Eight Bells: David Ashton

Published on November 29th, 2014

Family and friends are grieving the death of well known sailor David Ashton, who passed away on November 21. He was 62. Mr Ashton died from complications following surgery in a Boston hospital.

He was a veteran of multiple Newport Bermuda Races, including the 2012 race aboard the Spirit of Bermuda. He was also co-founder of the local J-24 yacht class and represented Bermuda at the J-24 World Championships in the United States.

In the 1970s, Mr Ashton owned a boat rental company and also operated a performance keelboat sailing school, using J-24s as the design of choice. More recently he was a member of the International One Design Class of Bermuda and owner of the IOD sloop, Slingshot.

Sacha Simmons, the IOD class executive, said: “We are all very devastated by this tragic loss of such a young member of our fleet and such a good guy. He’s a great guy and was always very supportive.

“Even though he hasn’t been able to do a lot of sailing the last three years because of health issues, he was still as supportive as he could be. He loaned his boat for the Argo Group Gold Cup and Bermuda International Invitational Race Week and was just a great supportive along with his wife, Cindy.

“We are very, very upset about the whole thing and on behalf of the IOD Class we send our condolences to his family.”

Paul Doughty, a former business partner of Mr Ashton, described the late sailor as a “reckoning force” in competitive sailing.

“He was a very good racing sailor because obviously he earned the right to go the J-24 World Championships,” Mr Doughty said. “Usually when he skippered a boat he was fiery and we used to have a saying ‘which one is it today? Is it Sugar Bear or is it Grumpy Bear’ because he was very bear like.

“David is a great loss to the local community and was always a supporter of any sailing event. My condolences go out to his family.”

Members of the local IOD class will pay tribute to Mr Ashton during a ceremony at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club today. At the time of his death Mr Ashton was joint-owner and manager of Greenbank Guesthouse in Paget.

A statement on the guest house’s Facebook page read: “It is with great sadness that the family of David William Ashton announces his passing on November 21, 2014.

“The Ashton family has owned and managed Greenbank Guesthouse since 1952, and David dedicated his time, love and energy to Greenbank and its guests for over twenty years, along with his wife, Cindy. Many of our guests will remember David sharing the history of the property and of Bermuda, and his passion for his Island home. David will be greatly missed by his family, friends and many of Greenbank’s loyal guests.”

A memorial service for Mr Ashton will be announced at a later date.

Source: Royal Gazette

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