Eight Bells: Sail On Warren Brown… Sailor, Entrepreneur, Explorer and Friend

by Paul Doughty, friend and crew

Sailing with Warren: Pictured, from left, are (back row) Chummie White, Jay Kempe, John Wadson, Reid Kempe; and (front row) Malcolm Kirkland, Warren Brown, Paul Doughty. The crew are sailing in September 2003 on War Baby on her last major quest, the Classic Boat Series which he won.

Sailing with Warren: Pictured, from left, are (back row) Chummie White, Jay Kempe, John Wadson, Reid Kempe; and (front row) Malcolm Kirkland, Warren Brown, Paul Doughty. The crew are sailing in September 2003 on War Baby on her last major quest, the Classic Boat Series which he won.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the entire Bermuda sailing community and indeed sailors around the world were saddened to learn of the death of Warren Brown. One of Bermuda’s greatest sailing icons, Warren died Christmas Day at King Edward VII Hospital in Bermuda after surgical complications.

Warren had a long and effective sailing career spanning six decades. Upon return from gaining his degree from Yale University he began working in his family retail business in Bermuda and racing in International One Designs. In 1960, he won the prestigious King Edward VII Gold cup in his yacht War Baby.

Warren bought his first ocean racer in the early 1960s and named it Force Seven completing its first Newport Bermuda race in 1964. As a co-founder of the Onion Patch Series in that year, he was a member of the Onion Patch team sailing his yacht Force 7 for Bermuda.

The boat was being delivered back to Newport in early September when they encountered Hurricane Cleo in the Gulf Stream. They were faced with 50ft seas and 85-knot winds and survived.

Warren Brown at the helm of War Baby KB1 at the start of the 1972 Trans Atlantic Race. Brown died Christmas Day in Bermuda. He was 85 and had sailed over 300,000 miles. He was a recipient of the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal.

Warren Brown at the helm of War Baby KB1 at the start of the 1972 Trans Atlantic Race. Brown died Christmas Day in Bermuda. He was 85 and had sailed over 300,000 miles. He was a recipient of the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal.

He went on to sail over 300,000 ocean miles, 20 Newport to Bermuda races on eleven different yachts, and three different War Babys. He won line honours and records in The Middle Sea Race in the twelve metre ex American Eagle and Marion Bermuda Race in the ex Tenacious along with trophies in Cowes Week, the SORC and many other events.

Warren knew and made many enduring friendships with yachtsmen from all over the world from great designers such as Olin Stephens and German Frers to Australian boat pros of the 1970s. He promoted youth sailing onboard his boats and was a master of heavy weather sailing. He was a member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, the Storm Trysail Club and many other institutions and clubs in sailing.

Warren was awarded the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Blue Water Medal for his greatest achievement for sailing his S&S 61’ (ex Tenacious / Dora 4) to the Arctic then down the Atlantic to South Georgia, the Chilean fjords, Antarctica and eventually around the World.

In his last decade of sailing the same War Baby, he participated in the Classic Boat Series of the Mediterranean and was the overall winner of that series in 2003.

Warren Brown was a highly competitive sailor and yachtsman, an explorer and adventurer who will be dearly remembered and sadly missed by his crewmates, his country and his club.

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