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Top Kiwi match racer and America’s Cup sailor dies while racing aged 38yrs

Hayden Goodrick, a New Zealand born professional sailor now living in Colorado, died over the weekend while racing M32’s catamarans in Newport, RI.

Goodrick was only 38-years-old, and was a graduate of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Youth scheme and competed on the international Match Racing circuits for several years. He was a grinder on the sailing team for Oracle Racing in the 2007 America’s Cup in Valencia.

According to a report on the NZ website Stuff, Goodrick’s early career started when his uncle gifted him lessons at the New Plymouth Yacht Club as a pre-teen.

In 2000, Hayden left New Plymouth Boys High School and moved to Auckland, after being given the opportunity to sail in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

“I decided, if I wanted to have a decent crack at sailing, I would have to put everything into it,” he told the Taranaki Daily News in 2003.

He was a co-founder of the WAKA racing team as an 18-year-old, sailing on the World Match Racing and other circuits with Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, James Williamson, and Sam Bell to build a world ranking.

As well as being a top sailor, Goodrick was also a talented snowboarder and at the time of his death was living in Colorado along with his wife and young family.

In their tribute, World Match Racing Tour described Goodrick as a “founder of the US One Sailing team that won multiple World Match Racing Tour events and the World Match Racing Tour Championship in 2013. Hayden was a world class sailor across multiple classes including M32, Melges 20/24/32 and the America’s Cup.”

“His drive for the sport saw him chase his dream all over the globe, taking part in the America’s Cup, as a key member of BMW Oracle in 2007, and founding the US One Sailing team – driving it to success in 2013, ” WMRT wrote.

The M32 class reports that at the time of his death last Saturday, June 4th, 2022, “the M32 fleet was sailing the North American season start in Newport, RI. The weather was nice. Sunshine, 12-14 knots southerly winds and flat water.

“Between races a boat notified the Race Committee that a sailor was experiencing chest pains. The sailor was transferred to the safety boat for transport to the closest dock and rendezvous with an ambulance. During the transport, the condition of the sailor deteriorated and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started. At the dock, the emergency rescue staff took over and continued the treatment and he was transported to the Newport Hospital.

“We are saddened to share with you that his life was lost.

“The M32 community mourns the loss of Hayden Goodrick, a sailor and a friend who has been with the class since the very beginning. Hayden was an exceptional person and an extremely successful sailor, he left us far too early and will be deeply missed and always remembered. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends.

“The regatta ended after this tragic event. The teams got together the following morning for a gathering where they received first-hand information on what had happened from those involved, and then shared memories and stories about Hayden.

Later in the day, a non-scoring sail was organized where teams could do what we all know Hayden loved: go sailing.”

On Wednesday, Stuff NZ spoke with his mother, Denise Goodrick, who said she’d need a whole day to sum up her “special, special” son’s achievements.

“Hayden was somebody who lived a lifetime in 38 years,” Denise said.

While Hayden was known for his sailing, he had done so much else in the decades he spent overseas, and was “renowned by so many organisations and people”.

“He was such an amazing person, to so many people, in so many ways,” Denise said. “He made his mark on the world – it’s comforting for me.” She also found comfort in the fact “he died doing something that he loved to do”.

While memorials will be held overseas for Hayden, Denise said a service would be held for him in New Plymouth at the end of July.

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