Vincent Michael Walsh, a 50-year member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, former board member and boat owner, has died, aged 87, sadly missed by his sailing sons: Michael, Mark, Philip and Martin.
Walsh, a property developer who lived in Vaucluse, began his sailing career at the age of 13 as a bailer boy in 12 skiffs at the Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Club.
He moved into offshore racing, initially with a Sparkman & Stephens design Mistral VIII and in 1968 commissioned the Sparkman & Stephens 36-footer Boambillee, a development of the 1968 One Ton Cup winner Rainbow II (Chris Bouzaid, New Zealand). Billy Barnett built her at his McMahon’s Point boatshed; his first cold-moulded wooden ocean racer. She sailed her first Sydney-Hobart race in 1968, placing 24th.
Boambillee scored her first major win in the 90n mile Janzoon Trophy race, around the Tom Thumb Islands, in 1969.
With Ted Kaufman’s Mercedes III and Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin she was a member of the NSW team that in 1969 won the Southern Cross Cup, a contest for three-yacht international and Australian state teams incorporating the Sydney-Hobart race. Boambillee finished seventh on handicap in the Sydney-Hobart race, the concluding event of the Southern Cross Cup.
She was well campaigned through the 1960s by compatible crews including regulars Keith Moss and Frank George.
Vince’s sons Michael and Mark, inspired and encouraged by their father, built successful sailing careers. Michael skippered Prudential to win the J.J.Giltinan international championship for 18ft skiffs in 1989.
Mark crewed in Alan Bond’s 1987 America’s Cup defence program aboard Australia III and Australia IV. Then he went offshore racing with Bond and crewed aboard Bond’s Drumbeat when she won line honours in the 1989 Sydney-Hobart race.
Vince was a member of the Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club for many years and a regular sideline supporter of the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Football Club.
His funeral service will be held at St Mary Magdalene Church, 835 New South Head, Rose Bay, on Tuesday, March 27 at 11am.