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Australian of the Year - a top sailor

by Sail-World Team on 26 Jan 2011
Macquarie Innovation October 2007 . ©

But did you know that, while new Australian of the Year Simon McKeon is a prominent investment banker and has won his award for his philanthropic works, he is also a world record-breaking yachtsman and one of the founding sponsors of the Australian sailing team?

Together with Tim Daddo, he made history in 1993 with the Lindsay Cunningham designed craft Yellow Pages when they set a 500-metre world sailing speed record of 46.52 knots that lasted eleven years.

In 1994 they started on the build of the boat called Macquarie Innovation. It took them a long time, but in November 2008 they did a 500-metre run at 48.14 knots, claiming a class 'C' world speed record.

Then in March 2009, they lifted their own 'C' class record to 50.43, achieving it in the same waters as their previous record, at the Sandy Point speed course near Wilson's Promontory in Victoria. This was just a whisker outside the outright speed record of 50.57 knots, held by kite boarder Alexandre Caizerques.

At the time, Tim Daddo commented, '‘It is the culmination of over 15 years of work by the team and their loyal group of supporters...It’s been a long road.'

Simon has not left the sailing road though, he has been racing F18 Cats. He sailed the F18 Worlds in Keppel Bay Queensland as crew for his son Oliver and was placed 15th in the very classy 73 boat A Cat Australian titles just a few weeks ago.

About Simon McKeon:
While enjoying a successful corporate career, Simon decided that he didn’t want to put off the idea of serious engagement with the community sector until his most productive years were behind him.

So he joined the board of World Vision Australia in 1994 and subsequently transitioned into a part time role with Macquarie Group as Executive Chairman of its Melbourne office.

Simon is Chairman of CSIRO as well as Business for Millennium Development, which encourages business to engage with the developing world.

He recently retired as Founding Chairman of MS Research Australia and the Founding President of the Federal Government’s Takeover Panel.

His association with World Vision International continues and he is also involved with the Global Poverty Project and Red Dust Role Models, which works with remote Indigenous communities.

As a leading social entrepreneur, Simon demonstrates how business and philanthropy go hand in hand, giving tremendously of his time and energy to many organisations.

...AND he is bloody good sailor and a really nice bloke.

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