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One of the driving forces behind team racing at a top Auckland school was killed on Friday night

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 23 Oct 2023 14:50 PDT 24 October 2023
Coastal Classic: Part of the 2023 fleet await the start of the 2023 Coastal Classic © Richard Gladwell - Sail-World.com/nz

The crew member who was killed while racing in the 2023 Coastal Classic has been named as Simon Smith, a teacher of 35yrs standing at Westlake Boys High School, who was the driving force behind the school's very successful sailing team.

"Coastguard attended and we were subsequently notified that the person had died, and the matter has been referred to the Coroner," said a Police spokesperson on Saturday morning.

The sailor was named on Monday as Simon Smith, a past-pupil and history teacher at the top Boys school. Simon Smith was the driving force behind the Westlake Boys High School sailing team. Many of New Zealand's top sailors at America's Cup and Olympic level sailed for the WBHS team.

The incident happened before the yacht rounded Cape Brett at the entrance to the Bay of Islands.

On Saturday, NZ Coastguard Bay of Islands advised:

Overnight, Coastguard volunteers aboard Kokako Rescue from Coastguard Bay of Islands found themselves thrust into action while conducting night time training on the water. At 11:29 PM, they were unexpectedly tasked to respond to a distress call from a yacht racing in the Bay of Islands.

A crew member on board the yacht had been struck by the boom, rendering them unconscious and necessitating immediate medical attention.

Ayden Armitage, Coastguard volunteer crew onboard Kokako Rescue explained that their training coinciding with the Coastal Classic was a strategic decision and significantly reduced their response time.

Upon reaching the yacht at shortly after 0100hrs one of our crew boarded with a medical kit including a defibrillator. Sadly, the individual passed away.

The other sailors on the yacht were assessed including two who had sustained moderate injuries.

Kokako Rescue accompanied the yacht back to Opua, arriving shortly before 0400hrs.

Armitage conveyed their condolences, saying, "Our thoughts are with the whanau of the sailor and their fellow crew members who were on board at the time."

Sail-World extends our condolences to Simon's family, and those involved in the incident, and Westlake Boys High School.

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