Regarded marine artist, accomplished sailor, long time Finn and class leader in the Etchells fleet, among others, Mike Till, 77, passed away at home on 10th October 2016 after a tough bout with cancer. He passed away surrounded by his adoring wife Kathy and his children. Sailing and organizing sailing events were a key part of Mike's life. He never let his illness slow him, whether it be sailing his XOD just two weeks before his death, sailing with 360 other Finn at their World Masters Championship in May, or working on a disabled sailing regatta.
A regular on the Etchells podium both nationally and internationally, Mike played key roles as Chairman of the British Etchells Association from 2003-2008, representing the British contingent as a Governor in the international governing body, and a number of important roles for the Cowes fleet. He organized 2007 World championships for the Class and pushed hard to build fleets on mainland Europe.
Mike started sailing Etchells in the late 80s, becoming Cowes Fleet Captain and helped rapidly expand the class ahead of the 1996, 2001 and 2007 World Championships based from Cowes and Lymington.
Mike was an ardent supporter of the Finn class, and especially of the Finn Masters, for more years than most of us have sailed Finns and his unique outlook and high standards were a lesson to everyone. His support, encouragement and his continual presence was treasured by all those who knew him. He sailed the Finn World Masters this year in Torbole knowing it would be his last, but still with great humour, a huge grin and still wanting to be competitive.
Born to a tea plantation manager in Ceylon in 1939, Mike was no stranger to foreign travel or languages. His business career was in the insurance industry as a Lloyd's broker which included later owning his own Lloyd's broking company, Bradstock Haywood Till. His career led him to conduct business in many countries in Europe and the Middle East and was a major respected character in the London Insurance Market.
Mike will be missed around the world, by family, friends and sailors who knew and respected him. The Finn class send its sympathies to Mike’s family and friends.
Below are some of the tributes paid to Mike.
"Thank you for being the epitome of an english gentlemen and being there for me 33 yrs ago as a scared 16yr old in a Finn and on so many other occasions thereafter as I got to know you."
"A true gentleman who will be greatly missed."
"The world has lost a charismatic man and shall always be remembered for his wonderful assortment of waistcoats and ties! Mike Till, you will truly be missed and thought of with fondness."
"His strength of character and love of life has shone out this past year. He will be greatly missed. "
"Many good memories of his humour, generosity and wisdom. Well sailed old friend"
"He took on his illness as he did life, with great dignity. Mike was a lovely man to share time with and if you can think of him without smiling then you didn't know him."
"A man who lived life to the full. Saw him this summer on his boat and he was still living life to the full. Not a man who quit. Sail on Mike."
"Passionate about what he did and passionate about doing it the right way."
"A gentleman through and through and a great sportsman who loved life and was young at heart."
"A true inspiration on a whole load of levels. Whether encouraging others or Living life to the full. He not only sailed but was a true contender through Classic and Cowes week, despite his illness. Sail on Mike!"