During the 2020 Annual General Meeting, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Members recognised Martin James’ Contribution the Club and Ocean Racing when he was elected to become a Life Member.
Martin has made a significant impact across a number of areas at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in almost 30 years of Membership. Martin joined the CYCA in 1992 and joined the CYCA Board in July 1998. He was elected as a Flag Officer in 1999, ultimately being elected Commodore in 2004.
Martin (pictured far left, receiving his Meritorious Award related to his work on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race) has a long history as a representative on the Club’s various Committees – he sat on the AP&R Committee from 1998-2010 and acted as Chairman from 1998-2005; on the Disciplinary Committee from 1999-2005; on the RSHYR Planning Committee from 2002-2014, Chair of the Committee from 2002-2005; is currently serving on the Special Events Committee and the History and Archives Committee; and recently joined the Race Committee for the Club’s long races.
Martin has been instrumental in the development, over many years, of the CYCA’s race websites and the race tracker for the offshore fleet and has spent and continues to spend countless hours before, during and after races perfecting and operating this tracking system. This was always done with the recognition that this was a CYCA initiative, which certainly enhanced the Club’s recognition on the world stage. Many other Clubs have now followed our lead.
Martin has also provided the Club with significant legal assistance and guidance over many years. He was instrumental in guiding the Club through litigation resulting from the 1998 Sydney Hobart and the outcomes of the Coronial enquiry; he was part of the team that improved the Club’s approach to risk management, following the 1998 Sydney Hobart and the coronial enquiry; and he was heavily involved with the re-writing of the Club’s NoRs, Sailing Instructions and other race documents and in fact still reviews current Sailing Instructions when asked. Martin’s knowledge and expertise in the legal field is still being called on by the Club today, advice that is provided willingly and freely.
Martin’s contribution, however, doesn’t end there – he was part of a small group responsible for negotiating the initial arrangement with Rolex in 2001 and then the signing of the naming-rights sponsorship agreement around the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 2002; in 2005 he was heavily involved in the negotiations to bring Channel 7 on board as the host broadcaster of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and has assisted since then with extensions and changes to the arrangement; he worked with Hugo van Kretschmar and Alan Green to establish the SOLAS Trusts and then served as the initial Chairman of the trustee, a significant and successful initiative of the Club following the 1998 Sydney Hobart; and he also developed the financing structure for the Club’s floating marina, working with John Messenger over many years on the arrangements with Waterways on the development and determination of the Club’s rent.
Martin has competed in four Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races and his previous boat Infinity III holds the race record for the Wollongong to Sydney Race.