Hugh Kenion and 'White Nothe'

Hugh sailing 'White Nothe' in the bay wearing his characteristic woolly hatHugh in schoolmaster mode

The Kenion trophy being sailed tomorrow (27 July) has a particular place in my yachting calendar, as it was on ‘White Nothe’, Hugh Kenion’s locally-built Buchanan Seaspray launched in 1962, that I did my first keelboat sailing, along with Keith Sullivan, Keith Bird, Mick Floyd and other early crew members.

Hugh was Major H G H Kenion, a Royal Artillery officer who served in Singapore and later as Army Liaison Officer on one of the flagships on D-day; after the war he became a master at Hardye’s, and we were all members of the school sailing club which he ran with Richard ‘Jack’ Tipper, another master, later to be Commodore of WSC.

Hugh encouraged us all to sail, and to sail hard. We were the first to fly a nylon spinnaker in Weymouth, a huge yellow sail which we barely knew how to control; we were even allowed to sail ‘White Nothe’ when Hugh was not around, and once entered the boat for the RDYC regatta with an all-cadet crew – I remember receiving a duffle-bag as the reward for our efforts. Many cadet members of WSC put time in on the rail, and there was always a queue to be part of the crew for the Shambles race, which always seemed to take place in the worst possible conditions!

‘White Nothe’ was one of the great cruising boats of WSC history, reaching Belle-Ile with Hugh and Keith on board, at a time when there was no VHF, GPS, etc. Hugh introduced us to being at sea - navigating, sailing at night, keeping the log and preparing meals as required – as a discipline which for some of us became an integral part of our lives. He is remembered with love, affection, and above all gratitude for the skills he taught us.

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 26th July 2019