Colin Laird, CMG – Inducted 2012
Born in 1924 to a family of Scots origin on his father’s side and to a family of Merchant Navy Officers who had lived in Northumberland for many generations on his mother’s side, Colin moved with his parents to West London at the age of three, and studied there until his education was interrupted by the war.
At the age of 18, Colin enlisted in the royal navy and in 1943 was shipped out to Trinidad for flight training, qualifying as a Navigator with the rank of Sub-lieutenant, going operational in 1944. While in training at Piarco he met and married Jeanette Bulter, and post war, after he completed his studies in England, they returned to live permanently in Trinidad, where he had a distinguished career as an architect locally and regionally.
Colin Laird’s membership at TTSA dates back to the 1970’s, when he acquired his first yacht “Ragtime”. Serving on the Management Committee, designing the Spinnaker Bar and racing regularly. He entered the big time with the 1981 acquisition of “La Baleine”, a single handed Freedom 44, with which he raced throughout the Southern Caribbean from 1982 to 2000, achieving First place in a race to Guiria. Two round Trinidad races, a Barbados to Bequia and a Bequia to Petit St. Vincent, as well as a Girl Pat Trophy race when after crossing the line, he promptly turned around and headed back to Trinidad. His outstanding and unique achievement was representing Trinidad and Tobago with a 21-day crossing in the 1984 Observer Single Handed Transatlantic race, finishing 9th in class and, in recognition of this feat, Colin was awarded lifetime Honorary Membership of the Association.
During his sailing career Colin passed on his skills to his daughter, six grandsons and many young family friends and can be said to have weighed anchor for the last time when he sold “la Baleine” and the tender “Ti Baleine” to an American yachtsman in 2012.