Last night at the Sydney Superdome at Olympic Park, the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was named ‘Event of the Year’ at the annual NSW Sports Awards.
This is the first time a sailing event has won this category and in fact, sailing went on to win three of the 18 categories, the others being Junior Athlete of the Year (Nathan Outteridge) and Team of the Year (Nathan Wilmot & Malcolm Page).
At the gala evening, which was attended by a large contingent of Olympians and World champion athletes including Petria Thomas, Layne Beachley and Elka Graham, Commodore Martin James collected the award on behalf of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
“It is a great honour to receive the acknowledgement of the sporting community for our premier event,” Commodore James said.
During his speech, he thanked everyone who has contributed to the success of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, not only in 2004 but also over the previous six decades as its status is a reflection of many years effort to grow and mature the race into the yachting classic that it is now.
He acknowledged the effort of volunteers, staff and sponsors and highlighted the contribution of the CYCA’s long-term partner, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in Hobart.
Other CYCA guests in attendance included the other members of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Planning Committee, Richard de Leyser, general manager of Rolex Australia, media director Peter Campbell and a number of CYCA volunteers who were integral to the success of the event and who represented the large volunteer base that supported it. These included Race Chairman Tim Cox, Harcourt Gough, who generously donated Four Seasons as the Radio Relay Vessel, former CYCA Commodore and Radio Relay Vessel skipper David Kellett and Denise Wilson, who with her husband Colin coordinated the many retirements in Eden.
The Annual NSW Sports Federation Sports Awards were established in 1994. The aim of the awards is to recognise, reward and promote the outstanding achievements of the NSW athletes, sports administrators, coaches, media, officials, organisations and volunteers at a gala dinner event.
Yachting NSW nominated the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for the ‘Event of the Year’ category.