The word legend implies that you have been around for a long time and John who has been racing sailboats for over 60 years it doesn’t seem that long. In addition to his sailing prowess John has also been in the marine industry for almost 50 years. In that time he has worked in boat building, spar and fitting manufacturing, sail making, and for the past number of years the as a distributor of marine hardware.
His sailing career started as bailer boy on his father’s Brightlingsea one design at the age of about 6. In the mid 60’s he helped develop the “C” class catamaran, winning the Little Americas Cup twice with his brother in law Reg White. He also won several dinghy and catamaran, national, European, and world championships, culminating in a Gold Medal sailing Tornados in the 1976 Olympics. The same year he was awarded Yachtsman of the year and made an MBE on the Queens New Year’s honours list.
After the Olympics John moved his family to Canada to continue building boats and spars in Montreal. In 1981 he moved to Barrie Ontario to work at Storer sails. In 1984 John moved onto boat brokerage and commissioning boats for the rest of the 80’s until he purchased a wholesale distribution company called Great Circle Trading which would eventually become Transat Marine.
John continued racing in both Quebec and Ontario with many wins at CORK, in Tornados, J24’s, Kirby 25’s and Olson 30’s. John also completes 2 Transatlantic crossings, his first one 1984 and then in 1985 he did the Quebec St Malo on the 80’ cat Formula Tag with Mike Birch. During this race Formula Tag became the first boat to break the 500 nautical miles in a 24 hour time period.
Well done John!