The Australian Yachting Awards enjoys a long history. The first ‘Australian Yachtsman of the Year’ award was presented in 1962 to Jock Sturrock, four time Olympic representative, Olympic Bronze medalist and skipper of the America’s Cup challenger ‘Gretel’.
In 1996 the Awards were restructured and new awards introduced. The Yachtsman of the Year Award was divided into two categories – ‘Male Sailor of the Year’ and ‘Female Sailor of the Year’. Both awards were based on outstanding sailing achievements and good sportsmanship.
Also in 1996, the Media Award was introduced to acknowledge the significant contribution journalists make to the positive promotion and enhanced publicity of the sport. Media includes print, electronic, radio and television.
The Youth Award was introduced in 1986 to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of sailors under 19 years of age. In 2007 the award was re-named the ‘OAMPS Insurance Brokers Youth Sailor of the Year Award’ in recognition of their sponsorship of Youth Development at the National level.
In 2000, the Sailor of the Year with a Disability Award was introduced. This award aims to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of those sailors with a disability who have overcome adversity and exemplified the spirit of sailing.
In 2008, the Sport Promotion Award was introduced to replace the Media Award in order to acknowledge an individual or organisation who has positively promoted the sport. The previous Services Award was split in an effort to recognise the contribution to sailing and/or boating achievements over a number of years in the area of coaching, officiating or administration by both professional personnel and by volunteers. In 2014 the Services to Yachting Award was again restructured to award Sports Professional of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
CYCA SOLAS Trusts Bravery Award was inaugurated in 2012, this award is given to individuals or crews who have demonstrated what is considered to be as an act of bravery, and who have risked personal safety, or made sacrifices beyond what is reasonably expected during an incident that occurred during the conduct of a Australian Sailing sanctioned sailing event anywhere in Australia
2014 saw the introduction of four new categories with nominations made by State Associations to award Club, Official, Instructor and Coach of the Year.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was first presented in 2008 to acknowledge outstanding contributions to sailing or boating after an involvement of at least 20 years.