John Harris

16/11/2018 16:07:56
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

16/11/2018 17:28:47
Former whitstable pro
Probably been going to Salcombe for longer than anyone else- a Salcombe pioneer who will indeed be greatly missed  

16/11/2018 18:03:09
David Greening
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.

18/11/2018 11:13:52
Robert Harris
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.

18/11/2018 17:08:33
Pat Blake
Indeed John Harris has been a stalwart of the Merlin fleet forever it seems. Well 65 years by Robert's calculations.
I certainly remember John and Sue always being right at the front of the fleet when I first started Merlin sailing, round about 1961. It is always tempting when you have known someone for many years to remember them as you have seen them lately, as David Greening says '....he always had time for a chat, even until quite recently and often in Fore Street.' But I would like to share with you my impression of John when he was young and at the top of his game. He and Sue were very good looking and formidable competitors. John so nearly won the Championship in 1975 when he was crewed by Dave Wootton - I will let someone else tell that story - but they were good. 
Of course John and Sue went on to start a whole dynasty of sailors who are carrying on the family tradition of sailing on the River Thames. Many of them are national standard sailors but they still keep coming back to trickling around on the River, something that John was a master of. I was tempted to say his passing marks the end of an era but happily I don't think it does. I think there are still plenty of people, mostly much younger, who are inspired by John, and his friends from that time, to keep the game going. He will be much missed and our thoughts go out to all his family. Pat and Jilly Blake 

18/11/2018 18:09:44
Andrew Harris
Thank-you to everyone for their kind words, spoken, written and on this forum.  Andrew Harris

18/11/2018 21:55:45
Rob Hatley
Did I see the flag at half-mast at Tamesis today ?
Very fitting. 

19/11/2018 17:51:56
Mike Liggerr
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.

19/11/2018 18:15:58
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

20/11/2018 13:16:05
The funeral will be on Tuesday 4th December at 2pm in Mortlake Crematorium, Kew Meadow Path, Townmead Road, Richmond TW9 4EN.
and afterwards at Tamesis Club, Trowlock Way, Broom Road, Teddington, Middx, TW11 9QY

20/11/2018 14:50:32
Dave C
I remember a few years ago looking to buy Tobacco Road to sail on the Thames at Tamesis,  John was quite exited about the prospect of his old boat returning and said some nice things about our sailing but Tobacco Road was in North Yorkshire and Panatella came up for sale n Coookham so it wasn't to be. 
Great sailor and still very competitive on the river in Passing Cloud until very recently. Our thoughts are with the family, a great loss.

20/11/2018 16:11:00
Robert Harris
Mike, you are right. Our Cadet was indeed red and called 'Punch', her sail number was 1047.  I helmed her and John crewed initially but I was soon too old, he took over and did well until seduced by Minima's Merlin Rockets!

24/11/2018 19:29:30
stuart gurney
very sad news - will miss my chats in Salcombe 

27/11/2018 13:54:21
 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. 

27/11/2018 16:10:08
Barry Dunning
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!

11/12/2018 19:17:07
Dave & Jenny Philpott
Very sad to hear of John's passing. One of the many Salcombe friends we have had for more than 40 years.
Our thoughts are with his family. 


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