Gerald learned his sailing and boatbuilding skills from his father, and joined as a partner in the family business, Theo Smith and Son, in the 1950s.
After Old Stan’s retirement, Gerald continued running the business in Yarmouth until his death in 1983. He also served as the mayor of Yarmouth, and on the parish council. In addition to a long series of Siani and Delight class yachts, Gerald produced a scow, and a number of clinker-built tenders and pram dinghies. With George Coulson, he designed and produced a hybrid of the West Wight and Bembridge scows, and was instrumental in the revival of the tradition of scow racing on the river.
He followed his passion for sailing all his life, and firmly believed in the benefits of the sport for all. In the late 1970s he strongly opposed the proposed increase in the number of moorings in the Yar, arguing that the benefits of the estuary for dinghy sailing and racing, in a sheltered and beautiful setting, far outweighed the need for more moorings.
Yarmouth’s Wheatsheaf pub – from whose yard the fitting-out and launching of Smith boats was carried out – converted one of their bars and renamed it the Siani Bar in 1969, with the opening ceremony attended by several hundred people.
Gerald died in 1983, aged 52. His family still live on the Island, and continue the sailing tradition.
On Page 149 of the book, it is stated that Gerald served as Coxswain of the Yarmouth Lifeboat, as his father had before him. It has been pointed out to me that this wasn’t in fact the case; Gerald never served in the RNLI. I apologise for my error.
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