Industry mourns British marine journalist


Scotland-based Mike Balmforth, one of Yachting Monthly's longest-serving writers, died at the beginning of December after fighting a long-term illness.

Balmforth joined the magazine in the 1960s and recalled his early days in an article published in the centenary issue (May 2006) titled 'What the Dickens!'

“Only a thorough grounding in Dickens' London could have prepared me,” he wrote. “Yes, there was an electric light and telephones. But one felt they had not been there long!”

Balmforth wrote many cruising articles for the magazine over the years, as well as being its Scottish correspondent for the Around the Coast news section. He worked for seven editors.

In a tribute from the British Marine Federation, of which Balmforth was president of Scotland BMF, the organization's national president, Mike Cook, said Balmforth had given a lifetime contribution to the marine industry and the promotion of sailing and boating in Scotland.

The magazine said Balmforth epitomized the term “giving something back to the industry” through his long involvement with BMF Scotland as a committee member, secretary, treasurer and president.

His career spanned yacht brokering, marine equipment distribution, journalism and writing books. He started as a yacht broker with Caledonian Yacht Services in Glasgow. He then formed a partnership to provide a wholesale parts and marine equipment service in Scotland called Marinac.

Later he joined the committee of the Clyde Cruising Club and edited the annual CCC Journal. He was also appointed a director of Sail Scotland, which encourages other U.K. and foreign sailors to visit the country’s shores.

In recent years Balmforth endured a quadruple heart bypass and suffered from a debilitating kidney malfunction that required overnight hospitalization and dialysis every 48 hours. He had to sell his yacht, Greenheart, a Dawn 39, but the magazine said that despite his incapacitating condition he remained a wonderful example of total dedication to a cause — Scottish sailing.

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