Jamie Mears- 1976-2022 13 May 2022
Jamie, with his brother Stewart, started their racing careers early as Corinthian Otters in home-built Oppies under the watchful eye of their keen RCYC sailing parents John and Clare, who were themselves successful Squibbers, with John himself being Otter Chairman and Coach for many years.
Jamie swiftly moved on to sailing a Cadet, taking the helm of Mickey Mouse (not his favourite boat name!) with crew Sophie Kay.
Burnham had a huge local fleet, and he immediately showed a talent for sailing, along with an incredible knack for exuberant fun and collecting friends.
In 1992 Jamie became an Otter Flag Officer and this fellowship with the Otters would continue with his sons Tommy, Ollie and Will all being fully integrated into the Otter family and particularly Otter week, where Jamie was always willing to offer his expertise and experience with his never-ending energy.
His first major success came as a teenager, again with his crew Sophie, as Championship winner of the Equipe class in France, more success was to follow.
Larks followed Cadets and around this time Jamie and Stewart joined the family business Pica which enabled him to travel the country sailing boats, making new friends and drinking beer – all exceptional talents of his! But most importantly this led to him meeting his wife to be Gemma, another highly successful sailor.
Soon he found his next love in the form of Skiff sailing in the winged B14 accompanied by Matt Gill, which he campaigned for a few years before teaming up with Stewart in the 18ft Skiff “Pica”, a triple wired flying machine sailed by some of the best sailors around the world.
To put it simply they were extremely successful, winning many Eurocup events and National Championships and a European Championship in 2011, but he recounted his 2nd place at the prestigious Mark Foy Trophy as their highlight as this event included the best from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
During this period, he married Gemma which resulted in three wonderfully active sons. Parenthood however never impacted on their love for sailing, skiing, entertaining and travelling the globe with their children in tow.
As the boys grew older Jamie slowly migrated to boat tower, rib driver and coach, never happier than living vicariously through his boys, but was always keen to jump in a boat for a guest appearance – Laser, Squib or 49er it didn’t matter!
In 2016 the RYA introduced the British Keelboat League (BKL), an annual short course Match Race competition with over 25 races during each event with qualifiers and a national final. This event was perfect for Jamie: “a year’s racing in two weekends!”, and anyone who has sailed with him will know that his “exuberant” sailing style leant itself very well to this format.
The team of Jamie, Mel Titmus, Alex Porteus and Nic Tolhurst won a few regional qualifiers and made it to three national finals where over the years the RYA race team gave the team the nickname “wins or spins” down to the fact Jamie had more wins than any other team but unfortunately more penalty turns!
This club, the river and the whole sailing world will be diminished by the loss of this irreplaceable, audacious character.
Our thoughts are with Gemma, Tommy, Ollie & Will, John & Clare, Stewart and all their family.