Sailor Joanne Abbott to win Syl Apps Special Achievement Award

Joanne Abbott, Bill Abbott and Paul Davis, the 2009 Soling World Champions
Matias Collins
Some of Ontario's top amateur athletes will be honoured Thursday at the annual Ontario Sport Awards ceremony, in Toronto.

And, along with them, some of the unsung heroes — coaches and volunteers — will also be recognized at the gala event.

Among those who have been chosen as a Syl Apps Special Achievement Award recipient, is Sarnia's Joanne Abbott.

Abbott is being honoured as 'one of the province's outstanding citizens who are making a difference in sports in Ontario for her contributions to the sport of sailing.'

Specifically, it's Abbott's work with Ontario Sailing, Canadian Yachting Association and — most recognizable locally — her ongoing contributions to Sailfest, that garnered her consideration for the award which, 'recognizes volunteers who contribute to sport development in the province' and 'recognizes those citizens who volunteer their time and efforts to make sure sports in Ontario continue to flourish.'

While she says she is honoured to be receiving the award, Abbott adds she 'truly believe(s) there are many, many more deserving people.

'Ontario Sailing (and Glenn Lethbridge the Executive Director) is very supportive of Sailfest Sarnia held here at Sarnia Yacht Club every July and we have volunteers, including the Boston family, who return year after year to help out with the regatta,' says Abbott.

This year's Sailfest event is scheduled for July 8-10.

Abbott, a former Olympic sailor, says she enjoys volunteering and helping young people get the most out of the sport, but she also still considers herself a competitive sailor.

In fact, she just competed in an event with her daughter (Katie) last fall and, as recently as 2009, won a World Soling Championship with her husband, Bill, and Kingston's Paul Davis.

'I don't get to compete as much as I would like,' she admits, 'but it's something I still love to do.'

She adds she, along with most veteran sailors, is inspired by family friend Stuart Walker, an American sailor, still competing as he approaches his 90th birthday.

From The Sarnia Observer by Dave Paul

Sport Alliance website