A true Kiwi hero

Sir Peter Blake, KBE, was the world’s most celebrated yachtsman. In a 30-year career, he won every significant bluewater race on the planet. He also won and successfully defended the biggest sailing prize of all, the America’s Cup, and slashed the record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail. He then turned his focus to pursue his passion in protecting and caring for the environment, embarking on a mission to show people how beautiful and unique the world is.

Life & times of Sir Peter Blake

Growing up in Bayswater
Growing up in Bayswater

Peter's childhood was spent around Bayswater on the northern flanks of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. There, he fell in love with the water.

Sailing the Seas
Sailing the Seas

When Peter was 13 years old, Brian and Joyce sold their land at Mairangi Bay and used the proceeds to buy a 30ft sloop, Ngarangi.

Early Racing
Early Racing

Bandit was often the smallest boat in the offshore racing fleets and Tony recalls one race in winds of 30.35 knots.

Where did it all begin?
Where did it all begin?

Early contests led to the creation of a "proper" race around the world in fully crewed yachts. With the Royal Naval Sailing Association in command and with sponsorship from British brewers, the Whitbread Round the World Race was born.

1st Whitbread (1973-1974) - Burton Cutter
1st Whitbread (1973-1974) - Burton Cutter

All this experience stood Blake in good stead for a berth in the first round the world race and he joined Leslie Williams' crew on Burton Cutter. Ill-prepared, Burton Cutter's campaign was doomed from the outset.

1977 - 1978 2nd Whitbread
1977 - 1978 2nd Whitbread

Although Burton Cutter's Whitbread debut was undone by lack of preparation, the yacht had shown distinct promise. Even though it was unfinished and structurally suspect, it was quick enough to take line honours on the first leg of the 1973 race from England to South Africa and was 2nd across the line on the finla leg from Rio de Janeiro to Portsmouth.

1981 - 1982 3rd Whitbread
1981 - 1982 3rd Whitbread

Given Blake's determination to get his one right, it was a cruel twist of fate that saw Ceramco's rig come crashing down in the first Atlantic leg of the Whitbread Race.

1985 - 1986 4th Whitbread
1985 - 1986 4th Whitbread

Lion New Zealand was a Ron Holland designed masthead sloop, which gained the nickname the Urban Assault Vehicle when it survived and won the stromy Sydney-Hobart race of 1984.

1989 - 1990 5th Whitbread
1989 - 1990 5th Whitbread

One of the enduring qualities about Peter Blake's sailing career was his ability first to attract excellent sponsors and second to build long term relationships and friendships with them.

1993 The Jules Verne Challenge
1993 The Jules Verne Challenge

As sailing technology improved and as the multihull community, the French in particular, pushed the limits ever further, thoughts began to turn to just how fast one could sail non-stop around the world.

1987 - 1992 Early NZ Challenges
1987 - 1992 Early NZ Challenges

The smallest nation ever to challenge for the America's Cup, New Zealand's quest for glory was always an audacious and, many thought, hopeless dream.

1992 - 1995 NZL-32 America's Cup Challenge
1992 - 1995 NZL-32 America's Cup Challenge

The crew knew straight off what they did not want. Nothing way out, nothing radical or controversial, nothing that was going to tie them up in debilitating protests.

Red Socks: Black Magic
Red Socks: Black Magic

Before every big event, Pippa Blake gave Peter a new pair of socks. On Christmas eve of 1994 it was a red pair which he wore for the first race, which they won - so it was decided that the socks were lucky and were worn throughout the campaign.

1999 - 2000 Defending the Auld Mug
1999 - 2000 Defending the Auld Mug

We were under no illusion that defending the Cup would be an easy task.

Monday November 13th, 2000
Monday November 13th, 2000

Location - Just south of East Cape

Wednesday November 15th, 2000
Wednesday November 15th, 2000

Location - The Roaring Forties, approaching the Furious Fifties

Saturday November 18th, 2000
Saturday November 18th, 2000

Location - Southern Ocean

Friday November 24th, 2000
Friday November 24th, 2000

Location - Approx 2200 sailing miles to Cape Horn

Sunday November 26th, 2000
Sunday November 26th, 2000

Location - Approx 1830 sailing miles to Cape Horn

Tuesday November 28th, 2000
Tuesday November 28th, 2000

Location - Approx 1500 sailing miles to Cape Horn

Thursday November 30th, 2000
Thursday November 30th, 2000

Location - 1224 nautical miles to Cape Horn

Tuesday December 5th, 2000
Tuesday December 5th, 2000

Location - 285 nautical miles from Cape Horn

Wednesday 6th December, 2000
Wednesday 6th December, 2000

Location - 105 nautical miles to Cape Horn

Thursday December 7th, 2000
Thursday December 7th, 2000

Location - In Paso Picton (Chile), entering the Beagle Canal

Friday December 15th, 2000
Friday December 15th, 2000

Location - Alongside the yacht club dock, Ushuaia, Southern Argentina

Monday December 25th, 2000
Monday December 25th, 2000

Christmas Morning

Tuesday January 9th, 2001
Tuesday January 9th, 2001

Location - In the Drake Passage, 110 miles south-east from Cape Horn, heading towards the Antarctic Peninsula

Thursday January 11th, 2001
Thursday January 11th, 2001

Location - 6 miles from the eastern end of King George Island in the South Shetlands

Friday January 12th, 2001
Friday January 12th, 2001

Location - 10 miles north-west of Hope Bay at the entrance to Antarctic Sound (at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula)

Saturday January 13th, 2001
Saturday January 13th, 2001

Location - At Brown Bluff - right at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula where it meets the Weddell Sea

Friday January 19th, 2001
Friday January 19th, 2001

Location - Half Moon Island

Sunday January 21st, 2001
Sunday January 21st, 2001

Location - Anderson Harbour, Omega Island

Tuesday January 23rd. 2001
Tuesday January 23rd. 2001

Location - Danco Island, Errera Channel

Sunday January 28th, 2001
Sunday January 28th, 2001

Location - Port Lockroy

Wednesday January 31st, 2001
Wednesday January 31st, 2001

Location - At anchor at Thorne Point

Saturday February 3rd, 2001
Saturday February 3rd, 2001

Location - Pourquoi Pas Island

Sunday February 4th, 2001
Sunday February 4th, 2001

Location - Marguerite Bay

Monday February 5th, 2001
Monday February 5th, 2001

Location - Moored alongside the edge of the sea ice in George VI Sound

Tuesday February 6th, 2001
Tuesday February 6th, 2001

Location - Alongside the sea ice in George VI Sound

Wednesday February 7th, 2001
Wednesday February 7th, 2001

Location - George VI Sound

Sunday February 11th, 2001
Sunday February 11th, 2001

Location - George VI Sound, tethered to the ice edge

Wednesday February 14th, 2001
Wednesday February 14th, 2001

Location - Anchored near Hinks Channel

Saturday February 17th, 2001
Saturday February 17th, 2001

Location - Next to the Ukranian base, in the Argentine Islands

Sunday February 18th, 2001
Sunday February 18th, 2001

Location - Petermann Island

Saturday March 3rd, 2001
Saturday March 3rd, 2001

Location - Trinity Island

Sunday March 4th, 2001
Sunday March 4th, 2001

Location - Trinity Island

Thursday March 8th, 2001
Thursday March 8th, 2001

Location - Potter Cove, South Shetland Island

Saturday March 10th, 2001
Saturday March 10th, 2001

Location - Ardley Cove, King George Island

Tuesday March 13th, 2001
Tuesday March 13th, 2001

Location - At Triangle Point, near Yankee Harbour on Greenwich Island

Saturday March 17th, 2001
Saturday March 17th, 2001

Location - At sea

Sunday March 18th, 2001
Sunday March 18th, 2001

Location - At sea, approaching the Beagle Canal in Southern Chile

Friday September 28th, 2001
Friday September 28th, 2001

Location - Belem

Sunday September 30th, 2001
Sunday September 30th, 2001

Location - Belem

Tuesday October 2nd, 2001
Tuesday October 2nd, 2001

Location - Heading for the Rio Para

Wednesday October 3rd, 2001
Wednesday October 3rd, 2001

Location - Furo do Tajpuru

Thursday October 4th, 2001
Thursday October 4th, 2001

Location - On the river

Friday October 5th, 2001
Friday October 5th, 2001

Location - Off the entrance to the Rio Curua

Tuesday October 9th, 2001
Tuesday October 9th, 2001

Location - Santarem, in the Rio Tapajos

Thursday October 11th, 2001
Thursday October 11th, 2001

Location - Rio Tapajos - near the small town of Alter do Cha

Tuesday October 16th, 2001
Tuesday October 16th, 2001

Location - Santarem

Wednesday October 17th, 2001
Wednesday October 17th, 2001

Location - Obidos

Thursday October 18th, 2001
Thursday October 18th, 2001

Location - Parintins

Thursday October 25th, 2001
Thursday October 25th, 2001

Location - Manaus

Saturday October 27th, 2001
Saturday October 27th, 2001

Location - Near Ilha do Capitari, Rio Negro

Tuesday October 30th, 2001
Tuesday October 30th, 2001

Location - Rio Jau

Saturday November 3rd, 2001
Saturday November 3rd, 2001

Location - Near the Rio Branco

Tuesday November 6th, 2001
Tuesday November 6th, 2001

Location - Rio Negro, near Ilha Peixe-Boi

Friday November 9th, 2001
Friday November 9th, 2001

Location - Barcelos

Tuesday November 13th, 2001
Tuesday November 13th, 2001

Location - Ilha Cuandu on the Rio Negro

Saturday November 17th, 2001
Saturday November 17th, 2001

Location - Barcelos

Sunday November 18th, 2001
Sunday November 18th, 2001

Location - Rio Negro, Cartucho village region

Wednesday November 21st, 2001
Wednesday November 21st, 2001

Location - Rio Mandu

Saturday November 24th, 2001
Saturday November 24th, 2001

Location - Ilha do Gaviao on the Rio Negro

Sunday November 25th, 2001
Sunday November 25th, 2001

Location - Rio Negro in Venezuela

Tuesday November 27th, 2001
Tuesday November 27th, 2001

Location - Rio Casiquiare

Wednesday November 28th, 2001
Wednesday November 28th, 2001

Location - Rio Negro, 40 miles from Manaus

Thursday November 29th, 2001
Thursday November 29th, 2001

Location - Casiquiare, at the entrance to the Siapa River

Tuesday December 4th, 2001
Tuesday December 4th, 2001

Location - Nearing Macapa

Thursday December 6th, 2001
Thursday December 6th, 2001

Location - Emsworth, England

Friday December 7th, 2001
Friday December 7th, 2001

UNEP Mourns the Loss of Special Envoy Sir Peter Blake

Sunday December 9th, 2001
Sunday December 9th, 2001

Location - Orinoco River, heading downstream to Puerto Ayacucho

Saturday January 19th, 2002
Saturday January 19th, 2002

Location - England

Sir Peter Blake's vision and determination made him a New Zealand hero.