20-year-old Garth Bickford has taken home a well-deserved award at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, the annual awards night to celebrate all of the RSYS members sailing and race management achievements was held in late May. Bickford claiming the Crew Person of the Year award.
Into his second year out of school, and with his enthusiasm for yachting he has had some outstanding results across a range of fleets from Ynglings to TP52’s.
Garth is also a Squadron Keelboat participant, and he continued with Youth sailing and the RSYS Ynglings, where he notably encouraged, fostered and gave opportunities to other youth sailors from RSYS.
Alongside that, he has launched into the top end of the sport in a professional capacity, and yet he’s more than happy to crew on a classic yacht.
Garth works for Doyle Sails Sydney, moving through his apprenticeship under the watchful eye of lifetime sailmakers Shane Guanaria and Ben Gemmel. Bickford has been progressing with this earn-while-you-learn program for the past 18 months and has shown incredible talent with his sail-making skill set.
The time spent working alongside Shane has also given him a foot in the door with some of the 52 racing in Australia, an early introduction to Sebastian Bohm, owner of Smuggler.
Bohm has had Bickford join their team in a full-time role on the TP52 for the Australian season for the past 2 years. Garth learning his way around the boat in a midbow and trimming role, in one of the most competitive fleets in Australasia, has been a step up from his dinghy and sports boat racing.
” I first met Garth a number of years ago through our neighbours. His mother was adamant then that even at 12 years of age, he wanted to work in the marine industry. It is great to see a youngster following his passion. The pathways created through a sail-making apprenticeship with Doyle Sails can lead to some awesome opportunities and Garth has grabbed these with both hands. There are not many kids his age who can be equally at home in a Laser, VXOne, small keelboat or offshore and inshore on a TP52. His development has been very impressive.” Said Shane
This winter Garth is sailing with long-time Doyle Sails Sydney customer Gordon Ketelbey onboard Zen, also a TP52, where he is the bowman.
Alongside the 52 racing, Garth is racing on VXOnes with World Champion Sailors Rob and Nicole Douglass, MC38’s, J70’s, Match Racing. He also recently completed a successful Brisbane to Gladstone race on the legendary S&S 34 “Azzurro” with new owner Jack Kliner winning the race overall on ORCi.
“It is such an honour to receive the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron crew person of the Year award! As well as the “Fire Truck Trophy” and now a two-time winner of the Yngling Australia Gold Cup! Such a special night to have my name added to this award along with Australia’s most talented sailors. I never would have thought my name would be next to theirs for any reason! A massive thank you to everyone involved in my sailing journey whether it’s a crew mate, coach or mentor, all your help has led to this moment. Thank you everyone!” Said Bickford
ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // Doyle Sails strives to deliver success through high-performance, high-quality, custom sails that continue to redefine the boundaries of sailmaking technology and innovation; whilst connecting sailors to inspire, support and encourage sailing.
Our obsession with sailing takes us to every corner of the world and onboard every yacht. We become part of teams, share in the adventures of friends and families, sharing our knowledge and experience with those with the same passion. Sailing is in our DNA, and we are the custodians of a legacy that has been supporting sailors for four decades and counting.