For NIGEL HILL from John Barker 15 Jan 2024
Nigel and I were sailing friends for many years. The Royal Corinthian was our base and the Crouch the river on (and occasionally in) which provided us with so much fun. We were both graduates of London University where we had sailed in College teams though our paths did not cross then. He attended Imperial and thus was bright and I went to Guys for the not too dim. Nigel had started sailing early mainly in a GP 14. At Burnham where we first met, he had sailed and raced an East Coast One Design, a sleek fast and rather wet craft from the twenties but which, on the Crouch, eventually was supplanted by the International Dragon Class. Nigel became mostly a crew member on Dragons and chiefly a middle man on ‘Marco Polo’ owned by our mutual friend Peter Gimpel former Commodore of the Club. That Nigel achieved success on the water was evidenced by the considerable number of pewter and silver trophies which came to adorn Teresa’s kitchen. Nigel and Teresa were invited by Peter to spend holidays with him on the Yacht ‘Absence’ which he sailed in the Mediterranean and also to stay in the house in Provence which Peter shared with another close Corinth friend, the legendary and also ex-Commodore, Ken Bushel.
My friendship with Nigel became closer when we acquired ownership of the small MFV Hero of Alexandria which had been built by Oliver Lee in the sixties for another sailing friend, Brian Walker. Hero was a sort of legend herself on the River. She had rescued a number of Otters over the years. However as Fishermen Nigel and I were, and I guess remained, quite definitely amateurs. There are half forgotten anecdotes to relate about our efforts to catch things edible from the River and most involved contact with its mud in one way or another. However the not too rare magic moments spent drifting for Herring on a calm October moonlit evening up along Cliff or Canewden would always be something Nigel and I remembered as the most happy of times.