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Vale Garry John Schipper

by John Curnow on 26 Mar 2010
Garry Schipper 2 in full flight - see you mate Domenic Genua
Garry John Schipper passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, March 24, 2010 after a three-year battle with cancer. Our condolences go out to his wife Jan, sons Clint and Justin, along with his entire extended family.

The big man of sea safety had a huge sailing career around Australia since his late teens.

He had outstanding and memorable ocean pursuits, many of which were with the likes of the softly spoken, doyen of Victorian yachting, Lou Abrahams. Lou says, 'I enjoyed many years of sailing with Garry. He was a real gentleman and became a first class friend.'

In 1976, Garry won the challenging Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster race aboard John Attwood's Monsoon and was first on handicap in the 1989 Sydney-Hobart race with Lou aboard Ultimate Challenge. He was a regular member of the Victorian Southern Cross Cup team, as well.

Overall, he must have been occupied at Christmas time for around 25 years or so. Internationally, Garry had competed in the Admiral's Cup in the UK, the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii and won the World One Ton Championship in San Francisco.

A lot of people will remember him more recently for his wonderful iterations about his beloved sea safety from the numerous boat shows he presented at, since his confrontation with the notorious 1998 Sydney-Hobart race, when he went overboard with just a Dolphin torch in his hand. That very waterproof and famous torch guided his boat crew back to pick him up.

Domenic Genua, the Marketing & Events Manager for the Boating Industry Association of NSW Ltd commented, 'Garry was one of our industry's true gentlemen and he never stood back when someone needed a hand. Garry was the all round, nice bloke with a heart of gold. His passion for boating and boating safety rubbed off on thousands of visitors to the Sydney Boat Show over the years. I have no doubt that there are many people on the water today, whose boating leisure and safety have increased tremendously because of Garry's influence.

'The industry and all boaties alike, are a little worse off for having lost a great boating safety ambassador and an inspiration to those that looked up to him.'

Garry did, in fact, try to make the last boat show, but was just too ill.

Tim Stackpool, who worked with him at seven boat shows, comments today on his blog , 'The look of wonder and astonishment on the faces of the audience as Garry unfolded his story of survival was always priceless. He would often be detained by the crowd, for quite a while after his presentation, as everyone was hungry to hear more from this amazing man.'

He was a man who was '…larger than life, in every respect: One of those much-loved souls – the classic gentle giant.

'His contributions were always extraordinary. He would always go above and beyond the call of duty', said John Nanscawen from Stormy Australia. They manufacture that tremendous range of PFD apparel that Garry was so fond of and John made that last particular point in relation to Garry's supreme dedication in to finding an appropriate PFD for partially disabled child.

The Victoria Police, with whom he gave around 40 years of service and the Victoria Racing Club, also remember Garry at this time and make their own dedications to his family.

Many thanks to John, Domenic,Lou and Tim for their contributions and I know they join the entire sailing community in showing that our hearts are with Jan and Garry's whole brethren.

The service is at the Heritage Funeral Home, located at 733 Boronia Road, Wantirna in Melbourne's East, on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

So cheers Captain Safety. You are already, greatly missed. May you enjoy your time swimming with all the dolphins of the Click here for Tim Stackpools comments on his latest Blog

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