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Aon Yachting Excellence Awards: First winners named

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The first winners of this year's Aon Yachting Excellence Awards have been announced, with club stalwarts and race committee members through to rising stars and seasoned international sailors honoured.

As in previous years, winners in four categories have been unveiled early with the major awards to be handed out at a gala event next month.

Ten winners were announced in the Yamaha Motor New Zealand Service Awards, and the Radix Performance Awards categories, while 12 were named for the Harken Youth Performance Awards and one winner of the Kiwi Yachting Cruising Award.

The full list of winners can be found below.

The judges were impressed with the quality - and quantity - of nominations.

“It feels like it’s getting harder to decide on winners each year and this year was again very tough in certain categories,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said.

“The Service Awards, in particular, were tightly contested with our club members and volunteers doing some exceptional work during what has been another really challenging year with adverse weather events across the country and some serious economic headwinds.”

The Aon Yachting Excellence Awards will be held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on November 24, when the winners of the major awards including the Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year Award will be announced.

Last year the top prize was won by Tom Saunders, who became only the second Kiwi - and the first since 1994 - to win the ILCA 7 (Laser) world championships.

Tickets are on sale for this year's event, which will be hosted by radio and TV personality Mel Homer.

For more information, click here.

Yamaha Motor New Zealand Service Award winners:

Bart Allsop-Smith and Taylor Williams (Pine Harbour Cruising Club)

Bruce Benson (Point Chevalier Sailing Club)

Chris Bowman (Northcote Birkenhead Yacht Club)

Ann Byford (Clarks Beach Yacht Club)

Alan Dawson (Waiuku Yacht Club)

John Elliot (Hamilton Yacht Club)

Engor Leonenko (Gulf Harbour Yacht Club)

Paul Mygind (Paremata Boating Club)

Sarah Wiblin (Short Handed Sailing Association of New Zealand)

Chris Williams (Waikawa Boating Club)

Kiwi Yachting Cruising Award winner:

Island Cruising NZ

Harken Youth Performance Award winners:

Matteo Barker

Stella Bilger

Ewan Brazle

Aimee Bright

Tessa Clinton and Nicola Hume

Sean and Rowan Kensington

Greta Hutton

Callum Hyde and Callum Noyer

Bella Jenkins

William Mason

Jacob Pye

Seb Menzies and George Lee Rush

Radix Performance Award winners:

Jo Aleh and Molly Meech

Josh Armit

Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn

Edge Women's Match

George Gautrey

Knots Racing

George Lane

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie

Veerle ten Have

Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson