Controversial businessman Alan Bond is being remembered by the Perth yacht club he put on the map, as a larger-than-life character.
Mr Bond died on Friday aged 77, having never regained consciousness after open heart surgery at Mount Hospital three days earlier to replace a valve and repair two others.
Royal Perth Yacht Club Commodore Barry Honey said Mr Bond’s contribution to sailing would be honoured at a meeting of members on Wednesday night.
Without the entrepreneur’s determination and perseverance, Australia would not have won the America’s Cup in 1983, ending the longest winning streak in sporting history, Mr Honey said.
“Alan’s been an important member of the club – I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind,” he told AAP.
“Before 1983, there were a number of campaigns leading up to the Australia II challenge and he was involved in all of those, so it took a while for him to get there but it was quite a feat.
“He will be certainly missed by a number of members here, particularly those who were involved in the America’s Cup campaign and who remember him very fondly.”
Mr Honey said Mr Bond was easy to get along with and quite charming and had created an identity for the club that was known around the world.
“He’d left lasting legacies, notably the substantial rejuvenation of Fremantle ahead of hosting the America’s Cup in 1987 when the US brought the coveted trophy back home.
“The Cup win had contributed to Australia’s national identity, making the boxing kangaroo almost the sporting flag for Australia as a whole,” Mr Honey said.
While many will remember Mr Bond as a convicted corporate fraudster, he’d mainly be thought of at the club as a positive figure, Mr Honey said.
“I think he’s one of those colourful characters that we’ve had in our society. So far as the yacht club’s concerned, we’ll predominantly remember him for his contribution to sailing.”
Mr Bond’s funeral will be held at St Patrick’s Basilica in Fremantle on Friday morning.