Colin de Mowbray, MBE

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Colin de Mowbray, MBE_2
Colin de Mowbray's infectious sense of fun won him friends wherever in the world he found himself
Colin de Mowbray, MBE_3
Colin de Mowbray in Cape Town, South Africa
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Colin de Mowbray, MBE

It is with very deep regret that we have learned of the sudden death of Colin de Mowbray last night after a heart attack.

Colin is nothing less than a Clipper legend and had been an important part of the company since its first race back in 1996 – a race in which he skippered Chrysolite to fourth place. For the 1998, 2000, 2002 races, Colin took on the role of Race Director, winning hundreds of friends amongst the skippers, crews, the host ports and yacht clubs who welcomed the race all round the world. They did so thanks to his charm, great sense of humour and delightfully persuasive powers and Colin was always welcomed back in subsequent years as a very dear friend.

For the 05-06 and 07-08 races he continued to travel the world as Operations Director, working closely with the many cities and sponsors involved with the event and his knowledge and wisdoms were richly valued by all those who worked alongside him.

Putting the words 'retirement' and 'Colin' in the same sentence was a ridiculous concept. After a memorable party in which he made sure he had the last word, he headed off for a long sail down to the Azores in his beloved Fidget before returning to oversee a major building project on a house in Lymington, which was recently completed. He was the perfect candidate to be Commodore of the newly created Clipper Race Yacht Club and had been busily involved in preparing for a club event in Hull this coming weekend.

Despite having retired, he was no stranger to the current crew having been asked to come and present at the 09-10 crew allocation day in Portsmouth last May. In front of a huge audience he utterly stole the show as he spoke about the Yacht Club and left the room to loud laughter and cheers as another 400 or so signed up to his fan club.

Many of the crew signing up for the Clipper 11-12 Race will also have enjoyed his company as he helped with the interview process and enthused about the event he loved. An interview conducted by Colin would always be a memorable occasion as he charmed yet more candidates into the world of long distance sailing. He encouraged them through any fears or doubts they might have and instead highlighted the positives with an infectious schoolboy energy.

Clipper Chairman and founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, today said, "He was such an important part of the development of Clipper and had continued his interest with the Clipper Race Yacht Club after he retired a year ago. From a personal point of view, Colin was a friend of 40 years whose enthusiasm and humour always made him delightful company. It won't seem quite the same without his breezy company; Colin was a one off."

William Ward, Clipper's CEO added, "There are no words to express my feelings for Colin, I owe a lot of how Clipper is today to him. He and Robin have influenced me more than any others and to lose part of that is unthinkable."

From Sir Robin, William and all the team at Clipper Ventures, we send our deepest sympathy to Colin's wife, Vanessa, and his family.

Whilst many of you who knew Colin may wish to express your condolences directly to Colin's family, we ask that you allow them some space to begin to come to terms with their tremendous loss. As such we will be collecting messages of support and condolence via which we will collate and forward.

Information from Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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