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Peter Hunter passes away

by John Roberson 14 Sep 08:56 PDT

The world of sailing has lost one of its great characters. Hunter - the "Peter" or "PCC" are unnecessary prefixes, when people of a certain era in sailing refer to Hunter, we know exactly who they are talking about. A former world-class International 14, Finn and Dragon sailor from the amateur time of our sport, Hunter died at Newport on the Isle of Wight, 3rd September.

Sailing with Olympic Gold Medallist Stuart Morris he won the prestigious Prince of Wales Cup for International 14s, and sailed Olympic trials in the Finn and Dragon. He also served as Vice Commodore and Trustee of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, as Terrestrial Commodore of the tongue in cheek Imperial Poona Yacht Club and was an active member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and Seaview Yacht Club.

For Hunter sailing always had to be fun and as in all areas of his life, he was not impressed by people who take themselves too seriously. In one Finn race, at an important Olympic selection regatta on a particularly cold day, he was leading at the windward mark and whipped out a hip flask to self administer a large slug of scotch. The then Olympic manager of the Finn class was apoplectic with rage that his races weren't being taken seriously enough.

His view was that grass roots and club level sailing is the lifeblood of our sport and needs to be cared for and nurtured so that people coming into the sport stay in it. This, and his accounting background made him a valuable member of club committees. He was on the founding committee of Datchet Water Sailing Club before his long term service on various Royal Thames committees.

When remembering Hunter one is reminded of the lines from Rudyard Kiplings poem "If" -
"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch..."

Through his membership of Imperial Poona and the Royal Yacht Squadron he was on first name terms with the late Duke of Edinburgh, and yet was comfortable rubbing shoulders with locals at the bar of any pub. It was Hunter's humour, joie de vivre and huge personality that stood him out from the crowd. You could fill more volumes than the Encyclopedia Britannica with "Hunter stories", many of them he would happily tell against himself.

It was the Duke of Edinburgh who invited Hunter to become the Terrestrial Commodore of Imperial Poona, receiving a phone call claiming to be from Buckingham Palace he was about to reply, "and I'm the Queen of Sheeba", before realizing it was genuine. The club's mantra "life can be significantly improved by not taking it too seriously all the time," suited Hunter well.

No tribute to Hunter would be complete without mention of his late wife Jenny, who was the perfect foil to his larger than life character. They were a great and enduring double act and the world of sailing is a poorer place without them.

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