Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014 TOP

Simon 'Fumesy' Russell passes away

by Mark Jardine 6 Jan 13:29 PST
Simon Russell concentrating upwind during the XOD Central Solent Championships in 2006 © Eddie Mays / www.eddiemays.com

One of sailing's great characters has been taken from us by Covid. Simon Russell, known by all as Fumesy, suddenly passed away on Tuesday.

His sister Amanda said, "It is with great sadness we share the news of the sudden passing of my brother Simon 'Fumesy' Russell. He was much loved by his family, his girls and Audrey and a great many friends in the sailing and motorcar world. We are all absolutely devastated and in shock. He will be missed always and in our hearts."

He was known the world over in sailing, having raced in fleets such as the Etchells, Melges 24s, Ultra 30s, Mumm 30s, the X One Designs and many more.

Simon worked in the marine industry for over 25 years, most recently as a Director of Sportsboat World, after eleven years as Corporate Sales Manager at Musto, where he focused on growing the team sales business. Before that, he spent ten years at Jack Holt Ltd as a Technical Sales Manager in the dinghy and keelboat hardware division.

He crewed for Stuart Childerley in the Etchells, winning the World Championship together with Nik Pearson in 2001 at Lymington and then defending the title with brother-in-law Roger Marino in 2002, racing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Stuart said, "Fumesy had time for everyone and always knew somebody who'd be able to help when needed. It was only when you got really close to him, the friendship he provided and the attention to detail in his sailing was immense. We saw his determination to succeed in the Etchells, the XODs and everything that he does, but we'd all be happy to spend time with him in the boat park, bimbling on the boat, being so thorough in our preparations on race days. He had all the ingredients and characteristics of a world-class sailor, which became evident in the final results, but most of all it was just fun doing things with Fumesy."

"I remember during the 2001 Etchells Worlds we'd done a 10 out of 10 gybe in a massive squall, which Bob Fisher wrote about in his report of the event. What he didn't know was that Fumesy was head down in the boat, both spinnaker sheets cleated off, and he was just chatting away! He knew he'd put everything in as good a position as possible to get through it all, and the loads on the Etchells meant he couldn't play the sheets once the squall hit. We've chuckled about that story so many times. I'm going to miss his little chuckle."

Nik Pearson said, "After sailing with Stuie and Fumesy I basically retired from Etchells sailing. We won the Easter Regatta, the South Coast Championship, the Nationals and then the Worlds. After sailing with them I wasn't ever going to sail with anyone better.

"We were winning the 2001 Etchells Worlds by a country mile, but then had a bad day with an OCS and a 20th, meaning we had to finish within 13 places of Australian Cameron Miles in the final race. He went and did a horizon job with us back in the 20s, but we clawed our way back up the fleet to win the Worlds. I'll never forget that final beat as I was talking through the shifts, saying when we needed to tack, only to find Stuie and Fumesy were chatting about nappies! They both had young babies at the time, and that relaxed attitude is how you win World Championships. It was so good hearing his chuckle that always lightened the mood. He was one of those friendly guys that you were just proud to know."

Roger Marino, Simon's brother-in-law who sailed together with him in many events said, "He could be grumpy, opinionated and yet chuckle at the same time, which is why I loved him. That's what we expected from him and it kept us all grounded. One uplifting thought today, with the flood of messages which have come in, his mum has found the impact he had on others heart-warming."

Christian Brewer, fellow sailor in the XODs, who raced with Fumesy in the 1999 Mumm 30 Worlds, said, "He was always smiling. He was a fellow petrol-head with his Lancia Delta Integrale which was his pride and joy. Being around him made you feel good about life - he was such a positive person. He was so meticulous and did so much work on his XOD 'Swallow' before winning the Captain's Cup in 2007."

In total Fumesy won the XOD Captain's Cup three times, the trophy which (ahead of his first victory in 2002) he famously said was more difficult to win than the Admiral's Cup. His most recent victory was in the 2019 event, together with his great friends Richard Faulkner and Ben McGrane, making him the current holder of the famous cup.

XOD legend Stuart Jardine said of Simon, "He sailed in the right way; clean, courteous and always with a smile. We had many a battle with him out on the racecourse, but it was always accompanied with great chat and plenty of laughter. It was an honour to be asked by him to helm at the Mumm 30 Worlds in 1999. We will all miss him terribly."

Covid-19 has taken away one of the great characters of the sailing world far too early. Our thoughts are with all his family, Audrey, his daughters Marcie and Lucie, his parents, sister Amanda and his many friends.

Sail on Fumesy.

Related Articles

Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon on the Jackrabbit
An interview with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon on the 2021 Jackrabbit J/22 regatta I checked in with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon, who serve as advisor emeritus and chair (respectively) of the 2021 Jackrabbit J/22 regatta, via email, to learn more about this freshwater One Design regatta. Posted on 15 Sep
Laura Grondin and Megan Ratliff on the M24 NAs
David Schmidt checks in with the chair and president ahead of the 2021 Melges 24 U.S. Nationals I checked in with Laura Grondin, chair of the International Melges 24 Class Association, and Megan Ratliff, president of the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association, via email, to learn more about the 2021 Melges 24 National Championship regatta. Posted on 14 Sep
A shameful story and a warning to sailors
A shameful story and a warning to the sailing world Sometime in the recent past, a club hosted a small-but-well-attended regional regatta. A consciously unvaccinated individual attended, refused to wear a mask, and then tested positive for Covid-19. Posted on 14 Sep
Happy, happy. Joy, joy!
Without doubt, the best perk of this job is the reach and connection There are definitely some serious perks to this gig. Yet without doubt, the best is the reach and connection with sailors far and wide. The emails, calls, and chats on the quay still come in, and continue to inspire the entire team. Posted on 13 Sep
Paul Earl and Shan McAdoo on the Snipe NAs
An interview with Paul Earl and Shan McAdoo on the 2021 Snipe North Americans I checked in with Paul Earl and Shan McAdoo, co-chairs of the 2021 Snipe North Americans, via email, to learn more about this exciting One Design regatta. Posted on 8 Sep
Inspirational
It's such an important word in any sport It's such an important word in any sport, and seeing an inspirational performance in sailing fills us with enthusiasm. Posted on 7 Sep
Juana Rudzki on the annual Juana Good Time Regatta
David Schmidt checks in with the event chair to learn more... I checked in with Juana Rudzki, event chair of the 31st annual Juana Good Time Regatta, via email, to learn more about this fun-minded multihull regatta. Posted on 7 Sep
Gladwell's Line: Dalts told to walk the plank
Attempts to force the next Cup to be held in NZ are misguided at best. The current Defender and America's Cup trustee, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, are doing what they should be doing - which is to take the recommendation and decision from their America's Cup team and endorse it. Posted on 4 Sep
The big cats
Catamarans, and even more specifically, powercats is the name of our game here. 12-cylinder Jags, or lightning fast Cheetahs? Neither automotive, nor feline. Catamarans, and even more specifically, powercats is the name of our game here. Posted on 2 Sep
Mike Milner on Team Canada's sailing at Tokyo 2020
David Schmidt checks in with the team's high-performance director I checked in with Mike Milner, Sail Canada's high-performance director, via email, to debrief Team Canada's sailing performances at this summer's XXXII Olympiad and to discuss the team's course back to the Olympic sailing podium. Posted on 1 Sep
Vaikobi 2021 FlexForce - FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 1 jpg Bottom