Yachting News » Of Interest » Tributes Flow for Australian Yachting Legend Lou Abrahams, Dead at 86

Tributes Flow for Australian Yachting Legend Lou Abrahams, Dead at 86

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A humble man, an honest fighter - you need to be to do 44 Hobarts - Abrahams  has been remembered as a sailing icon who helped lay the foundations for  Australia's modern dominance of the sport.

The stubble-bearded Melburnian began his career in 1963 as bowman aboard  Winston Churchill, an appropriate yacht for a sailor who went on to display  bulldog spirit in just about everything he did.

''He should have died years earlier because he had every ailment known to man  - but he was a fighter,'' his close friend Rohan Simpson said. ''The majority of  us would say, 'Oh, it's all just too hard.' But that's not how he was.''

Simpson, who completed 20 Sydney-Hobarts with Abrahams, recalls the deadly 1998 race in which big Victorian policeman Garry Schipper went overboard.  Schipper was hit by a huge wave and flew like a rag doll into the sea.

There was no moon, no help and little hope. But with Abrahams leading his crew aboard  Challenger Again, Schipper was rescued inside 10 minutes, a  remarkable feat in such treacherous seas.

''I knew him as every yachtsman does, as a true gentleman and a sailing  legend,'' said Cruising Yacht Club of Australia  commodore Howard Piggott.

Before sailing, Abrahams had been involved with motor racing, demonstrating  the early signs of his flair and appetite for dangerous adventure.

But the ocean became his passion and he went on to win the Sydney-Hobart in  1983 and 1989 before quitting in 2007, aged 80.

Both the CYCA and Abrahams' local club, Sandringham Yacht Club are planning  memorials

Original story by Miles Godfrey for the WA Times via Google News


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