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28 November 2003, 02:19 pm
Outstanding Ocean Race Owner/Driver Wins Sailor of the Year
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New Zealand Yachting Excellence Awards

Excellence and tireless dedication in yachting was celebrated at the 2003 Yachting Excellence Awards, held at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Friday 28 November.
This annual event is facilitated by Yachting New Zealand the National body for Yachting, and nominations are welcomed from yacht club's around the Country.

A Yachting New Zealand convened judging panel consisting of internationally renowned yachting commentator Peter Montgomery, International Yachting Judge Richard Gladwell, and Yachting New Zealand's President Geoff Thorpe selected the best from the best from nominees in the six award categories:

SYNERGI Travel Sailor of the Year
Young Sailor of the Year
Merit Awards
Honour Awards
Cruising Awards
President's Award

The SYNERGI Travel Sailor of the Year title was hotly contested, with high calibre of sailors reaching the final rounds. They were Barbara Kendall, Brian Petersen, Ben Morrison, Neville Crichton, Jon-Paul Tobin and Sarah Macky.

International keelboat campaigner and Alpha Romeo skipper, Neville Crichton was the overall victor, and was awarded the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the past 12 months.

Crichton started his winning streak in Australia winning almost all the local races he could find to compete in including the gruelling Sydney to Hobart. From there he and the team headed to Europe where he picked up line honours in every race at the Rolex Giraglia Cup, smashed the Giraglia Race Record and has just recently has won the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Crichton is the first ever to take the European Grand Slam of the above races in 12 months. These races are highly rated offshore events and are regarded as the "must do" big boat races in Europe.

Add to this impressive list winning the Rolex World Maxi Cup and the renowned fastnet race, and it is no wonder that Crichton and his yacht, Alfa Romeo, has been dubbed the world's fastest super-maxi.

New Zealand's up and coming talent was showcased through the Young Sailor of the Year category, recognising outstanding competitive performance by a sailor 20 years or under in the year of the Award. Laser Radial sailor, Jake Bartrom was named the 2003 Young Sailor of the Year. Bartrom's final year as a youth sailor has been a successful one, with a number of 1st and 2nd placings at top International regattas. The highlight wasundoubtedly the Laser Radial Open World Championships, where he secured the silver medal in a large fleet comprised of some of the World's best.

Gulf Harbour Yacht Club was named as this year's recipient of the President's Award, presented to the Club or Organisation of the Year for their services to yachting in New Zealand. This was in recognition of the Club's excellent facilitation of the 2002 World Etchell Championship regatta which received accolades from international and local competitors, adminstrators and officials.

Further details of the awards are available on the Yachting New Zealand website at the address below.
Louise Andrews
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