Former Volvo Ocean Race Director, Jack Lloyd, dies aged 67

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Former Volvo Ocean Race Director, Jack Lloyd, dies aged 67

by Richard Gladwell / Alistair McRae 16 Sep 13:58 UTC
September 17, 2021

Jack Lloyd was Volvo Ocean Race Director 2008-2015 and Compliance Officer for the 2017-2018 edition © Ainhoa ​​Sanchez / The Ocean Race

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Jack Lloyd Commodore, Onerahi Yacht Club 1984-1987 © OYC Archives

Jack Lloyd (left) and Ian Mason enjoy a drink after seeing a race start in Noumea around 1984 © OYC Archives

New Zealand’s leading sailing officer Jack Lloyd died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday evening at the age of 67.

For nearly three decades he was involved in resolving sailing disputes, rules, interpretations and compliance issues for the jet set of yachting as the professional side of the sport developed.

Jack’s started sailing the traditional Kiwi way in a P-class at the age of 8 before getting into offshore racing at a young age. He followed in his father’s footsteps into club administration before moving into local and international match racing.

He survived the special atmosphere of the International Jury Room before moving to the hustle and bustle of the Volvo Ocean Race as Race Director in May 2008 and leading three editions of the professional race around the world with a full crew. After the 2013/14 edition of the race, he said goodbye to this role.

Jack served on the International Jury for three cycles of the Whitbread and then the Volvo Ocean Race. Most recently he was chairman of the international jury in 2005-06 and required nine months of travel from stopover to stopover of the 11th port, 37,000 nm circumnavigation of the world for each race.

After three VOR races, he retired from the demanding role of Race Director and returned for the next race as VOR Compliance Officer. Its main role was to ensure that the VO65 fleet of eight boats met the VO65 class rule after a major overhaul for the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race.

Before taking part in the Whitbread Round the World Race and its successor, the Volvo Ocean Race, Jack was a member of the 26-person international jury for the 2008 Olympic Regatta in Qingdao.

This stint was preceded by an America’s Cup engagement that comprised four America’s Cup cycles from 1995 to 2003, as a member of the International Umpiring team and then as an internal rules advisor for two America’s Cup teams.

Born in Whangarei in 1954 with two sisters, Jack grew up in the coastal suburb of Onerahi.

Remembered as a chubby red-haired boy, Jack began – like most children of his day – to sail in a P-class at the local club. His father Noel was heavily involved in the Onerahi Yacht Club and served as a commodore from 1975-76.

The Onerahi YC was one of New Zealand’s premier offshore clubs, organizing the biennial 1,000 nm Whangarei Noumea race and the annual Onerahi 100. The races attracted large fleets, including the best of the New Zealand fleet with well-known names such as Rainbow II, Fidelis, Ta’aroa and Kahurangi in competition. Noel Lloyd was heavily involved in the organization of offshore races and safety requirements as Jack was supposed to be active on an international level.

After the P class, Jack completed a few one-handed dinghy classes before inevitably getting into keelboat and offshore racing.

After only four years at high school, Jack completed an apprenticeship in his father’s company, “Lloyds Saddlery & Sails”.

When he was about 19 years old, he and lifelong buddy Keith Andrews got together and built the Farr Quarter Tonner Straightlaced, which they drove competitively. The two then decided to get into the “big time” and built a Farr One Tonner in a shed on the outskirts of the city. Founded in 1976, Lovelace was a regular participant in every event and series of trials until they were selected for the NZ team to sail at the first PanAm Clipper Cup in Hawaii.

Lovelace was sold in Hawaii and Jack, newly married to Joss, turned his attention to his sailmaking business and club and sail administration – and brought some of what he’d taken back into the sport. Like his father ten years earlier, Jack was also Commodore of the Onerahi Yacht Club, but for two terms from 1984-1987.

Jack paved the way for a young sailmaker, Mike Sanderson, 22 years old, who began an outstanding professional sailing career aboard the NZ Endeavor, skippered by Grant Dalton in the 1993/94 Whitbread Round the World Race. A decade later, Sanderson won the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race as the skipper of the Volvo 70, ABN Amro.

“I’ve literally known Jack my entire sailing career,” recalls Sanderson, a former Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

“When I was growing up he was a hero at Whangarei Cruising Club and Onerahi Yacht Club. There were several America’s Cup winners in front of me, Robbie Naismith and Mattie Mason.

“I started sailing at the age of five to six, in Opti’s and P’s, while Robbie and Matthew were sailing their cherubs. At that point, Jack was in his 20s and starting to sail keelboat.

“Jack and his Lovelace colleagues were the heavyweights of our local sailing scene. Jack was one of our big boys who made it out to sail in Auckland!”

“My lasting memory when I was a kid was that Jack was a pro,” said Sanderson, his eyes still slightly wide.

“All of my school days when he had Lloyd Sails, he did all sorts of weird and wonderful sailing projects for me. Then in my match racing days he was always great to me, even though he was fucking tough because we were fellow Whangarei boys . In my entire America’s Cup, of course, and especially in the Volvo. I spent a lot of time with him. ”

“He was a great guy with a background as a good yachtsman, sailmaker, practical boat builder, and such a strong knowledge of the rules. With that practical knowledge, he could just design all the scenarios in his head in a very practical way,” noted Sanderson.

In the early 1990s, Jack began spinning with his workboat at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, learning the basics of match race referee.

Together with some of us, Jack took part in the IYRU’s first umpiring seminar at RNZYS, which was led by the later IYRU President Göran Petersson (SWE).

Jack got into Match Racing a different route than most – he obtained his International Umpire certification from what was then IYRU in 1993 before adding his International Judge ticket three years later.

Jack worked on the umpiring team at many match racing events and was part of the umpiring team for the America’s Cups in 1995 and 2000 in San Diego and Auckland. These were long periods of service that became even more difficult as the referees were still developing and were under tremendous pressure from professional crews and team rules consultants. The stakes were high because a team or referee mistake in the closing stages of a series would likely end a multi-million dollar America’s Cup campaign.

“Jack raced regularly. He understood the game from the perspective of a sailor and brought a down-to-earth pragmatic approach to his referees,” recalls Emirates Team New Zealand’s longtime rules advisor Russell Green.

“As a result, he was well respected nationally and internationally and was very popular with both the officials he worked with and competing sailors.” Valencia Jack was a valuable team member with a great work ethic.

“If he wasn’t doing his regular work, he’d soon be using his hands-on skills to help out in the boat shed or sail roof,” added Green.

“He was a real soldier.”

“Jack and Joss have also been involved in managing the YNZ youth teams. He has been a huge contributor to the youth and the wider sailing community, particularly in Northland.” “Everyone will sorely miss his calm, thoughtful manner and humor. We have lost a true friend and supporter of NZ sailing.”

After two cup cycles on the referee teams, the gamekeeper became a poacher, and Jack worked as a rules / referee advisor and internal referee for the One World (USA) Challenge in Auckland in 2003, and did the same for Emirates Team New New Zealand in the America’s Cup Campaign 2007.

“His colleagues thought Jack was a great racing official,” commented David Tillett, who served with Jack on a number of events as chairman of the Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup International Juries.

“He understood the sport and the sailor’s perspective,” Tillett recalled.

“Jack wasn’t just a race officer. With his broad background including sailmaker and boat building, he was very good at assessing the evidence presented.”

“It was a wonderful sounding board for difficult subjects.”

“We have lost an invaluable member of our team.”

Jack was an ISAF International Umpire Test Administrator and Chairman of the Test Administration Group. He was a member of the ISAF International Referee Subcommittee and the Racing Rules Committee. In 2013 he was one of the few Kiwis to receive the ISAF Silver Medal in recognition of many years of service to the world association and to sailing.

In the 1990s Jack and Joss took over the leadership of the YNZ youth team at several youth world championships and ensured stability in the situation – and helped many young sailors to their first major international regatta success.

In 2008 he was invited to the 26-member international jury of the 2008 Olympic Regatta in Beijing – with a daily component on the water, followed by protests at night – again against the tense background of Olympic medal wins and losses.

At the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, Jack acted as the rules advisor to the New Zealand team, keeping them out of the jury room and winning two gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

Throughout his sailing career, Jack has been known for keeping cool under pressure and making carefully reasoned arguments while listening carefully to others. Despite the sometimes strong pressure, he always kept a calm demeanor, kept the tone of his voice calm – and when he thought the subject was settled, his sentences became even shorter.

Jack went back a lot, but his thinking was always shaped by a strong base of hands-on experience gained outside of the classroom.

He was living proof that the boy could be taken out of Whangarei, but never the Whangarei out of the boy.

Everyone will miss him very much, especially his wife Joss, daughter Ria and son Kobe.

Nice wind, buddy.

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