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 20 Oct 2011

Sail-World New Zealand: 19 October 2011

Tony Bouzaid after winning the prestigious Saunders Cup in 1963  
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for 19 October 2011

We are sorry to have to report the passing of former New Zealand Sailor of the Year, Tony Bouzaid, last Sunday night.

He died suddenly en route to Auckland Hospital from his home on his beloved Great Barrier Island.

Tony was the son of top Auckland sailmaker and waterfront identity Leo Bouzaid, who began Sails and Covers, after John Burns (now Burnsco) closed their sailmaking division. Growing the venture into Auckland leading sail loft.

Tony and his brother Chris were born in Auckland, moving to Norfolk Island after their parents marriage split, then going to Brisbane before Tony returned to New Zealand at the age of 15 years. A few years later, Leo took sons Chris and Tony into the family business.

On Leo's sudden death, Chris and Tony took over the loft. Both were still in their teens. The two split their sailing careers to cover separate fields. You always buy sails off a successful sailor don't you? It worked.

Chris made his mark with the One Tonners in Rainbow II winner of the One Ton Cup, arguably the most prestigious trophy in sailing behind the America's Cup, while Tony made his mark in small boats. Winning the Saunders Cup in 1963 sailing the three man X-class, and again in 1967 crewing for Don Lidgard before moving into 12ft skiffs - building the then radical foam and glass Query with Don Lidgard again as skipper.

Don Lidgard (left) and Tony Bouzaid (right) lift the foam and glass 12fter, Query.  

They went on to win the Interdominion 12ft skiff Championship for the Silasec Trophy in 1967/68, following this with a win in the JJ Giltinan Trophy in 1972, again sailing a foam and glass hull, Smirnoff, with Don Lidgard as the skipper and brother Jim Lidgard, the third crew member from the Saunders Cup win in 1967 .

From the skiffs Tony Bouzaid moved into the Half Ton keelboats, commissioning the Laurie Davidson Waverider, which twice won the World Half Ton Cup in Poole England (1977) and Scheveningen, Netherlands in 1978. He had previously finished fourth in the same event in Sydney in 1977.

Mal and Tony Bouzaid  
Tony Bouzaid was awarded the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy in 1979, for the New Zealand yachtsman of the Year followed by his brother Chris in 1980.

The family firm of Sails and Covers became part of the Hood Sails empire. With bother Chris moving to USA to become President of Hood Sails. Tony stayed in New Zealand founding Structureflex which opened the then new area of flexible tanks and structures. The company is now described as being a world leader, specialising in the design and build of custom tensioned membrane structures, winning numerous international awards.

In 1992, Tony Bouzaid moved to Great Barrier Island where he and his wife ran a very popular guest house, FitzRoy House, at the same time he became very active in conservation and restoration of the surrounding land, initiating several projects. The most notable of these is the Glenfern Sanctuary project which offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience native wildlife on Great Barrier Island.

Waverider, a former Half Ton Cup winner for NZL, in her original colours, is still racing - and competed at the Half Ton Classic Cup in Cowes earlier this year.  Event Media

The Sanctuary is part of 230ha Kotuku Peninsula in the north of Great Barrier Island between Port FitzRoy and Port Abercrombie and is the result of 20 years hard work with over 10,000 native trees planted, an extensive track network and a swing bridge which enables visitors to climb into the crown of a 600 year old kauri tree.

A feature of the Sanctuary is the construction of a predator proof fence across the peninsula in 2008 and a pest eradication programme in 2009 eliminated the pests. It provides a safe habitat for many endangered native species including the black petrel and brown teal also the kaka and chevron skink and the recently introduced North Island robin.

Glenfern Sanctuary showing the fence and FitzRoy House  

Tony Bouzaid was also passionate about the cruising environment, particularly around the Great Barrier Island and Hauraki Gulf, and the preservation this treasure in its natural state for generations to enjoy.

He emailed his concerns a few weeks ago in early September: 'The proposed new legislation on aquaculture is going to affect the whole Gulf but more particularly Port FitzRoy by making it very simple to get licenses for marine farms to the detriment of recreational boating. Already an aquaculture zone 3 km x 1 km has been approved in the Firth off the coast of Coromandel almost on the track of the Te Kouma race!

The target of Bouzaid's new campaign - the insidious creep of mussel farms and aquaculture, in the Hauraki Gulf. The National Government's objective is to take four times the current area for sea farming and is pushing through legislation to achieve that objective.  Christine Hansen

'This was passed on 'Urgency' without any opposition submissions called for. As you know we have six mussel farms in Port FitzRoy now with a potential 10 more waiting for the legislation to be enacted. Port FitzRoy could become another Marlborough Sound with every anchorage filled with mussel farms except we are a lot smaller with a far greater density of recreational boats on the doorstep.'

Tony Bouzaid was a quiet achiever, who said little and did a lot.

In all of his projects, going right back to the then radical 12fter Query, Tony showed a lot of vision and achieved outstanding success.

Our condolences to his many friends and family.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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