Southern Spars remembers Sir Peter Blake
(Source: Souther Spars) Southern Spars enjoyed a long relationship with Sir Peter Blake going back to his 60ft trimaran Steinlager 1, for which he commissioned a rotating mast.
That commission was followed by many others including Steinlager 2, winner of all six legs in the 1989/90 Whitbread Race (photo below), and Black Magic winner of the 1995 America’s Cup and KZ-60 Defender of the 2000 America’s Cup.
Ten years have gone since Sir Peter died in the Amazon.
Sail-World’s NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell remembered the occasion in this way:
Tuesday (6 December) marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Sir Peter Blake.
That moment in time 10 years is one few kiwi sailors will forget. We woke up that morning at 6.30, as the radio alarm went off flicking onto the news bulletin. Caught the tail end of the lead story. Heard the mention of the name Peter Blake and the Amazon. Another story from the Blake publicity machine? Then the simple words: ‘He was 53’. And we knew he was dead.
Blake has been eulogised over the past decade as a sailor and a leader.
What most forget is that while he was in a very select group of top sailors in the history of the sport, Blake had one maybe two qualities that made him stand above all the others in that elite coterie of just four or five sailors.
Sir Peter Blake was a master communicator. Like no other Blake could launch a project, from a standing start, with a single speech at a media conference or similar moment picked for its timing as much as its occasion. From that time on the campaign had traction and credibility. Blake was very astute, always surrounding himself with good people – and at the early stages of any project had Peter Montgomery and Alan Sefton fully onside. Those three were a formidable communications team, which never really took a backward step.
Blake was often described as a ‘PR Dream’, because that is what he was. Certainly he was first of his peers to grasp how a professional sailing team could be made to work and be sustainable. The model he devised, along with trusted friends, stands good today.
Blake oozed confidence and credibility.
In our eyes Peter Blake stood out because of the way that he could conduct the media like his personal orchestra to communicate his message to the world, sponsors and fans and never lost the high ground.
He has been sadly missed, but the real lesson for young sailors – while in Blake’s leadership for sure, is more in his communication ability and style. Until you have understood the art of communication, and can use it naturally, you cannot achieve true leadership