sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Sail-World.com : Top yachties turn out at Westlake Boys to celebrate Geoff Smale's life
Top yachties turn out at Westlake Boys to celebrate Geoff Smale's life


'Geoff Smale and Ralph Roberts lead the fleet on their way to win the prestigious Prince of Wales Cup off Cowes IoW in 1958.'       Click Here to view large photo

A group estimated at 800 friends and family turned out today to honour former sailor of the Year and Olympian, Geoff Smale, who was killed in a light aircraft accident in the top of the South Island on Saturday 9 April.

Geoff Smale pictured at the 2010 OKI 24 Hour Race -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Those attending the celebration of Smale's life included top sailors from the early and mid 1960's through to the current era including several America's Cup winners, current America's Cup crew and race officials.

Held at the prestigious Westlake Boys High School,appropriately alma mater to many of New Zealand's top sailors, the service was conducted by long time friends and crew member, Ralph Roberts who doubles as a marriage and funeral celebrant.

The gathering was addressed initially by Geoff Smale's wife, Shirley, children Chris and Felicity and granddaughter. They touched on the man, husband, father and grandfather they knew.

International sailing commentator, Peter Montgomery covered Smale's many sailing achievements and read messages from two fellow competitors in the 1958 Prince of Wales Cup, former ISAF President, Paul Henderson (CAN) and Laser designer, Bruce Kirby (CAN). Noting that Smale's unassuming personality masked a razor sharp intellect, which manifested itself in so many ways, be it in sailing brilliance, an sail-engineering idea or invention or just some comment that he picked up on and expanded. Montgomery concluded with comments on Geoff Smale's total humility and the fact that no matter how average a sailor you were, Geoff Smale always had a ready smile and was genuinely interested on how YOU were and were getting on, and never focused on himself and his many achievements in life and sailing.

Phillip Littlejohn spoke of the development of the Technology Park at Smale's Farm, including the weekly pizza meetings held each Tuesday at 5.30pm in the prefab which doubled as a project office for the construction of the campus. He told of Smale's compassion for workers and sub-contractors on the construction site ensuring all were happy with the work being done and that they were paid on time; and how the red sheds, dubbed the Smales Farm 'corporate headquarters' where Geoff and his brother Jim had spent their whole working lives were only finally removed in 2007, when they retired. The site which had started off as a quarry became a concrete crushing recycling plant, after Smale picked up the idea during a visit to US in 1965.

Geoff Smale’s One Metre radio controlled yacht was alongside his casket during the service -    
Roy Granich, a former winner of the prestigious Tanner Cup told of how Smale would come over from his Flying Dutchman sailing and talk with the young P-class sailors, and also how later in life he competed against Geoff Smale in the radio yachting classes, appeared in front of him during a protest hearing, and how he and Smale worked together on the racing rules for radio controlled yachts.

Harvie Lockie told of Geoff Smale's introduction to aviation, at the age of 82 years old, and how the Olympic yachtsman confessed to understanding a little about aerodynamics when the principles of flight were explained to him. Such was Smale's competence and knowledge of flight, that even though he had just four years experience, most who did not know his background thought he was a retired 747 captain, Lockie explained.

Past Commodore of the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Kevin Brown told the group that Geoff Smale was the Patron of the Club, which has produced several America's Cup skippers and many Olympic sailors from its junior programs. He spoke of Smale's sailing values and contribution over many years to the many foundation stones and development of the Murray's Bay Sailing Club, which for many years was completely dominant in small boat sailing success.

It is only recently when many of the ideas developed at Murray's Bay have been taken onboard by other clubs that they too have achieved a similar level of success.

The almost two hour service was concluded by Ralph Roberts who told of how he first met Geoff Smale, as a young electrician sent to a job at the quarry which Smale turned into a sailing aerodynamics lesson using a Finn sail, a pile of sand and his then new wife's new vacuum cleaner. When Shirley arrived unexpectedly to catch Geoff in mid flight - wanting to know whether that was really her new vacuum cleaner he was using in the sand pit, and how come he was pleading ignorance as to its use around their home?

It was time for a judicious exit, Roberts decided, leaving the Smales to sort out their domestic issues. And so began a sailing relationship which took them to Cowes to win the 1958 Prince of Wales Cup, then the most prestigious two handed sailing trophy in the world, the Olympic Games in 1968 and several 'tours' of the international sailing regatta circuits plus several national championships.

After the service most of the group retired to a cafe at Smales Farm where many sailing acquaintances were renewed between sailing friends/foes some of whom had not met for 30-40 years.

Geoff Smale is survived by his wife Shirley, sons Andrew and Chris, daughter Felicity and grandchildren.

In his latter years Geoff Smale was heavily involved in movie making and editing - fighting the good fight with many a PC and video editing software - here shooting at the OKI 24 Hour Race prizegiving -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo


by Richard Gladwell

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=82626

10:28 AM Tue 19 Apr 2011GMT


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







News - USA and the World

Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - nip and tuck for IRC honours by RHKYC and Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, Hong Kong








America's Cup Book Review: Winging It - Oracle Team USA's comeback *Feature by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz,


























HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle














America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
















Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),


SSV Oliver Hazard Perry joins America's Tall Ship fleet + Video
2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Glorious conditions prevail on final day
WWA Pro Card Qualifier - Pro Cards earned at Freedom Wake Park
Christmas Caribbean Rally - Top class sailors to compete
Earth Day boater tips
Anna Tunnicliffe - from CrossFit to Extreme 40's
Charleston Race Week - Photos by Chris Howell
Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata
Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - PSP Logistics prepares for USA
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Crème of the crop to compete
Congressional Cup: Luna Rossa makes podium in first event
Int 14 World Championships 2015 launch new event website
International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall   
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in   
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences   
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco   
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2   
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3   
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video   
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June   
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions   
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20   
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   


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.
X6XL NEW US