Geoff Smale pictured at last year's OKI 24 Hour Race Richard Gladwell
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 13 April 2011
Sad news on Monday afternoon with the finding of the wreckage of 1968 Sailor of the Year, Geoff Smale's microlight plane in the top end of the South Island and his body nearby.
In this edition of Sail-World we have updated our continuing story of his last flight and search along with a look back at his extremely active life and many achievements.
Along with long-time crew, Ralph Roberts, their win in the 1958 Prince of Wales Trophy in UK was a significant turning point for the sport, more so than Peter Mander and Jack Cropp's Gold medal two years earlier, because the PoW win had New Zealand sailors working together as a team in a class.
That ethic flowed into the then new Flying Dutchman class, and led to the development of the most competitive fleet in the world in New Zealand. The same team ethic flowed into the 470 class a decade or so later, resulting in three world championship wins for New Zealand sailors, and the launch of many professional sailing careers. Every time this team development ethic has developed in a class in NZ we have seen the result in Olympic medals and world championship wins.
AC45 heads down the mine - see the videos in this edition Oracle Racing - copyright
Geoff was one of those people who really enjoyed life, and sailing in particular, and always had a smile on his face and ready laugh. That external visage hid an incredible intellect and self taught command of engineering principles which he applied to many situations.
In this edition of Sail-World, we try to capture the essence of this remarkable man who contributed so much to so many aspects of the sport.
Our condolences to his many friends and family.
Megan Reeves, partner of skipper Chris Nicholson, pours champagne over the bow of Emirates Team NZ's Volvo 70.
Many thanks to those who have contributed to this edition, particularly those using our online submission and image loading facility which can be accessed by clicking here
We'll be taking what will hopefully be a short break from Sail-World for minor surgery.
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