Ian Bruce

March 24, 2016

John Kerr

It was way too late, I thought, as we arrived at a darkened plant in outside Montreal. Our trek from Toronto was slow to say the least and we were hours past our planned late afternoon arrival, but looking at my watch seeing 9:30pm  I thought for sure we were doomed to sleeping in the car overnight before we could return with a trailer full of new Lasers.

Driving in we noticed a sliver of light below one door and then there was hope that maybe someone was there when out walked Ian Bruce. I knew of Ian from his stellar sailing career with our national team and  was totally in the loop on the Laser and I was amazed that he was there …minding the fort and wanting to ensure those Lasers he promised the then dealer Bud Roulstone of Angus would be ready.

Bruce immediately greeted us in one breath and in the next, the first Laser was loaded and tied down by this sailing master so quickly that I took notice of every move this guy made. He was relentless and if memory serves me correctly, we were loaded with eight boats and turning right on Hymus Boulevard towards Toronto in less than 30 minutes. Equally amazing was Bud Roulstone was waiting at the other end early as I arrived back at 33 Yonge Street so early that Saturday morning.     

Ian Bruce passed away at his daughter’s home on Monday, March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, our country and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come. His style and welcoming way encouraged and motivated many young Montreal sailors to compete. He sailed 14s winning the Prince of Wales twice, represented Canada at the Olympics in Finns and Stars.

Alongside the genius of Bruce Kirby and Hans Fogh, Bruce built the Laser starting in the early days in an old building in Montreal.

Ian’s creative side and style, his attention to detail and his dogged determination helped lay the foundation for success of the Laser.

Recognized by many of us as a key driver to the early success of sailing in Canada his recognition to the order of Canada was testament to his contributions to sailing not only here but worldwide.

A celebration of his life will be held May 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Royal St Lawrence Yacht Club , 1350 Lakeshore Rd. in Dorval. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that people make donations to a charity of their choice or encourage someone to learn to sail.

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