September 6 - 12, 2020: Issue 465

Vale Peter McEachern Campbell 
23.10.1930 – 1.9.2020

One of Australia’s longest-serving sports writers, the yachting correspondent and commentator Peter Campbell, died in Hobart yesterday, aged 89.

Peter wrote for Hobart’s The Mercury newspaper for the past 10 years and was a regular contributor to the many media outlets, filing his final story only last week.

Peter’s knowledge of local, national and international sailing was vast. He was Media Director for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 1991-2005, Editor-at-Large for Offshore Yachting and then Editor 1971-2006 and Editor, Modern Boating, 1975-1982. Peter had been a member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania since 1984; of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, 1991-2009, and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, since 1977. 

Born at Beauty Point in Northern Tasmania, Peter began work as a journalist with The Mercury from 1946-48 before relocating to Sydney as a senior reporter for the rural newspaper, The Land, and then became news editor and feature editor for 13 years. His first involvement in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race dates back to 1946 when he began covering the race as a cadet reporter at The Mercury.

Peter then established his own writing consultancy specialising in yachting. He reported on all major national sailing championships as well as international events, including several America’s Cups and Admirals Cups, and the Atlanta, Barcelona, Seoul, Los Angeles and Sydney Olympics.

Peter Campbell receives his Meritorious Service Award © Daniel Forster / Rolex

In Tasmania, his writing gave a special profile to racing on the Derwent involving the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron and Bellerive Yacht Club, and the long-distance coastal races including the Westcoaster, and Launceston to Hobart races, as well as the Three Peaks race. In 2014 Peter received an Order of Australia Medal for services to yachting as a journalist.

While he lived in Sydney, Peter took great pride in racing Hornblower, the Bonbridge 27 he owned in partnership with the late John Ivimey, the pair winning the RSYS’s pointscore a couple of times during the eighties He enjoyed a fulfilled life, leaving no stone unturned.

Peter and his wife Sarah returned to Tasmania to supposedly retire, in Sandy Bay in 2006. However, he brought with him a great love of sailing and the sea, begun as a boy on the Tamar River, a passion that continued throughout his life and meant he kept working.

A past Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Biddy Badenach said he was saddened by the news that Peter has died.  

“During my 27 years involvement with the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race I have met many people and have become friends one such person was Peter Campbell. He was a true gentleman, an outstanding reporter and was highly respected by his peers and sailors. After moving to Hobart, his contribution to news on yachting in Tasmania was first class. He will be sadly missed by all who were associated with him.” 

Peter is survived by his wife Sarah, sons Timothy and Jonothan, and their partners Margot and Hannah. Our sympathies are with him at this time.

Craig Macaulay

Thousands of Tributes have been expressed at the loss of Peter, including this by Pittwater's own Sailing Reporter, Lisa Ratcliff:

So glad I visited Peter and Sarah after the last Hobart race. Only 3 weeks ago he let me know he'd be editing Tasmanian Yachtsman magazine, at 89, and today, sadly, he passed in Hobart. 

Pete gave me a volunteer media role for the `95 Hobart & from '96 to 2001 we worked side-by-side, including the dreadful '98 race when we were stuck in a room without windows at The Grand Chancellor watching the carnage unfold on TV and fielding media calls around the clock. 

We always stayed in touch, he'd send me Tassie angles for events I was covering & he'd out-bid me on jobs, volunteering to media manage while I pitched at normal rates 🤣🤣. 

I describe my time under Pete as my apprenticeship, for there are no equivalent courses. Fair winds old mate and thanks for your teachings and friendship.

Lisa Ratcliff
On Course Communications
September 1st, 2020