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News at Whitstable Yacht Club

Club News

John Day

It is with great regret that we pass on the news to members that John Day died on Saturday 13th May. Most recently a keen Laser sailor (shown in the photos below sailing his Laser, and receiving the WYC Laser Sailor of the year award in 2016), he has a history with the club going back to the 1960's. He will be greatly missed. Below is a personal reflection on John's sailing career by Charlie Campion.
John Day
John first visited Whitstable Yacht Club in the 1960’s. He had gone for a ride on his Triumph motorcycle, a marque he owned all his adult life in preference to the Japanese offerings, & almost by chance ended up in Whitstable. As he was walking past Whitstable Yacht Club he spotted a notice advertising for crews which he enquired into. I am not quite sure of the ensuing conversation but later that day John was on the water with Derick Emery in a National 12 competing in a club race in quite windy weather. Derick was an accomplished National 12 sailor in pre Laser days when there were a limited number of dinghy classes & WYC was pretty much all National 12’s & Merlin Rockets. Derick & John won the race but what really impressed John was Derrick’s boat handling when coming ashore. Anyway, soon after...

...John purchased a National 12 & joined Maidstone Sailing Club (a club that no longer exists) where he met a young lad with a Heron. John persevered with the National 12 effectively teaching himself to sail in a tricky boat in tricky conditions. Maidstone SC sailed on Mote Park lake which had a length restriction of 14’ except for Fireballs & there was one of those there (owned by another young lad, Terry Davis) which John saw as the next step.
It turned out that Mote Park Lake was not really suitable for Fireballs but there was a competitive & growing fleet at Hooness SC a club he joined whilst maintaining his links with Maidstone SC. Now thoroughly “hooked” & having taught himself to sail a Fireball in the more demanding conditions of the river Medway John felt a new boat was in order but not liking anything available decide to build one himself. Whilst building the Fireball he swapped building notes with the young lad who previously had the Heron but who was now building International Moths. When the Fireball was finished the young lad (who wasn’t quite so young anymore) was invited for a sail & we just kept sailing, travelling & competing together in many open meetings & National Championships. John had great feel for the boat coupled with a practical ability together with an ability to extract information from books which enabled him to put the jig-saw puzzle of sailing together. I remember he had one particular book, written by a Frenchman, which he read repeatedly & referred to as “the bible”! John won several Fireball open meetings & his name is on several Fireball trophy’s but I think his favourite moment came at the Flying Dutchman 21st Anniversary Regatta held at WYC. Rodney Pattisson won the Flying Dutchman Class & John won the Fireball Class so he shared the prize giving ceremony with Rodney Pattisson. Pity there is no photo (that I know of) of that moment…
Circumstances, family, work etc. meant we stopped sailing together although I often wonder what might have resulted if we had kept going but we both simply stopped sailing for a while, however, we always remained in touch & John occasionally sailed a Fireball at Whitstable. We went on holiday together a number of times including one when we took a windsurfer to the south of France, before they were common place, where we kept the whole beach amused with our antics whilst we learnt. Then sometime later we both got Lasers & spent ages off Whitstable practicing together. John was really quick in a Laser especially downwind but somehow never seemed to do it in the races but I was always expecting him to spring a surprise on us all.
John had many interest other than sailing. He was a good friend, was always kind, thoughtful of others & a gentleman.
It now seems improbable that John & I were out cycling together in January.
Johns wife Mary died a few years ago but Jonnie his son & Sally his daughter, who a number of people have met at the club, survive him together with grandchildren & great-grandchildren.
So, I have known John 45+ years, possibly closer to 50, he has been my friend & I will miss him a great deal.

Charlie Campion