Vale Pam Brinsmead

  • Club
  • NEWS
  • By Louise Bashford
  • 17 Nov 2014 11:45:00
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Pamela Brinsmead - photo courtesy of the Brinsmead Family

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Pam Brinsmead, a 39-year member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, passed away peacefully in Geelong on Thursday 13th November, aged 91 years.

Pam is best remembered as being a crew member on the Vicki Wilman skippered Barbarian in the 1975 Sydney Hobart, the first all-female crew to sail in the race. Pam was an adventurer with a sense of humour and said some years ago she loved every minute of sailing the race on the 38 footer “and all the notoriety that came with it.”

A nurse who worked on land and at sea, Pam was an experienced yachtswoman and one of the more mature crew members on Barbarian; 51 when she competed in the race.

With fellow CYCA member, Lindsay May, Pam sailed to Noumea on Onya of Gosford in the 1977 Queens' Jubilee race organised by Peter Rysdyk, whom Pam sailed with off and on. At one time Pam had been a nurse aboard the ship Arcadia, moored near Middleton Reef. We called the ship up and Pam chatted to the radio officer whom she knew well.

Pam did her celestial navigation course with Gordon Marshall and became close friends with another CYCA identity, Keith Storey. She spent many times on Marabou (now in Southport).

She shared an adventurous spirit with her father, Colonel Horace Brinsmead, who in July 1924 announced he intended to fly around Australia. That trip of 85 hours and 22 days was successful, but subsequent flights resulted in crashes and ultimately his death before Pam reached her teens. In 1951, Qantas named a Lockheed Constellations plane after him.  

When her racing days were over, Pam took up duties with the on-water race team at the CYCA, joined the Breakfast Club crew and was one of the volunteers in the early Sydney Hobart Information centres, answering the enquiries of family, relatives and friends during the race. She continued in these roles until she left to live in Victoria.

Despite her years, Pam remained fit and interested in all life had to offer. She travelled to Sydney almost every year to attend the CYCA 20 year dinner and would spend the weekend as she loved catching up with Club friends.

Originally from Melbourne, Pam returned to Victoria, to Bannockburn near Geelong some years ago. She made herself known to Royal Geelong Yacht Club which she joined in 2010, where helped out with the race management at the Festival of Sails each year.

As Lindsay May says, Pam was a lovely gentle lady, but she also had strength of character, humour and an adventurous spirit.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Pam’s life at Crawford's Chapel, corner of Portarlington and Coppards Roads, Newcomb (Geelong) on Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 1.00pm.

Di Pearson

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