Celebration of the life of the RYA's deputy secrectary general and legal affairs manager

Edmund Whelan, Barrister (Middle Temple), yachtsman, former RYA Deputy Secretary General and legal affairs manager died recently (8 May 2013) after a short but typically spirited fight with cancer.

Edmund started sailing as a small boy in enterprises and Albacores, but it was in yacht racing where he really made his mark. Starting on RORC and Admirals Cup boats in the late 60s through to Three Quarter and Half Tonners in the late 70s, Impalas (National Champion) and J/24s in 80s, and still racing in RORC and Sigma 38s through the 80s and 90s .

He and his wife, Teresa, competed successfully for three decades in JOG, RORC and Royal Southampton double-handed series, winning many events. From 2000 they successfully campaigned their X-342 Xarifa inshore and offshore.

His work for the RYA started in 1981 when he was appointed as the Legal and Government Affairs and General Purposes Manager. It was in this role, and latterly as the deputy CEO, that he came to help hundreds of yachts clubs and yachtsmen around the country deal with legal matters.

He saw one of his main roles as that of a parliamentary adviser and lobbyist fighting for the rights of sailors to enjoy uninterrupted sailing in UK waters, unimpinged by regulation and licensing, in addition to his unstinting work with the RYA regions and clubs.

To help achieve these goals he also acted as secretary and treasurer to the House of Lords and Commons Yacht club and as Secretary of the European Boating Association.

Edmund Whelan was well known internationally through his involvement with ISAF. He wrote many articles for yachting and boating magazines and published several books including Marine Law for yachtsmen, an essential handbook for all prospective and current boat owners.

Since his retirement in 2007 he had become a Yachtmaster Ocean instructor. He did the ARC three times, first racing a Prima 38, then helping a friend on his home-refurbished concrete boat and in 2012 skippering a 46ft Hallberg-Rassy, by which time he had logged over 100,000 ocean miles.

He leaves a wife, Teresa, three children, eight grandchildren and many hundreds of friends from the sailing family across the globe.

A celebration of his life will be held at St Paul’s Church, Sarisbury Green, Hampshire at 2pm on 18th June and afterwards at Edmund’s preferred meeting place, the Boathouse cafe at Swanwick Marina, where a Guinness bar will be set up in memory of all those wonderful boat shows he and many of his friends shared.