Topic : Tony Davis

It's with sadness that I have to report that Tony Davis died a few days ago after a long illness. I first met Tony as a teenager in the '50s when crewed by his sister Pat he was sailing his Holt 'banana' boat 'Excusez Moi' no. 195 with great success. Tony was a member of Hampton S. C. where his dad sailed a GP14. There he met his lifelong friend Berry Ritchie who now sails 'Crescendo' no. 607 at Tamesis. There's a famous photograph on the Shoreham S. C. website of the only time they raced a Merlin Rocket together when a gale caused the Silver Tiller race to be sailed on the River Adur; they finished second. Tony was a talented helmsman and was second to Brian Saffery-Cooper in the 1959 Silver Tiller sailing his Jack Holt Martine design 'Kelpy' no. 719. Tony's last Merlin Rocket was 'Brandy Ball' no. 1077 which  was a Proctor MK IX. He painted her lilac which reflected his ebullient personality. Sue Vines regularly crewed for Tony in 'Brandy Ball' before she married my brother John.

In the early '60s Tony shared a home built 14Ft International with Berry: they did reasonably well but found the competition literally too rich. From dinghies he moved on to big boats and ocean racing, initially in Lloyds Yacht Club's 'Lutine'. He then joined Ron Amey's crew in 'Noryema IV'. She was part of the British team that won the Onion Patch Trophy in 1966 by beating the Americans and four other teams in a series which included the Bermuda Race. He also raced an X boat and briefly owned an Old Gaffer.

Tony ended his sailing days cruiser racing on the Hamble, to where he move a few years ago.

Posted: 06/10/2008 21:13:49
By: Robert Harris
What sad news. Tony, or Twiggy as we used to call him, crewed me in my Etchells at Cowes week a few years back. My partner was 17 stone and we were short of a foredeck crew. I met Tony in Hamble and he offered to sail with us on the understanding that he went in the middle. So there I was hoping that the week would produce above 20 knots of wind. As luck would have it, that Cowes week was the lightest for many years and Tony at 23 stone, spent most of the week sat to leeward. The only day it blew hard we were over the line at the start and had to return. We still finished fourth in that race. His stories about sweet making etc. were legendary. A good sailor and will be missed by all his friends.

Posted: 08/10/2008 16:42:29
By: Barry Dunning
Sad news indeed. My brother bought 'Brandyball' 1077 from Tony in the mid 60's, though I never remember her being lilac. There is (or was) an old photo of her on the Ranelagh archive.

Posted: 09/10/2008 22:01:54
By: Geoff P
Is anyone aware of Tony's funeral arrangments? I understand it is on Monday but where and when?

Posted: 10/10/2008 09:45:05
By: w warren
The old photos are still on the Ranelagh website. 'Kelpie' features in several including a 1960 open race at Ranelagh when there were 95 enties! By 1963 she was being sailed by Mervyn Allen

Posted: 10/10/2008 15:46:54
By: Robert Harris
Please email me for details of where and when if you wish to go to Tony's funeral.

Posted: 10/10/2008 15:49:22
By: Robert Harris
I understand from Pam Saffery Cooper that Tony's funeral is in Hamble on Monday 13th October at 11.45.
Not sure which church but I think there is only one.

Posted: 10/10/2008 15:55:04
By: Barry Dunning
It is with great sadness that I read your news Robert.  Tony was a great Merlin sailor.  I remember him at HSC when I had my Cadet there and was greatly honoured when Tony let me sail 'Excusez Moi'. Tony's father,Herbie, was also an excellent sailor, sailing his GP14 'Gambol' No.461 as was his sister Pat, who always won the Ladies Race!

Posted: 15/10/2008 12:44:52
By: Mike Liggett
Tony's life was celebrated on Monday at Hamble's church and the Royal Southern Y.C. Supporting his family were numerous luminaries from Merlin Rockets and ocean racing who told us wonderful stories of Tony and his sailing exploits. I learned something new which was that Tony was one of the two helmsmen of 'Noryema 8' when she won the Bermuda Race in 1972. Type Noryema 8 into Google and go to the 3rd entry 'Out of a storm-tossed fleet....' and you'll find a detailed report of that race including words from Tony.

Posted: 16/10/2008 10:09:03
By: Robert Harris


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