The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, organising authority behind the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, is saddened to hear of the passing of one of the race’s legends, James Burke.
Burke, who most recently fired the 10-minute warning prior to the start of the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart, notched a number of highlights in a stellar career, including being the bowman on the 1968 Tattersall Cup winner Koomooloo, owned by Denis O’Neill.
Burke was also a crew member on Sir Max Aitken’s Crusade from the UK in 1969, which took line honours in the Sydney Hobart. From a record 79 entries, Crusade was first to the line in the time of three days 15hours 07mins 40secs.
“We were fortunate indeed that Jim was able to join David Kellett and Tony Cable to fire the canons for the start of the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December,” CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said.
“I know our Members will be sad to hear of his passing.”
Jim was a Member of Middle Harbour Yacht Club for 57 years, their sixth-longest Member.
For many years Jim was the sailing master on one of MHYC’s most successful sailing yachts – Pilgrim, owned by Graham Evans. In 1972, they won the Sydney to Brisbane race in record time and did well to gain second in the World One Ton Cup in Australia.
Jim has a long and illustrious sailing career including winning many state and national times, being member of Australia’s Admirals Cup and Southern Cross Cup teams and competing in many international events.