Maitland may be 30 kilometres from the nearest major waterway but distance did little to stop Reg Crick in 1978.
The East Maitland sailor was judged the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year after winning an Australian and Pacific championship in the same year.
Crick teamed up with Toronto’s Terry Kyrwood to take out the national 505 sailing title in Melbourne before backing it up with a Pacific crown in Hong Kong, which was an invitation event and included competitors from the UK, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and the US.
It was also a year that garnered a bronze medal at the World Championships in Copenhagen, which had 86 entrants on the water from 12 countries.
The successful pair had entered the last leg in front, but a violent storm sunk the leading five boats and ended any chance of finishing first.
Former Australian sprint star Marlene Matthews was the guest speaker at the city’s annual awards night, which was held at Maitland Leagues Club.
About 300 people attended the function, including then mayor of Maitland Ron Walsh .
Cricketer David Johnston, hot rod racer Paul Cannon, basketball player Noel Reid, tennis player Brian Adams and trot driver Vicki Kirkwood were also nominated for the 1978 award.
The senior and junior sportsperson of the year and team of the year will be announced at the special presentation dinner on Friday, March 7, at the Maitland Town Hall.
The Maitland Sportsperson of the Year Awards mark their 50th anniversary this year and the 2013 field will vie to join past winners including the inaugural winner Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Margeurite Jenkins, nee Ruygrok,
Other winners included rugby league greats Terry Pannowitz and Brian Burke and world motocross champion Chad Reed.
A magazine featuring all of the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year award winners from the past 50 years will appear in the Maitland Mercury this Friday.