Eight Bells: Mike Butterfield

Published on June 8th, 2021

Mike Butterfield (GBR), barrister, sailor and innovator, died peacefully at home on May 13. He was 89.

Mike was enthusiastic about everything he did and seemed to have endless energy and find time for all he enjoyed. He was a multihull pioneer and adventurer, and his exploits gave inspiration to many to join the multihull fraternity.

Sailing, and multihull sailing in particular, was something he was truly passionate about throughout his life, and never seemed to tire of innovation and frequently upgraded in his quest for performance and adventure.

He completed the 1964 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in a 30-foot catamaran, later pursuing the Round Britain and Ireland and Fastnet races along with as many Multihull Offshore Cruising and Racing Association (MOCRA) events he could fit around work and family commitments.

He was instrumental in the development of the MOCRA and in the 1980s and 1990s was an ever-present committee member. He was a past Commodore and eventually it’sPresident. Many past committee members will recall attending meetings in his London Barrister Chambers, moving legal papers, to find a seat and wondering just how many cases does a successful Barrister need!

Mike’s generosity of spirit extended to all he met, whether gathering ideas, encouraging people to participate, catching up on sailing scuttlebutt; you would see that glint in his eye and some cunning plan was developing in his able brain! Mike shared his enjoyment of sailing with many and was always encouraging people to join him on his adventures afloat.

He will be missed as one of the pioneers in the development of fast cruising multihulls and for inspiring many to take up the sport. We wish him many further adventures where the sea will be flat and the wind on the beam!

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