Club, Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club and the Concord and Ryde Sailing Club.

For a full list of winners, visit the Australian Sailing website.

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