first records of Gerry’s sailing prowess commence in 1979.
Gerry had joined the Club in the mid 70’s and owned ‘Nautilus’ a
17’ Skipper which he trailed to the Lake District where he kept a caravan.
That is until the sailing seriously took over.
Word soon got around that Gerry was a Lay Preacher – better watch our
P&Q’s we thought. However,
Gerry’s sense of humour, sense of fair play, sense of socialising and sense of
sailing soon showed us he was an all round good guy.
He was called Captain Neemo by many who sailed with him. He won the
Robert Bruce Trophy in 1979.
Cuthbertson remembers one year in the Upnor Race with Gerry on ‘Nautilus’and
John on his Felicity. John and Gerry both picked up a mooring on the inside of
the Dragon Moorings in the Medway with Gerry using his snap-on mooring hook.
They went up to the Club had a few drinks and went back to their boats.
About 5a.m. John woke up (call of nature) and the easiest way out of his
boat was through the forward hatch and as he looked around he noticed that
‘Nautilus’ had broken free of the mooring and was drifting towards the
shore. John went up on the deck (in his birthday suit) and called to Gerry.
Gerry poked his head out of the cabin and laughed at John who told him he
was drifting. Gerry immediately started his engine and as he was motoring away
he called out to John ‘you’d better get below before anyone else sees
of the Harty Ferry races almost ended in disaster.
It was agreed that as Gerry had the shallowest draft he would ferry
everyone ashore. By the time he had
gone round to all the boats he had collected 21 Club members onboard his 17’
Skipper which had twin daggerboards. After
Gerry had made the last pick up of people someone shouted hurry up your sinking.
The weight of all the bodies onboard had submerged the boat and there was
so much water coming up the daggerboards casings.
Needles to say they made it to the shore but on the return trip another
dinghy was also used as a Ferryboat.
of the stories Gerry used to tell was the time we were arriving back from a sail
Bob and I owned ‘Jayronda’ then and Gerry had the next jetty to us.
I was wearing a bikini top and shorts (much younger in those days and the
summers seemingly warmer). We had tied our boat and I was getting ready to take
the ropes from Des, Gerry’s crew at that time. When Gerry saw me he forgot
what he was doing and crashed into the Jetty.
Gerry retold this story of the 25th January this year when
Rodney, Chris, Bill and I went to visit him in Barts Hospital.
1986 Gerry won the Overall Points Trophy and in 1988 the A&B Cup, the Yachts
& Yachting Trophy and the Cruiser Points Trophy.
In 1989 he won the Small Gains Cup. By now Gerry owned ‘Aphrodite’.
He was 1st Class B Cruiser in the Whitbread Race in 1990 and 1st
B Class in the Cruiser points trophy. In
1992 Gerry was 2nd Class B in the Sunnyside Cup,
1st B Class in the SmallGains Cup, 1st B Class in
the Fisk Cup, 1st B Class in the A&B Cup, 1st in the
Koningstein Cup and the Gin & Rum Cup and also 1st B Class
Cruiser Points – 7 Trophies that year. This
is getting serious sailing.
came onto the Committee for the first time in 1983 as Sailing Secretary which he
did until 1998 when he became Rear Commodore Sail, I guess he knew enough about
it by this time! Also in 1993 he purchased ‘Aires’ a boat which was well
known in the Club as belonging to the late Roy Lucas and secondly Rod Abbott.
now sailing ‘Aires’ Gerry wanted to continue his winning ways and in 1993 he
was 2bd A Class in the Fisk Cup, 2nd A Class in the Yachts &
Yachting Trophy, 2nd A Class in the Overall Points Trophy.
Getting used to the new boat in 1994 was 2nd A Class in the
SmallGains Cup, 1st in the Ellen Rapkin Trophy and 1st A
Class Cruiser points Trophy.
and everyone is busy with the new Club House but this does not deter the racing
and in this year Gerry was 1st Overall and 1st A Class in
the SmallGains Cup, 2ns A Class in the Ellen Rapkin Trophy, 1st
Overall and 1st A Class in the Yachts & Yachting Trophy and 2nd
in the Koningstein Pursuit Race.
sees us in the new Club House and members celebrating this wonderful
achievement. Gerry was celebrating
too, this year sees him winning 1st Overall and 1st A
Class in the Fisk Cup, 2nd A Class in the Greene King Trophy, 2nd
A Class in the A&B Cup, 2nd A Class for the Cruiser Points
won the 1st Overalls and 1st A Class in the Sunnyside Cup
ib 1997, he was 2nd A Class in the Greene King Race, 1st A
Class in the Ellen Rapkin Trophy, 1st A Class in the Yachts &
Yachting Trophy, 1st A Class in the A&B Cup, 1st
Overall and 1st A Class in the Cruiser Points.
Does this man ever give up. In
between all this racing there was the Calais Rally trips and latterly the
Gravelines Cruises – they will miss him in the Camboursier Club House at
yes Gerry is still winning trophies. 1st
Overalls and 1st A Class in the SmallGains Cup, 1st In the
Ellen Rapkin Trophy, 1st A Class in the Greene King Race, 1st
A Class in the Yachts & Yachting Trophy, 1st in the Cruiser
Points – oh, and yes that year he was part of the team that won the Combined
Cruisers Race – not won again until last year, guess what Gerry was part of
that winning team too.
am not sure what year Gerry won the Nore Race but one of his crew Mark Smith was
being interviewed by the local paper. The
interview was relating to Mark’s job (nothing to do with sailing) but somehow
Mark mentioned the Nore Race and that they had won the race.
We all know how local papers work, print what they want – the paper
read Mark Smith owner and skipper of ‘Aires’
etc etc., Gerry laughed when he read the news but we do not know what he said to
you take into consideration that Gerry is by now, no youngster, he drove down
from Romford most weekends for the Sailing and helped alongside his good friend
Bill Mahon improve the Bar takings. Gerry
always had time for everyone he chatted to and helped everyone that he came
across and was tireless in his support of the Club both as Rear Commodore Sail
and Sailing Secretary. Gerry rarely
missed a social event and for those of you who can remember, especially in the
old Club house, he was an excellent ballroom dancer – his favourite was the
2000 he was 1st Overall and 1st A Class in the SmallGains
Cup, 1st Overall and 1st A Class in the Sunnyside Cup, 1st
Overall and 1st A Class in the Yachts & Yachting Trophy, the
A&B Cup and 1st in the Ellen Rapkin Trophy, 3rd in the
Koningstein Pursuit Race and 1st A Class in the Cruiser points –
some year that was for Gerry.
sees Gerry 3rd A Class in the Sunnyside Cup, 1st A Class
in the Fisk Cup, 1st A Class in the A&B Cup, 1st A
Class in the Shepherd Neame Trophy, 1st in the Ellen Rapkin Cup, and
1st A Class in the Cruiser Points.
and 2003 cannot find Club Books for these years.
But in 2004 Gerry was 2nd in the Fisk Cup, 3rd in
the Koningstein Cup, and last year despite all the difficulties he was
experiencing Gerry took part in all 5 of the IYC cruiser Races and represented
the Club in 4 out of 5 Combined Cruiser races, the Nore Race and the Interclub
Cruiser team race.
speaking with many members since Gerry’s death so many have got stories,
anecdotes and great memories of this truly lovely man,
What a sad loss to both his family, the Club and all those who knew him.
everyone says ‘ a true Gentleman’.