Obituary: Sir Owen Aisher

OWEN AISHER was for over 40 years a leading figure in the British yachting scene, writes Peter Cook. He was introduced to sailing in the early 1930s at Ranelagh Sailing Club on the Thames at Putney by his friend Norman F. Wates. Later he sailed in CRC (Centreboard Racing Club) 14ft dinghies from Cracknell Hard at the top of Southampton Water. Here he met the designer of the CRC dinghy, Charles A. Nicholson of the firm Camper and Nicholson, which resulted in a lifelong sailing friendship.

In 1935 Aisher commissioned Camper and Nicholson to design and build a 56ft ketch which he called Yeoman, a name he retained for all his yachts. In 1950 another Nicholson-designed yacht was launched which gave Aisher his first important racing successes. In two years he took 52 prizes in 61 starts including winning the Fastnet Race in 1951.

He then turned his attention to the newly introduced international 5.5-metre class of which no less than eight carried the Yeoman name during the 1950s and 1960s. Although he failed to gain Olympic selection himself, his younger son Robin won the bronze medal in the 5.5-metre class at the Mexico Olympics at Acapulco in 1968.

When the 12-metre Sceptre was built for a Royal Yacht Squadron syndicate to challenge for the America's Cup in 1958, Owen Aisher bought the most successful pre-war British 12-metre, Evaine, re-rigged her and funded her campaign as a trial horse for the challenger. Evaine was used for the preliminary crew selection trials and, with her professional skipper, Stan Bishop, proved more than a match for Sceptre. Sceptre went to the United States but was soundly beaten in four straight races by the defender, Columbia.

In acknowledgement of his contribution to the challenge and services to yachting Aisher received the Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1958. In the 1964 America's Cup challenge he managed and part- funded Kurrewa which was the trial horse to Tony Boyden's challenger, Sovereign.

Aisher was first elected to the Council of the Yacht Racing Association which later became the Royal Yachting Association, in 1949. He served on the council and on many committees and was President from 1970 to 1975. He took a particular interest in introducing young people to sailing and as chairman of the RYA Training Committee was instrumental in the introduction of a national proficiency scheme. In 1973 he was the guiding light in the formation of the RYA Seamanship Foundation, a charity which funds schemes to train young sailors and provide sailing for the visually and aurally impaired. He was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames, Royal London, Royal Ocean Racing and Little Ship Clubs in which at one time or another he held posts as flag officer, admiral or president.

Over the years a succession of yachts have borne the Yeoman name and the latest, Yeoman XXVIII, a Sigma 38, raced at Cowes Week in August this year, chartered for the first few days, as usual, to the Duke of Edinburgh. Sadly Owen Aisher was unable to race himself due to ill-health.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game