Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Sir Peter Blake- A decade has passed

by Catherine Masters, NZ Herald on 3 Dec 2011
Peter Blake on the helm of Ceramco in the Southern Ocean returning from the Sydney Hobart Race. Peter Montgomery
Pirates may have ended the life of yachtsman and environmentalist Sir Peter Blake in a shocking attack on the Amazon River 10 years ago, but his legacy lives on

On board Seamaster in the steamy South American jungle, Sir Peter Blake was deeply affected by the over-fishing he was witnessing on the Rio Negro in the Amazon basin.

Old friend Don Robertson says Blake was just getting started.

It all ended suddenly and shockingly when the imposing Kiwi was shot dead by a band of young Brazilians who preyed on river boats.

Robertson has taken a long while to recover from his friend's death.

He was on board Seamaster and doesn't want to relive that night again - he's been doing that for the past 10 years.

The facts are, though, that the robbers rowed out silently and slunk on board in the dark, holding guns to the heads of the crew, including Robertson. In the confusion Blake managed to race downstairs to grab his rifle; he shot and hit one robber in the hand but his rifle jammed and he was shot in the back by another.

Chaos reigned and shots rang out; a crew member was bashed in the face and another's back was scraped by a bullet. But worst of all, the skipper was dead.

Robertson has dreamt about the night and has been through all the 'what if' scenarios possible.

What if there had been no resistance? Would the robbers have killed no one, or killed them all?

The conclusion he reaches each time is that Blake died protecting his crew, that he saved everyone else's lives, and that this was the kind of man he was - loyal to the end.

You don't meet many guys like him, Robertson says.

They met on the yachting scene and Robertson was involved in the America's Cup campaigns, then the environmental expeditions.

He was struck by the friendly, tall sailor's charisma and quirky humour.

There was always a focus there, which some mistook for aloofness, though Robertson says you always knew Blake was the boss - 'he'd just look down at you from 6 ft 4 and you'd go, 'oh, okay Pete, I get the point'.'

But Robertson is laughing. Blake was an amazing leader, he says, but, oh dear, his jokes, 'oh, man... he would tell the same jokes over and over and you laughed because it was the same joke. It was like, oh, there it is again, and some of them you fell for.

'You'd say, 'so I'll go and put the kettle on' and he'd say 'yeah, see if it fits', and man, if I heard that once I heard it a hundred times.'

Robertson has many stories affectionately told, such as the morning they rounded Cape Horn three times.

This might not mean much to a non-sailor but Cape Horn, at the bottom of South America, is known for its danger and challenge. For yachties, rounding Cape Horn is like climbing Everest.

Blake had done it half a dozen times, usually racing past, but he knew the rest of the crew had not.

'Peter being Peter, we came round Cape Horn, it was beautiful, about four o'clock in the morning, fairly dark and it was fairly flat water and he said 'what do you think of that, going round Cape Horn?'

'I said 'man, unbelievable' and he said 'let's do it again'.'

For the full story http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10770520!click_here

A 10th anniversary tribute to Sir Peter Blake will take place at 5.45pm on Tuesday at Karanga Plaza in the Viaduct Harbour (next to the Team NZ Emirates base). Lady Pippa Blake will unveil The Legacy, a special publication featuring the Sir Peter Blake Trust's achievements.

InSunSport - NZSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82T Clewring AC72

Related Articles

Kialoa patriarch, Jim Kilroy dies at 94 years
One of the legends of sailing Jim Kilroy died on September 29, 2016 at the age of 94 years. One of the legends of sailing, Jim Kilroy died on September 29, 2016 at the age of 94 years. Former Kialoa crew member Peter Allison gives a personal perspective on what it was like to be involved in the Kialoa team and sailing with Jim Kilroy in particular. Then he and Andy Rose give their impressions of the big crash between Kialoa and Windward Passage ahead of the 1977 Sydney Hobart
Posted today at 2:17 pm
2016 Melges 32 World Championship - A wet departure from Norm
New England nor'easters are signified by not only by their strong winds, but also their driving rain New England nor'easters are signified by not only by their strong winds, but also their driving rain, and on the second day of the 2016 Melges 32 World Championship hosted by Sail Newport, competitors returned to the Newport Shipyard with three hearty races completed and no need to wash off the boats, foul weather gear or sails. The rain did all the work.
Posted today at 4:50 am
Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Crash sequence images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from crash sequence Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from crash sequence
Posted on 30 Sep
2017 Annapolis to Newport Race Seminar
Michael Keyworth present on his many years of offshore passage making including serving on Donnybrook as Watch Captain. After a great day at the Show, head to the AYC Clubhouse at its interim location at 12 Dock Street just outside the Boat Show to hear Keynote Speaker, Michael Keyworth present on his many years of offshore passage making including serving on Donnybrook as Watch Captain.
Posted on 30 Sep
Count down to Nassau – All-Time Champions - SSL Finals
The fourth edition in Nassau will feature for the first time a full sailing festival, with junior and traditional racing The VIP skippers are invited for their sailing achievements in different classes, and the Star sailors invited are the ones in the top 12 of the 2016 SSL Rankings. Throughout the year, Star Sailors from across the world gather ranking points at events and the top performers make the trip to Nassau for the SSL Finals.
Posted on 30 Sep
Didac Costa to take part in Vendee Globe despite lightning damage
Dídac Costa has shown today he is absolutely determined to overcome one more obstacle on his way to the start line. The Spanish sailor Didac Costa has reaffirmed that he will be taking part in the Vendee Globe despite lightning damaging part of his boat’s electronics. His team has called for new sponsors to overcome this latest difficulty. Costa will be the fourth Spanish sailor who has attempted to complete this gruelling race
Posted on 30 Sep
J70 Worlds - Paul Cayard reports on two races in a hot fleet - Day 3
Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions of eight - twelve knots and the second had winds of fifteen - twenty knots.
Posted on 30 Sep
2016 Melges 32 World Championship - Newport nor'easter
There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around world, iconic sailing venue with rich sailing history There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around the world - an iconic sailing venue with a rich sailing history, great entertainment and of course, world renowned clam chowder. One unique Newport characteristic that greeted Melges 32 competitors on the first day of the 2016 Melges 32 World Championship was front edge of a strong nor'easter that brought 20-27 kt winds
Posted on 30 Sep
Alcatel J/70 Worlds - Wind and tide ask hard questions on Day 3
Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats on the Berkeley Circle, San Francisco Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats on the Berkeley Circle, San Francisco for the third day of racing at the Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club. Wind and tide combined to ask some hard questions of the crews - on both their light and heavy-air skills, as well as their patience.
Posted on 30 Sep
Groupama Race – The first Caledonians at Home
A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min. A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min after nearly 300 NM of 'Match Racing' against local sailors.
Posted on 29 Sep