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Eight Bells: Hayden Goodrick

Published on June 8th, 2022

Professional sailor Hayden Goodrick, who had been living in Vail, Colorado with his young family, died after having chest pains during an event in Newport, Rhode Island. He was 38. A New Zealand-born sailor and father of two is being mourned all over the world after he died while competing.

Hayden’s early career started when his uncle gifted him lessons at the New Plymouth Yacht Club in New Zealand 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 said in 2003.

Goodrick, nicknamed “83”, had a drive for the sport that 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, and was beloved figure in the sport.

His mother, Denise Goodrick, said she’d need a whole day to sum up her 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 organizations 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.

Denise said she had been reading the many tributes left on social media for Hayden. “Everybody says the same thing. He was such a good dad, son, and just friend,” Denise said. “Everybody in the world is grieving for him.”

He pulled together his own team as an 18-year-old, before freelancing his sailing skills across different countries in the years that followed. Hayden’s legacy in sailing was apparent in the days after he died, when a tribute race was held for him in Rhode Island. All the boats stalled out at the start and let his boat sail to victory.

Many online tributes have flowed for the father, friend, teammate and overall amazing human being. While memorials will be held in the US for Hayden, a service would be held for him in New Zealand at the end of July.

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