The Queen’s Birthday Honours annually recognises the nation’s finest leaders, entertainers, researchers, sports stars and local heroes. Among the 673 recognized on the 2017 list included several notables from the sailing community for their contribution to our sport.
One of Australia’s most accomplished sailors, Sydney Fischer OBE, has been recognised as a Member (AM) in the General Division for significant service to sailing as a yachtsman and international competitor, and as a mentor to young sailors.
Since he started sailing in the early 1960s, Syd has competed locally, nationally and internationally and is one of the most adept and awarded sailors in Australia. His on-water achievements are unlikely to be repeated; 48 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races taking handicap honours in 1992 and line honours in 1998 and 1990; won the CYCA Blue Water Point Score nine times; taken the Admiral’s Cup eight times, seven as Team Captain; won Kenwood Cups and Southern Cross Cups and taken on the Transpac Race from California to Hawaii.
Syd self-funded five America’s Cup campaigns, the same number as the legendary Sir Thomas Lipton. He has been a great coach and mentor to many sailors during their careers and James Spithill and Iain Murray are two of the Australians who have benefited from Syd’s interest in their careers, as they continue to further their accomplishments in Bermuda.
Australian Sailing board member, Chairman and former Managing Director of Ronstan and active Club member Alistair Murray has been recognised as a Member (AM) in the General Division for significant service to sailing, as a supporter of young sports people, and to the marine manufacturing and export industry.
For many decades, Alistair has supported sailing with his extensive experience in the international marine and export markets through Ronstan, which he joined in 1976.
Alistair has served on many Boards and Committees including Sail Melbourne, Volvo Ocean Race Stopover, Yachting Victoria and currently Australian Sailing and has been an enthusiastic sailing ambassador in Australia and internationally. He has been a passionate supporter of the Australian Sailing Team and encouraged many young sailors in their sailing careers.
“Sailing is very fortunate to have so many great servants who have contributed to our sport over many years,” noted Australian Sailing President Matt Allen. “Syd’s unwavering passion for sailing, whether it is competing, funding campaigns or encouraging and developing sailors and crews, his enthusiasm never wavers and he remains a true gentleman and outstanding representative of our sport.
“Alistair has also been a great ambassador for sailing, particularly overseas with his business relationships in the marine industry and exporting, while never losing his love of sailing locally and encouraging young sailors and newcomers. He is an engaged member of the sailing community in Victoria and we are grateful for his ongoing contribution.
“We also congratulate Commander Richard Tighe who has been heavily involved in Tall Ships, Young Endeavour and in particular, the Australia-Britain Society and in Victoria, Rex Fettell has been recognised for his development and contribution to the Minnow and Sabre communities, where he still enthusiastically attends events.
“I would also like to acknowledge Roger Hickman who passed away last year and has been recognised. Roger was a great teacher of sailing and seamanship to many. He always enjoyed being at sea and had an endless number of stories to tell late at night to keep the sprits up of the whole crew. If you were ever in a storm, the person you wanted to have on board was Roger. Roger always had a plan B when things were not going as originally planned. He was a consummate sailor, wonderful mentor and friend to many and this is a fabulous recognition of him and for his family and many friends.”
MEMBER (AM) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION
Mr Sydney Fischer OBE, Mosman NSW
For significant service to sailing as a yachtsman and international competitor, and as a mentor to young sailors.
Mr Alistair Murray, Beaumaris Vic
For significant service to sailing, as a supporter of young sports people, and to the marine manufacturing and export industry.
MEDAL (OAM) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION
Mr Norman Rex Fettell, Burwood Vic.
For service to sailing.
The late Mr Roger James Hickman, Late of Milsons Point NSW
For service to sailing.
Mr Richard Francis Tighe RFD RD, Fairlight NSW
For service to sailing, to youth development, and to the community.