Sailing mourns loss of Comet stalwart
By Colin Thompson
The local sailing community is mourning the death of Comet class stalwart Colin Clarke.
The East End Mini Yacht Club sailor died at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on Saturday. He was 79.
Clarke was a past winner of the annual Long Distance Comet Race and Comet Class Yacht Racing Association president for Bermuda's region.
He also coached Optimist sailing at the grassroots level and had a big influence on East End Mini Yacht Club stablemate Stevie Dickinson, the most decorated sailor in the history of local Comet sailing.
“Colin was a very lovely fellow who watched me grow up,” Dickinson said. “I sailed with him a few times when I was younger and we always prepared our boats together. Colin and I were always very close and he was a very dear friend of mine. He was a pretty good sailor. He was inconsistent at times, at one point he was the ‘capsize king'. He did that quite well.
“Colin was always there if you needed him and even if he wasn't sailing he would help organise regattas and make sure everything was in place. He is definitely going to be sadly missed by the guys because he got along with all of us. My condolences go out to his family.”
Clarke's sole victory in the Long Distance Comet Race arrived in 1971 when he took line honours in a dinghy named Myth.
Gladwin Lambert, who succeeded Clarke as Comet Class Yacht Racing Association president in 2002, also paid tribute to his late colleague who also sailed out of Mid Atlantic Boat Club before switching allegiance to East End Mini Yacht Club.
“Colin was a very good sailor and a very good person as well in the Comet class,” Lambert said.
“I think he was the most recognised Comet sailor as far as internationally and Bermuda Race Week is concerned. He was the most recognised and liked and even the Comet Class Association abroad are going to be saddened by his passing.”
Lambert added: “Colin started out at Mid Atlantic Boat Club sailing in a dark green boat named after his daughter, Carlene, and then along with others like Roddy Foggo and Altom Millett helped develop East End Mini Yacht Club.
“He was also the class president for the region and used to run a junior sailing programme for Government in St George's for a period of time. Some of the youngsters that he taught are still sailing today. On behalf of the local Comet class I extend condolences to his family.”