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VALE Roger Searl

Published Mon 08 Jul 2024

Roger was a sailor!

He was also a brother, husband, father, and grandfather. Roger was deeply enthusiastic about sailing and became a Keelboat Instructor, State Judge and National Equipment Auditor. Roger believed in giving back and made a great contribution by being Vice Commodore of Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club, and a key member of the Queensland Sailing Community.

Roger also was on the Yachting Queensland Board. He was a brilliant and passionate Board Member who always contributed to the conversation. Roger’s regional prospective was valued and his passion for the sport was evident in all conversations. 

His passion and sense of adventure for Sailing started in Sabots on the Clarence River at Grafton, then when the family moved to Wagga Wagga, he sailed a Sabre.

The next stop was Bega, where the Searl Family sailed on Wallagoot Lake, near Tathra. He sailed an Arafura Cadet and a Nova with his brother John and finished 1st in the Combined High Schools Championship in NSW. 

He spent some time working in Sydney with the only good thing he had to say about the place was that the sailing was fantastic. He sailed with and against the Bethwaites in NS14’s, Nova’s and the new at that time Taser’s

His first posting as a teacher was Port Moresby, where he sailed a Hobie Cat and the new Windsurfers, which he continued with when posted to Thursday Island. Next sailing stop was Townsville (for his post grad year), where he and new partner Kerry sailed a NS14 successfully to win a few series at Townsville Sailing Club.

Following a hiatus from sailing for a few years, the move to Cawarral in the early nineties saw Roger jump on the crew of Rampage, David Parker's boat at the CCYC. Roger was a key member of that crew for many years in a very successful racing campaign, including a memorable Hamilton Island series.

While at Cawarral, Roger pickup up a yellow RL24 called Matous so the family could do day trips to the island in Keppel Bay. He also collected a Taser to add to the collection. The aim was to teach all the kids sailing, but the only one interested seemed to be his son Tom, who started sailing Sabots with Brent Pearson, so Roger was now frequenting the Keppel Bay Sailing Club.

Around 2005, Roger joined Tim McCall’s crew to sail club races, Bay to Bay, Yeppoon to Mackay, and in 2008 to win the Australian Trailerable championships. In 2021 they added a win at Airlie Beach Race week. It was a proud moment for Roger to ring his mum and tell her that he had finally beaten Julian Bethwaite in a regatta after 45 years of trying.

In 2022 Roger bought his own yacht Sunrise, an Elan 37 cruiser racer, and was so proud to  call Tim and tell him how great it was, and that he had his family onboard. He loved to sail with his family on HIS boat.
To sum up Roger’s sailing is difficult because he did so much, but he had a few key traits.

Reliability- You could always rely on Roger turning up no matter what for racing, training, maintenance or boat deliveries.

Optimism- He would always tell us we are going to make the next mark, and that we were well ahead, or catching up, depending on the circumstance.

Crew Moral- Roger had a great ability to keep everyone interested, even on night shift, and would tell stories, or discus tactics, strategy, or anything to keep everyone awake and engaged. 

Australian Sailing and the Yachting Queensland Board members thoughts go out to Roger’s family and friends and the wider sailing community who will be feeling this great loss.
Rest in Peace Roger.