Squadron Member, prominent sailor both offshore and inshore and sailing administrator David Kellett AM has been awarded Australian Sailing Life Membership. David is the twelfth person in the organisation’s seventy years to be awarded this honour, and the first since 2016.
David was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing, specifically as a competitor and administrator of the sport in Australia and abroad.
He has served as an Executive Board Member of ISAF (and was the first Australian to be elected to this office) and amongst other roles has also served as Treasurer of World Sailing from 2008 to 2012.
“You can’t go from Thailand to Argentina without stumbling across someone who has been impacted by David,” Australian Sailing President Daniel Belcher said. “So many sailing communities around the world have been improved thanks to David.”
“On behalf of the Board of Australian Sailing, I would like to congratulate David on this honour. David has been the preeminent yachting administrator for our generation. His contribution to the sport spans decades and has not only had huge impacts a home but also right around the globe.”
“I’m extremely honoured,” Kellett said. “You don’t expect these kinds of things when you are contributing to the sport you enjoy. Having been involved with Australian Sailing for well over 30 years I know they don’t give out Life Membership every year I am extremely grateful.”
Kellett has also been heavily involved with the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the first of his 45 Hobarts coming in 1965. Along the way he has skippered maxis including Gretel, Vengeance, Sovereign, Condor, Maxi Raggamuffin, Matador and Sydney, and has taken out line honours on several occasions. In what Kellett described as his sailing career highlight, he assisted with the design and build of Sovereign in 1987 and skippered the maxi to be the first Australian to win the Line Honour/Handicap double.
“Sailing has been a part of my life since I was a boy and I was very fortunate to sail with mentors from such young age,” Kellett said. “They were all very involved in sailing and taught me you should give back to the sport, so it was something I adopted from a young age.”
Kellett’s primary focal achievement is his contribution to the sport of sailing, which has been recognised at the highest level, World Sailing’s Beppe Croce Award in 2014. Sadly, he had to retire from professional offshore sailing in 2000 due to medical issues but he has continued to represent the CYCA as the lead of the SHYR Radio Relay team since 2000.