Prominent offshore sailor and sailing administrator David Kellett AM has been awarded Australian Sailing Life Membership.  David is the twelfth person in the organisation’s seventy years to be awarded this honour, and the first since 2016.

David was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing, specifically as a competitor and administrator of the sport in Australia and abroad.

He has served as an Executive Board Member of ISAF (and was the first Australian to be elected to this office) and amongst other roles has also served as Treasurer of World Sailing from 2008 to 2012.

“You can’t go from Thailand to Argentina without stumbling across someone who has been impacted by David,” Australian Sailing President Daniel Belcher said.  “So many sailing communities around the world have been improved thanks to David.”

“On behalf of the Board of Australian Sailing, I would like to congratulate David on this honour.   David has been the preeminent yachting administrator for our generation. His contribution to the sport spans decades and has not only had huge impacts a home but also right around the globe.”

“I’m extremely honoured,” Kellett said.  “You don’t expect these kinds of things when you are contributing to the sport you enjoy.  Having been involved with Australian Sailing for well over 30 years I know they don’t give out Life Membership every year I am extremely grateful.”

Kellett has also been heavily involved with the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the first of his 45 Hobarts coming in 1965. Along the way he has skippered maxis including Gretel, Vengeance, Sovereign, Condor, Maxi Raggamuffin, Matador and Sydney, and has taken out line honours on several occasions.  In what Kellett described as his sailing career highlight, he assisted with the design and build of Sovereign in 1987 and skippered the maxi to be the first Australian to win the Line Honour/Handicap double. 

“Sailing has been a part of my life since I was a boy and I was very fortunate to sail with mentors from such young age,” Kellett said.  “They were all very involved in sailing and taught me you should give back to the sport, so it was something I adopted from a young age.”

Kellett’s primary focal achievement is his contribution to the sport of sailing, which has been recognised at the highest level, World Sailing’s Beppe Croce Award in 2014.  Sadly, he had to retire from professional offshore sailing in 2000 due to medical issues but he has continued to represent the CYCA as the lead of the SHYR Radio Relay team since 2000.

Past Presidents of Australian Sailing were precise when discussing David’s place in the sport.

“David Kellett has the most significant record of service to Sailing in the history of Australia. Life membership of Australian Sailing is thoroughly deserved” said Immediate Past President Matt Allen AM.

Another Past President, David Gotze, added “Few have given as much to our sport and his fellow sailors as David Kellett has. He has been and still is one of sailing’s most active volunteers and a great ambassador for our sport, both at home and abroad. Australian Sailing Life Membership is more than well-deserved in light of his immense contribution.”

In the 2002 Queen’s Birthday Honours, David was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the sailing as a significant contributor to the administration of the sport in Australia and overseas and as a competitor.

In 2014 David was elected as a Trustee to the Safety of Life at Sea Trusts a charitable organisation that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for rescue organisations and needy families and was elected Chairman in 2016.

“I have been fortunate in life to have combined business with the sport of sailing.  Thanks to all the people I have been involved with over the years.  It is always good to be involved with sailors.”

A full list of Life Members can be found on the Australian Sailing History page.

David’s contributions to sailing administration include:

World Sailing

1992 – 1998                Member of Council
1994 – 1996                 Member of 2000 Olympic Working Party
1994 – 1998                 Member of Events Committee
1996 – 2000                 Member 2000 Olympic Advisory Board
1996 – 2000                 President’s liaison to 2000 Olympics
1997 – 1998                 Member of Oceanic Committee
1998 – 2008                Vice President
2001 – 2004                Member 2004 Olympic Management Team
2004 – 2008                Member 2008 Olympic Management Team
2006 – 2008                Technical Delegate 2008 Olympic sailing competition     
2008 – 2012                 Executive Board Member – Treasurer
2009 – 2012                Member 2012 Olympic Management Team
2010 – 2012                Technical Delegate 2012 Olympic sailing competition
2014                             Awarded the Beppe Croce Award for services to the sport
2016                             Member of Election Committee

Australian Sailing

1986 – 1997                   Member of Offshore Committee
1988 – 1996                   Member of Council
1988 – 1997                   Chairman of Offshore Committee
1990                               Manager Kenwood Cup Team
1990 – 1998                  Delegate to Offshore Racing Council
1990 – Current              I.M.S. & I.R.C. Measurer
1991 – 1998                   Chairman of Selectors for International Offshore Teams.
1992 – 1998                  Delegate to ISAF
2003 – 2013                  Board Member
2003 – 2011                 Chairman of Offshore Committee
2015                              Chairman of Selectors for the Olympic Sailing Team
2017                              Awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Yachting New South Wales

1980 – 1984                  Member of Safety Committee
1984 – 1998                 Member of Offshore Committee
1986 – 1996                  Chairman of Offshore Committee
1986 – 2003                 Member of Council
1987 & 1989                Captain of Southern Cross Cup Team
1989 – 1992                  Member of Olympic Funding Committee
1990 – Current             Measurer – IMS & IRC
1990 – 2003                  Member of Executive
1994 – 2000                  Vice President
1994 – 1996                  Chairman September Regatta Organising Committee
1996 – 2001                  Chairman Sydney Olympic Sailing Alliance
1996 – 2001                  Senior IMS Measurer
2000 – 2002                  President
2002 – 2003                 Board Member

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

1970 – Current            Member
1976 – 1984                 Member of Safety Committee
1978 – 1996                 Member of Sailing Committee
1982 – 1990                 Member of Board of Directors
1983 – 1995                 Member Sydney Hobart Vetting Committee
1985 – 1988                 Chairman of Sailing Committee
1984 – 1986                 Rear Commodore
1986 – 1988                 Vice Commodore
1986 – 1988                 Member Bicentennial Tall Ships Race Organising Committee
1988 – 1990                 Commodore
1989 – 1991                 Chairman – Sydney Hobart Event Committee
1989 – 1997                 Delegate to Yachting Association of NSW.
1996 – 1998                 Chairman Tall Ships Race Organising Committee
2000 – Current             Radio Relay Vessel Team Leader – Sydney Hobart Race
2005 – Current             Radio Relay Team Leader for Gold Coast & Newcastle Races
2009                             Member of Flinders Island Enquiry panel.
2011                             Elected to Life Membership.

Offshore Racing Council

1990 – 2004                 Member of Council
1993 – 1998                 Member of Policy Steering Group.
1998 – 2004                 ISAF Representative on Council

Australian Olympic Committee

1999                IOC Technical Observer to the Pre-Olympic Regatta

Regatta Management

1988                Bicentennial Tall Ships Race, Hobart – Sydney

Sydney – Hobart Race

1989               Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
                        Sydney – Hobart Race
1990               Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
                        Sydney Hobart Race
1991               Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
                        Sydney Hobart Race
                        Melbourne – Osaka Race, International Jury.
1992               Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
1993               Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta – Port Douglas, Queensland
1994               Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta – Port Douglas, Queensland
1998               Tall Ships Race, Sydney – Hobart