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23 December 2002, 11:13 am
Life of Captain Stan Darling to be Commemorated
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Sydney, NSW

The ashes of Captain Stan Darling OBE, DSC and two bars, VRD, RANR, a Second World War Naval hero and one of Australia's most famous yachting navigators, will be scattered from HMAS Seal, just prior to the start.
Family and friends of the 95 year old, who competed in 27 Sydney Hobart Races and who passed away last month, will join the Minister for Veterans Affairs Danna Vale, who is representing the Prime Minister.

Navy representatives include the senior Navy chaplain Brian Rayner and a bugler who will play The Last Post as part of the formal ceremony, which will take place off Sydney Heads at approximately 12.25pm.

As a mark of respect, the entire fleet of 57 boats competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will also fly a black ribbon from the cap shroud for the 1.00pm start on Boxing Day. This is the first time this has happened in the event's 58-year history.

Stan Darling, the first officer to reach the rank of Captain in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross three times for gallantry, a rare honour.

A member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1948, Darling had a long association in ocean racing with the Halvorsen brothers, Trygve and Magnus, and with the late Jack Rooklyn, navigating yachts in Australian and international events.

He navigated most of the Halvorsen's five Sydney Hobart Race winning yachts including the triple race winner, Freya, and in 1953 skippered their boat, Solveig, to victory when the brothers both fell ill on the eve of the race.

In all, Stan Darling sailed in 27 Sydney Hobarts between 1947 and 1982 and is still the most successful navigator in the history of the race, with overall handicap wins on Solveig (1954), Anitra (1957), Freya (1963 and 1964) and Pacha (1971) and a line honours win aboard Ballyhoo in 1976.

He was a key member of early Australian teams challenging for the Admiral's Cup, his wartime knowledge of the English Channel and The Solent proving invaluable with Australia finishing second in 1965 and winning in 1967.

Born and raised in Tasmania, Stan worked for the ABC in Hobart (and later in Sydney) and joined the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve (as it was then known), learning celestial navigation and seamanship.

In 1940, soon after the outbreak of World War II, Stan was seconded to the Royal Navy where he spent the duration of the war serving aboard and commanding a variety of small RAN ships, mainly in action again German U-boats.

After the War he was promoted to Captain and became Commanding Officer of HMAS Rushcutters in Sydney, just down the road from the CYCA, which he joined in 1948.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Media/ISAF Secretariat
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