OBITUARY : Beecher Moore

By Cook, Peter | The Independent (London, England), November 15, 1996 | Go to article overview
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OBITUARY : Beecher Moore


Cook, Peter, The Independent (London, England)


Beecher Moore was one rning as this set an example to other employees. He felt too that it was then acceptable for him to leave after lunch with a clear conscience and enjoy the afternoon pursuing his own interests. Beecher Moore, following his father's lead, devoted his afternoons to sailing.

From the early 1930s sailing became a dominant interest in Moore's life. Before the Second World War he was involved in what is acknowledged as the first trapeze used in a sailing dinghy - in the form of a bell rope on a Thames Rater. This so impressed Sir Peter Scott, who occasionally sailed with Moore, that he later adapted the idea for his own International Fourteen, adding a belt to provide better comfort for the crew.

The invention was an immediate success and Scott won the Prince of Wales Cup in 1938. Moore's invention gave the users such an advantage over the rest of the fleet that the device was banned. He also experimented with the use of sliding seats to provide righting moment, having first encountered them in Uffa Fox's cruising canoe, Brynhild. Moore joined the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex and sailed in a number of J-Class yachts including Sir Richard Fairey's Shamrock and Sir Thomas Sopwith's Endeavour. He was part of the crew of Endeavour I in the America's Cup challenge of 1934 when he was, uniquely, the only American to sail aboard the British challenger. After the war, Moore joined forces with the Thames boatbuilder Jack Holt, as his sailing companion and business partner. Holt was a seat-of-the- pants practical boatbuilder, sailor and designer. Together they were instrumental in the development and launching of many classes that were responsible for the growth and leadership in dinghy design enjoyed by Britain for many years. First, in 1946, the 14ft Merlin class was introduced. Holt and Moore together went on to win the class national championship. This was followed during the next 20 years by the introduction of many popular dinghy classes including the Hornet, GP Fourteen, Enterprise and Mirror. While Holt designed the boats and built the prototypes, Moore, in the background, was responsible for the all-important marketing and development of each class; and the association of owners who in turn helped promote the design and ensure its continued support and success. Moore expanded the Jack Holt business to take in fittings, clothing, sailmaking and mastmaking; all succeeded and weathered the many storms that have beset the boatbuilding industry over the past 50 years.

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