Bruce Owen 1947 - 2003

Bruce Owen, twice winner of the International Six Meter World Cup died on November 8, 2003 at the age of 56. Mr. Owen was a true competitor and sailed in several other classes before coming to the sixes. He won the first Swan World Cup in 1982 in Porto Cervo, represented Hong Kong in the Sardinia Cup in 1982, and won the ISMA World Cup in 1987 at Oyster Bay on Long Island Sound and the 1997 World Cup at Cannes, France. He also won the European Championships at Benodet in 1994. He commissioned 2 sixes, both named "Scoundrel". Mr Owen also competed on the British bobsled team. The Class will miss his intensity and friendly competitive spirit. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. Here, reproduced without permission, is part of an an interview by Sue Pelling with Mr Owen after he won at Cannes in 1997:

You took the championship lead by race two, how confident did you feel then about the rest of the regatta?
It's never over until the fat lady sings. Race five was particularly pertinent for us and "Sophie II" (the vice champion) at the finish. That helped a lot. Johansson protested the last race on the grounds that the buoy at the pin end of the line was moving. It was and he got redress for that. If we had applied for redress we would have beaten him by another 4 points.

Tell me about "Sophie II", the championship favorite (she'd won the pre-worlds and the first race). Where did you feel you had advantages over her?
I think they tried to mix it a lot with the other boats and that just doesn't pay. It pays to stay clear of everybody. I always remember when Kostecki won the Championship in Sweden in 1989, the one thing that impressed me about him was that he stayed clear of trouble, so that is exactly what we tried to do. I also think we had boatspeed obver them upwind. They started well, but as we got into the week they seemed to lose it, whether it was mental, or what, I don't know.

You and your crew obviously work well as a team. How much on the water crew training do you put in rior to an event like this?
We've all but one sailed together quite regularly over the years but its not a class where you go sailing every weekend. We sailed at Easter here in Cannes and sailed nearly a full week prior to the Worlds, but that's about it.

Who decides who does what abord "Scoundrel"?
Basically there are three of us who decide what we are all going to do on the boat. Having said that, everybody has input as to how we are going to do what and so on. There is a tremendous exchange of ideas whilst we are sailing. Because the helmsman can't see, he can't call tactics and he's also liaising with the person who's trimming the headsail. So there's a lot of interaction. It is a real team effort. Rather than separate briefings, we tend to discuss things while we are going and try to improve. When we were racing at Easter we found the points we needed to improve such as mark rounding and sail hoists, etc..., so we deliberately set out to work on those things. My crew are great and they all seem to enjoy it. We go sailing to have fun. It is not a professioanl game for us at all. One of the charms of the class is that it has attracted all the professionals over the years such as Blackaller, Pettersen, Kostecki, and many more. It attracts all the top sailors and I think it is probably one of the last gentleman's classes left.

What made you decide on the Six Metre?
I'd been sailing big boats for a long time. I sailed a lot of races and did a lot of miles. We did the 1981 Admiral's Cup trials (when it was more popular) with a 51 foot Swan sloop. We won the Swan world cup in 1982 and sailed for Hong Kong in the Sardinia Cup that year. I'd basically had eneough of all the effort which included taking 15 crew members out to dinner every night and all that sort of nonsense. Neither could I afford it, or particularly enjoy it, so I then sold the boat and bought a powerboat. This I enjoyed, and spent about 18 months running around doing all the things I hadn't done previously. I launched the boat in Venice and went down the Yugoslavian coast and to Greece and did a lot of diving, etc... When i was on my return to England in 1984, I crossed the bay of Cannes, and I saw these sailboats which looked just like the sort of boats I used to draw when I was a child - classic sailboats - preparing for a start. I spoke to Peter Bateman on the water just before the start and told him I'd give him a call when he was in a better position to speak! So it was Bateman who helped me get into the class.