Over the Christmas break we were saddened to hear of the passing of the Club’s oldest and most enduring member, Penwill James Moore.
Pen was born in Wellington in 1920, joined the Club in 1936, and remained a member until he died a few days before Christmas 2021. He began racing in Z Classes, and moved up to the 14 footers as a bailing boy on board the X Class Suelem, and the square bilger Advance, both registered at the time with RPNYC.
With the help of his father, also named Pen, he built an Idle Along named Aurora, which he launched in September 1939 as the UK declared war on Germany, and got a few races under his belt before he joined the RNZVR.
Serving with the Royal Navy he saw intense action in the Russian convoys, the relief of Malta, the invasion of Algiers, and D-Day. Pen was awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest medal, for his role in the D-Day landings. While on leave in Salcombe, a German air raid scored a direct hit on the house where he was staying, killing his cousin and burying Pen alive. He spent weeks in hospital, but apparently would sneak out to go to the pub.
He returned to New Zealand at age 24, married and had three children, practised as an accountant in Moore and De Lisle Chartered Accountants, and resumed his Club activity.
Pen served as Club Treasurer from 1949 until 1960, working on programmes to raise money for the purchase of a clubhouse, with Club able to purchase the building we use today.
In 1962 Pen launched Capella, a 39ft motor-sailer, which he raced regularly in the Motor Sailers and Cruising Division of RPNYC, and cruised in the Marlborough Sounds with his family for 30 years. Capella broke her moorings in the Wahine storm and Pen took her out searching for survivors of the Wahine sinking. In 1991 Pen had the Mermaid, a 40ft launch, built in Waikawa. Mermaid is still cruised in the Sounds by Pen’s daughter Jenny and Paul de Lisle.
Read more about Pen and the remarkable sailing history of his family here.