Vale John Neilson
The ORCV received the sad news this week of the passing of a popular and well known Ocean Racing competitor John Neilson. Well known to the Spirit of Downunder and Tevake crews, John recently helped delivery Spirit of Downunder back from Osaka.
John was found in the water near his boat De Ja Blue in the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) Marina, it was a great shock to all concerned. A member of HBYC since 1989, John had a successful racing career skippering De Ja Blue to a Sovereign Series win in 2002 where he won the Melbourne to Hobart in AMS and PHS. We believe he also won a Rudder Cup Bass Strait Series (Cock of the Bay, Melbourne to Devonport/Rudder Cup and Top of the Island races) but are unsure which year or the details. We would be happy to hear from members to clarify or have results from those days. UPDATE: Angus Fletcher has confirmed from paper copies of the 2004/05 ORCV Year Book that John won the Rudder Cup on De Ja Blue in 1999 (thanks Angus). Similarly anyone with photos of John and his yacht sailing is asked to forward to the ORCV or Spirit of Downunder crew to assist with funeral preparations.
Former ORCV Commodore Angus Fletcher recalled John being an exceptional sailor. When John was ON watch he excelled and was the only ocean race crew member he knew that when he was OFF watch to be well and truly OFF watch. He could sleep though anything. One Devonport race on Tevake they had finished the race, packed up the sails, engine on, motored up the Mersey river to MYC, tied up and John slept thought all that noise. It wasn’t until the top of the first can got opened that John woke from his slumber.
Many of our members recall John’s very distinctive Scottish accent over marine radio during yacht position reporting schedules. Many will also know John’s sons Paul and Stephen who have competed in many races. The ORCV pays our respect to John and our thoughts are with his family and friends.
The funeral of John Neilson will be held at the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club on Tuesday 17th July at 3.00pm.