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Excellence Awards nominations open as new naming rights sponsor sought

Issue date

Nominations are officially open for the 2024 Yachting New Zealand Excellence Awards  and with prizegiving season in full swing around the country, now is the perfect time to acknowledge the cream of sailing talent in your region.

The Excellence Awards recognises achievements at all levels of the sport during the nomination period (September 1, 2023 - August 31, 2024) and will be presented at a gala dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Friday November 22, 2024.

Tickets go on sale in September.

“It’s fitting that the awards will be held at the home of the America’s Cup, as it is one of two major sailing events we’ll all be keeping a close eye on this year,” Yachting New Zealand’s chief executive David Abercrombie says.

“It is a big year for New Zealand sailing, locally and on the world stage, with the Olympic Games starting later this month followed by the Cup in Barcelona. But while this year’s Excellence Awards will have a strong Olympic and America’s Cup flavour, the evening is about a lot more than that. It is about recognising the people who often go without recognition – like our many incredible coaches, race officials, club committee members and other volunteers."

Notable winners from last year’s awards include ILCA 7 sailor George Gautrey, who won the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy for the Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year, and Harold Bennett, the recipient of a Race Officer Emeritus Award for his service to the sport. 

As always, we need your help in deciding who deserves to be recognised. Please take a minute to complete a nomination by clicking here

Nominations close on September 1, 2024.


George Gautrey (right) won the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy for the Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year in 2023.

Yachting New Zealand is also calling for expressions of interest in securing the naming rights to this year’s awards after the conclusion of the awards naming rights sponsorship with the country’s leading insurance broker Aon New Zealand.

“We would like to sincerely thank Aon for their unwavering support of yachting in New Zealand,” Abercrombie says.

“While they will no longer be the naming sponsor of the Excellence Awards, they continue to support us through the Aon national youth programme, as well as through their comprehensive and reliable insurance solutions for club members. The Aon brand will also remain on two of our most coveted awards – the Aon Male and Female Sailor of the Year prizes.

“We now have an opportunity for a new partner to put their stamp on what is a highlight on the annual sailing calendar.”

For more information, please contact Yachting New Zealand’s partnerships and events coordinator Angela Jordan at