Anyone with the slightest connection to the International J/24 class association will have heard the name “Stuart Jardine“ mentioned, usually in tones of great respect, if not actually tinged with awe.
Stuart’s contribution to J/24 sailing has long been recognised, at least unofficially, by those who have participated in ”behind the scenes” management of our class and indeed it would not be unfair to say that his expertise and enthusiasm has often been taken for granted.
Prior to joining the J/24 Class in 1985, Stuart had enjoyed an outstanding sailing career, which included competing in two Olympic Games and winning twenty-seven UK and European National Championships in five different classes during the period 1950 to 2007!
He was three times USA Masters Champion, and his exploits in the X-Boats, where he won the Captain’s Cup at Cowes on no less than five occasions, are the stuff of legend.
In spite of his many successes at the highest levels of our sport, Stuart always remained modest and approachable, and more than ready to devote time to helping club level sailors of all ages to improve their performance
In 1988 Stuart became a Class Measurer, and succeeded Dennis Ellis as Chief UK Measurer in 1994. As he obviously still did not have enough work to do, he took on the role of UK Class Treasurer in 1995, followed by Class Secretary in 1996. He has held all three roles until this year.
Joining the International Technical Committee in 1999 he has served us with great distinction for twelve years, and although wishing to step down, will continue to do so for at least another year at the request of his colleagues.
Earlier this year Stuart announced that he would finally retire from his roles in the UK Class, and in recognition of his wonderful contribution, the Class hosted a celebratory dinner in the elegant surroundings of the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Poole, Dorset with Stuart and his long-suffering wife Mary Ann as guests of honour.
More than sixty of his friends and fellow sailors gathered last month to pay tribute to Stuart to celebrate his achievements, and more than anything, to thank him for his efforts over many years.
Jim Anderson, the current Chairman of the UK J/24 Class, presented Stuart with a framed photograph showing his boat, Stouche, leading off the start line at the recent European Championships in Howth. The reverse of this photograph had two panels containing the signatures of everyone who had attended the dinner. Jim also presented a mounted half model of a J/24, which Stuart immediately declared he would return to the UK Class as a perpetual trophy to encourage youth sailing.
Mark Penfold, fresh from his exploits in Argentina, made a witty and sincere congratulatory speech which included reading out a letter from Marianne Schoke-Holzer in what, to the uninitiated at least appeared to be fluent Swedish !
A surprise guest, at this very special occasion was IJCA Vice-Chairman Robin Eagleson, who travelled over from Ireland under conditions of great secrecy, to announce that, by a unanimous vote of the World Council, Stuart had been named as a Councillor of Honor to the International J/24 Class Association.
This is an award which our class takes very seriously. There have only been four previous recipients of this honour, which is an indication of the esteem with which Stuart Jardine is regarded within the J/24 Class
From the International J/24 Class Association — “Congratulations and thank you Stuart!”