Death of Gordon Marshall

Gordon Marshall, one of the most influential figures in ocean yacht racing in Australia and overseas, died on April 25, 2001

Wednesday May 2nd 2001, Author: Peter Campbell, Location: United Kingdom
Gordon Marshall, one of the most influential figures in ocean yacht racing in Australia and overseas from the early 1970s through to the early 1990s, died on April 25, 2001, in Perth to where he had retired six years ago.
A Life Member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, former Rear Commodore, Chairman of the Sailing Committee, Race Director of the Sydney to Hobart and Southern Cross Cup, and long-time IOR, then IMS Chief Measurer for NSW, Gordon’s forthright and sometimes controversial, but far-sighted views, extended beyond the CYCA.

His words and actions placed the CYCA to the forefront internationally as a driving force for yacht stability and sound construction and thus, safety and seaworthiness. The Club became one of the most respected ocean racing clubs in the world.

An engineer by profession, his innovative ideas on navigation and measuring techniques made a great contribution to the sport worldwide. His coastal and celestial navigation courses at the CYCA were famous; for more than two decades he passed on his practical skills, notably the use of the sextant, and later computer programs, to leading Australian and international offshore navigators.

He took great pride in being a Member of the Institute of Navigation while last year saw him being awarded a prestigious Commonwealth Government 2000 Sports Medal. The CYCA had made him a Life Member in 1982 while the Gordon Marshall Trophy is presented to the winner of the Veteran Yacht Division of the annual Sydney to Hobart Race.

Gordon began offshore sailing in the mid-1960s, joining the CYCA in 1969. Within two seasons he had been invited to join the Sailing Committee and in 1973 he was elected to the Board of Directors. Thus began a remarkable career in ocean racing administration that continued through to 1994.

Former CYCA Director and Sailing Committee member during Gordon’s "reign", John Keelty, paid tribute: "I believe that, following in the wake of founding member Merv Davey, Gordon did more for offshore yachting than other CYCA or, indeed, Australian yachting administrator. He put the CYCA on the map in international yachting."

Gordon Marshall retired in 1994 after more than two decades of an almost daily active yachting administrative at the CYCA and as NSW Measurer. He and his wife Judy moved to Perth the following year. Gordon was 79 at the time of his death after a short illness.

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