Sailing community loses favourite son

SUCH was Nick Peate's sailing skill he was to compete in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Denmark in July.

But the Ballina boy will never make it to the start line.
Last Saturday, Nick suddenly passed away at the family home in Ballina after experiencing depression. He was just 17.

The death of the supremely gifted teenager has left his family devastated.

"Obviously it's been a huge shock to the family," Nick's brother, James Peate, told The Northern Star.

"But we're all pulling together. It's been devastating.

"We've had some great support from right around Australia, overseas, the local community, and the sailing and drag racing communities."

Nick was the youngest son of Roger (Gold Coast) and Janice (Ballina), and the brother of Katherine Stevens, 31 (a professional drag car racer), James Peate, 27, and Matthew Peate, 26.

Nick was a Year 12 student at The Southport School on the Gold Coast, where he was the 2008 sailing team captain.

"The whole school community was saddened to hear of Nick's passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Alan Parsons, deputy headmaster of The Southport School, said.

"Nick was a talented sportsman who contributed much to the overall life of the school, especially in areas of academics, sailing and boarding.

"He was a popular and highly respected member of our boarding community and will be sadly missed."

A natural athlete, Nick had numerous representative honours throughout his life, including multiple national sailing championships, NSW state gymnastics, NSW state cross-country, NSW state hockey, schoolboy rugby union, athletics, rowing and the bronze medallion Surf Life Saving Award.

Nick was also regarded as one of Australia's top young sailors, beginning his career in 2001 with the Richmond River Sailing Club at Ballina.

In 2006 he won his first national title in the Sabot class and was offered a sporting scholarship for sailing at The Southport School.

Despite it being his first year in the TSS squad and only being in Year 10, Nick was selected as skipper for the A team at the GPS sailing championships.

Ongoing triumphs at state and national competitions then culminated in him being selected for Australia for the 2007 Youth Olympics, which also earned him a nomination for the 2008 Ballina Shire Young Sports Person of the Year.

This success continued with Nick, and his crew, Rhys Mara, recently securing positions in the Australian Youth Sailing Team for 2008 from Yachting Australia and the NSW Institute of Sport.

A public funeral service will be held at St Mary's Anglican Church, Ballina, at 10am on Friday.

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