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Chris Hogan sadly passes away

by Elaine Watkin Jones on 30 Sep 2016 30 September 2016
Chris Hogan aboard his Fife © Hogan family

It is with great sadness we have to report the passing of multiple Squib and Hornet class National Champion, Chris Hogan, who passed away peacefully on Tuesday September 27th after a short two-year battle with cancer.

Chris was born in Sale, Manchester in 1951 and left school to concentrate on his life long career in the building trade. Starting as a joiner and shop-fitter, his steady progress through the ranks eventually saw him project manage the construction of the café at the summit of Mount Snowdon.

Because of his love of the sea Chris and his wife Alison moved to Anglesey in the 1970s where they were lucky enough to have two sons, Mark and Liam. His first boat was a small cruiser/racer which he sailed with his growing family. Chris soon felt the pull of competitive racing and embarked on his dinghy career.

He became a member of Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli/Port Dinorwic Sailing Club in the 1980s, and this was where he did most of his club racing. His early sailing career was spent in the GP14 class where he achieved some notable results on the national circuit. After a brief fling with the Scorpion Class he moved onto the Hornet Class in the mid 1990s which he dominated for a few years winning both the National and European titles.

At the end of the 90s Chris set his sights on the Squib class. He found the perfect boat in No. 136 and – typically - spent two years rebuilding and tuning her before re-launching her in 2000 with his Hornet crew, Tim Hall. The following season Chris teamed up in the Squib with his eldest son Mark. So began a remarkable domination of the class during which the pair won an unprecedented six consecutive national championships together. Chris and Mark went on to win two more national championships along with a handful of inland titles before Chris became ill.

Never one to let the youngsters to have all the fun, although he was in his mid-fifties, in parallel to his Squib campaign Chris also joined the RS400 class. Despite being regarded as "Old White Hair" he recorded a number of notable race wins and competed in the RS400 Europa Cup regattas in Ireland and at Lake Garda in Italy.

As he approached retirement, Chris had set his eye on the beautiful classic lines of the Fife class which is actively raced at the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club. After some searching, along with his friend Richard Date, Chris invested in a 'project' Fife. It was No. 18, the last wooden Fife ever built. It had been abandoned and unloved for a number of years, but of course this was just the type of challenge Chris was looking for. He worked tirelessly on a restoration so meticulous it took two years to complete. Eventually though she was ready to race. Sadly, Chris was diagnosed with cancer not long afterwards.

Chris loved sailing right up to his passing, happy to let others helm and he even got his son Liam on board the boat - something which gave him immense pleasure.

Chris' last national championship was in June this year. Despite undergoing treatment he had salvaged and restored yet another Squib - none other than No. 28 'Thistle', the winning boat in the first ever Squib National Championship. Despite clearly being very poorly and racing in some big conditions he and good friend Richard Roberts came a very respectable eighteenth. Determination always was one of his greatest strengths.

One thing Chris will be remembered for is his tenacity at hunting down the right boat. Both his Squib No. 136 Ric O'Shea and his Hornets 2115 and 2126 were all restoration projects. Much like some of his crews, they weren't always pretty and polished, but Chris had the ability to see their potential and was willing to put the work into them to get results.

A wonderful person, a fabulous husband and father, a terrific friend and competitor to so many of us, Chris will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

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