Australian Sailing Awards


The annual celebration of sailing in Australia, the Australian Sailing Awards will be held on Saturday October 29th at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Tasmania has 5 nominees over the 11 categories.

Past Tasmanian winners at these awards include the following;

  • 2014 Club of the Year Award - Wynyard Yacht Club
  • 2014 Sailor with a Disability Award - Matt Bugg (as part of the AST Parasailing Team)
  • 2008 Volunteer of the Year - Murray Jones
  • 2005 Media Award (now known as Sports Promotion Award) - Peter Campbell
  • 1999 Media Award (now known as Sports Promotion Award) - Peter Campbell
  • 1987 Youth Sailor Award - Paul Burnell



Sailor of the Year with a Disability - Finalist: Matt Bugg

In the lead up to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Matt Bugg delivered strong results, winning Gold at the World Cup in Hyeres in April 2016 against a quality fleet. He then went on to take the Bronze at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, incorporating the Para World Sailing Championships, in Medemblik in May.

In Rio, Matt was the quiet achiever, consistently posting strong results against the world’s best. An untimely disqualification on the penultimate day of racing saw Matt drop from the Gold medal position to the Bronze medal position going into the final race. Despite all that had happened, he came out and sailed the race of his life to move his overall standing up to Silver. It was a true display of his psychological grit – a factor that has got him to where he is today.

At 23, Matt was involved in a snowboarding accident which left him a paraplegic. Having already been involved in sailing, he set about becoming the best Para-sailor he could possibly be. He made his debut for Australia at the 2010 World Cup in the Netherlands, then won Gold at the 2011 National Championships. By 2012 he was ranked fifth in the world and prepared to take on the worlds’ best at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. While Matt did not win a medal at London 2012, it helped him set the goal of achieving a podium finish at Rio 2016.


Sport Professional Award - Finalist: Nick Hutton

After volunteering in the sport for over 20 years, Nick Hutton took up employment with Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT) as Sailing Operations Manager in May 2014. A former director of Yachting Australia and Group Delegate to ISAF (now World Sailing) and an International Race Officer, Nick brings considerable experience to the role.

This season he has been responsible for race management for a number of major events including the 2015 World Cup, International 2.4m National and World Championship and International Cadet Class Worlds in Italy.

He was the lead writer of successful bid documents for the right to host the 2018 SB20 Worlds and the 2019 Australian Yachting Championships (formerly the Australian IRC Championship). Nick was a founding committee member of the Australian Match Racing Association and was instrumental in establishing the Australian Schools Match Racing Championship.

Nick is RYCT’s delegate to the Combined Clubs Operations committee, responsible for the senior clubs’ annual racing program, and is also responsible for managing RYCT’s involvement in the prize presentation for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. He provides support for the range of RYCT volunteers who conduct keelboat and OTB sailing. For the past two years, he has been the Competition Manager for the Australian University Games sailing program.

An International Race Officer, Nick regularly conducts race management seminars and also mentors Race Officers from numerous clubs in Tasmania. Nick continues to volunteer as Race Officer at Sandy Bay Sailing Club for events such as the Peter Johnston Super Series and various State and national championships. He also continues his volunteer role as PRO for BYC’s Crown Series Off-the-Beach classes


Volunteer Award - Finalist: Stuart Hamilton

Stuart Hamilton has been a member of the Sandy Bay Sailing Club for 10 years and during this time he has not only been a volunteer for general racing, but also a member of the SBSC committee for seven years. His main volunteer role for the Club over this time period has been organising training programs and coaches. One of the recent programs that he has introduced for the past three seasons is the, ‘After School Training Program’, for youth sailors.

This program has allowed children to train after school safely in small groups and with a coach to further their sailing capabilities and experience. Stuart instigated this program and has put many volunteer hours into organising and ensuring that the best program is available to the youth sailors. Another program that Stu has developed at SBSC is the “Coach the Coaches” program. This was introduced two years ago and has been a valuable part of the development of our Club and has facilitated a terrific mentoring role for our junior coaches, while providing the best coaching for our young sailors. Not only is it creating and supporting coaches, but also encouraging our older teenage members to follow the path of coaching.

Stu is a valuable volunteer for SBSC and has been a dedicated and highly motivated member of our sailing community. He has given many hours to enhance and continue to provide the best and safest sailing experiences for our youth sailors.


Club of the Year Award - Finalist: Sandy Bay Sailing Club

Sandy Bay Sailing Club (SBSC) is an accredited Discover Sailing Centre and conducts Tackers 1 & 2 programs, Sail and Play Holiday Program, School Sailing Program, Adult Sailing Program, Chris Steele User Pays Coaching as well as running Grommet, Green Fleet, class coaching and racing in Optimist, International Cadet, 29er, Laser, RS Aero and Sharpie classes. SBSC has a long history of Off the Beach sailing in Hobart since 1948.

SBSC has run the Tackers program for three years and last year the Club identified the need to assist children in Green and Grommet Sailing with a more structured program and consistency of coaching. Complementing this is the Sail and Play Holiday Program, a two-day program for 7- 12 year olds. Over 60 children also participated in the School Sailing Program.

A new Adult Learn to Sail Program was introduced with plans to expand it into both advanced and beginner courses. In addition, the season saw the introduction of a user pays coaching program. A former Optimist World Champion from New Zealand was contracted for a six week period as a coach and sailors paid fees to receive individual and small group training sessions.

The Club has also been developing in a host of different areas including coaching, governance, sponsorship, on-water assets and resource sharing.


Instructor of the Year Award - Finalist: Oliver Burnell

Over the past 12 months, Oliver Burnell has shown exemplary leadership and management skills as a Dinghy Instructor. Oliver is a cornerstone of the Sandy Bay Sailing Club (SBSC) Tackers program. Always an engaging instructor, he teaches boys, girls and adults with great success.

Over the past 12 months, Oliver was recruited by Lindisfarne Sailing Club (LSC) to revitalise their training. From this endeavour, LSC has seen huge growth in their Tackers program, to the extent they recently saw a need to grow their fleet of Tackers optimists. In 2015/16 they placed nearly 30 participants in the Tackers program and this can be attributed to Oliver’s work ethic and management of the various assistant instructors.

At SBSC, Oliver has mentored up-and-coming Assistant Instructors as well as been a positive role model amongst the junior members. His professionalism and dedication is a factor to why the SBSC’s Tackers programs have been so successful in recent years. Oliver had an integral role in the management of the Instructors and Assistant Instructors for the 171 Tackers participants that went through SBSC in 2015/16. Additionally, he assisted Greg Rowlings in delivering Assistant Instructor and Dinghy Instructor courses by being a practical role model. This assistance has increased the Club’s knowledge base and given a “fresh eyes’ approach to its instructors. Oliver has been a driving force over the past 12 months in delivering quality learn to sail programs across Southern Tasmania.



We wish these 4 individuals and Sailing Club all the best.

For more information on all the nominees, click here.


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