The sport of Irish sailing is mourning the loss of Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) member Tom Power (1946-2019), a leading offshore sailing campaigner who died on Saturday after a long illness.
Tributes were led today by his RIYC skipper and friend George Sisk, who spoke about the 'fun times' sailing with Tom on a succession of WOW keelboat campaigns, and prior to that in the 1960s where Tom began his keelboat racing on the Dublin Bay 21, Oola.
Up until last season, when illness prevented Tom going afloat, he was an integral part of George Sisk's crew winning across Ireland at Cork Week, the ICRA National Championships in Kinsale and Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as well as being honoured with ICRA's 2015 Boat of the Year Award.
Prior to that successful partnership, Tom's international sailing included skippering Ireland's 1985 Admiral's Cup team, competing in the 1986 Sardinia Cup and taking Round Ireland Race line honours victory in the Maxi yacht Maza Drum in the same season.
But undoubtedly the highlight came in 1987, when, as skipper of the Dubois 40 Irish Independent, helmed by Tim Goodbody, the Irish crew won the Fastnet Race overall and became the top scorer for Ireland in the Admiral’s Cup.
Such passion for Irish sailing inevitably led Tom into the promotion of the sport, and he served on the Irish Yachting Association's (now Irish Sailing) Executive Committee for many seasons.
Tom's keen ability to put winning campaigns together put him at the nexus between commerce and international sailing so that when Ireland's first ever entry into the Whitbread Round the World Race (now The Ocean Race) was launched, Tom was centrally involved.
As a successful businessman in the busy Dublin advertising and marketing scene, Tom used his many contacts and influence to great effect to help Irish sailing, but as many friends and colleagues have pointed out in tribute today, such unsung support was always given "discreetly and very much in the background".
Dun Laoghaire Marina Bid
His interest in marine leisure became a professional one when he teamed up with Dun Laoghaire sailing friends Michael O'Leary and John Bourke to bid against stiff UK competition to win the contract to build and operate the marina in his own home port in 2000. The marina, that had been talked about for 20 years, became a success almost overnight when the trio filled the new facility to a capacity of 850 boats, thereby creating Ireland's largest marina by 2007.
In later life, his deep knowledge of marine affairs led to his appointment to the board of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) where he was a trusted advisor.
Tom Power was a member of the RIYC for more than 41 years. In his memory, the Club Ensign is being flown at half-mast at the Dun Laoghaire clubhouse and a minute's silence will be observed at the next RIYC Committee meeting.
This Friday at the ICRA Championships, both race committee boats will signal one long hoot to begin one minute's silence onboard all 100 competing boats on Dublin Bay as a further tribute to Tom before the championships begin.
A celebration of his life will take place at 12 noon on Wednesday in the Mariners' Church (National Maritime Museum), Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire.
Our condolences are extended to his wife Anne, sons Redmond and Robert, daughter-in-law Valerie and grandsons Redmond and Ruan; immediate family Redmond, Elizabeth, Leonine, Mary, Muriel, Dee, Tony, Jonathan, Kendra and Sian, Callum and Tomas; extended family, relatives and a large circle of his very good friends.
RIP.ie Notice is here