It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our Admiral of 30 plus years, Peter Deeth. Peter was the founding member, Commodore several times, and avid supporter of the English Harbour Yacht Club, later renamed the Antigua Yacht Club. He was predeceased in January by his wife of 62 years, Ann. Peter and Ann led a very full and interesting life which he documented in an autobiography, “Tis all a Chequer- Board”, published in 2005. A strong presence, sometimes described as a “force of nature”, Peter did not let much stand in his way once he had set his mind to something. With his incredible zest for like, infectious energy, good sense of humor and thirst for adventure Peter achieved much in his life, touched and inspired so many and left an indelible mark on this earth!
Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex in 1924 Peter briefly attended Oxford University before being sent to Canada to train as a pilot for the Royal Air Force in 1942. He flew for the RAF until 1947, ending up as a captain in command of a B24 bomber in the Far East. Peter then moved to India to join his father’s import-export business where he met Ann and bought his first boat, Kelpie, which they raced successfully together. They married in 1954 and moved to Trinidad in 1957, with daughter Alison, after Peter retrained as a commercial airline pilot and was hired by British West Indies Airlines. A detached retina forced an early retirement from flying and brought Peter, Ann and daughters, Alison and Astrid, to Antigua in 1960 where Peter and Ann added son, Paul, and built and opened The Inn at English Harbour. They operated The Inn for 30 years helping to bring tourism and employment to English Harbour, which, at the time, was a very impoverished, undeveloped and little visited area. Their positive impact on the community was significant and Peter is affectionately known as “Papa” in English Harbour village. Peter’s dream was to run a small hotel where he could teach guests to fly and sail. The flying was not to be but Peter always owned yachts and took delight in taking guests out for sails first on Spanish Main and then Petrana and finally, while Petrana was off in far flung corners of the world, Blue Peter.
Given his passion for sailing Peter, along with Desmond Nicholson and Howard Hulford, decided to start a friendly racing event to mark the end of the tourist season for hotels and charter yachts. This event, which Peter co-founded and chaired multiple times, became Antigua Sailing Week which just celebrated its 50th edition. Peter and Ann raced Petrana, their” swift Bulldozer 50″, in the early years of Race Week dueling intensely against Don Street on Iolaire, before sailing her around the world during summers off from the hotel. Petrana, herself nearly 50 years old, is now raced in Classic Week by son Paul. Peter and Ann were active Life Members of the AYC and ended their sailing days in the Caribbean on Katina only 3 years ago at the ripe old ages of 89 and 82 respectively.
Per Ardua ad Astra – Through Adversity to the Stars. Rest in Peace dear Admiral Peter Deeth with your beloved, Ann. The world will be poorer with your loss. Our condolences go out to his family and many friends.
Courtesy Antigua Yacht Club.
Also here’s a bit about what we have to say about Peter in the 50th Antigua Sailing Week Book, released this year for our 50th Edition of Antigua Sailing Week.