Tributes to Harrogate sailor who died on final transatlantic crossing

Pic from St Kitts Yacht Club
Pic from St Kitts Yacht Club

Tributes have been paid to the Harrogate yachtsman who died following an air and sea rescue off the coast of Cornwall this week.

Philip Walwyn, 68, who was originally from Harrogate, spent most of his life living on the Caribbean island of St Kitts, where he became a sailing legend and renowned boat builder.

Mr Walwyn was a member of the St Kitts Yacht Club which paid tribute online.

A statement said: “It is with great sadness that we bring this news to you today, August 3 2015, of the passing of a great man; a legend in his own right. We say goodbye to one of the world’s utmost sailing icons, and our past Commodore, Philip Walwyn. Philip was in the midst of his 17th transatlantic sail when tragedy struck. Philip is a man that has come into so many peoples lives and has given his heart and soul to everyone and everything he’s ever encountered.

“We all give thanks to Philip, to his knowledge and his love of the ocean. Philip will always be remembered for his heroism, his honour and his very witty sense of humour. His beautiful wife, Kate, is in our hearts and prayers as well, she is just as strong and as memorable as Philip is.

“Philip will forever be in our thoughts and our hearts, and we will all remember the wisdom that he has bestowed upon us. Philip, you have touched so many people worldwide...thank you. Woop Woop!”

Mr Walwyn had set off on his final transatlantic crossing from Nova Scotia six weeks ago, the solo journey was supposed to end in Falmouth this week, but the former British sailing champion’s yacht was found abandoned off the coast of Cornwall on Monday afternoon.

Falmouth Coastguard commenced an air and sea search to locate the missing sailor, after the 40 ft yacht he built himself named ‘Kate’ was found circling in the harbour at Coverack Cove, Helston with no-one on board.

Within two hours of the search a body of man was located in the sea just off Chynalls Point near Coverack by another sailor, the man was airlifted by a rescue helicopter and taken to Treliske Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.

Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious but enquiries continue as to how he came to be in the water and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.

Mr Walwyn owned an art gallery on St Kitts with his wife Kate Spencer, a painter.

In 2005 the couple invited the Yorkshire Post into their Harrogate apartment, showing off the Caribbean inspired decor and furniture hand crafted by Mr Walwyn.

A Facebook page named, Where’s Walwyn which was set up to follow Mr Walwyn’s journeys, posted: “To the man, the myth, the legend that is and always will be Philip Walwyn. A man that touched so many people’s hearts and souls, a man that is.”