A former Gunnedah man has been awarded for long service to the Lake Keepit Sailing Club.
Brett White said he was "not expecting" the life membership he received at the club's annual awards on Saturday night.
He accepted the membership from one of the club's first members, Sandy McKinnon.
"I'm still a bit overwhelmed by it all," Mr White said.
"It's all about trying to get more sailors into the club and if I can do that then that's what I'm coming back to do."
Club vice commodore Ian Pine said Mr White promoted the club everywhere he went, and the life membership reflected his dedication.
"He's a great ambassador for the sport and the club so we deemed it appropriate to recognise his contribution, so that was a pretty special thing," Mr Pine said.
Mr White learnt to sail with the club in the mid-1970s and early-1980s, and has gone on to compete in world championships in locations including Florida, New Guinea, Fiji, and Marseille.
"When I was about 10, [the club] had a junior program ... and a lot of farmers' young ones came and learnt to sail," Mr White said.
"From there, if you have the passion, you join other sailing clubs that have other classes of boats and ... you climb the ladder."
Mr White now lives in Medowie, a suburb close to Lake Macquarie, but frequently visits Lake Keepit and always comes back for the Keepit Kool Regatta.
"[It's] one of my favourite regattas," the seasoned sailor said.
"I've won [the regatta] twice, which is pretty hard when there's so many people to sail against."
His son Lachlan is now following in his footsteps and they often sail Lake Macquarie together.
"We have a lot of fun together as father and son," he said.