Leading Solent sailor passes away, aged 88

Sailors of boats both big and small will be mourning the passing of one of the UK’s top helms from that golden era of the 1960s and 1970s.

Larry Marks was a true son of the Solent, as he started his sailing career on Southampton Water, up at the ‘old’ Weston Sailing Club that was in the Seaweed Hut, a now long forgotten wooden structure that graced the beach at the end of Weston Shore. He didn’t come from a sailing family as building and construction was the main business, but Larry was clearly skilled with his hands as he home built his first dinghies.

A very determined helm, he practiced his skills as he moved on up into the 5o5 Class, where after dominating the UK scene, he went on to win two World Championships. After a couple of seasons in the Olympic Flying Dutchman, where again he took National honours, he moved on up into bigger boats and soon became a sought-after helmsman at the highest level. In his own boat he would go close to winning the highly prized Half Ton Cup, before joining Ted Heath’s team on Morning Cloud V, with him being aboard during the disastrous 1979 Fastnet Race. After rounding Fastnet Rock Morning Cloud got hit by a wave and rolled onto its side but the lifelines saved the crew and, although badly shaken, they would manage to make it to the finish.

Later in life Larry would sail more for fun or in support of his daughters, both of whom sailed, though his main activity was flying. Many South Coast sailors would know the Larry Marks name from the Woolston based chandlery that he set up, which at one point was the UK’s busiest outlet for dinghy spars.

Even though the many friends he had made from sailing right around the world knew that he had been unwell for a while, the news of his passing still came as a shock and the team at All at Sea would want to add their condolences to his wife and family.

Larry Marks: 1st June 1935-:- 10th December 2023

More news from All At Sea