Club logo colour with name
Dear Members and Friends,
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Past Commodore and Vice Patron, Mr John Martin Forde BEM. John passed away on Friday 27th September aged 89.

John was a stalwart of South of Perth Yacht Club and a Member for over 56 years. He was a tough competitor in all sailing events and used that skill to effect by becoming the State’s first recognised specialist offshore race officer at a time when no formal accreditation scheme existed.

John was the race officer for the inaugural Fremantle to Bali Race in 1981 – a race quite different from the way the event is conducted today. It involved a conventional race to Bali and a pursuit style race home again, stopping at Dampier and Geraldton and re-starting each time. Those events were run without trackers and GPS systems, though some of the big money boats boasted a Satnav, which updated their position several times a day – a far cry from today’s GPS units, where even hand-held units update every few seconds.

The Geraldton Ocean Classic was one of John’s favourite events and it was he who put together the tireless teams who looked after the fleet – Tender 1 at Rottnest Island, Tender 2 at Wedge Island and a close relationship with Jurien Volunteer Sea Rescue.

The Little Wheel match racing regatta also owes its origins to John Forde. As a senior executive in the James Hardie Group, his sales manager Doug Fortescue set up a challenge with Main Roads. That challenge was taken up widely by many classes of yachts, but to be eligible, the skipper had to be a customer of the James Hardie Group. It became so successful that there are reports that some skippers made a purchase of Hardie’s product just to make themselves eligible to compete!

John was also instrumental in arranging the concrete capping of the timber jetty walkways which extended the life of the Club jetties for many years with the last old timber/concrete jetty 4/5 being demolished in 2017.

John led the Club as Commodore from 1985-1987. He skippered many yachts including The Fan, Rogue and The Avenue.

His legacy was one of mateship and thoughtfulness for others. He was a fine leader in the true sense of the word and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with Jean and his family.

On behalf of the Flag Officers, Management Committee, staff, and Members we extend our sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
South of Perth Yacht Club