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Sailing Athletes

Sailing Athletes

Australian Sailing, the national sporting organisation (NSO) for sailing and the peak body for recreational boating at clubs in Australia, has been actively promoting the sport of sailing through the many pathways being offered – from Step 0, which is the Discovery Sailing, all the way to Step 6, which is Club Coaching and Interclub Racing, and even advance further up to Step 10, which is being part of the Australian Sailing Team, the highest level of The Sailing Pathway and consists of sailors who meet national selection criteria.

Recently, Australian Sailing have honoured athletes of sailing for their valuable contributions to the sport over the last century.

In 2017, Australian Sailing Hall of Fame (ASHoF) was established to recognise the greats of the sport, and those who have achieved at the highest level and contributed to make Australian sailing what it is today. Its aim is to promote recognition of the role of the sport in Australia’s history and community life, and encourage development of the sport in Australia.

There are currently seven inductees in the ASHoF, including ‘medal maker’ coach Victor Kovalenko, whose athletes have won ten Olympic medals over eight Olympic Games. He currently coaches 2012 Olympic gold medallist Mat Belcher and crew Will Ryan, who won silver at the Rio Games and won their fourth World Championship together in 2017. The crew of Australia II, winner of the America’s Cup in 1983, are also inducted in the Hall of Fame. Skippered by John Bertrand, the crew of Australia II displayed a ‘never-say-die’ attitude when they came back from being 1-3 down in the best of seven race series. “The final race proved a real wrestle. At 5.21pm on September 26, Australia II crossed the line to win the America’s Cup, taking the Auld Mug in an historic 4-3 win.”

Another way of honouring sailing athletes is the Barranjoey Pin alumni program established to bring sailing into line with other iconically Australian sports and lays a foundation from which subsequent generations can launch, according to Iain Murray, Australian Sailing Performance Director. The uniquely numbered Pins will be presented around the country this year and next to those athletes who have represented and continue to represent Australia at the highest levels in sailing. It is named after the yacht Barranjoey, which was sailed to Australia’s first Olympic sailing gold medal, at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the crew of which are also inductees to the Hall of Fame.

Jock Sturrock MBE, a four-time Olympian, and America’s Cup skipper was honoured with Pin No.1. The latest recipients are current Australian Sailing Team 49er crew David Gilmour and Joel Turner, who are preparing for the World Championships in Denmark in August.

Murphy called on Australia’s top Olympic class sailors to utilise the knowledge offered by their predecessors “We’ve seen it very strongly in other sports, whether it be rugby or cricket, but it’s probably been missing in sailing a little bit. There’s a change in the wind and I think it’s time for us to hoist a different sail. Celebrating this with the awarding of these Pins is a good way to start.”

“There’s a lot of history in our sport,” said Joel Turner. “We know that Australians have been very successful. It sets us up with the knowledge of how hard we have to work.”

For the full list of inductees, visit


By Roselle Tenefrancia


*Cover image © Jesus Renedo/World Sailing