Very sad news

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Ancient Geek
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:50 am
Location: Sletten,3250, Denmark and Hampshire GU33 7LR UK

Very sad news

Post by Ancient Geek » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:02 pm

Those over 40 who sailed dinghiesin the late 50's through to the eighties will be saddended to hear of the death of Frank Dwyer of Whitstable a dwoyen of Race Officers all round good egg, sad though this news is a good life well lived.
Every sport needs its characters. Every sport needs its administrators,
umpires, referees, or in the case of sailing race officers.
Frank Dwyer was and remains just such a man. A character in his own right
with a tremendous sense of fun, infinite good humour and simply the very
best race officer in the world.
One has to go to another sport to find his near equal, cricket has such a
man, in Dickie Bird.
Unlike Dickie, who was a county cricketer, though he is not a sailor, just
an intuitive race officer with a deep understanding of what was needed.
Indeed his speech when Guest of Honour, at the Annual Merlin Rocket Dinner
at Great Fosters in 1967, majored on a recent and one off guest appearance
as a crew in a Merlin Rocket, those there still remember it, it was one of
the great comic monologues!

His competence, meant that the Thames Estuary off Whitstable in Kent
became the first choice for any dinghy class wanting to run a major
national or international meeting. It was not the most promising piece of
water, tidal, shallow, with land on two sides and a narrow isthmus on
another. But he always magiced a sailable and fair course no matter what
the wind.

A realist, he realised that one cannot expect two hundred dinghies to line
up in parade ground precision on the line. Many a time he let a fleet go
even if it was well over the start line, because it was as fair a start as
they were likely to get. Some of us, I have to confess did on occasion
take advantage of this, but Frank would probably say well they would have
won anyway!

He also always put himself up for criticism, whether in a tour round the
dinghy park after the race or in the bar, where he was generous to a
fault! How could it have been better? Was his constant theme. He agonised
over the difficult days of 180 degree wind shifts and sudden hail storms,
at one regatta causing a grumbling ulcer to rupture, but he was there the
next day.

So his technical competence was supreme, he also realised that sailing in
dinghies is primarily a young persons sport, and if not young those of
arrested maturity! Therefore it had to be fun off the water too. There was
always a dance every evening, he would hijack a local band and rename
them, “Frank and his Whitstable Week Four”, I remember, I also remember
“Frank and his Wizards” for a Merlin Rocket Championship. His raffle
prizes were amazing, always from Whitstable supporting a local industry, a
girl friend of 35 years ago still has her Mr. Merlin stuffed toy that
Frank had made for her when she did not win the original in the raffle,
she calls him Frank! Sadly the model that Frank was instrumental in having
made for my 21st Birthday Cake of my current Merlin Rocket (some 30 years
ago, and a bit!) is destroyed by an angry ex-wife, but Frank would
understand, he knows all about ex-wives!

Perhaps the ultimate accolade is the number of international sailors who
if in the South East of England make the detour to have a look at
Whitstable, and see Frank, still at 77 very much a part of the Yacht Club.
One International Flying Dutchman sailor from Italy was heard to say, “Ah
Whitstable the home of British Yachting”, the views of Burnham on Crouch,
Cowes and other places have not been canvassed, but no matter where one
sails in no matter how grand regattas one cannot help agreeing with him!
Simples.

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