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Vernon Stratton 1927-2011

by Rupert Holmes 23 Aug 2011 10:14 BST

It is with great sadness that we report Vernon Stratton, a former Olympic Finn sailor and three times British Olympic sailing team manager, died at the weekend.

His long list of achievements includes winning the Finn Gold Cup and selection for the Rome Olympics (in 1960), before he decided to ‘spend a lot of time organising other people’. He went on to spend more than 40 years promoting and developing sailing at the highest level. Even in his eighties he never tired of experimenting with new ideas and helping others get more from their racing.

Vernon started sailing in 1949 having bought one of the Fireflys used for the previous year’s Olympics, It was the start of an association with the Games that was to last for more than 40 years. Having missed selection for the 1952 and 1956 Olympics by the narrowest of margins, Vernon sailed a Finn in Rome in 1960, the year in which he also won the Finn Gold Cup, an event he had helped to initiate a few years earlier.

He returned to the Olympic arena as manager of the British team in Acapulco in 1968, Keil in 1972 and Tallin in 1980. He also set about making the Finn the most successful class in the Games – a legacy that lives on.

After Finns Vernon went on to sail Stars for more than a decade, notably introducing his former crew, Bryn Vaile, to Mike McIntyre in advance of the duo’s gold medal win at the 1988 Games. He later sailed Bembridge Redwings and Illusions. Last year he was presented with an RYA Lifetime Achievement Award by HRH the Princess Royal.

There is to be a private family funeral. His Thanksgiving/Memorial Service will be on Friday 16th September at 3pm at Holy Trinity Church Bembridge, and afterwards at BSC.

Bembridge Sailing Club will also have a lunch service for any members and visitors. Please book with the club secretary.

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