(Synopsis of interview March 2020)
David has been involved in radio sailing for over 45 years and this is a snapshot of his story.
David first got into radio model boating in the early 1970s as he and his two sons were very involved in radio power boats. In the late 1970’s David along with others formed the Queensland Model Boat Association (QMBA) and later affiliated with the Australian Model Yachting Association (AMYA) which later become the ARYA. In the early 1980s David’s sons were more into the power boats division while he became more interested in radio sailing.
In the mid 80s David initially was sailing 10 Raters and EC12s locally and as far as Bundaberg. He also sailed Marbleheads locally and at venues as far away as Cairns including his Brisbane based Carbrook club. Fleets were strong and he eventually won a Queensland Marblehead Title. He moved into the IOM class in the late 1990s sailing mainly at Carbrook and other South Queensland venues.
He became Secretary of the QMBA which eventually had a name change to what is currently the Queensland Radio Yachting Association (QRYA) in the 1990s. In fact he was Secretary of the QMBA and QRYA for a continuous period of 25 years which has to be a record in itself!
David did not compete in many major events from the late 1990s as he and good friend Gil Walker were too involved in scoring major regattas all across the country. A major event in 1987, the EC12 World Titles was combined with the Australian National EC12 Titles. It was held at Pizzy Park Lake on the Gold Coast and was organized mainly by David. The success of this event gave recognition to Queensland and the QMBA as organisers of major events that were of the quality expected of world class regattas. This event put radio sailing in Australia on the map for many across the world with sailors coming from New Zealand and England including the then world champion EC12 sailor John Cleave. Great for Australia that he was beaten by a young Tasmanian, David Shepherd who took out the 1987 World Title.
In those days the scoring, recording and processing was all done on paper and the EC12 World’s Match and Scratch racing needed 6 people to manage the scoring and used the Equal Opportunity Scoring System (EORS). The EORS was the forerunner for the current HMS computerized system.
David travelled the length and breadth of Eastern Australia scoring major radio sailing events with the highlight being Gil’s and David’s scoring of the IOM World Titles conducted at Lake Kawana hosted by Club Kawana Radio Yachting. 82 boats from across the globe attended this event in 2005. In spite of gale force winds picking up the massive marquee that had been erected at Lake Kawana and depositing its truck axle holding down stakes over the road behind the venue, the event proceeded and was hailed an amazing success.
David has been an icon of radio sailing in Australia and selflessly contributed to provide successful services to radio sailors for nearly half a century and at 89 years young is still going strong with him scoring about 700 races in 2019!
An amazing effort!
Hats off to you David!!!!