CYCA Announces Ocean Racer of the Year

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 21 Dec 2004 18:48:00
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CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year - Matt Allen

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Matt Allen, the owner/skipper of the Farr 52 Ichi Ban, a major contender for Overall honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, was named CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year.

Tonight the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which is busily preparing for its biggest event, the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which starts this Sunday, took time out to recognise those who have achieved excellence in yachting in the previous 12 months.

At the awards night, Matt Allen, the owner/skipper of the Farr 52 Ichi Ban, a major contender for Overall honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, was named CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year, the most prestigious of the four categories awarded annually.

Sydney based Allen won IRC Division A of last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, quickly followed by an IRC Overall win at Sailing South Week and Geelong’s Skandia Week. The boat then went on to win the IRC Australian Offshore Championship and later in the year, collected the trophy for the IMS Division of the Brisbane to Gladstone Race.

The other nominations for Ocean Racer included last year’s winner, Bob Steel, who, with his former yacht Quest, finished 3rd in IRC Division A and 2nd in IMS Division A of the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart. He then went on to finish 2nd in the IRC Australian Offshore Championships behind Ichi Ban and Steel also collected a handicap win in the Sydney Gold Coast Race.

The third nomination was Howard de Torres, the CYCA’s current Bluewater Champion. Howard finished third in the IMS division in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and second on IRC with his IMX40 Nips N Tux. These top placings, along with strong results in the 8-race Bluewater Pointscore Races saw him crowned the Bluewater Champion. Howard also finished first on PHS in the Rolex Trophy which finished on Sunday.

This year’s CYCA Ocean Racing Veteran of the Year, John Walker, is a third time winner. John has completed all of his 20 Sydney Hobart Races on his boat Impeccable and for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, he has the honour of being the oldest skipper in the fleet at 82 years of age.

This season John achieved his best results yet including winning the Sydney Mooloolaba Race on IMS and IRC and winning the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race on IMS handicap.

This year’s Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year, Peter Johnston, is one of the owners of the Beneteau 40.7 which was called First National Real Estate when it was steered to Overall handicap victory in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race by skipper Michael Spies.  This was the first Rolex Sydney Hobart Race for Johnston who, with Spies, provide a winning combination.

Justin Dock, this year’s Ocean Racing Crew Person of the Year, was nominated by the CYCA’s current Bluewater Champion and Ocean Racer nominee Howard de Torres.  Justin Dock has sailed with Howard for nearly nine years on board Nips n Tux and Howard describes Justin as “a committed crew member who is always available and keen and who goes out of his way to help organise and run the boat including training those new to the boat.”

The mechanism of evaluation for the awards is such that all ocean racing, both locally and internationally, is looked at and points on a weighted scale are allocated for various successes in sailing. 

The weighting favours performances in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the CYCA’s own Bluewater, Tasman and Cape Byron Championships.

The Judging Panel also takes into account all other races and regattas that the nominations list.  These include the Australian Offshore Championship, Hamilton Island Race Week, Hogs Breath Airlie Beach Regatta, Sailing South Race Week, the Rolex Trophy Series and Sail Victoria Race Week.

CYCA Ocean Racing Veteran of the Year - John Walker Image: Daniel Forster

CYCA Ocean Racing Veteran of the Year - John Walker

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