Sail Melbourne International Sailing Regatta
Media Release MR 1 – 28/11/06
Changing of the Guard: Young Sydney Olympic gold medalist appointed chair of Australia’s premier regatta – Sail Melbourne
Fresh from his role as the Melbourne Stopover operations manager of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sydney Olympic 470 dingy gold medalist Mark Turnbull has been appointed by Yachting Victoria and the Committee of Sail Melbourne as the regatta’s new chairman in the wake of Kevin Woods retirement.
At 33, Mark Turnbull received an OAM for his services to sailing and is creating two firsts. He is the world’s youngest ever chairman of an international grade one ISAF* regatta and the first to have won an Olympic gold medal. (*ISAF denotes International Sailing Federation - Yachting’s world governing body)
At a function in Melbourne on Thursday 23 November to farewell Kevin Wood as out going chairman and welcome Mr Turnbull, Mark spoke to a bevy of VIP guests and sailing luminaries that included, The Hon. John Pandazopoulos, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Dr Peter Hertan – Director Sports and Recreation Victoria, John Calvert Jones, Simon Mckeon - Macquarrie Bank ; Peter Abraam CEO Melbourne Major Events, Andrew Plympton - President of Yachting Australia, Phil Jones CEO of Yachting Australia, Yachting Victoria’s President David Gotze, Ross Kilborn CEO of Yachting Victoria and more than twenty Club Commodores and CEOs from Port Phillip, Corio Bay, Western Port and regional Victoria plus supporting Sponsors.
Mr Turnbull said, “Kevin Wood is a hard act to follow, but this is a major opportunity for me to put something back into my sport. Having completed six Sail Melbournes, I’ve come to appreciate the absolute respect Kevin is held in by our national and international sailors who have raced here on Port Phillip.
“I hope to bring to the regatta a ‘competitors perspective’ and what I’ve learned from my role in the Volvo Stopover.”
Mr Turnbull is well known to the international sailing community after winning a world championship and gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 470 Class. He also campaigned a 49er dinghy for the Athens Olympics.
More recently he was the Operations Manager for the highly successful Melbourne Stop Over for the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race and has since worked as a Senior Business Consultant for Indec Consulting.
He lives in Brighton, sails socially at Sandringham Yacht Club and is married to Joanna who is expecting their first child in December.
The Sail Melbourne “Conductor” hands over the baton
Yachting Victoria’s President David Gotze said. “Kevin Wood has devoted more than a decade as chairman to building Australia’s ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne Regatta to its current successful international position.
“He leaves behind a lasting legacy of successful past events including the amazing “1999 worlds” that showcased Port Phillip as a great place to race.
“Looking ahead he’s put in place an exciting program of world championships that in 2008 will include the major lead up event to the Beijing Olympics. Kevin’s leadership, enthusiasm and energy will be long remembered by Australia’s yachting community and overseas sailors.”
Kevin who lives in Brighton says, “Ï felt the time was right to step down as it would give Mark Turnbull a year to learn how to run the event from a hands-on point of view before 2008 year when Sail Melbourne will be hosting no less than four world titles and Australia’s Olympic trials for Beijing.
“I regard amongst my most important achievements whilst Chairman, Melbourne's inclusion in the World Cup Series that is recognition of Sail Melbourne's standing in the conduct of international sailing and Port Phillip being one of the World's best open expanses of water for yacht racing.
“This means we will be one of just five global events to host sailing’s new equivalent of F1 Grand Prix that will see a whole new professional approach come to our sport."
“To illustrate the world wide reach of Sail Melbourne, quite unexpectedly while walking along the waterfront in Portofino in Italy last May and admiring the mega cruiser "Octopus" a guy on board calls out ''hey I know you, you're Kevin Wood . I've sailed in your great Sail Melbourne regatta.
“I couldn’t have achieved what we have without the support of support of a dedicated management team, the Clubs, Sport and Recreation Victoria and Melbourne Major Events, supporting sponsors and hundreds of volunteer staff who worked so hard over so many years.
“In handing over I want to say I’ve only been the conductor, what I’ve done has been for the future enjoyment of those who sail,” Mr Wood concluded.
Rod Austin appointed Sail Melbourne manager
Rod Austin has been appointed Yachting Victoria’s Events and Sail Melbourne manager. He was previously general manager of the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club and during his term, experienced significant membership growth and developed Australia’s largest junior sailing membership.
The club also won the prestigious Victorian Yacht Club of the Year award and developed successful events such as the KPMG Couta Boat day.
Rod lives at Somers with wife Jacqui and two sons Harry 10 and Stan 8 and is a member of the Somers Yacht Club and the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club
Sail Melbourne Background
The Sail Melbourne International Regatta was established by the Victorian Yachting Council (now Yachting Victoria) in 1994. The event is conducted on Port Phillip Bay, Westernport and selected locations throughout Regional Victoria from late December to mid-January each year. It injects more than $6 million into the economy and attracts more than 600 leading sailors from Australia and overseas to compete in a range of sailing events for off the beach and international keelboat classes. The main event at Sail Melbourne is the Olympic and ISAF Grade one regatta that is used as a key selection trial for Australia’s Olympic Yachting Team.
The 2007 Sail Melbourne regatta is proudly supported by the State Government of Victoria and Parks Victoria, Veolia (Collex), Menere’s BMW Brighton, Bayside City Council, Ronstan, Schenker, Singapore Airlines, City of Port Phillip, City of Kingston, Yachting Victoria and Yachting Australia.
The 2007 Regatta will feature Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta, International Skiff Regatta, Pacific Rim and Open International Optimist Dinghy Championships and 15 National and State Championships commencing on 27 December 2006.
David Gotze - President Yachting Victoria Ph 03 670 2778 Mob 0417 035 244
Ross Kilborn CEO - Yachting Victoria Ph 03 9597 0066
Rod Austin – Manager Sail Melbourne Ph 03 9597 0066
Yachting Victoria – Ph 03 9597 0066
Media Mike Sabey – Sabey & Associates Ph 9533 8030 Mob 0418 354 732