Eight Bells: Steve Tupper

Published on July 4th, 2016

Steve Tupper of Vancouver died July 4 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 75 years (1941- 2016).

Steve’s entire life was involved with sailing. Born in Vancouver to a sailing family, he was a prominent member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club for over 65 years.

He survived the junior sailing program by building and racing his own flattie (Geary 18). He also raced sabots, Comets, Lightnings and Davidson dinghys, later graduating to Dragons where he finished fourth in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Abandoning his school teaching career, Steve became coach to the Canadian Olympic Team for the 1972 Munich Games, with his Olympic involvement continuing as coach or international judge for the next few decades. After a brief sojourn as the Vancouver rep for Hood Sails, he became the Executive Director of BC Sailing until he retired.

Steve’s involvement with World Sailing (then ISAF) began with the Boardsailing Committee, but he moved on to become a member and eventually chair of the Race Officials Committee. In working closely with then WS president Paul Henderson, he did much to streamline and modernize our sport at the Olympics and almost every other venue.

In 2002 he was awarded the Rolex Canadian Sailor of the Year award for his years of service. In 2004, Steve received World Sailing’s Gold Medal for Service.

As a judge, he was a constant favourite at Bacardi Cup and international championships all over the world. His involvement with the Volvo Ocean Race over three iterations earned him respect throughout the sailing community. He was a frequent measurer and handicapper of the Vic-Maui race from Victoria to Hawaii.

When not officiating, he raced in many boats and classes from Martin 242s, Peterson 35s and to Denny Pennell’s RP 52 Blue Blazes in San Diego. To relax he sailed is C&C 27 Trincomali all over the West coast of British Columbia.

Steve is survived by his sons Peter and Paul and two grandchildren. A service will be held at RVYC at a date to be determined.

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