Michael McMahon OAM

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“You’ll never hear a bad word said about him.”

It’s a line regularly trotted out when underlining someone’s popularity and personality. Truth is, we’ve all probably got at least one or two minuses next to our name when it comes assessment time. Not Manly 16ft Skiff Club’s Michael McMahon.

You truly will never hear a bad word uttered about Mick because there are no negatives. His generosity, compassion and commitment to the sailing community and beyond is legendary. Now, fittingly, his unstinting loyalty and dedication has been officially acknowledged with an Australia Day OAM for services to sailing. It comes after a near 60-year involvement in the sport, covering everything from competitor through to race secretary, treasurer, race starter, judge, handicapper and Manly’s delegate to the NSW 16ft Skiff Association. He also served numerous roles at state and national level.

Humble, helpful and hard to replace – that’s Michael. In nominating him for an OAM, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club president Rolf Cohen wrote: “It was rare to find someone that young willing to give up their time for the often arduous and thankless task of administration and officiating. “He gave up countless hours to track and steer the club’s finances, all the while juggling a fulltime job and commitments to a young family. “Treasurer is arguably the most trusted position at any club and we are forever in Michael’s debt for ensuring not a cent was overlooked, misplaced or squandered.

“And while Michael is heavily involved at Manly, his motives are always altruistic and aimed at propagating the sport of skiff sailing around the country.” Typically, Michael didn’t want a fuss made of the OAM – but we went ahead and did it anyway.

He is blown away by the award and the response from people within and outside the sailing fraternity. He said: “I must say it did come as something of a surprise. I feel really humbled to receive the award. “I have always enjoyed the voluntary roles that I have done over the years and been more than happy to give back to the communities I have been involved with.” Seventy-two-year-old Mick has slipped into semi-retirement – or at least trying to – but is still a familiar face wherever skiffs are sailed.

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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club