sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Laser designer and Int 14 sailor pays tribute to Geoff Smale

Laser designer and Int 14 sailor pays tribute to Geoff Smale

'Geoff Smale and ralph Roberts (NZL) sailing Atua Hau to victory in Cowes at the 1958 Price of Wales Cup'       Click Here to view large photo

Canadian sailor and designer Bruce Kirby,better known as the designer of the highly successful Laser class was one of those who competed on the 1958 Prince of Wales Cup, along with Geoff Smale who died last weekend in a light aircraft accident.


Bruce Kirby designer of the Laser and Int 14 sailor -  Neil Rabinowitz   Click Here to view large photo
Here he pays tribute to his old friend:

Geoff Smale was the man who put New Zealand sailors on the map and on its way to becoming the smallest country with the biggest influence on international sailing. In 1958 when the North American and European sailing communities thought of N.Z. as an island somewhere off the east coast of Australia (and weren’t even sure where Australia was) Geoff and five other Kiwis descended on Cowes with their International 14s and showed the rest of us how to get these lively thoroughbreds through the water.

The team racing that year was won by Canada, but only because both Geoff’s boat and Ian Pride’s (Ian was also lost in an flying accident many years ago) had breakdowns in the 30 knot winds of the final race. But there was no way we were faster in any wind above 10 knots, especially upwind. The following week Geoff and his outstanding shipmate Ralph Roberts, sailed away from the rest of us in the 68 boat fleet that hit the line for the 15-mile Prince of Wales race, and took back to New Zealand the most prestigious trophy in dinghy sailing at that time. And the fleet had one Olympic Gold Medal winner and at least two other Olympic sailors.

This experience in Cowes had a huge impact on my career, because I was so disturbed at being so grandly outclassed in heavy weather by the Kiwis, and Geoff in particular, that I returned to Canada and immediately designed my first boat. It was aimed directly at fresh air upwind efficiency, and in fact turned out to be pretty good in those conditions. But I never met Geoff on the race course again, although we crossed paths at many other events over the years.

The last time we were in touch perhaps illustrates more about Geoff Smale that that wonderful win off Cowes all those years ago. A very good friend from Victoria, B.C. who is now permanently in a high tech wheel chair as he fights the long battle with ALS, e-mailed me that he was going on a vacation to New Zealand. This was Dave Cook, or 'The Cooker' as he is known to his host of sailing friends. As his health has deteriorated Dave has gone from Olympic disabled sailor to radio controlled model yacht aficionado – even conceiving designs which friends help him build.

International 14 Ft. Dinghy Team Races in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. 1958 L-R: Gerald Parks, Geoff Smale (NZ), Bud Whittaker, CAN), “Bungy” McCrae (NZ), Uffa Fox (UK), Harry Jemmet (CAN), Jim Stephens (CAN), Ian Pryde (NZ), ???, Bruce Kirby (CAN), Stewart Morris (UK), Michael Pope (UK), Mike Peacock (UK), Ray Simich (NZ), Keith Shackleton (UK), Ralph Roberts (NZ), Doug Roberts (CAN), Ron Watson(NZ), Harvey Bongard (CAN), Paul Henderson (CAN), -     Click Here to view large photo


Geoff Smale pictured at last year’s OKI 24 Hour Race -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=82434   Click Here to view large photo
Well, it turns out that for many years Geoff Smale has been designing, building and very successfully racing model yachts at the world level. (what else?) So I tipped off Geoff that The Cooker was going to N.Z. and would like to see some of Geoff’s models. So Geoff, at the age of 86, practically adopted Dave Cook. He arranged for a wheelchair access van to pick up Dave and take him to the magnificent Smale home overlooking the ocean.

He spent an inordinate amount of time showing and explaining and demonstrating the absolute latest in sailing model development, and then he took Dave to two events, lending the stranger in the wheel chair his best IOM model to try his hand against the cream of the Kiwi model yachties.

And a month after The Cooker had left Auckland Geoff Smale - champion sailor, very successful businessman, self-taught sailmaker and technician, and about as close to a perfect human being as you will ever find, flew his hot little ultra light into the side of a mountain, in what is believed to be freak bad weather.

Bruce Kirby
Rowayton, Ct. USA




by Bruce Kirby

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=82434

5:03 AM Thu 14 Apr 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

16 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team: No racing for most but one win at ISAF Worlds Day 4
15 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team: Slow start for both 470's at ISAF Worlds - Day 3
14 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team: Boards and Single handers on Day 2 of ISAF Worlds
13 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team: Images from Santander - ISAF World, Day 1
13 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team: ISAF Worlds - Racing starts for Lasers and Radials
12 Sep 2014  STACK Winter Champs 2014 - One week to register for coaching
12 Sep 2014  ISAF Worlds: Olympic Qualifier puts Kiwi sailors on the line
11 Sep 2014  Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc slightly shaken and a bit stirred
11 Sep 2014  Gladwell's Line: London stalling
08 Sep 2014  NZL Sailing Team count the days to racing at 2014 ISAF Sailing Worlds
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World





A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,












ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video by Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association,
























2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4 by William Wagner, San Francisco


























GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level
ISAF Sailing World Championships - RS:X action begins in Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Americans rise in Laser and Radial
Extreme Sailing Series - A remarkable penultimate day’s racing + Video
Marseille One Design - GC32 GDF Suez unstoppable in the light
Rolex Swan Cup - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Images of the leaders in Santander   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Good day for Double Trouble   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2 images by Erik Simonson   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - TP52 fleet ready for tricky race tracks   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Plenty maintains lead   
2014 Asia Pacific Student Cup - Count down begins   
Extreme Sailing Series: Live coverage of Day 3 - view here   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Going away   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Practice makes perfect   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Contrasting conditions on Day 4   
Rolex Big Boat Series - 50 years of big boat racing: a retrospective   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2   
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Champ: Rios takes the Championship   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg Zero signals start of the significant racing   
Extreme Sailing Series: Physically demanding racing for BAR on Day 2   
Emirates Team NZ: Holding second overall after Day 2 in Istanbul   
Extreme Sailing Series: A force to be reckoned with in Istanbul +Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Day 1 images by Jesus Renedo and Pedro Martinez   
Marseille One Design: GC32's Armin Strom storms ahead on day 2 + Video   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT