Two sailors who will represent New Zealand at this year’s Olympic Games in London have been jointly named the Northland Sailor of the Year for 2011.
Andrew Murdoch, 29, and Blair Tuke, 22, both from Kerikeri, were nominated for the annually presented Northland Regional Council award by the Northland Yachting Association.
Northland Regional Council Chairman Craig Brown says the men – both fulltime sailors – will represent New Zealand in the London Olympics later this year; Murdoch in the Laser (one person Olympic dinghy) class and Tuke the 49er class. (The 49er is a five-metre long, two-person high performance skiff capable of speeds up to 25 knots.)
Murdoch began his sailing career as a six-year-old and grew up sailing the waters of the Bay of Islands.
He’s a five times national champion in the Laser class, placed fifth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has won a silver and three bronze medals at Laser World Championships.
Tuke, who sails in the 49er class, started sailing centreboard yachts aged 11 during a primary school sailing day.
He went on to become Splash World Champion 2006, 29er World Champion 2009 and placed second at last year’s 49er World Championships in Perth.
Craig Brown says a selection panel of regional councillor Bronwyn Hunt and council maritime staff recognised the “dedication, expertise and leadership” that had led to the duo being nominated by the yachting association and were pleased to endorse that nomination.
The trophy the duo received at a ceremony in Whangarei today was first presented by the now defunct Whangarei Harbour Board in 1964.
Originally known as the ‘Northland Blue Water Trophy’, it was rededicated the Northland Sailor of the Year trophy in 1995 by the Northland Regional Council.
The Sailor of the Year award can be made “for all or any acts or services, which either directly or indirectly have the effect of promotion, advancement or betterment of the sport of yachting”.
• Design and building of boats.
• Administrative services to the sport on a regular basis
• Outstanding examples of seamanship or sailing ability in both competitive and non-competitive spheres.
• Outstanding examples of sportsmanship.
• Services in the promotion and encouragement of active participation in the sport of yachting.