Obituary: Barry Kimber

RENOWNED boatbuilder Barry Kimber has died, aged 75.

Born in Guernsey in 1946, he left school at 14 to join Bougourd Bros as an apprentice car mechanic and later worked for Guernsey Boatbuilders as a marine engineer.

He then started his own company, Seaward Marine, in Guernsey, taking six of the best staff from Guernsey Boatbuilders when the business ceased trading.

They built pilot vessels and working craft as well as customised Nelson design motor yachts, including the Flying Christine III marine ambulance, which still serves the Channel Islands today.

One of Seaward Marine's boats.(30041002)

The company quickly built up a reputation for the quality of build and sea-keeping of its craft and they were exported worldwide, including 22 boats sent to Japan.

By the time he relocated the company to Cowes, Isle of Wight, in 2001, it had developed its own successful Seaward brand and impressive range of custom built twin engine motor boats which were exhibited every year at the Southampton International Boat Show.

Liked and respected throughout the marine industry, he always took the time to pass on his knowledge in any way he could to new Seaward owners and to his loyal staff, many of whom became friends over the years. They quite simply liked the way he did business.

When illness forced his reluctant retirement, the company was taken over by the Boat Development Co. and it gave him great pleasure to see the company that he founded continue to flourish.

From a long seafaring background, Mr Kimber’s great-great-grandfather was Captain Rehoboth Robinson – the last survivor of the expedition launched in search of Sir John Franklin.

For hobbies, Mr Kimber enjoyed anything on the water, from sailing and boating to sea fishing.

Barry, right, at the Seawork show. (30057989)

He won many trophies, yacht racing in his X99 in Guernsey, and he completed the Fastnet Race in 1993.

Mr Kimber also spent a lot of time on his cruising yacht Orbit, taking it to France or the West Country for extended holidays. He spent a few years cruising the French canals with his wife, Alison, in his 20m Dutch Tjalk barge, Francoise, in between work commitments.

A long-standing member of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club, Guernsey Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club, Mr Kimber died on 11 September 2021 on the Isle of Wight, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

He leaves his wife, Alison, who worked alongside him in the business in Cowes and brother Bob (also now on the Isle of Wight).

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