Jonathan George “Jonty” Farmer (23 April 1945 – 4 September 2023) left an indelible mark in the world of sailing. Hailing from New Zealand, he stood as a beacon of talent and dedication in the realm of international sports.
Born in the scenic town of Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty in 1945, Jonty’s roots were deeply entrenched in the Kiwi culture. As he grew, he found his second home in Rotorua, a place known for its shimmering lakes and Maori heritage. It was at Rotorua Boys’ High School where he spent his formative years, possibly cultivating his love for watersports and sailing.
Farmer’s prowess as a sailor gained international attention when he represented New Zealand at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Competing in the demanding Finn class, he secured a respectable 11th place, making his country proud. Though he traveled to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany, he served as a reserve and did not have the chance to compete. Undeterred by this, Farmer returned with renewed energy to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Again, racing in the Finn class, he secured the 15th position.
Beyond the waves and sails, Jonty Farmer’s legacy is also felt in the pursuits of his family. His daughter, Holly Farmer, took to the waters in a slightly different capacity. Instead of racing across waves, she crafts vessels to brave them, working as a boat builder in Tauranga.
Tragically, on 4 September 2023, the sailing community and New Zealand mourned the loss of this iconic sailor. Jonathan George “Jonty” Farmer passed away at the age of 78. Yet, through his achievements and the continuing work of his family, his legacy sails on.