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Gouvernail

Eight Bells Ian Bruce

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No way I am the guy to tell the best personal stories. I only met him a couple times but both said great things about the guy:

1. Laser World's 1983 in Gulfport. There were some aluminum rivets where there should have been Stainless. He had found rivets and was trying to fix all eighty boats himself. I asked what he was doing, grabbed tools from my car and spent the afternoon helping him knock out the job.

He was trying to drill out the rivets and I showed him how to knock the heads off in one whack with a chisel. I also had a "Big Daddy" riveter that could easily pull stainless.

I have never met a guy who was so happy to accept help and I didn't have to pay for a drink or dinner the rest of the week

2. Bruce Cup 1985. He was still buying me drinks!! The food was in the regatta fees. He also sailed in the regatta. On the one hand he complained he was embarrassing himself on the water. On the other hand, every one of us was impressed how well the "really old guy" could still sail.

 

Kirby may have done the original design but Ian Bruce built the boats.

Too bad he didn't live forever

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No way I am the guy to tell the best personal stories. I only met him a couple times but both said great things about the guy:

1. Laser World's 1983 in Gulfport. There were some aluminum rivets where there should have been Stainless. He had found rivets and was trying to fix all eighty boats himself. I asked what he was doing, grabbed tools from my car and spent the afternoon helping him knock out the job.

He was trying to drill out the rivets and I showed him how to knock the heads off in one whack with a chisel. I also had a "Big Daddy" riveter that could easily pull stainless.

I have never met a guy who was so happy to accept help and I didn't have to pay for a drink or dinner the rest of the week

2. Bruce Cup 1985. He was still buying me drinks!! The food was in the regatta fees. He also sailed in the regatta. On the one hand he complained he was embarrassing himself on the water. On the other hand, every one of us was impressed how well the "really old guy" could still sail.

 

Kirby may have done the original design but Ian Bruce built the boats.

Too bad he didn't live forever

I'll second every word of that post Gouv!

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Thanks for sharing. Stories like this help show why we like sailing and other sailors.

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This morning at the competitors' meeting for the Easter Laser Regatta I told the gang about how Bruce had a plan but it was Ian who set up a production line.

"He died a couple days ago so my guess is the best way to honor his memory is to go use his toys and have as much fun as possible."

So we all did!!

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Ian Bruce was one of the greatest Industrial Designer of our time and certainly of our sport.

 

He had a amazing life, born in London Jamaica, son of a aire to the Seagram's (Gin) empire. Not sure when or why he moved to Montreal, but he became a fixture at the RStLYS.

 

There was a convenient gate cut in the fence between the 2 properties!

He and dad found each other at the Kiel Olympics, and the Tasar and the Laser ii where the result.

 

I meet him when I was about 18, in Sydney, doing the Laser ii, he lived at our house for 6 months or more.

 

2 years later he invited me to Canada to do "real" industrial design, and that was a very formative part of my education.

 

Turned 21 in Montreal, meet Takao Otani and travelled widely across Canada-USA all under Ian's tutorage.

 

Remember well one night at his Allan Point house which flowed down into the lake, sitting in banana chairs, with a power cord snaking down the grass, plugged into a blender that Barbra (his wife) kept topped up with Pina-colata ingredients, as we solved the problems of the sailing worlds and watched the finches gorge themselves on insects that never quite made it to us.

 

20+ years on, only this time we were sitting in Edinburgh Scotland, same conversation, but it was Bellini's this time. Nothing changes, and the issues still remain the same.

 

Ian was the first person to congratulate me, after the vote in Brighton, that put the 49er into the games, took me to the bar, and expounded some very well experienced advice!

 

The 29er would not be the boat it is, if it had not been for Ian. I think it is far to say, nor would have the Laser been. Great set of lines, great rig, but you need a great Industrial Designer to make it happen to the extent that the Laser has, and I hope the 29er will be, Ian certainly has to be credited with a large amount of that credit (or burden depending on your POV)!

I will be for ever grateful of Ian's clearness of thought, the influence he had on me.

 

Having my father’s technical expertise and empirical mantra plus Ian's simplicity and ability to look 10 years down the track, I have been a very lucky boy.

 

I used to baby sit his 2 daughters, Toby and Tracy who along with his grandchildren survive him. Barbara died 10+ years ago, but Ian had a very close friend in the Bahamas, Lyne, so to all those my condolences.

 

Will really try to get to Montreal on the 7th May, for the wake, the least I can do!

 

The sport has lost a great man, a un-sung hero, wish I had made time for at-least one more all night session, just for the passion of it!

 

Julian Bethwaite

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Met him at the youth worlds in Kingston Ontario, and helped him sort out a few issues with some of the charter 29ers. A real gentleman, and always had time for a chat on the phone about sailing related things after the event. RIP Bruce.

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I never met Ian Bruce but I have owned 22 + Lasers and they changed my life for the Laser crowd of people I met and formed everlasting friendships with mostly and the opportunities my success in the class provided me throughout life. RIP Ian Bruce. I hope your new place is full of sea breezes aft of the beam and great waves to endlessly ride from a very very former Laser world champ - thank you so much!

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they changed my life for the Laser crowd of people I met and formed everlasting friendships with mostly and the opportunities my success in the class provided me throughout life.

 

I wonder if he had any idea of this aspect of his legacy when the boat was created 45+ years ago.

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Last line of Ian's obituary in the Montreal Gazette (via Mr. Clean's link above) ...

 

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice or encouraging someone you love to learn to sail.

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Fantastic man, it is hard to think of racing at the RStLYC without him around.

 

I'm very sad that I won't be in Montreal for the celebration. A life well lived, and a legacy that will continue for a long time.

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I think something that Ian did that I will be forever grateful for, is pave the way for businesses like mine.

 

Over a long career, he did the dirty work. He did glass to layouts to tiny little parts.

I mostly knew him with his time at PS2000, and the tail end of his long life in dingy sailing.

He was always a gentleman, no question.

 

And he cleared the way for dinghy sailing. He didn't just design stuff, he ran the business side.

And I think he helped dealers along the way get to where they are now.

 

So, I am very saddened by his loss. And I am deeply appreciative of the old guard that made dinghy sailing in North America what it is today.

The rest is up to all of us to nurture, support and grow, as Ian did.

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