David Dale 4th September 1943 – 15th May 2023
David and brother John were brought up in the Medway towns, where his parents had a retail business. He was educated at Sir Joseph Williams Mathematical School, Rochester. His parents were members of the Medway Yacht Club (MYC) and owned a small wooden sloop called ‘Piccolo’.
His first ‘learning curve sailing’ was in a Fairey Marine Duckling. He soon progressed to a Firefly – F968 ‘Dandini’. He was the MYC Junior Class captain and led the team to matches against Dover College and Tonbridge School. In his GCE year David won the Firefly Medway Week trophy.
He trailed to Falmouth for the ‘Nationals’ with Stuart Wright. David graduated from Dartmouth and served in the Royal Navy for several years. Postings included the Malaya insurgency and Singapore. At this time, he owned a 505 – ‘Foam’ (purchased from Johnson Wooderson) and sailed this both on the Medway and later shipped it to the Far East.
At some point David part owned an Elizabethan 29 with a Naval colleague, he sailed it up from the south coast to the Medway. His trips back to Medway were accomplished in a black MGA, appropriate for a young naval officer. He crewed with Guy Clarabut a few times on a Swan 40 at Cowes and Burnham week.
After the Navy David completed an MBA at Cranfield and progressed to a career in the city, working for Tate and Lyle. He was racing on the Medway by the ‘mid-seventies’ and bought a Flying Fifteen from Brian Gray, (that he renamed ‘Cavalier’), that was raced successfully with his wife Sally.
By the ‘eighties’ he was also successfully racing his Dragon ‘Rogue’ (GBR 454) in the Medway Dragon Fleet (MDF). (Both of us, with others, crewed for him on many an occasion).
In the ‘nineties’ he joined a partnership with Bruce Boyd and Peter Booth they consequently owned two Dragons – ‘White Lightning’ (GBR 628) & ‘Black Lightning’ (GBR 666).
In 1997 he presented the Rogue Trophy to the MDF – for the winner of the MYC most races in any one year. In 1996 he was appointed Class Captain of the MDF. Towards the end of the nineties David and Sally moved to Lymington where he joined The Royal Yacht Squadron.
The partnership with Bruce and Peter ended and David moved ‘Black Lightning’ to the South Coast. David had two of his own catchphrases when racing; ‘In your own time’ (to tardy crew!) and ‘It’s a joy to be alive‘. Bruce and Peter remember them extremely well!
He was then appointed International Dragon Association Secretary. He remained in post till he retired in 2014. (At some point he owned a J24 and we understand Julian Rigby crewed for him). He described those he admired as ‘smooth’.
David hardly changed over the years, always ‘correctly’ dressed for the occasion, and great fun, both on and off the water. He was a part of our lives, and it is sad he is no longer with us.
Brian Gray and Bruce Boyd