Eight Bells: Lou Varney

Published on February 25th, 2022

Lou Varney, 67, British sailing industry leader and renowned yachtsman, passed away after a battle with brain cancer on February 16, 2022.

A passionate and talented sailor, Lou’s career transcended generations. On the water he was equally at home steering the IOR Maxi Matador 2, complete with his famous moustache, as he was (in more recent years) trimming the main on Mini Maxis and TP52’s. Lou was competitive, fun, and forever generous with both his time and energy.

At his happiest helping people on and off the water, he was fondly known by so many around the world as ‘Uncle Lou’ for his long and successful sailing career, showing many the way to be a professional sailor whilst making sure you had a good time doing it too!

In business, Lou co-founded Diverse Yachts back in 1983 and stood at the helm for nearly 30 years. Over this time his creativity, enthusiasm, and passion led to Diverse being truly that. His work spanned everything from building rigs, to developing marine load cells, to continually pushing forward the development of race boat hardware.

Where something didn’t exist to do the job onboard, he was more than happy to invent it! He is probably deserving of much more credit than his modesty would have ever allowed having helped to develop many of the things that we now take for granted on the race boats we sail today.

Over the years many, many people passed through the doors of Diverse. Lou was always happy to give young people a go, providing a vital stepping stone towards a career as a professional sailor. To those he worked with, he was both a friend and a mentor. Hard work was always followed by lots of laughter. His feedback could sometimes be blunt but it was never without humor. His humility and work ethic served as an example for countless people.

He will be sadly missed by all that knew him, but leaving so many great memories and more than a good story, or two.

A celebration of life will be live streamed from St Mary’s Church, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK, on March 1 at 14:30 GMT: click here

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