Please select your home edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 3

Sailing world mourns the loss of Pete Waters at just 47yrs from melanoma

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 25 Nov 2021 18:41 PST 26 November 2021

Pete Waters invariably succeeded at anything he put his mind to - he was a top sailor, rower, rugby player, jazz musician, business owner and husband and father - and even confounded doctors in his fight with skin cancer.

But late last week melanoma succeeded in its battle against Waters. As the family wrote in his death notice death notice printed in the New Zealand Herald, "he gave cancer a good run for its money but it cheated him of his 47th birthday".

Waters was unafraid to share his story with cancer, talking about it in this powerful Melanoma New Zealand video from last year.

“I should have got that mole on my neck checked and cut out the moment I noticed that it looked different, but I was busy, and I just didn’t realise how serious melanoma is or how fast it can spread," he said. "Once it has flown the nest and spread, there’s no putting it back.

“Melanoma can strike any of us, and I’m telling my story in the hope that it will help more people understand how deadly serious it is, and that you just can’t delay going to the doctor to get skin changes checked out. The thing about melanoma is that, if you get it early, it can be treated and you can be cured.

“I’ve spent my life working and playing outside and on the water. I wasn’t careful enough when I was younger."

Waters might have been taken by cancer, but it didn't define him.

He was a successful rower, professional rugby player and played the saxophone in a jazz band but it was in the yachting and boating world that he was probably best known.

Waters owned a marine transportation company - his company was often called on to transport anything from America's Cup boats to superyachts - and also competed at numerous Etchell, Melges 32 and superyacht world championships. He claimed multiple national titles in the Young 88, Farr 1020 and MRX classes and earlier this year was part of the Orion crew who won the 100th Lipton Cup.

"He was ultra successful at anything he put his mind to," said friend and crewmate Andrew Wills, who met Waters at a Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron weekend at Kawau Island about 20 years ago.

"He was someone you always wanted on your team. Only 100 percent was good enough. Even if you weren't going to win the regatta, he would make sure you raced hard in that last race.

"He was also as tough as nails. It was quite unbelievable how hard he fought against his cancer and he survived well beyond what doctors expected. That was him to a T. Any less of a person wouldn't have battled as hard as he did and he did it mostly for his family and friends."

Waters is survived by his wife Alicia and three young children, Buster, Moe and Frankie.

The family often went cruising on their Farr 1020, more often than not alongside other families, and Wills said Waters had an ability to make those around him laugh.

There was even one time when competing in the Auckland to Fiji race that he raced up from down below to help with a sail change, except that he was naked. Needless to say it was one of the crew's slowest changes given the fact those on board couldn't contain their laughter.

"He was a real character," Wills said. "He still had his sense of humour, even towards the end.

"He will be sorely missed and will leave a big hole in a lot of people's hearts. He would want people to learn from his experiences with skin cancer but also about giving it your all."

You can learn more about melanoma and where to get skin checks here

Related Articles

World Sailing recognise Race Officers' service
Two of New Zealand's longest standing race officials have been recognised by World Sailing Two of New Zealand's longest standing race officials John and Linda Parrish, have been recognised by the awarding of a Service Award to John, by World Sailing. Parrish has been involved in six Olympic Games, including last year's in Enoshima. Posted on 13 Jan
Laser World champ coaching at YNZ Opti camps
New ILCA 7 (Laser) world champion Tom Saunders is among the 12 coaches at Opti clinics The Optimist scene is still one of the main breeding grounds for New Zealand's sailors and over the past month nearly 100 youngsters have been learning off world champions, SailGP sailors and world championship-winning coaches. Posted on 13 Jan
Paris 2024: Yachting NZ receives funding boost
Yachting New Zealand gains a funding increase of $425,000 a year over the Toko2020 levels Despite returning from Tokyo2020 with the worst medal tally, since the medal-less 2004 Athens Olympics, Yachting New Zealand has gained a funding increase of $425,000 a year over the Toko2020 levels. Posted on 16 Dec 2021
Yachting NZ: Briefings - Dec 15 - Latest news
Latest Yachting NZ: Briefings for December 15 - Big P class fleets expected.. Keelboats are back.. Latest Yachting NZ: Briefings for December 15 - Big P class fleets expected for Tanner and Tauranga Cups; Keelboats back in action in Auckland after 100days of lockdown; NZSailGP's Erica Dawson podcast and more Posted on 16 Dec 2021
YNZ: Clubs in the Auckland region can go sailing!
Friday is the first day Clubs in the Auckland region can go sailing + other Yachting NZ news A handful of clubs are planning their season opening on Friday, which coincides with the first day of the new Covid Protection Framework (traffic light system). Clubs in the Auckland region being able to offer more activities under the new guidelines Posted on 2 Dec 2021
Roger 'Clouds' Badham - ETNZ's forecaster
Broad Reach Radio: Roger Badham - look at the clouds! Roger ‘Clouds' Badham is one of the world's pre-eminent meteorologists and was also the first person to forecast for yachties and boaties on a fulltime basis. Posted on 15 Nov 2021
Tom Saunders wins Laser/ILCA7 world title
Tom Saunders (NZL) has won the Laser/ILCA7 Worlds - No racing on final day Tom Saunders had planned to be back in New Zealand right now but he's glad he delayed his return because this morning he was crowned Laser world champion. Posted on 10 Nov 2021
Yachting New Zealand: Annual Awards live and free
Yachting New Zealand: Annual Awards to be live and free to air Friday at 6pm The annual awards were due to take place at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on November 12 but will now be screened on our Facebook and YouTube pages at 6pm on November 12 with Jesse Tuke as your host. Posted on 10 Nov 2021
Yachting NZ: NZ leads Laser Worlds in Spain
Tom Saunders leads going into the final day of the Laser world championships in Barcelona New Zealand's Tom Saunders leads going into the final day of the Laser world championships in Barcelona. George Gautrey (NZL) continued his climb up the leaderboard overnight, jumping up to 18th overall. Posted on 9 Nov 2021
Yachting NZ: Saunders in top three at Worlds
Tom Saunders (NZL) has put himself in a strong position with two days remaining. The ILCA7/Laser world championships in Barcelona have not exactly run smoothly, with two of the four days lost to a lack of wind, but Tom Saunders (NZL) has coped well and put himself in a strong position with two days remaining. Posted on 9 Nov 2021
Armstrong-A-Wing-728x90 gif BOTTOMNorth Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERCyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTER