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Yacht victim 'dedicated life to sea'

14:14 AEST Sat Oct 10 2009 ninemsn

Well-known Sydney yachting identity Andrew 'Shorty' Short has died after his boat ran aground during a race off the NSW south coast.

Short, 48, of The Spit, and crew member Sally Gordon, 47, of Darling Point, were pulled from the water unconscious early on Saturday morning but couldn't be revived.

Short was the owner and skipper of the 24.4m maxi yacht Shockwave, which crashed into rocks off Flinders Islet, off the coast near Wollongong, and ran aground at about 3am (AEDT).

The 16 surviving crew members were rescued and taken to Wollongong hospital suffering minor injuries and hypothermia.

Mr Short — who was the owner and managing director of Sydney-based boating business Andrew Short Marine — was a man who dedicated his life to the sea, colleagues said.

ninemsn understands Mr Short was a married father-of-five whose wife Kylie was also involved in the business.

A colleague of Mr Short's said the skipper had been involved in yaching all his life.

"We are still in shock here, all we are hearing is just what is on the news," he told ninemsn.

Police said it was too early to say what may have caused Shockwave to hit the rocks during Saturday's race, which started off Point Piper on Sydney Harbour at 8pm (AEDT) on Friday.

The construction and safety of the yacht, which is believed to be badly damaged on Flinders Islet, would be examined as part of the investigation, Marine Area Command Crime Manager Jennifer Thommeny told reporters.

The vessel was built in Sydney in 2000 for another yachting identity Neville Crichton, who then sold it on to another man.

Mr Short travelled to the US to purchase the yacht in 2008, where he completed the 635 nautical mile Newport to Bermuda race, before sailing on to Panama and then Mackay, Australia.

He participated in several Sydney Hobart yacht races.

It was one of several yachts he owned over the years, including a shop, Bobsled and the Djuice Dragon.

Mr Short also ran an award-winning boating business, Andrew Short Marine, with three premises across Sydney.

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