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Fair Seas – Sir James Hardy OBE

Fair Seas – Sir James Hardy OBE

Fair Seas – Sir James Hardy OBE

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of a true gentleman and one of Australia’s finest sailors.

Sir James Hardy OBE crossed the bar early yesterday in Royal Adelaide Hospital, dying peacefully surrounded by his family.

Sir James had been a Member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) since 1971, celebrating his 50th anniversary in 2021. Last year, he was honoured as an inductee into the CYCA Hall of Fame.

His contributions to the Club over five decades have been enormous – through financial support, guidance as well as mentoring sailors at all levels.

As one of the first committee members of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy, he played a key role in establishing the YSA, which has become an institution of our Club and is now heralded around the world. The YSA has produced scores of elite sailors who have excelled at Olympics, Word Championships, Volvo Ocean Races, America’s Cups and other major events. As importantly, the YSA has introduced thousands of Australians and their families to the sport.

A successful sailor himself from an early age, Sir James was Australian champion in the 12 square-metre Sharpie class in 1959, Flying Dutchman class in 1964 and was World 505 champion in 1966.

He represented Australia in two Olympic Games, skippered three America’s Cup challenges and competed in four Admiral’s Cups.

His name is deeply etched in the history of the America’s Cup, having competed as crew, then skipper aboard Gretel in 1967, skipper of Gretel II in 1970, Southern Cross in 1974, Australia in 1980 and as relief skipper and advisor to John Bertrand for Australia II’s win in 1983.

As helmsman aboard Impetuous in the 1979 Admiral’s Cup, Sir James assisted the Australian team in winning the prestigious trophy for the CYCA.

In recognition of his contribution to sailing and the community, Sir James was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1975 and knighted for his services to yachting in 1981.

He was then inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in ’94 and was awarded the Australian Sport Medal in 2000.

The CYCA will forever be indebted to Sir James for what he has contributed to our Club and to sailing in general – leaving a legacy that continues today. He had been a regular visitor to the clubhouse as well as attending our various events and regattas to spend time amongst the sailing community that was clearly so dear to him.

Rest in peace. Our thoughts and condolences are with Lady Hardy (Joan), David and Richard and with his many friends in yachting.