Young woman sailor Joanna Breen has achieved a unique double in the 2018 Tasmanian Sailing Awards, on Saturday evening being named as joint Female Sailor of the Year and winning the Bennetto Medal as Offshore Sailor of the Year.
Breen, 29, skippered her yacht Morning Star into second place in this year’s two-handed Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race, a distance of 5,500 nautical miles from Australia to Japan.
Breen, Vice-Commodore of the Tamar Yacht Club, shared the Bennetto Medal with her crewman, Peter Brooks, a member of Port Dalrymple Yacht Club.
She is a very versatile sailor, a ‘Cape Horner’ in a cruise to the Antarctic, navigator of Bellerive Yacht Club member Richard Grant’s Sydney Hobart Race Corinthian Division winner Cromarty Magellan, and a highly regarded crew/helmsperson in the high performance SB20 sports boat class on Hobart’s River Derwent.
Breen shared the Female Sailor of the Year Award with youth sailors Jasmin Galbraith and Chloe Fisher, from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, who won the bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Worlds in the 29er girl’s class.
The young women, who also won the Outstanding Youth Achievement award, have since moved into the Olympic women’s class skiff, the 29erFX. Galbraith is an Hobartian but Fisher began her sailing at the Tamar Yacht Club at Beauty Point.
Jo Breen accepted her awards by video from Brisbane before setting sailing in the race to Keppell Island.
The Tasmanian Sailing Awards, announced at the Derwent Sailing Squadron, saw the Tasmanian Male Sailor of the Year award go to well-known Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member Michael Cooper, who skippered Export Roo into a close second in the 2017 SB20 World Championship at Cowes, UK.
Disabled Sailor of the Year is Wynyard Yacht Club’s Chris Symonds, silver medallist in the Hansa 303 dinghy class at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championship.
Steve Catchpool, the SB20 class Australian president, was named Yachting Personality of Year for his critical role in Hobart’s successful bid to host the SB20 World Championship 2018.
His wife, Jane Austin, was among four winners of the Volunteer of the Year award, for her media role in Hobart being awarded the SB20 Worlds.
Other Volunteer of the Year recipients were Paul Gray at Sandy Bay Sailing Club; Ken Gourlay, organiser of the Tamar Yacht Club’s Tasmanian Boat and Caravan Show; and Wynyard Yacht Club’s Sailability volunteer group.
Port Dalrymple Yacht Club at Beauty Point was named Club of the Year, William (‘Bill’) Brown as Administrator of the Year as secretary of Sailability Tasmania, Elliott Noye (RYCT) as Coach of the Year, while Josh Rag (RYCT) and Mike Darby (WYC) shared the Instructor of the Year award.
Two inductees into the Tasmanian Yachting Hall of Fame were also announced: Roger Jackman (RYCT), owner/skipper of Doctor Who, and the late Graeme ‘Frizzle’ Freeman.
Words and photos: Peter Campbell
6 August 2018