Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - Endure

CYCA pays tribute to Gary Ticehurst

by Peter Campbell on 19 Aug 2011
Rolex Trophy RTS 2010 - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney - 16/12/10 - Gary Ticehurst in action. © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
The flying skills of ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst brought ocean yacht racing, with its the dramas and the exhilaration of sailing on the open sea, into the living rooms of millions of people around the world, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Garry Linacre said today.

Flying at extraordinarily low heights he placed his cameraman in a position to get remarkable images of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which were then featured on the evening news bulletins throughout the nation between Christmas and New Year.

'Over a quarter of a century he played a significant role in expanding the media coverage of our great ocean race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, a race for which he developed a personal passion,' Commodore Linacre said.

'In particular, Gary will be remembered for his professional calm during the tragic storm that hit the 1998 Sydney Hobart fleet; he reported the positions of so many yachts in distress, resulting in the rescue of at least 25 yachtsmen from sinking vessels or life rafts, 'the Commodore added.

Commodore Linacre joined many yachting administrators, media colleagues, friends and yachtsmen who have paid tribute to Gary who died, along with ABC colleagues, journalist Paul Lockyer and cameraman Ben Bean, when their helicopter crashed near Lake Eyre in remote South Australia early Thursday evening.

'Gary covered 25 Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, always demonstrating a passion for the ocean classic,' Commodore Linacre added. 'His understanding of the sport and the way yachts performed in all types of conditions allowed him to place his chopper in positions that allowed his cameramen to capture some of the most remarkable images of offshore yachting in Australia.'

Commodore Linacre stressed the key role that Gary had played in the 1998 race. 'His calm professional skills in flying and communications saved the lives of at least 25 yachtsmen in that tragic storm that unfortunately saw the loss of six men at sea,' he added.

'At that time there was a transition going on between analogue and digital telecommunications and because the marine radio network was being inundated with mayday calls; Gary used his mobile telephone to give the co-ordinates of yachts in distress directly to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra which was co-ordinating the search and rescue operation.

'Flying dawn to dusk he continued the search for Winston Churchill and her crew who had taken to liferafts, spending long hours flying low over the sea, at times when waves where reaching between 75 and 100 feet.

'I understand the American Helicopter Pilots Associations gave Gary a special award for his involvement in the rescue efforts.'

In an interview before the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart, Gary Ticehurst recalled being able to fix the position of each yacht in difficulty in the 1998 race and direct the search and rescue operation to the scene. 'We were there to reassure the yachts that help was on the way,' the veteran pilot said. 'Even today, a mayday over the radio sends shivers down my spine.'

Ticehurst and his flying partner Richard Howe, through their company Film Helicopters Australia, covered the race each year for the ABC television network, also providing the ‘pool feed’ of race footage to other television networks in Australia and overseas.

Ticehurst also assisted the CYCA on many other occasions during the Sydney Hobart, including standing by when the maxi yacht Skandia capsized in 2004 and the vintage yacht Koomooloo foundered in 2006.

He hovered over the yachts to ensure that all crew had taken to their liferafts, co-ordinating the rescue efforts
between AMSA and the Tasmanian water police.

Former Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race media director Peter Campbell also paid tribute to Ticehurst. 'The media team would regularly talk to Gary during a race as he passed on news from out on the Tasman Sea…he was a great pilot who had a passion for ocean racing, but only from the air. I don’t think we could ever get him on a yacht.'

Friend and print media photographer Ian Mainsbridge said: 'He was a great friend, a fearless pilot and a legend in the film industry in assisting with helicopter stunts.

'I have not only flown many miles with Gary but also flown in the News Limited chopper alongside the ABC aircraft and knew his extraordinary skills as a pilot who knew exactly where to get the best possible news shots.

'He pioneered the tricky manoeuvre of lifting cans of film from yachts which were carrying a cameraman during the Sydney Hobart, bringing the bluewater classic to the television screens for the evening news bulletins.

'It is ironic that a pilot who had so many hours flying over the ocean had died in the desert of inland Australia,' Mainsbridge added.

ABC journalist Scott Alley, who flew with Ticehurst in four Sydney Hobarts, said: 'He had no peer in his operational flying skills …and he had an absolute passion for the Sydney Hobart.'

Gary learned to fly helicopters with the Australian Army, later helping set up the NSW Police flying wing. He was a technical advisor for several films and is believed to have been the only pilot to land a helicopter in Sydney’s Martin Place.

'On behalf of the CYCA and its members, we extend our deepest condolences to Gary’s wife Theresa and their children Michael and Michelle, and to the families of Paul Lockyer and John Bean.'
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearT Clewring - GenericSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug