Sydney Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour – It was a night of double celebration for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) at the Australian Sailing Awards 2023, held at the Sydney Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. The evening marked not only the recognition of Mara Stransky as the Australian Female Sailor of the Year for the second consecutive year but also the presentation of the prestigious SOLAS Bravery Award to Mark Dingley and Mike “Spikey” Middleton.
Mara Stransky’s exceptional talent in the Laser Class overseas has solidified her status as a sailing sensation, earning her the title of Australian Female Sailor of the Year for the second year in a row. Stransky’s achievements are highlighted by her impressive consistency, securing an astonishing 18 race podiums during the year. She conquered the international stage with notable feats, finishing 15th at the 2022 European Championships, taking the second position at Sail Sydney, and clinching fourth place at Sail Melbourne during the domestic season. Her global prominence was further underlined with a remarkable fifth-place finish at Hyères in April, where she also triumphed in the medal race, prevailing against a world-class field.
Mara Stransky’s back-to-back victories as Australian Female Sailor of the Year are a testament to her dedication and talent, and she stands as a shining example for all RQYS members, embodying the club’s spirit.
As Stransky continues her preparations for the Paris Olympics, all eyes are on this remarkable young athlete, who is poised to shine on the global stage. The RQYS is immensely proud of her incredible accomplishments, and her journey to the Olympics is a testament to her dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence.
In addition to Stransky’s triumph, Mark Dingley and Spikey Middleton were recognized for their heroism on the water. They were presented with the SOLAS Bravery Award for their remarkable actions during a sailing race that resulted in the successful rescue and recovery of a fellow competitor who had been knocked unconscious and submerged in the water. Thanks to their quick thinking and selflessness, the sailor made a full recovery, much to the relief of the entire sailing community.
The Australian Sailing Awards 2023 were indeed a night to remember, celebrating the outstanding achievements of RQYS sailors, from Mara Stransky’s remarkable sailing prowess to Mark Dingley and Spikey Middleton’s acts of bravery. Their achievements and acts of heroism remind us that in the world of sailing, success is not just measured by podium finishes but by the unwavering commitment to one another’s well-being.