PAYING TRIBUTE: Whitsunday Sailing Club Yachtsperson of the year Heather Sutton (centre), was presented with the Dan Kane Memorial Trophy by Dan’s parents Mim and John Kane (left and right) at the club on Australia Day.
PAYING TRIBUTE: Whitsunday Sailing Club Yachtsperson of the year Heather Sutton (centre), was presented with the Dan Kane Memorial Trophy by Dan’s parents Mim and John Kane (left and right) at the club on Australia Day.

Worthy winner for memorial race

AUSTRALIA Day was bittersweet for members of the Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) who took to the waters of Pioneer Bay in memory of one of their own.

Dan Kane was a valued member of the club who passed away on Australia Day five years ago, aged just 39.

Every year since this time, the club has held a memorial race on January 26, to honour the man who was a fellow sailor and a friend.

Dan's parents Mim and John Kane have always travelled from Sydney to be at the event and this year was no exception.

"This is where all his happy memories are - where he spent probably the happiest time of his life," Mrs Kane said. Mr Kane headed out on local boat Twister for the race, which was an 'out and back' run.

WSC Rear Commodore Kevin Fogarty said participants were on the breeze heading out and downwind on the return leg, which for some became a spinnaker run.

With the eventual winners drawn out of a hat, Mr Fogarty described the event as less of a race and more of a "just go out and have a sail".

Nonetheless when La Quilter was announced as the winner of the race, its helmswoman Heather Sutton was particularly proud to accept the trophy from Mr and Mrs Kane.

"As the Yachtsperson of the Year at the club it is the most amazing honour - thank you," she said. While they were at the club, Mr and Mrs Kane took the opportunity to pay a visit to the Sailability Whitsunday shed, where a 303 Access dinghy named Kane, is another of their son's legacies.

Sailability Whitsunday president Ross Winterbourn said the dinghy, which is specially designed for people with disabilities, was funded through previous Australia Day events and had become a valuable part of the Sailability fleet.

Kane has a sister ship named Danny at the Sailability Cronulla base, where Mr Kane is actively involved.

Both there and here in the Whitsundays, it seems a part of his son lives on.


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