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8 Bells William Layton

Printed From: Laser 28 International Class Association
Category: Laser 28 General
Forum Name: General Forum
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Printed Date: 25 February 2024 at 7:18am
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Topic: 8 Bells William Layton
Posted By: Foghorn
Subject: 8 Bells William Layton
Date Posted: 17 July 2020 at 12:05pm
8 Bells William Layton

Avid sailor Bill Layton has passed away after a sudden illness. A stalwart of the Laser 28 fleet and a sailor for almost all of his 62 years, sailboat racing was his passion in life.

Introduced to sailing by his father George, Bill and his brother Steve were immersed in all things sailing related from a young age as they were natural crew for George in his Lightning. Being on or near the water would be a central part of Bill’s life forevermore once the family moved into their waterfront home on the same point as The Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in 1971.

Having the yacht club as his backyard and Lake St. Louis as his front yard, Bill increasingly found ways to incorporate sailing into his everyday life. His neighbours would also have a big role in his life. Ian Bruce, the driving force behind the Laser 28 lived a few doors down and this led to Bill becoming the Production Manager at Laser International having a hand in every Laser 28 built.

It was on the point that Bill met his long time partner Denise Bienvenu, herself part of a family with deep roots in the marine industry. That soon led to Bill and Denise acquiring their own Laser 28, to be named Convictus (Latin for group entertainment), that remains with them to this day and holds a lifetime of stories.

Many who knew Bill knew to him to be a keen sailor always willing to offer help to competitors and friends alike. His enthusiasm and wit were omnipresent on the boat and dock after racing, truly in his element.

I knew Bill as my closest friend for 43 years. We had an unusual beginning as Bill is 7 years my senior but common interests in cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles and sailing led to countless hours working on, planning and perusing those interests. We have sailed mostly together for 40 years though at times as competitors as Bill sailed on other boats helping them become faster.

For the past 5 years we sailed together on my boat, in a way coming full circle and very much like getting the ‘band’ back together. Bill was so keen that times there was no wind to practice he came up with the idea to motor backwards so we could practice gybes. The crew and I recently took the boat out to raise a glass to Bill, fittingly I think, we filled out a Protest Form against Bill for illegal abandonment of a race, he was quite amused when he saw it.

Fair winds my friend, you will be missed.

Paul White
CAN 214

Posted By: fatjohnz
Date Posted: 17 July 2020 at 1:17pm
My deepest sympathy to all his friends and loved ones. He's helped me so much. I will also raise a glass to Bill

Posted By: WJRyan
Date Posted: 17 July 2020 at 6:30pm
May the knowledge of the many people he has touched, the difference he made, and the gift of time he always found to share, guide and teach be memories to fill the void. I am grateful for his help and support and we will light a candle and he will be in our prayers with his family and extended community. Baruch daya ha'emet and I raise my cup with John in honor and respect. 

Bill Ryan,

Room4Crew, #155

Posted By: Comet
Date Posted: 20 July 2020 at 12:27pm
Thank you for letting us know. He will be much missed. Sail on, Bill!

Posted By: Bobs
Date Posted: 23 July 2020 at 4:11am
It is hard to believe, Bill is gone. He knew everything about our boat and was ever so willing to share that knowledge. He was always there to help. I am sad to say that I only knew him through the forum, email and phone. I will greatly miss his help and wise council.
I can only hope that the rest of you will carry on his legacy.
Bill, where ever you are may your winds be fair.

Posted By: John Mills
Date Posted: 31 July 2020 at 4:38pm
Very sad news . My condolences to his family and friends . He was always quick to assit me with questions and I will miss him 

# 164

Posted By: George S.
Date Posted: 13 August 2020 at 4:22pm
Very sad news indeed.

On the west coast we only found out when Frank & Judy Button (ex RAGS) met up with Frank Fletcher (Voila #166) on holiday in Desolation sound. Frank immediately phoned me as we both had talked with Bill many times over the decades whenever a question arose that needed his expertise. The new sails I purchased from Bill and Denise allowed Sloop du Jour #123 to clean up in the last summer series and Bill and I emailed many times about the tweaking and tuning of these great little boats. I think he took some small pleasure in seeing their sails do well on a Laser28.

R.I.P. Mr. Layton... I am certain you will have that new course sorted out for when we next cross tacks.

George Streadwick
ex Voila #166
ex WarBird #169
ex Sloop du Jour CAN123

Posted By: Winner
Date Posted: 16 August 2020 at 9:43am
This is shocking and sad news.  I bought Eclipse in 2012 and Bill was a continuous lifeline for me whenever I had questions or trouble.  His generosity with his time was limitless.  I had the opportunity to meet Bill on a couple of occasions while visiting Montreal and enjoyed sailing with him and Paul aboard Decompression.

My condolences to the family and especially Denise.  Bill, you will be dearly missed.


Eclipse #240
Thunder Bay, ON

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