RIP Bob Fisher

thornapple

Member
101
1
Spent an afternoon next to Bob Fisher sailing out past Point Loma on Gracie, a Doug Peterson daysailer with double trapezes. This was in 1980(?) and we sailed with Doug, John Reichel, and Kerry Geraghty (the builder). Bob was full of wit and questions  - down to the size of the cooler on the boat and whether it had sufficient capacity. The sport was lucky to have him as a voice and a spokesperson. 

 

doghouse

Super Anarchist
This was the book that sold me on racing as a teenager. Before my Dad got it I just screwed around in our sailing program. After I read Mr. Fisher’s descriptions of the best races in the world I knew I had to be a proper sailor so I could participate in at least one of the great races. 
 

Fair winds

View attachment 424364

View attachment 424365
One of the best yachting books ever written. Have it on my coffee table most times.

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
This was the book that sold me on racing as a teenager.

It's a great book.  The cover pic is Brian Saffrey-Cooper's Dragon in Christchurch Bay in one of the short races for the 1983 Admiral's Cup. 
One of the best yachting books ever written. Have it on my coffee table most times.
'Great Yacht Races' was published in 1984 and is now a collector's item.

I originally thought it a pity he didn't update it as one volume, but quickly changed my mind. 

It was a snapshot in time of IOR in its heyday, which then began to quickly slide after that. Maybe he thought that too, hence the timing.

His next the "Greatest Race" the 'Official Story of the Whitebread Round-The-World Race 1985/1986' it too got that last race with the traditional IOR maxi format before the ketches arrived, that arguably was the beginning of the decline of that race too.

Hold on to them if you have them and pass them down.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jon R

New member
1
3
Cowes
I raise a glass to Bob. I've sailed with him many times, I've drunk with him more times, I've laughed with him always, He's got me into trouble and taught me the true meaning of mischief. Take four letters from mischief and funnily it seems to spell Fish.

You will be missed but never forgotten!

 

Frazer

New member
11
7
Bob was a long standing family friend from my Lymo' days and erstwhile fierce competitor in Barracuda of Tarrant for several seasons, so I have just been reminiscing with my dad (same generation), who reminded me of a proposed clause in Bob's will - "A sum of £X to pay for a large window to be installed in the wall of the UK Met Office, so they can look outside and see what's going on." I do hope he put that coda in, it would be churlish and lacking in grace for them to refuse, no?

Bob was always worth reading, as he had the respect of so many world class sailors, having walked among them, and thus an inside line which gave his insights depth and credence. He didn't magic fake stories and out of thin air or turn smoke into fire - until he had his facts 100% right and there was no other option. He understood that reputations mattered and that basically good people sometimes make bad errors of judgement - on more than one occasion giving some miscreant the opportunity to put right their misdeed (and some) in favour of naming and shaming to get some short-lived scoop.

 

Muzza

Member
In the early '90s, I was in my mid 20s, I remember a Cowes Week ('90 or '91) when Barracuda of Tarrant was docked next to us (Aida - ex Promotion V).  After one race a number of us were socializing in Barracuda's cockpit and Bob was pouring the G&Ts.  I had been reading his stuff since childhood but it was the first time I met him.  I remember thinking it doesn't get much better than this - Bob Fisher pouring me a gin. 

A met him a handful of times subsequently and always enjoyed the encounters.  Sad news.

 

mad

Super Anarchist
In the early '90s, I was in my mid 20s, I remember a Cowes Week ('90 or '91) when Barracuda of Tarrant was docked next to us (Aida - ex Promotion V).  After one race a number of us were socializing in Barracuda's cockpit and Bob was pouring the G&Ts.  I had been reading his stuff since childhood but it was the first time I met him.  I remember thinking it doesn't get much better than this - Bob Fisher pouring me a gin. 

A met him a handful of times subsequently and always enjoyed the encounters.  Sad news.
Aida, that's a blast from the past!! I went to a couple of Barracuda parties as well around that time, hazy memories.

There was an Auscrew party where Bob was awarded the fuck-up prize for parking Barracuda on Bembridge ledge  (91 I think???).  Another epically messy evening.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

P_Wop

Super Anarchist
6,865
3,910
Bay Area, CA
There was an Auscrew party where Bob was awarded the fuck-up prize for parking Barracuda on Bembridge ledge  (91 I think???).  Another epically messy evening.
The Bembridge Ledge incident was after the RORC Ouistreham race.  Barracuda had done really well, and I think had won her class.

I was race odfficering for that one, manning the finishing line boat, and when I finally came ashore the party was still in full swing.  Bob said they were leaving shortly, as they wanted to be back in Lym for breakfast, and did I want to come with them?  Looking at the hideously dissipated crew I said I'd take the ferry, thanks.

Anyway they managed to mistake Princessa buoy for the Ledge one, and with the keel up, ran straight onto the ledge at pretty low water.  As they were pulling down sails, and doing damage assessment they heard a knocking on the hull.  A Bembridge Coastguard had waded out across the rocks to see if they needed help.

The boat was fixed up, and we hit the Needles wreck later that season, so it was 88.  Local wags said that since Fish had hit both ends of the Isle of Wight he should claim the bit in the middle and be nominated King of the Wight.

That's when I took him to Scotland to sail Drum.  I remember handing over the helm to him at 0100 and on my way down the hatch said "Don't hit anything, Bob!"  A roar of laughter, and "No hope, we're in 600 feet of water!"  Twenty minutes later, BANG!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

P_Wop

Super Anarchist
6,865
3,910
Bay Area, CA
There was an Auscrew party where Bob was awarded the fuck-up prize for parking Barracuda on Bembridge ledge  (91 I think???).  Another epically messy evening.
Correction.  It was 89 when Barracuda hit the ledge, so it would have been the 89 AC Auscrew party.  A disgustingly drunken event, as always, and as always hosted at Spencer Rigging in Cowes.  The only time they ever got the floor washed.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

KiwiJoker

Super Anarchist
3,734
324
Auckland, NZ
That's when I took him to Scotland to sail Drum.  I remember handing over the helm to him at 0100 and on my way down the hatch said "Don't hit anything, Bob!"  A roar of laughter, and "No hope, we're in 600 feet of water!"  Twenty minutes later, BANG!
That could only happen to Fish.

I was aware of his amazing attack on one of HM's submarines but never thought to get the details. This despite sharing press boats, media centres, and of course bars, with him over the years. Would be great to get some first-hand recollections of how he earned Bob's Bolt, the locking pin from the sub's periscope.

 

Mid

Blues Rule
That could only happen to Fish.

I was aware of his amazing attack on one of HM's submarines but never thought to get the details. This despite sharing press boats, media centres, and of course bars, with him over the years. Would be great to get some first-hand recollections of how he earned Bob's Bolt, the locking pin from the sub's periscope.
Large_Gaffers%20and%20Classics%20May%2020110891.JPG


 

SPORTSCAR

Super Anarchist
RIP Fish, great sailor, great journalist and peerless raconteur. Will never, ever, forget the hilarious Commonwealth Table-Top Tap Dancing Championship in Hobart all those years ago.

We shall not see his like again...

 

P_Wop

Super Anarchist
6,865
3,910
Bay Area, CA
That could only happen to Fish.

I was aware of his amazing attack on one of HM's submarines but never thought to get the details. This despite sharing press boats, media centres, and of course bars, with him over the years. Would be great to get some first-hand recollections of how he earned Bob's Bolt, the locking pin from the sub's periscope.
OK, here you go.  The story's been told here several times over the years, but since I was one of the instigators I'd better write it up while I still have a memory.

Simon le Bon's Whitbread maxi Drum had been sold to Arnold Clark, a major car dealer in Glasgow.  He wanted to race the Western Isles regatta in 88, but since most of his crew had never seen a maxi, let alone been on one, I was approached to skipper the boat.  I'd done a lot of IOR maxi racing, including on Drum, and had done two transatlantic deliveries on the boat, so I knew it well.

After our Round the Island catastrophe on the Needles wreck with Barracuda, everyone on the South Coast was giving Bob heaps of grief, so I suggested he come to Scotland and help drive Drum for a breath of fresh air.

First night out, some distance off the Mull of Kintyre, we were sailing along quite happily with a medium #1 on starboard tack.  At about 0100 I handed over the helm to Bob and as above told him not to hit anything.

Anyway, 20 minutes later, Gavin McKinnon, our bowman, thought he heard something ahead of us, so went up the foredeck to take a peek round the luff of the jib.  There, 100 feet away and closing fast, was a series of vertical posts with a bow-wave, lit up in our bow nav lights.  Gavin came cantering back down the foredeck shouting at Bob "Up, up, up!"

Fish put the helm down and there was a major collision, with the offender ripping a great gouge in our forward topsides and mangling the stanchions before fetching up with a huge bang against our cap shrouds.  It then went puff puff past us into the darkness.  Bob later said it looked like a huge outboard motor sliding past.

All hands to damage control, pulling up floorboards to see if we were holed.  I went to the radio and did a pan-pan call, saying where were were, that there were 23 people aboard, and that we'd hit a submarine.  A very plummy English voice came on 16 and said "Drum, this is HMS Challenger.  There are no Royal Navy submarines operating in this area. Out."

I responded that if it wasn't one of his, it was one of someone else's, and he might like to know about it.  Anyway I had pieces of anechoic tile on the deck that he might find interesting.

At that point we heard from HMS Otus, a diesel-electric sub, saying that she was the one we'd hit.

Anyway, we motored back to Crinan, and had a visit from a RN Captain.  Were you carrying lights?  Yes, that's how we saw it.  Oh.  Were you making any electronic noise?  Yes, all sorts of electronics, including our B&G sonic speed transducer.  Oh.  Anything else?  Yes, our radar was running.  Oh.  Anything more?  Yes, we had our two cylinder diesel generator running.  It's still going.  Can you here the racket?  Oh.

Apparently the Navy was running a "perisher" course which is the final checkout for a new sub commander.  I think he didn't pass.

The RN never admitted fault, but did cough up about £50k for repairs to Drum.  Apparently the repair bill for the sub was 100 times that.  Water flooding into the control room, mangled periscope and snorkel, and an emergency surface.  She was fixed up, and later served in the Gulf War, before going for scrapping in Portsmouth.  She was rescued and is now a museum ship in Germany.

We made some special rugby shirts for all crew.  I still have mine.  I'll try to dig it out and post a pic.

Here endeth the lesson.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

TwoLegged

Super Anarchist
5,666
2,094
Well, it was good that she was on hand.  Because if we'd sunk Otus there would have been immediate work for her!
If Drum had sunk Otus, the value of IOR maxi yachts would have soared.  Cheapest sub-killing ship available

 

Latest posts




Top