Builder Joe O'Keeffe - winner of Sportsperson of the Month
Builder Joe O'Keeffe - winner of Sportsperson of the Month Adam Hourigan

O'Keefe riding high after sailing success

IF YOU ran into Yamba builder Joe O'Keeffe around the traps he's unlikely to tell you he's a Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race winner.

But the modest 29-year-old is exactly that.

In his very first attempt at the race O'Keeffe helped steer Abracadabra through shocking conditions to win handicap honours in the PHS2 division.

"It was the first time I've been in the Sydney to Hobart so I was pretty lucky to get on a good boat and a good crew," O'Keeffe told The Daily Examiner last week.

"I was a bit lucky in that a lot of people got a bit seasick so I spent a bit fair bit of time behind the wheel when it was a bit lumpy and dumpy.

"It was not the first time I've been across Bass Strait, but it was the wildest I've seen it."

After his efforts in December, O'Keeffe turned around and, along with fellow Yamba yachtsman Scott Hinton, sailed the yacht Fujin to victory in the IRC class at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta.

For his efforts, the Port of Yamba Yacht Club member is Senior Sportsperson of the Month for January.

The Clarence has a rich history in water sports, most notably home to 1996 Olympics sailing silver medalist Andrew Landernberger.

The Clarence Valley Sports Awards paid homage to Landenberger's achievements when he was inducted into the Clarence Valley Sporting Wall of Fame at the inaugural awards in 2014.

Meanwhile, sailors Gabrielle King (2006), Landenberger (1989) and Peter Skennar (1974) have all won the original Daily Examiner Sports Star of the Year Awards.

O'Keeffe now has the chance to join the esteemed list of names as a nominee for Senior Sportsperson of the Year, which will be announced at the 2016 Clarence Valley Sports Awards in November.

Nominations are now open for Senior and Junior Sportsperson of the Month for February and will close at 5pm on Thursday, February 25.

The winner will be announced in The Daily Examiner and on the Clarence Valley Sports Awards Facebook page on the first Wednesday of next month, on March 2.

To nominate simply send an email to clarencevalley- sportsawards@gmail.com outlining the recent outstanding sporting achievements of a Clarence Valley resident.

For more information or any questions please phone The Daily Examiner digital producer Bill North on 66430574.



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