Mara Stransky of Manly’s Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Awarded Australia’s Female Sailor of the Year

Mara Stransky
Photo Credit: Andrew Stransky

Olympian Mara Stransky of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly has been named Female Sailor of the Year at the Australian Sailing Awards honouring the sports and its community.

Mara proved deserving of the award following her recent achievements at the ILCA 6 Women’s World Championships in Oman, where she finished sixth place, the Allianz World Cup in Holland, where she was fourth, and for her astounding winning finish at the Kiel Week.

The Manly sailor, who ranks as the third-best female sailor in the world, bested Nina Curtis from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Zoe Thomson from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for the highest honour. 

Meanwhile, Tom Slingsby was named the Male Sailor of the Year whilst Chris Symonds was chosen as the Para Sailor of the Year.

The Australian Sailing Awards returned to an entire face-to-face ceremony since 2019. Below is the full list of winners:

Male Sailor of the Year
Tom Slingsby OAM – Gosford Sailing Club (NSW)

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Female Sailor of the Year
Mara Stransky – Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron & Queensland Laser Association (QLD)

Mara Stransky
Photo Credit: Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

Youth Sailor of the Year
Evie Saunders – Manly Yacht Club (NSW)

Para Sailor of the Year
Chris Symonds – Wynyard Yacht Club, Australian Hansa Class Association Inc & Sailability Tasmania (TAS)

Offshore Sailor of the Year
Lisa Blair – Manly Yacht Club & Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (NSW)

Coach of the Year
Ben Durham – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (WA)

Club of the Year
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NSW)

Volunteer of the Year
Peter Kinsman – Rye Yacht Club (VIC)

Instructor of the Year
Holly Hunt – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (WA)

Official of the Year
Andre Blasse – Black Rock Yacht Club/Australian OK Dinghy Association (VIC)

Sport Promotion Award
Nick Bez – Windsurfer Class Association of Australia (VIC)

Sport Professional Award
Michael Robinson – Keppel Bay Sailing Club (QLD)

SheSails Award
Mooloolaba Women’s Keelboat Regatta – Mooloolaba Yacht Club (QLD)

Sustainability Award
Marine Environment Committee – Fremantle Sailing Club (WA)

President’s Award
Sean Hogan (VIC)

About the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly

Meanwhile, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is one of Queensland’s oldest and most prestigious sailing and cruising clubs. Since 1885, the organisation has supported sailing by training potential sailors on all levels. 

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron was Australia’s first sailing club to offer women membership in 1975, per past Commodore Bill Kirby. 

“I well remember the late P/C John Hattrick meeting with P/C David Bowly and myself early in 1975 and telling us it simply wasn’t acceptable for the Squadron not to welcome Ladies into our midst and for them not to be able to take part in all facets of Club life. David was Vice Commodore at the time and I was the Rear.

“P/C John’s proposals were enthusiastically approved at a Special General Meeting of the Members and as they say, ‘The rest is history.'”

Soon after, the  Ladies’ Committee raised money for the Snack Bar and held sailing classes for kids during scholl holidays. They also established the ArtArama, an arts and crafts festival that was popular in Manly for many years.