David Skinner has been an active member of the yacht club in Brighton Road, Shoreham, since 1971, when he joined with his young family.
He was the club’s Commodore in 1994 and, until recently, was still racing in his 42-foot ‘retirement boat’ with a crew of up to nine people.
The father-of-two has also been sharing his passion for sailing with those who are new to the sport for the last 40 years by taking them out on his own boat to show them the ropes.
Mr Skinner was instrumental in the setting up of Sussex Sailability, a charity that enables people with disabilities to sail from Sussex Yacht Club.
He said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been granted the title of Admiral. It really is a tremendous accolade and the very pinnacle of a lifetime of being on the sea.
“I had a love of the sea from very young. I come from a Lifeboat family and my father had boats. He was a keen angler and we’d often go fishing together – although he always caught more fish than me!
“So, when we moved our young family down to the south coast, I bought a 17-foot boat and we took up sailing. I think learning to sail is one of the best things that children can do, it teaches them so many life skills and they are outside in the fresh air gaining new experiences.
“I love being on the water, it’s where I raised my family and we had some amazing adventures.
“Sailing means so much to me and I have so many very happy memories.
“I will be an active Admiral, my manifesto is to guard our traditional values which have taken years to build up but could be lost so quickly.”
After formerly inviting David to accept his new position, Terry Kinch, the outgoing Commodore of Sussex Yacht Club, said: “We are extraordinarily proud that David has agreed to be our Admiral.
“He has given so much to the club and its members over the years; he genuinely is an inspiration to us all.
“We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his tireless support of those who are learning to sail and for continuous support of our club.”
“I can’t think of anyone better qualified to be our Admiral.”
Families can join Sussex Yacht Club for an annual fee that works out at less than £20 per month and do not need to own a boat.
To find out more about membership, courses and taster days, call 01273 464868.