Eight Bells: Peter Bream

Published on October 25th, 2016


Dr. Peter R. Bream

Dr. Peter R. Bream of Jacksonville, Florida passed away after his battle with cancer on October 24th, 2016.

Peter was born in Erie, PA on July 14, 1946. His family moved to Chapel Hill, NC not long after, where he grew up a Tar Heel fan. He started sailing in 1963 in Cape Cod on a Sunfish while visiting his cousins. His father purchased him a Sunfish and Peter loved spending time on the water any chance he could. His first regatta that he attended was the 1968 Governor’s Cup on a Jet 14.

Peter moved to Birmingham, AL in 1976 and found his way to Lake Logan Martin and the Birmingham Sailing Club. At that time he was sailing a Tanzer 16. A local named Loy Vaughn convinced Peter to purchase a Thistle (#1658) and join their one design fleet. A short time later, Peter purchased a wooden Thistle (#1321) that he raced with his wife Lynn, and son Peter Jr around the southeast.

In 1980, Peter accepted a job in Jacksonville, FL where there was an active Thistle fleet, but also a PHRF racing scene. He purchased a J/24 (#2502) in 1982 and began racing it on the St. Johns River. He did very well on the J/24 in the river, but he would soon learn that there was a long way to go to do well on a National one design level.



Peter traveled to Key West for the 1997 J/24 Midwinters with his Thistle buddies to crew for him. While shocked to see how all of the other boats were comparatively prepared, his team had fun but finished in the back of the pack. Peter was determined to build a team that could compete with the best. At that time his boat (2502) was named Tarheel, but Peter being the leader he was, renamed the new boat (5287) Team Tarheel to reflect the concept.

Team Tarheel sailed well regionally but lacked that National level result. It took many years, but Peter and Team Tarheel achieved Top 10 results in National, North American and World Championships, and won consecutive Midwinter Championships in the J/24 class. A few of his many other sailing accomplishments were a 4th place finish in the 1991 Thistle Nationals sailing with his wife and son, and winning the 2003 Thistle Midwinter East regatta as a forward crew at age 57.

Peter is survived by his wife Lynn, son Dr. Peter Bream Jr. (Mary) and daughter Mary Chupp (Charlie). He has seven grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. His Memorial service will be held Saturday November 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am, Assumption Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

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