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

 

Sail-World.com : Simon McKeon – Multihull sailor and Australian of the Year (Part 1)

Simon McKeon – Multihull sailor and Australian of the Year (Part 1)

'Simon McKeon Multihull sailor and Australian of the Year 2011'    Sail-World.com ©    Click Here to view large photo

The 2011 Australain of the Year, 56 year old Simon McKeon has been sailing performance multihulls since the 1980s.

McKeon was helmsman of the successful Australian syndicate between 1985 and 1996, sailing for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy, more commonly known as the 'Little Americas Cup’.

McKeon and his crew Tim Daddo made history in 1993 with the Lindsay Cunningham designed Yellow Pages, which powered down the Sandy Point speed course near Wilsons Promontory in Victoria (Australia) setting a 500-metre world record of 46.52 knots, that lasted of 11 years.

In March 2009 McKeon and Daddo were at it again in Macquarie Innovation, with an average speed of 50.43 knots, having flashed into the mid 50’s in that run.

Sail-World.com first talked to Simon about his speed sailing at the F18 Worlds at Keppel Bay, Queensland back in 2007. At the recent A Class Nationals on Lake Macquarie, NSW we caught up with him for another chat.

While McKeon was a speed sailor for decades, in his day job he has been a very prominent and successful investment banker but it has been his efforts to support multiple Australian and International charities that has earned him enormous admiration.

McKeon became the Australian of the Year in January 2011. As we write this article he has just 10 days to go in that role, as the 2012 Australian of the Year will be announced on January 25, the eve of Australia Day.

Back in history in 1994, in between sailing, he had moved from a full time investment banking role to become the Executive Chairman of Macquarie Group’s Melbourne office, giving him more time to support an amazing range of causes and organisations.

Simon is Chairman of the CSIRO, the national government body for scientific research in Australia. He was founding chairman of MS Research Australia and founding president of the Federal Government’s Takeover Panel. He is Chairman of Business for Millennium Development, which encourages business to engage with the developing world.
His work with World Vision International continues and he is involved with the Global Poverty Project and Red Dust Role Models, with remote indigenous communities.

Last week he took a break from his Australian of the Year duties to join the A-Cat fleet sailing out of Lake Macquarie’s Wangi Amateur Sailing Club and showed flashes of his old speed. On the first day he scored a fourth and a fifth in a fleet full of World Champions, America’s Cup sailors and Olympic medallists.

Simon McKeon show flashes of his old speed at the A-Cat Australian Championships -  © .   Click Here to view large photo


Mid-week before racing, we talked at length to McKeon overlooking the A Class Catamaran boat park.

Simon went back in history. ‘I started sailing at about nine or ten, not competitively though. My father had an old second hand Sabot with cotton sails and it just sat in one of those beach boxes that surround Port Philip. I was at him all the time … ‘Dad let’s take it out. Let’s see if the mast still stands up. Let’s see if the sail has enough condition in it.’ It was a bit like that.

‘For the next two or three years he let me sail round in that and then from the goodness of his heart he bought me a second hand Heron when I was about twelve. I went to a school that was a traditional Melbourne private school, which focused on footy, cricket and rowing and that sort of thing. I didn’t have the time to be a more passionate sailor until my University days.

‘Our speed sailing efforts came out of the C Class – we were in the middle of preparing for the defence in 1991 against Gino Morelli and Pete Melbourne’s challenge.

Yellow Pages -    

'We were probably about a month away from the Series and I remember having morning tea with the group one morning and one of our team members, Graham Frazer, said to Lindsay Cunningham (he was probably looking at the wing at the time) ‘Sport (Lindsay Cunningham’s nickname) wouldn’t it be great if we could actually make the world’s fastest sailboat.’

‘’Lindsay thought about is for a minute or two and then for the next weekend. Talk about amateurs - we were training from weekend to weekend and Lindsay came back with this scrappy bit of paper, he always reused everything several times, and on the back of it was the drawing for this boat.

‘This was in 1991-92 and I didn’t even know which way was forward or which end was up. He said ‘I think that will do it. ‘

‘A lot of the components in the original Yellow Pages Endeavour were actually recycled bits and pieces off old C Class cats, including the wing itself. That was just a modified wing that we had used on a previous C Class. It was never really intended we break the world sailing speed record with that boat because it was supposed to just be a bit of a trail horse, a test to see if the concept worked.

‘After a year or so it was actually working very well and Lindsay said ‘let’s see if we can set the record’ and it did.

'Then some years later we began campaigning Macquarie Innovations and we set new records with that.

Macquarie Innovation hits 54 knots on 26 March 2009- 500 metre speed ratified at 50.07 knots -  Steb Fisher ©Photo?nid=92897  




‘We have watched Paul Larsen’s (Sailrocket) efforts for a long time and we are always interested in a different concept. We were aware of the concept well before he came up with it but Larsen is the one that is executing it, with this leeward foil. It’s interesting.

‘To Larsen’s great credit he has thrown a lot at it and the fact that he campaigns actively in Namibia, which is a long way away from wherever he is based today, shows the extent of his commitment. For a long time he was in the forties (knots) and not really threatening us and then all of a sudden he’s right up there and it is interesting at the moment because Hydroptere, is the fastest real boat.

‘Paul, in the last few months, has really done some exceptionally quick times. Full credit to him, it’s a different concept.

‘I love the challenge of high-end speed sailing. I would love to get back into that next year, when there will be more time.’

‘During this year of being Australian of the Year, I have tried during the last few months to get out on a Saturday afternoon, which has been very good although we haven’t had great weather in Melbourne. It has been a pretty quiet year for sailing but it has been wonderful to get up here to Lake Macquarie and I feel, just in my body, a 100 percent better than I did when I arrived.

‘While this last year has been short on sailing and long on functions where I've made a speech as Australian or the Year, with hundreds of interactions, across Australia, I have learnt many things but probably the most profound thing, not so much that I have learnt but had confirmed, is all about an index many people in Australia don’t know much about.

‘There is a thing called the World Giving Index and we are often prone to put ourselves down in this country for all sorts of reasons but Australians is equal number one on the World Giving Index with New Zealand.

‘The question is ‘What is the World Giving Index all about?’

‘It asks three questions of 150 different nations. Firstly does the typical citizen in the last thirty days, given something to a charitable organisation? In the last thirty days have they volunteered their time? In the last thirty days, and this is the question I like best, have they said hello to a stranger?

‘We are number one in the world and that surprises a lot of people.

‘I think we actually take it for granted that deep down the average Aussie is a really, really decent person. I have seen this year, criss-crossing the country from Perth to Gladstone but in particular having been invited by so many community organisations to talk at various functions, why this is the case.

‘This country is full of down to earth Aussies that are doing their bit. Often in the newspapers we see the more sensationalist or ugly side or celebrity side of life. Let me tell you that the average Aussie is really actually a decent person, for example like the volunteers at Wangi Sailing Club where are here today, people who just get up on a Saturday morning and say ‘well today’s the day I am going to just make something happen’.

‘Australians are good at volunteering and the average Aussie is pretty good at giving money too, if you talk to Tim Costello at World Vision. It’s a very large charity and they have a good understanding of who is giving what in this country. He says the average Aussie, compared to his/her counterparts around the world, are actually quite generous but it is the high end that we have got to encourage. It’s important that the high end gives as well because it is showing, if you like, leadership.

‘When it gets to the more privileged members of the community and giving of money, that's the area we miserably fall down on. We have 35 billionaires and there are many billionaires, starting with Bill Gates in the US, who are just downright generous. They have made it and in Gates case he is committed to give 90% of his wealth away before he dies. We need to see the same think happening here.

‘But back to sailing.

‘I have (almost) been an almost a lifelong member of McCrae Yacht Club in Victoria so I’ve certainly had more than forty years observing what a local sporting club can do for families, for kids and for adults like me.

‘In particular, I have seen probably dozens and dozens of teenagers come through that club. It doesn’t happen all the time and I may be a bit judgmental here, but I reckon there have been quite a few that had come through that might have gone either way in life and actually could have ended up leading somewhat negative lives for whatever reasons.

'But sailing was a reason; they saw purpose, they saw issues and learned about taking responsibility for themselves, decision making, getting along with people etc.

‘This year I have had this amazing year of travelling the country and just talking and talking but I have been invited on two or three occasions to talk to sporting clubs. I’ve always made this point - a sporting club is bigger than just providing excellence in a sporting competition. It is actually often doing an incredibly important task for the local community.

‘It’s better to learn a tough lesson as a 16 year old with adults around you, rather than either by yourself or with a whole bunch of other immature 16 year olds, and that's the good thing about sporting clubs in that you have many different age groups all working together. ‘

In part 2 of this interview Simon McKeon talks about the America’s Cup and A-Cats.

In part 3 of this interview its kids sailing, Olympics and the media.




by Sail-World.com Team

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=92897&go=060940

6:34 AM Sun 15 Jan 2012 GMT






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


News - USA and the World

Audi Melges 20 North American Championship - Tortoises, and the hare by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association
Racking up wins across North America including the U.S. Nationals, Canadian National Championship and most recently the Pacific Coast Championship, Gomes Neto has remained unfazed and is heading into their biggest challenge yet with a stacked fleet this coming weekend on San Francisco Bay. ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - On-line entry will open on November 10, 2014 mocr.ussailing.org/!here!new. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is December 5, 2014. Entries must be received no later than January 5, 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

Having won the first race of the 2014 Melges Worlds in Lake Garda and finishing in high in the overall standings, Liam, with team Wildman, Stephanie Roble on strategy, Erik Shampain on trim, Steve Hunt on main and tactics, turns his focus to the 2014 Melges 20 North Americans running this week on San Francisco Bay and the 2015 Audi Melges 20 Worlds coming to SF Bay next year. ... [more]  

Team Vestas Wind's On Board Reporter, Brian Carlin, compiled an interesting gallery of images during the crew's delivery voyage and race qualifier. These are not the usual shots we have come to expect from the Volvo Ocean Race but rather some very clever and outstanding camera work. ... [more]  

It’s back to work for Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, at the Extreme Sailing Series, Nice. After taking a week off after their win at the 49er world championships in Spain and now they’re at Nice, France, for another hectic few days at the Extreme Sailing Series. ... [more]  

With light winds continuing to dominate on day six of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, the decision was made to begin the Reno SUP Challenge during the afternoon, which saw twelve teams battling it out in heats of two for a place in tomorrow’s final, to keep the crowds entertained. ... [more]  

Three America's Cup sailors have been named in the top 20 sports earners, in a list published in the New Zealand Herald this week. Topping the list is Sir Russell Coutts with a claimed earnings of $13million. He is just a $1million ahead of an English Premier League player, Winston Reid, and motor racing ace, Scott Dixon. All Black captain, Ritchie McCaw is ranked #5. ... [more]  

Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for day three of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these stunning images of the action. ... [more]  

Melges 32 World Championship - Prepare for off-the-charts action by International Melges 32 Class Association
Entering its sixth World Championship season, the International Melges 32 Class Association has raced at arguably every world-class venue on the globe, has seen the most respected pro and amateur sailors on its courses and most importantly, learned valuable lessons of what owners and sailors want so that the Melges 32 continues to be strongest one design grand prix sportboat on the planet. ... [more]  

The IFDS Rankings for Paralympic Classes have been released. It's a British 1-2 at the top of the 2.4mR Rankings with Megan Pascoe at world number one and Helena Lucas at world number two. 2014 World Champion Heiko Kroger (GER) sits at world number seven but counts less regattas than those above him. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

Platu 25 World Championship - Euz II Monella Vagabonda wins again
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez - Day 1 action shots by Ingrid Abery
U.S. Team Racing Championship - Ladies and Gentlemen victorious +Video
National Sailing Hall of Fame inducts eight
2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Bid guidelines now published
Volvo Ocean Race: Last medical training for the onboard sailors +Video
2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship - Images by Erik Simonson
J/105 North American Champs- Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin succeeds
Extreme Sailing Series: Burling and Tuke back on board for Nice Act
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai   
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best   
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad   
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final   
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall   
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature   
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.   
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   


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