After a long battle with cancer, sadly Matt Owen passed away recently. Our thoughts are with his wife Karen and son Will.
Matt was known to many, not only in the Fifteen community but the sailing community at large as a respected and inspirational sailor. His good humour and camaraderie was infectious; both on and off the water. He was accommodating and affable with an excellent nature with everyone.
After many years sailing in other classes, such as 18ft skiffs, 49ers, keel boats, trailables, he joined the Fifteen class in a borrowed boat from the boat park of the Canberra Yacht Club about 2007. With sailing partner Andrew Reed, they quickly became successful in the class; their Fifteen achievements are endless. They won over 10 ACT Flying Fifteen championships and finished in the top five at the world championships in Hong Kong and New Zealand. They currently hold the title of New Zealand National Champion.
Some of the amazing achievements are listed below…
2009 Victorian State Championships – Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club
2011 Australian National Championships – Canberra Yacht Club
2012 Australian National Championships – South of Perth Yacht Club (crew with Steve Goacher)
2014 Australian National Championships – Lake Macquarie Yacht Club
2016 Australian National Championships – Canberra Yacht Club
2017 New Zealand National Championships – Napier Sailing Club
2018 Australian National Championships – Mornington Yacht Club
In December 2014, Matt was given less than a year to live when diagnosed with gall bladder cancer, however with his positivity and the help of a drug developed to fight breast cancer he managed to extend that diagnosis.
Despite his cancer, Matt being CEO ran the Canberra Yacht Club and continued to sail and live his life to capacity; including jumping out of a plane, bungee-jumping and swimming with whale sharks! As recently as August, he competed in Hamilton Island Race Week where his team was placed second.
A celebration of Matty’s life will be hosted by the Canberra Yacht Club on Friday 26 October 2018 from 4.00-6.00pm…everyone is welcome who knew and loved ‘Pillow’ (as he was affectionately known).
Keep Smiling Matt!
Words by Lyn Wallace et others
Photo of Matt at his last sailing regatta, Hamilton Island Race Week, courtesy of Stuart Loft