A mover and shaker on the Melbourne sailing scene, sailing entrepreneur, Kevin WOOD, was honoured with Life Membership at Sandringham Yacht Club's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, July 13.
Wood is the long-time Chairman of Sail Melbourne, Australia's only ISAF Grade 1 event and one of the world's most respected and successful Olympic and World Championship regattas. He is currently also an instrumental force on the Organizing Committee for the Volvo Ocean Race Melbourne Stopover.
In a long history of successful sailing, both behind the scenes and on the water, Wood's career included a stint as Commodore of Sandringham Yacht Club, a position that normally runs for a two-year term (as per the SYC Constitution), but following his two year's, it was agreed that Wood should stand for a further year - an honour within itself - and showing the confidence and regard in which he is held.
Wood's Life Membership was well received by the many members in attendance at the SYC Annual General Meeting; and in accepting this accolade, an emotional Wood said, "I love my sailing and I love my Club,"
adding later, "I felt so very honoured, I was caught short for words."
Nominated by respected veteran ocean racing champion, Lou ABRAHAMS and Seconded by well known yachting identity Ross LLOYD, whose proposal was consequently approved by a panel of Life Members, Wood's contribution to sailing over the years reads like a who's who of sailing.
Joining SYC in 1984, after membership at Chelsea Yacht Club, Changi Keel Boat Squadron and Royal Brighton Yacht Club, he was elected to the SYC Sail Committee in 1995 and from there, moved into the role of Vice Commodore.
From 1999 to 2002, Wood served as Commodore of the Club. During this period he instigated the highly successful Port Phillip Corporate Challenge, held annually at the club since 1995, with proceeds going to the Yachting Support Foundation. He was directly involved in the establishment of the Sail Boat Show, held at SYC each year and now one of the best events of it's kind in Australia.
At the request of the Victorian Government, he took on the responsibility of Championship Director for the inaugural 1999 World Sailing Championships held on Port Phillip Bay and since then has been Chairman of the Sail Melbourne International Regatta Management Committee.
In this period, Wood also established the Victorian Youth Match Racing Championships, which attracts competitors from yacht clubs all over Australia and New Zealand. This entrepreneur also initiated the inaugural Commonwealth Sailing Championships, in his attempts to have sailing included at the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
Wood is an elected Yachting Australia representative to ISAF, and sits on the Regional Games Committee. He was also a member of the 2003 Tasaki Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race Committee, and in this capacity, developed the Race Crisis Management Plan for this event. During his term as Commodore at SYC, this competitive yachtsman provided the vision and impetus in establishing the Facilities Master Plan to develop our club into the future. The results of Stage One have changed the face of Sandringham Yacht Club, resulting in a truly world-class facility, spoken highly of by competitors, officials and media alike.
Sandringham's 'Off the Beach Sailing Centre' has not suffered either; Wood saw to the development of the Sailing School and encouraged the growth of the important Optimist fleet.
Sailing wise, Wood has owned and actively sailed from SYC with various keelboats including; Celia, Midnight Magic, Wet n Infamous, Local Hero and currently with his Beneteau 40.7, Ticket of Leave.
He has represented the club in numerous events and has been part of the locally winning teams in the Association Cup and Geelong Advertiser trophy.
Wins also include the Petersville Regatta, Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, Geelong Festival of Sail series, ORCV Lord Warden series, Australian Offshore Keelboat Championships, SYC Club Championships and many other events too numerous to mention.
A true mover and shaker in our industry, Wood has, over the years, introduced many younger members of the club to keelboat racing by offering them opportunity to sail with him on his various yachts.
He is a committed club member, who through his positive attitude and enthusiastic demeanour, has contributed above and beyond to the life of the club and its development - his Life Membership well deserved.