Remembering Ralph Roberts

21 Mar

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the passing of our Club President and Olympian #148 Ralph Roberts early on Sunday morning.

Sailing was one of Ralph’s greatest passions from a young age and starting to sail with us at our Bayswater site was the beginning of an extraordinary yachting career that included

  • Winning his first national title at the age of 19 in the Z class in 1954
  • Multiple national championship titles in the Finn, Flying Dutchman and Soling classes
  • Finishing 6th in the Finn class at the 1960 Rome Olympics
  • Selection as a reserve sailor for the 1964 Japan Olympics
  • Sailing in the Flying Dutchman class with Geoff Smale in the 1968 Olympics finishing 8th
  • Managing the NZ Olympic Yachting Team in the United States in 1984
  • Appointment to the Olympic Sailing Jury in Pusan, South Korea, in the 1988 Olympics
  • Appointment as Chef de Mission in 1990 for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona
  • Serving as President of the then NZ Yachting Federation from 1986-89 and for a second term on the Yachting New Zealand Board from 2006-2012. In 2010, he was made a Life Member of Yachting New Zealand
  • Receiving an MBE in 1993 for services to yachting and sport
  • Receiving the Olympic Order of New Zealand by Dr Jacque Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, in 2011
  • Life Member of Takapuna Boating Club


Ralph’s contribution to Takapuna Boating Club was invaluable. He dedicated much of his time to working tirelessly as Takapuna Boating Club’s Commodore and President, being heavily involved with the club, both at Bayswater and Takapuna, throughout his life.


Until recently, many of you will have seen Ralph regularly here at the club on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. I believe his love of sailing and sport never faded. On a more personal note, Ralph was a great mentor for me and I am going to miss my talks with him. His friendship and guidance for me have been invaluable.


Our condolences go out to Ralph’s wife Penny and his family.


Ralph’s funeral will be at the St Mary’s-Holy-Trinity Church in Parnell on Friday 24 March at 11.00am.


James Jordan


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