It is with great sadness I let you all know that long time Merlin Rocket stalwart John Harris passed away yesterday evening. Six time winner of Salcombe week, the silver tiller and many other races and Open meetings. He will be greatly missed. Funeral details will be posted when available
Former whitstable pro
John was one of my heroes in my formative sailing years when he was sailing “Tobacco Road”, subsequently he always had time for a chat, even until quite recently and often in Fore Street. I particularly remember a rendition of “old man Harris” during a Merlin prize giving over 40 years ago! Best wishes to all of the Harris family.
My brother John would have been 80 today. John was always competitive from his Yachting World Cadet days at Burnham on Crouch onwards. My memory is that 1950s Tamesis always attracted large numbers of Merlin Rockets for it’s Open Meetings in the 1950s Dad had a Jack Holt boat called Dizzy no. 490. John was perhaps 15, his Cadet crew was smaller and younger. They took Dizzy to Tamesis for an Open Meeting via capsizes under the river bridges. Just a couple of kids thought the other competitors. How wrong they were! With her light weight and agile young crew Dizzy was quicker than most of the other boats and created chaos throughout the day. I don’t think they won but I bet they were not forgotten.
Thank-you to everyone for their kind words, spoken, written and on this forum. Andrew Harris
So sorry to hear the news. I can remember John when we were both sailing Cadets, John at Minima sailing a red Cadet, "Punch" if I remember correctly but I'm sure Robert will correct me, and me at Hampton. Like John I moved into Merlins and yes, can remember healing the boats to get under the Kingston road bridge to get down to Tammy. Have many happy memories of those days and John will be sorely missed.
Very sad..I really only saw John once a year at salcombe,he'd stop me in the street,ask how things were going at work,had i got my stuff with me for any eventualities..then tell me i was holiday.. he was a true merlin rocketeer and a gent.. he will be sadly missed
very sad news - will miss my chats in Salcombe
Farewell, John. I have fond memories of sailing (with Pat Blake) against John and Dave Wootten in the early 70s - they always seemed to be just ahead of us or (hopefully) just behind.
Oh, what sad news. Will miss his smiling face, invariably with a cigarette at the corner. Always the one to watch when roll tacking up the banks of the river. Still remember helping him to drown his sorrows when he lost the championships at Weymouth. I will always remember my mum greeting him on Weymouth beach with two pints and giving him a cuddle to cheer him up. Great sailor and a lovely guy!
Dave & Jenny Philpott