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Three New Zealand sailors recognised in New Year Honours

by Sail-World on 31 Dec 2011
Young 88 Sprint Racing - 8 December 2011 © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

Three New Zealand sailors have been recognised in the New Year Honours announced on the last publication day of the year.

Noted designer and boat builder Jim Young has been made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand, the third highest level of Honour in the New Zealand system. A Knighthood is generally the highest level. Young is the designer of the Young 88, the 30ft keelboat which this year celebrated its 30th anniversary, and is New Zealand's largest one design keelboat class.

His contribution to New Zealand sailing spans 71 years including winning national sailing titles, boatbuilding, yachts and powerboat design. Always noted for design innovation, Young designed a 12ft catamaran, which won the 1958 12ft Interdominion, in the capable hands of David and John Peet, before the type was made illegal. He was one of the first to utilise a canting keel in his keelboat, Fiery Cross. The Young 88 featured a unique interior layout which has since been copied in all boats of this size and type. Young is also the designer of the Vindex range of fast planing, cruising launches, pioneering the concept - again since copied by many others. Young also pulled many young sailors and designers through his boat building business, the most notable being a young Bruce Farr, who went on to become a highly successful designer in his own right on the international racing scene.

Solo long distance sailor Graeme Kendall has been made a member of the Order of New Zealand for his achievements in completing the Northwest Passage across the top of Canada and Alaska. The voyage, a world first, is considered by some to be the 'Everest' of sailing and was reported as being one of the one of the last major world sailing records to be tackled.

Sailing his yacht the 12.5metre Austral Explorer, Kendall took just 12 days for the passage which started at Lancaster Sound and finished at Barrow Point. The route has only recently become navigable due to modern technology which allows sailors to plot a course though the ice flows, combined with warmer Arctic conditions. Kendall was thwarted in a previous attempt five years ago. Kendall's voyage was the second stage of a significant circumnavigation covering 32 of the world's seaways and oceans. The first leg covered over 18,000 nautical miles and took over four months of non stop solo sailing.


One of the great characters of New Zealand sailing, Simon Gundry has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal for his services to the community. It is difficult to remember a time when Gundry wasn't involved in sailing or the water, or with his great love of Rugby. He has often managed to combine the two sports, including running series of highly successful fundraising lunches at the North Shore Rugby Club, featuring great guest speakers, raising money for both the club and a charity or sport.

Gundry was a member of the crew of Cremaco, Peter Blake's Whitbread race entry in the 1981/82 event, and started a second Round the World race on board Lion NZ is the 1985/86 WRTW race. Gundry went to the same school, Takapuna Grammar, as Peter Blake and several other leading liughts of the sailing scene. On leaving school one of the teachers advised Gundry 'never to associate with (his close friend) Walter Gill - he's trouble'. In his usual way, Gundry completely ignored the advice and went into partnership with Gill as soon as they left school, starting a concrete construction business in which both are still working to this day.

The son of long time North Shore community newspaper editor, Pat Gundry, Simon has inherited his mother's touch with words, penning many a fine piece of writing and poetry - which always draws a wry smile. A long time Devonport resident, Gundry is usually one of the first on the scene in anyone's time of need - and his contributions, exploits and tales would fill a book or three.

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