Obituary: A lifetime of service to sport

Friday May 09, 2014 Written by Published in Weekend
Andre Raoult will be remembered for his lifetime of service to his beloved sport of sailing. 14050915 Andre Raoult will be remembered for his lifetime of service to his beloved sport of sailing. 14050915

Andre Raoult slipped away from us all in Marseille, France at 8.30pm on Thursday March 20.

The sailing community of the Pacific send our deepest condolences, love and respect to Andre’s wife Linda and all their family on this very sad occasion.  

Andre and Linda are very special people who have touched in the lives of so many people in Oceania and around the world.  

The global sailing community today pays tribute and reflects on Andre’s life and the nature of Andre’s association with each one of us through his beloved sport of sailing.

Andre the sailor, Andre the coach, Andre the instructor, Andre the international judge, Andre the mentor and Andre the friend.

These amazing capacities, personal resources and living images are in themselves a staggering sign of the intensity, and success of Andre’s life; his love of Linda Poema Kainuku and the lifetime of service to the sport he so cherished, lived and loved, influenced and improved each of us. Thank you, Andre for your life and self.   

From Andre’s Brittany in France, his boyhood sailing reaching Olympic qualification in Keelboat class in 1967 to Africa, to French Polynesia, to Cook Islands and the Pacific Islands and countries of Oceania to the very last days of his life in Oceania – all were so fully engaged with the ocean and sailing.

It was in February only this year while Andre and Linda were in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand at the 2014 A-Class Catamaran World Championships as an international judge that he learned the news that he had cancer.

Five weeks later he died, and this will give you the sense of the timing and the sudden and unexpected nature of this news of his passing.

Andre was a highly respected senior ISAF international judge in sailing and treasured his Cook Islands (COK) ISAF registration.

He travelled extensively by invitation to world and continental ISAF championships to fulfil this role.

Back home in the Cook Islands he was also a coach and mentor to young and old on the water.  He had time for anyone to teach and discuss, always enjoying his interaction with the young sailors.

He was a member of Rarotonga Sailing Club, the Technical Director for Sailing Cook Islands and the President of Oceania Sailing Federation.

Andre leaves a legacy of care and passion for sailing here amongst us all.

He was very passionate for our sport and spent hours of his time in development, coaching and encouraging people to be involved in various aspects of his sport including participation. All of our current Cook Islands international sailors can look back and see times when Andre’s personal intervention made such a difference to their commitment to sailing. 

An outpouring of sympathy from all over the world for Linda and son Christophe, and the sailing community of the Pacific shows just how Andre epitomised the best in our sport.

We will all sadly miss this great man and our inspirational leader in Oceania sailing. Let us all celebrate Andre’s life and strive to complete his dream!

In the words of his beloved wife Linda, “Andre is flying to Hawaiki, love Linda”.

Farewell Andre.  

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