As many of you know Pip Pearson stepped down as International President of the 5o5 class on 31st December after his second stint as Class President. Mike Holt and I have taken over the stewardship of the class and now that the sailing season is well and truly underway it is time to start what we intend to be regular communication. To begin with and before we look to the future it’s important to recognise and thank Pip.
Pip was President of the class for a total of 16 years. From 1995 to 2000 and again from 2007 until Dec 2016. All of us who know him are aware of his energy and tireless passion for the boat and the Class. Pip’s contribution has been invaluable. I know I speak for everyone in saying we cannot thank him enough for his friendship, support and leadership.
Pip’s involvement in the class has not been limited to the President role. He competed in the 1966 Worlds in his home town of Adelaide when at 21 years of age the great Paul Elvstrom was short a crew, met Pip in the club bar and said “You will do. Come with me.”
Pip competed continually around the world including a second place with Paul Elvstrom at the 1966 Worlds and winning three North American Championships with Dennis Surtess until hanging up his trapeze harness after his last regatta, the 2012 Australian Championship’s in Mandurah, WA at the age of 67.
Those of us lucky enough to have known Pip and Paul Elvstrom will appreciate this photo and the famous caption that it is a picture of ‘probably the most famous 5o5 sailor in the class’s history… and Paul Elvstrom!”
Even after his racing days were over Pip’s enthusiasm and contribution has never waned, driving the gate boat at major Championships around the World.
The 5O5 was designed in 1955 and has a long successful history at the forefront of dinghy racing globally. To this day it really is still the premier performance dinghy class in the world. There have been many of the best dinghy sailors compete in the class and many famous names on trophies but none as consistent as Pip. It isn’t too farfetched to say Pip IS the history of the class. He is a veritable walking almanac and can generally quote the venue, year and winner of every world championship in the last 50 years.
Mike and I feel immensely privileged to take over the presidency from him. He leaves the class in excellent shape to continue to be the premier dinghy class into the future and it will be an honour to help guide us through the challenges to come.
I’m very glad to say that we continue to see and hear from Pip. The class needs a liaison and ambassador. Pip has accepted this role so those of us who count him amongst our closest friends will thankfully find nothing has changed.
The Class Executive has also decided to implement the idea of life membership. An honour given to individuals whose dedication to the class has been exceptional. Pip will become the first recipient of life membership to the 505 Class. The next AGM will be asked to consider and decide on criteria for life membership and potentially asked to vote to accept future nominations.
Pip. On behalf of all past and current 5o5 sailors around the world, thank you for all you have done and for all we hope you will continue to do. For your friendship and guidance. May it continue a long time.