James Bridge-Butler, a dear sailing friend has sadly died. The ultimate enthusiast for anything mechanical, his love of fast cars and motorbikes, dinghy sailing and a penchant for good bitter and cigars was legendary. An Isle of Man TT racer in his earlier life he built a fine collection of grand prix bikes that he enjoyed with his wife Charlotte and their sons. A patent agent by profession, in sailing he raced 505s and a Finn before switching to the thoroughly modern OK Dinghy, of which he would become a leading light as British Class Chairman. Diminutive but tough James was a ‘light airs pundit’ and a stalwart member of the elite ‘Down the Pan Yacht Club’ which never failed to elevate the social side of an OK Championship. In his beautiful all-varnished OK ‘Fury’ (named in tribute to his time in the RAF) his presence at class events was essential to the fun and a whiff of cigar smoke was a sure sign he was covering you. A reunion of the great and not-so-good seems equally essential to celebrate his wonderful life and for friends of James’s living in the south perhaps Hayling Island Sailing Club would be the appropriate venue, if a fifty-year amnesty could be issued. The OK class was famously banned from the club after the 1972 Nationals for some minor misdemeanours.
RIP James, a great man who will be much missed, certainly by me.