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A Personal Tribute to Brian Cameron

23 May 2021 11:14 AM | Millar (Administrator)


1946 - 2021

by Mike Rigg – Vice Commodore 

Brian had been a member of ELYC since 1978 and over those years he has sailed and raced a vast number of dinghies and yachts, successfully, and he never lost that love for sailing and racing right up until his recent death.

I personally met Brian when I first joined ELYC in 1990, at that time he was sailing a Fantasy which very shortly afterwards he sold and bought what he always described as “LOVE IT TO BITS” a First Class 8 he named Lambada. Brian competed here at ELYC, the various East Coast Weeks held on the Forth, Tay and the North East and the Scottish Series held on the West Coast.

Many a yacht club member were involved in all these events including delivery trips to and from the venues. In 1999 John Hookway and I purchased a First Class 8 which led to friendly rivalry between both boats and our friendship with Brian strengthened each helping each other with launching etc. 

In July 1997 Brian and Vivienne  married and much to the “delight” of Viv she spent her honeymoon in a caravan and tent shared by Brian and his crew as they raced at East Coast week on the Tay.

Eventually in the early noughties Brian sold Lambada and bought Nimrod or as he lovely called it Nimmers. He raced Nimmers as regularly as he could and irrespective of where he finished he always came ashore with a broad smile again saying “loved it to bits”.

During this period he felt the need for the close racing and excitement of dinghy racing and purchased a Laser 2000 which he christened Line Dancer. He raced Line Dancer most Wednesdays and Saturdays ably crewed by Mike Smith and at times Ainsley McLaren. The sight of Brian and Mike approaching the start line with seconds to go brought fear to the hearts of many a dinghy sailor, as the boat lived up to its name. The sight of Brian bearing down on me on Starboard with Smithy puffing away on his e cigarette will live with me forever.

Vivienne has kindly donated Line Dancer to the club, to be raced by members, in memory of Brian so she will still be seen battling out on the water.

Brian spent some of his time away from North Berwick when he and Viv would go to their apartment in Lagos, Portugal. During one of his trips to Lagos he purchased a 47ft catamaran called Sticky Paws which he used to race and potter around the bays and harbours of the Algarve.

Brian always had a yearn to sail long distance and in 2004 he decided to satisfy that by entering the RAC cruise from Lanzarote to Antigua. He was crewed by ELYC members John Hookway, Martin Craig, Paul Rigg and myself. The trip took just under 3 weeks without a harsh word being spoken. Brian would spent all day preparing the various evening meals including one day a fish pie using the only fish we ever caught followed by a sweet of custard and apple pie. Having not taken custard power on board he made the custard from first principles. The only strong drink consumed was water and a bottle of Fizz to celebrate my wife Maggies 60th birthday and our radio chat with Gerry who was only 24 miles away doing his own transatlantic crossing. Needless to say our arrival in Antigua was a cause for celebration with many Dark and Stormies being drunk.

Brian kept Sticky Paws in the Caribbean for a couple of years and he and Vivienne spent two winters cruising the beautiful islands of the Caribbean.

In 2006 it was time to bring her home back to Portugal and he joined ARC Europe along with others. Brian had made up his mind that he would do the return leg without the use of an engine, which he only used for entering and leaving harbour. I was once again asked to be part of the crew which I jumped at. I found some of the many windless days and nights hard going and would go to my bunk, when not on watch, and listen to music. As we approached Bermuda Brian spotted another boat in our fleet and of course this led to a windless race to the finish line, which was at least a day away. However a gesture so typical of Brian was when he shouted down to me to come up as the finish line was in sight and then told me to take her over the finish line. A gesture I’ve never forgotten. Brian was awarded a special prize by the organisers of ARC Europe as being the only boat to sail back without the use of an engine.

Brian's love of racing led him to purchase a 34ft Carbon Fibre racing yacht called Yellow Bird which he had totally restored to its original condition. He successfully raced Yellow Bird in all of the local regattas, some many miles away from Lagos , and local races. This led to some uncomfortable nights trying to sleep as Yellow Bird was not equipped as a luxury yacht but as an out and out racing machine .The discomfort was soon forgotten the next day as we were bearing down on  the start line with shouts of "up, up!" from Brian. 

Latterly he was using Yellow Bird less and less so in another move typical of him he donated Yellow Bird to the local sailing club for the youth of the club and town to learn the art of sailing and racing.

Brian was a big man in many way, but I’ll  always remember him as having a big heart who never fell out with folk and always thought the best of people. The funny stories around Brian will hopefully be told for many a year around the club bar and it will be a long time before we see his ilk again. 

Rest in Peace Brian its been a privilege to be called your pal.


East Lothian Yacht Club | 36-40 Victoria Road | The Harbour | North Berwick | East Lothian | EH39 4JL

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