Vale, Ian Kelshaw (1994)
Ian Kelshaw Ceollecting Race Trophy From Bill Van Der Mark During AMOC94
The sailing community sadly lost a great friend. expert yachtsman and superb sailmaker with the death of Ian Kelshaw on June 7th.
Ian lived for sailing, and must surely have experienced a wider range of sailing craft than anyone else. If it floated and had sails, Ian would delight in sailing it, no matter what its condition, age, type or standard of performance. or more importantly to us whether it one hull or many.
His sailing career started early when he was introduced to VJ's on Sydney Harbour. He would fondly recall that this coincided with the commencement of his swimming lessons, as his early trials were spent as much in as out of the harbour waters. In very short time he was in popular demand as a crewmember with his enthusiasm, skills and burning desire to win, a demand that was to continue for the rest of his life. "Winning isn't everything - its the only thing" may have been an often expressed saying, but in reality the joy of participating was always the true meaning for getting on the water.
After a not so illustrious scholastic career he commenced a sailmaking apprenticeship that set him on a career path parallel to his personal love. Some suspect that the time he devoted to sailing may have been responsible for his inattention at school as he was certainly an intelligent man, widely read with interests in music, birds (both feathered or not) and wine, and with an encylopaedic knowledge on the movie industry, which made him almost unique in his ability to answer all the pink questions in Trivial Pursuit.
His sailmaking gave him the obligation, he would say excuse, to go sailing constantly, and sail he did on almost every class of skiff and dinghy, off the beach catamaran, keelboat and multihull known in this country. He raced successfully in a variety of classes from Folkboats to Tornados and A Class catamarans, Southern Cross Cup boats, 1 and 2 tonners and JOGies, Trailer-sailers from Hartleys to MASRM's, 12 metres and Maxis, Windrushes to Windspeeds. Sabots to Supershockwaves. As guest helmsman he was responsible for many victories for grateful owners. Most boat owning members of the QMYC have enjoyed his company aboard on some occasion, and all benefited from his skills.
He was delighted to pass on his knowledge to others, was keenly concerned about and involved in youth training schemes and actively coached as an accredited AYF Coach. He was concerned that the QMYC did not seem to be taking steps to foster the development of our younger sailors, leaving that task to other clubs who have not the multihull expertise or resources of QMYC.
The QMYC benefited considerably from his skills in a number of appearances as guest speaker, as well as the many years he volunteered to the club as Secretary, Vice Commodore and member of the Sailing Committee. He participated in almost all club activities and volunteered to help whenever help was needed. With his wealth of knowledge, quick wit and congenial manner, committee meetings were never tedious, and became social occasions where many lasting friendships were forged. He may have been firm and pedantic when making his point known, but his intention would always be for the common good or club benefit, not self interest.
His death is even more poignant as it follows so closely on that of his great friend and sailing companion Lock Crowther. Together they had sailed many miles. and successfully raced Lock's boats Wahoo and Deguello. They conferred on rig and sail design and together were responsible for improvements and innovations now commonplace. They shared a love of multihulls. good racing, fun times and a notably bizarre sense of humour. Nothing was sacred in the humour stakes, from Racism to Religion. Bureaucrats to Bears.
lan's sailmaking skills were supreme. He was regarded by many as one of Australia's best, and probably the best multihull sailmaker. His creations were fast, efficient and long lasting. Witness Gold Rushes 1o year old mainsail that won several AMOCs, Gladstones and Ocean Series, or Geoff Cruses "light weather" mylar genoa, designed for 14 knots, yet still standing after the Cruse treatment in 30 plus. "But we were only doing 14 knots" claimed Geoff! Wahoo, D-Flawless, Deguello, Gold Rush. Top Gun, Verbatim, 12 metres. Sail training Ships, almost every boat from the OSTAC factory all used his gear successfully. A lot of sailmakers have made vast claims of racing success, but few if any have ever emulated lan's formula for winning sails with longevity, a combination that made them good value for money.
We will miss his talents, good humour and generosity, his friendship and loyalty. Ian was not one set on amassing personal assets, his wealth was in the many friendships he made and his love of sailing and those who loved it too.
So when next you raise a glass or two of Rum, as he was want to do, remember our friend Ian Kelshaw. He will be greatly missed.