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Veteran yachtsman and sail training champion mourned

Eye for details: Andy Burnett-Herkes of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation (File photograph)

A champion of Bermuda sailing who kept the Spirit of Bermuda training sloop shipshape and Bristol fashion was yesterday saluted by the charity that operates the vessel.

Andy Burnett-Herkes, who died this month, proved integral to the running of the Spirit in recent years.

David Goodwin, the chairman of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation Board, said the loss of the longstanding board member and marine operations expert had left the entire organisation in “deep sorrow”.

He added: “I invited Andy to the join the board for many reasons back in 2016, but I knew him from many previous Tall Ships events since 2009.

“We were also colleagues at Bank of Butterfield many years ago.

“Andy wore many hats in support of good causes and throughout was his loyalty and dedication to developing sailing in Bermuda.”

Mr Goodwin said Mr Burnett-Herkes’s expertise in marine operations had been “invaluable to keeping the Spirit of Bermuda in the best condition with tight resources” and in keeping its youth development programmes on course.

He added: “We thank his wife, Sarah, and his family for sharing him with us and offer our deep sympathy for their loss.

“I considered him a good friend and we will miss him dearly.”

Alan Burland, a BSF founder and board director, said Mr Burnett-Herkes’s expertise was “central” to the ship’s operations.

Mr Burland added: “He understood Spirit well – how it was built, how it operated including the marine systems, rig, rigging, electronics – and he was most helpful in putting together the lists of work for various refits and maintenance.

“He had an eye for detail and an ability to find practical, affordable and sustainable solutions.

“He was also deeply knowledgeable of the requirements for safety at sea and the operational protocols and regulatory inspections and approvals that go with running a ship.”

Mr Burland said Mr Burnett-Herkes was co-chairman of the charity’s marine operations committee, along with the captain of the Spirit.

He added: “Andy’s management style was steady, sensible and reliable.

“His demeanour was calm and cool and he was a good listener, willing to get input from the ship's crew, yards and service providers.

“He never lost his cool and managed complex subjects confidentially and clearly.”

Mr Burnett-Herkes was also a 40-year member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and a volunteer and officer there for 34 years.

He sat on the Bermuda Race Organising Committee where his roles included the race committee, chief inspector and chief post-race inspector.

Mr Burnett-Herkes also volunteered for Age Concern, belonged to the Bermuda Station of the Cruising Club of America and was a past commodore of Sandys Boat Club.

Mr Burland said: “During his illness, he never complained and he always provided input in a timely and well researched way, even when overseas, under the weather.

“His loss is a major shock to all of us, in the Bermuda Sloop Foundation and among the crew of Spirit of Bermuda.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks and deepest condolences to his family.”

But Mr Burland added: His soul and his spirit will live on. Sail on, dear friend, over the horizon, until we meet again.”

• Andrew Arthur Burnett-Herkes, a sailor who led operations aboard the Spirit of Bermuda sloop, was born on October 14, 1952. He died in September 2021, aged 68

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Published September 22, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated September 22, 2021 at 7:49 am)

Veteran yachtsman and sail training champion mourned

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