David Forbes and John Jeremy make Australia Day Honours List

The Chairman of the Australia Day Regatta Management Committee John Jeremy and Olympic yachting gold medallist David Forbes have been honoured in the 2015 Australia Day Honours List.

John Jeremy has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the preservation and celebration of naval and maritime history, David Forbes awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to yachting.

Both are active and successful yachtsman, Jeremy helming his East Coast 31 Tingari in Division 3 of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron harbour fleet, the 80-year-old Forbes skippering his ocean racer Merlin, a Kaiko 52, to 16th IRC overall and fourth in IRC Division 2 of the recent 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.  Both are members of the RSYS while John is also a director and past Commodore of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club.

Appropriately, John was able to celebrate his AM award yesterday aboard HMAS Canberrra,  flagship of the 179th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour,  where he co-hosted a luncheon for vice-regal, civic, defence force and yacht club representatives to watch the regatta and other maritime activities.

A naval architect, John was the last Chief Executive Officer of Cockatoo Island Dockyard and since his retirement has devoted countless hours of voluntary work to many aspects of naval and maritime history as well as serving on many maritime and yachting organisations, including the Navy League and Naval Historical Society of Australia

John is a Life Member of the Australian National Maritime Museum, a Council member of the Australian Register of Historic Vessels and a past President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, Australian Division as well as an active member of many other organisations associated with ships and the sea.

In yachting, John Jeremy has been a director of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club since 1978, including a term as Commodore. As Chairman of the Australia Day Regatta Management Committee since 2005 he has made a huge contribution to the ongoing success of the regatta as the focal point of aquatic celebrations on the Harbour on January 26 each year.

David Forbes is one of Australia’s most successful but modest yachtsmen, a world champion, Olympic gold medallist and an Australian representative in major international yachting events.  Since starting his sailing in dinghies at Avalon Sailing Club on Pittwater he has won ten Australian championships in a range of dinghy and one-design keelboat classes.

Notably, David steered the Star class yacht to victory in the 1972 Munich Olympics becoming,  along with John Cuneo in the Dragon class,  Australia’s first Olympic sailing gold medal winning helmsmen. He had previously represented Australia in the Stars at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, placing sixth, and in 1976 he was helmsman of the Soling class yacht at the Montreal Games, placing 11th.   

In 1970 won the world championship in the International 5.5 metre class and the same year was mainsheet hand on Australia’s America’s Cup challenger, Gretel, at Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1974 David was the principal helmsman on the ocean racing yacht Love and War in winning the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.  He was a  member of Australia’s Admiral’s Cup team on six occasions and maintains his interest in ocean racing, skippering Merlin in its fourth Sydney Hobart,  his own 16th race.

David Forbes was Australian Yachtsman of the Year for 1972-73 and has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

– Peter Campbell

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