Eight Bells: Warren Brown

Published on December 27th, 2014

Warren Brown, one of Bermuda’s most successful sailors and a well-known businessmen, has died. Mr Brown, who was 85, passed away on Christmas Day in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Mr Brown logged more than 300,000 miles in his War Baby ocean racers and was one of the most prominent figures in local sailing. He represented the Island at the 1972 Munich Olympics and managed the Bermuda team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Roger Davidson, former chairman of Bermuda Press (Holdings), the parent company of The Royal Gazette, paid tribute to Mr Brown’s talents as a businessman.

“He was a consummate entrepreneur — he was always thinking ahead and he had great ideas,” said Mr Davidson. “He was a good Bermudian businessman and set up and ran a lot of companies over the years. Some were successful and others were ahead of their time.”

Mr Davidson added: “He travelled a lot, sailed his boat around the world and I’m sure he got business ideas from that.” He said that, in addition to a printing firm, Mr Brown’s interests included, at one time, a hardware business.

“This was at a time when Bermuda was growing and he provided employment for Bermudians,” Mr Davidson said. “We were competitors, but I also got on with him.

Mr Brown, a former Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, took part in a total of 20 Newport to Bermuda ocean races in 11 different boats, including four owned by him. – The Royal Gazette, full story

Additional report by Paul Doughty, friend and crew…
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the entire Bermuda sailing community and indeed sailors around the world were saddened to learn of the death of Warren Brown. One of Bermuda’s greatest sailing icons, Warren died Christmas Day at King Edward VII Hospital in Bermuda after surgical complications.

Warren had a long and effective sailing career spanning six decades. Upon return from gaining his degree from Yale University he began working in his family retail business in Bermuda and racing in International One Designs. In 1960, he won the prestigious King Edward VII Gold cup in his yacht War Baby.

Warren bought his first ocean racer in the early 1960s and named it Force Seven completing its first Newport Bermuda race in 1964. As a co-founder of the Onion Patch Series in that year, he was a member of the Onion Patch team sailing his yacht Force 7 for Bermuda.

The boat was being delivered back to Newport in early September when they encountered Hurricane Cleo in the Gulf Stream. They were faced with 50ft seas and 85-knot winds and survived.

He went on to sail over 300,000 ocean miles, 20 Newport to Bermuda races on eleven different yachts, and three different War Babys. He won line honours and records in The Middle Sea Race in the twelve metre ex American Eagle and Marion Bermuda Race in the ex Tenacious along with trophies in Cowes Week, the SORC and many other events.

Warren knew and made many enduring friendships with yachtsmen from all over the world from great designers such as Olin Stephens and German Frers to Australian boat pros of the 1970s. He promoted youth sailing onboard his boats and was a master of heavy weather sailing. He was a member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, the Storm Trysail Club and many other institutions and clubs in sailing.

Warren was awarded the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Blue Water Medal for his greatest achievement for sailing his S&S 61’ (ex Tenacious / Dora 4) to the Arctic then down the Atlantic to South Georgia, the Chilean fjords, Antarctica and eventually around the World.

In his last decade of sailing the same War Baby, he participated in the Classic Boat Series of the Mediterranean and was the overall winner of that series in 2003.

Warren Brown was a highly competitive sailor and yachtsman, an explorer and adventurer who will be dearly remembered and sadly missed by his crewmates, his country and his club.

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