TRIBUTES have been paid to a passionate sailor and devoted family man who has died.

Brian Wilkins, from Weymouth, died in Dorset County Hospital on May 8, aged 85.

Mr Wilkins had been a member of Castle Cove Sailing Club since joining as a teenager and was an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign to get Castle Cove Beach back open.

He was invited to cut the ribbon when access to the beach was finally restored at Easter last year. The beach had special memories for him – he climbed through barbed wire on the sands to go swimming in 1940, watched ships leaving for D-Day in 1944, got engaged to wife Joan by the pier, and worked there hiring out deckchairs.

His daughter Sandy Weatherburn said her dad's life was centred around his passion for sailing and his family.

His many achievements include sailing in the training rounds of the 1964 America’s Cup challenge, helping to built and sail the area's first catamaran, and also taking part in the 1967 Fastnet race.

Mr Wilkins was an dedicated and enthusiastic member of the sailing club and helped to raise money for it. He was responsible for introducing many people to sailing, and became an advocate for cadet sailing at the club, always encouraging young people to get on the water.

When he was not sailing, Mr Wilkins worked for Southern Electric, beginning as a clerk and retiring as a way-leave officer.

Mr Wilkins has made Echo headlines over the years, usually for his sailing achievements, but last year he featured after he was knocked into Weymouth Harbour by his mobility scooter as he was climbing aboard his yacht.

"I didn't feel the cold - I was just embarrassed - my red face must have kept me warm," Mr Wilkins said of his experience.

He leaves wife Joan – whom he was married to for almost 60 years – daughters Sandra and Andrea, and four grandchildren.

Mr Wilkins' funeral will be held on Friday, May 22 although because of Covid-19, only a small number will be attending.

A thanksgiving service will be held at Holy Trinity Church when it is safe to do so, along with a celebration of his life at Castle Cove Sailing Club.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Chesil Sailing Trust.

A memorial website has been set up in his memory which can be viewed at