It is with great sadness ISAF reports that Geoffrey Myburgh (RSA), a pioneer in international youth sailing and an ISAF International Judge, Committee member and Silver Medal recipient, has died aged 81.
Geoffrey's passion for sailing, and particularly youth sailing, was manifested both in South Africa and on the international stage. He always had a love of the sea and started his sailing career in 1947 from Kalk Bay on 'Spindrift' a gaff rigged 25 footer designed by Norman Ross of the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC).
Geoffrey started dinghy sailing in 1951 at the Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club (ZVYC) crewing with renowned skippers such as Joyce, Bongers and Burnwood. He represented South Africa at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, finishing ninth in the 5.5 Metre event, and at the Flying Dutchman Worlds in 1958. In addition he competed in his Finn in Sweden and Finland.
Along with his success as a competitor and also as a coach, Geoffrey played a significant role in the administration of the sport, on a local, national and international stage.
He served on the committee of RCYC and very many years on the ZVYC committee becoming Commodore, President and then Patron. He was a member of the International Youth Committee of the IYRU (which became ISAF in 1996) and also served on the IYRU/ISAF Council from 1995 to 1998. He was instrumental in helping to draft the original rules for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, which has gone on to become ISAF's longest running event, set to celebrate it's 40th anniversary in Istanbul this July at the 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship
In 1998 he was awarded an ISAF Long Service Silver Medal. A year earlier he had received the South African Sports Merit Award for his work as a coach.
He became an ISAF International Judge in 1982, a status he continued throughout the rest of his life, and travelled the world in this regard. He was involved in the administration of various classes and was Principal Race Officer and chairman of the Organizing Committees for many major events. When the Lipton Cup Challenge was revived in 1952 Geoffrey sailed for RCYC on 'Sea Swallow' and subsequently competed on many 30 square metres in the event. He was a trustee for the Lipton for some 20 years and when not competing has been chairman of the Jury.
Geoffrey passed away on 2 March 2010. ISAF extends our sincere sympathy and condolences to his wife Helen, three children and five grandchildren.