Born Feb 13th 1942, Peter sadly passed away at 5.15 am on the 14th January 2024 with his beloved Wife Margaret and two of his children by his side. At the fighting age of 81, the International Dragon Class lost a most cherished “Family” member and I, like many, lost a dear friend. Peter was larger than life in so many ways, not just in stature, but also in his Lowestoft Community and the Dragon
Class which he held close to his passionate heart.
As the son of George Colby, a Herring Fisherman, Peter was born with the Sea in his DNA and soon after leaving the Alderman Woodrow School in Lowestoft at the age of 14 he went to HMS St Vincent Naval Training College in Portsmouth. However, not being fond of rules and regulations he soon returned to Suffolk and went on to become a huge entrepreneur in haulage firms, vehicle hire, truck & trailer rentals before moving into property and other profitable businesses. A man on a mission with fantastic personal skills and a deep love for his family and home town.
I first met Peter back in 1992 at my first Dragon East Coast Championship in Lowestoft hosted by the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club. Although over
30 years ago those memories of Peter and the whole Yacht Club staff and volunteers epitomised the whole ethics and superb standards of why I race
Dragons today. Fun, camaraderie, excellence, passion, integrity and above all sportsmanship. Peter was all of the above and much, much more.
During his term as Commodore at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club between 1999 & 2002 he would be found at the club every Saturday with his
circle of friends. So many quiet evenings turned into legendary sessions as “Russell” behind the bar and Peter orchestrating proceedings made all of us feel
so at home.
The party atmosphere did not just stay in Lowestoft, as Peter also based himself in the beautiful Brittany town of Douarnenez where so many Dragon sailors enjoyed fantastic sailing over the years thanks to the great Louis Urvois. On arriving in Douarnenez each year the first question on everyone’s mind was “Peter, what night is the Party at your house?” A huge smile would spread across his lips as he replied “My dear Martin, every night is a party”. With copious amounts of Red Wine and the fantastic voice of Peter’s Wife Margaret singing such beautiful songs, a great time would be had by all.
Peter gave his Dragon GBR 630 “TAI FUN” to his good friends at the Society des Regates de Douarnenez where he was dearly loved. His Dragon will continue to bring new sailors into the class in the Douarnenez Bay, as this was his wish. I remember well in the early 2000’s the Douarnenez sponsor would give us tins of high-quality Tuna. Each day a boat number was drawn out of a hat and a member of that Dragon Crew would win their weight in Tuna. On one occasion Peter decided that he and I should sit on the scales to see who was the heavier! I believe the organisers had to put at least 2 slabs of Tuna on Peter’s lap before my feet eventually left the ground.
Peter will be missed by so many but never forgotten…. He brought a ray of sunshine with him wherever he went. I guess the image I will always fondly remember is this giant of a man stood up in a speeding RIB holding onto just the bowline as it passed the Dragons sailing back in towards the crane at the RNSYC after the final day of racing. It was Peter’s job to operate the crane and get us all out of the water without delay. He looked like Kirk Douglas standing at the front of his Longboat in the 1958 Vikings movie. A God amongst us mere mortals…… RIP my friend.