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This Years Awards


John McQueen

RTYF Gold Medal

for Outstanding Contribution to Yachting in Western Australia

Nominated by RFBYC

John McQueen is a Special member of RFBYC and after over 22 years of volunteer service in various roles, he decided to relocate to the country to enjoy his retirement with his lovely wife, Ros.

John first volunteered in 1990 as a course layer for junior sailing every Sunday when children, Gregor and Kathryn joined RFBYC from NYC, where he was Commodore, and in 1995 John became Race Officer for the Junior Club.  John remained in this position until 2012 when he moved to assist in the Start Box for Saturday racing and assumed the role of Principal Race Officer following Bill Morris in 2012.

John is one of the longest serving Yachting Australia accredited National Race Officers in WA. John has conducted numerous events at state and national level for the Club and classes include Optimist, Mirror, Laser, 505, Dragons and Etchells.

He also conducted World championships for the 505 and Mirror classes.  John has been the Race Officer for the International Classes Regatta from its inception up until recent years.  He also acts as Race Officer for many events at other clubs and is a past recipient of the YWA Race Official of the Year award.

In addition, John has been Race Officer for many special events including the Salty Dog, Old Gaffers, KPMG Challenge, Athol Hobbs Regatta, 29er State Championships and has assisted in the Radio Room for offshore events.

In 2002 and 2004 John stepped into the manager role for the JESS program tour of Europe.

Apart from officiating, John has played a major role in the training of race officials and volunteers.  He has conducted many courses at national race officer and club level for RFBYC and undertook the training of all on-water volunteers for Perth 2011.  He was also a member of the Organising Committee for Perth 2011,

John was the Chair of the YWA Race Management Committee from 2003 – 2014 and remains a member.

John has been an active participant in club and sailing administration and was a member of the General Committee for 4 years.  In addition, he was a member of the Board of Management of Yachting WA from 2003-05, Vice President 2005-08 and President from 08-11.  Was Commodore of Nedlands Yacht Club from 1989 -91.  Other positions have included ex officio positions on the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation and the Board of Yachting Australia.

John will be very much missed around the Club, in particular, by his colleagues in the Start Box.  John has provided outstanding service as a Race Official.  We wish John & Ros all the best in their retirement and relocation to Esperance.  It is with RFBYC’s greatest pleasure to nominate John McQueen for the Ron Tough Gold medal for outstanding contribution to Yachting.

Romë Featherstone

RTYF Silver Medal

Youth Sailor of the Year

Nominated by 420 Association, FSC, SoPYC and RFBYC

Romë Featherstone is a member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. He is a dedicated and extremely talented sailor who has recently transitioned from the Optimist to Laser 4.7 class. He has achieved outstanding results at a state, national and international level in his Optimist and has continued at a high performance level in the Laser 4.7.

As a result of his performance in the Optimist class, Romë has competed in two world championships. In 2014, as part of the Australia Optimist Sailing team, Romë travelled to Argentina to compete in the Optimist World Championships. In 2015 Romë was crowned the Australia Optimist Open Champion, once again securing his place to represent Australia in the 2015 Optimist World Championships, this time in Poland.

After his successes in the Optimist class, Romë focused on transitioning into the competitive Laser 4.7 fleet. Romë has dominated the local and interstate Laser 4.7 events in the first half of the 2015-16 season. Romë was undefeated at the WA State Youth Championships, Sail Freo, ICR, Sail Sydney, Nationals and Youth Championships. His achievements reflect his passion and innate sailing ability.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is exceptionally proud of Romë’s sailing achievements – we look forward to his continued success and wish him all the best with his future endeavours. His commitment and attitude is exemplary and he is driven to succeed. It is our absolute pleasure to nominate Romë Featherstone for the 2018 ‘Youth Sailor of the Year’ award.

I am not sure what else I can add except that Romë was a very committed sailor who travelled interstate all year for both regattas and training, including his Work Experience and Community Service placements which he completed in Sydney so he could also train in the afternoon and in blocks over the weekends.  He went to Sydney many times and to Melbourne, South Australia and Queensland.  He spent a month in Europe to do the French Nationals and then the European Open 420 Championships where he came 19th.  He has done some laser coaching and helped with Tackers Learn to Sail day and on the SB20’s.  Romë has done some Foundation 36 Inter Club Championships and did the Jess Cup and the Warren Jones Youth Match Racing event.  (He also does very well at school and maintains top grades).

Michael Compton

RTYF Bronze Medal

Junior Sailor of the Year

Nominated by FSC and SoPYC

I first moved into the Laser 4.7 after finishing up my Optimist sailing career at the 2016 North American championships. Moving into the Laser came with a lot of challenges, but I enjoyed the increased power through the tacks and the battle upwind to keep the boat flat. After being in the Laser for about 4 months, my family and I drove across the Nullabor so I could compete at the 2017 Adelaide Nationals. This was my first taste of Australian championship Laser racing. After three races, I was 3rd and I was feeling pretty happy, but then I learnt the hard way how tough the Lasers really are and finished the regatta in 11th place missing my goal of top 10 by one spot and falling from first to second in the under sixteen as a 13-year-old.  

The experience of big regatta sailing gave me a hunger for more, the resilience to know what it takes to win, made me train harder and led to my first big regatta win as U16 champion at the 2017 WA Laser 4.7 State Championships. This regatta was followed by a 31st at the 2017 Nieuwpoort Worlds in Belgium, again I was high in the points going into finals sitting in 11th but food poisoning and jury flags saw me drop quickly down the leaderboard.  

I came back to Perth, refocused my efforts, trained hard and went on to win the 2018 Australian Laser 4.7 Open, Australian U16 and the 2018 Australian Youth Nationals in Brisbane (it was a great summer).  

Everything was going according to plan and after a week’s break, I was back into training hard for the July 2018 Worlds in Gdynia, Poland. I felt I was ready for worlds and then lightning struck. I badly injured my hand 12 weeks out from the series and was told by the surgeon, I wouldn’t be able to sail for the next 10 weeks.  However, with a positive attitude, a gym program and support from my family and coaches, I went on to claim the U16 Laser 4.7 Youth World Title for 2018 and just missed the overall title by 2 points.   

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. (Winston Churchill) – thanks Dad.