Memories of Marcel Buffet......Re: [505-global] Marcel pass away last night.

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Alexander Meller

Aug 21, 2009, 12:49:17 PM8/21/09
to, 505-global
After reading the sad news from Jean Baptiste, I have been remembering Marcel... Some of the memories that come to mind are:
The 1995 World Championship in Marazion.  In one race Pete Colclough and his son were first at the first weather mark, with Marcel Buffet and crew second!
I raced almost ten 505 World Championships in a row from 1995 on, and recall that we had better height upwind than most of the fleet in light air in the earlier world championships we raced.  This could be a significant advantage in a light air big fleet race, and we could squeeze out one team after another as we climbed our way into a top position at the first weather mark.  Except Marcel could point a little bit higher, and at least once in Kingston Ontario and once in Townsville Australia were were climbing our way to windward forcing one boat after another to tack away for clear air, but not quite as fast as Marcel was climbing up to us, and eventually we were forced to tack away by the master himself. I learned enough to not start to weather of Marcel!
The surprise 80th birthday party Saturday September 14, 2002 at Cercle de la Voile de Paris where Marcel was the guest of honor, and one by one past crews, past competitors, and other early members of the 505 class walked down the line to congratulate him and shake his hand.  But Marcel was standing tall and straight and looked very fit and healthy, still dressed in sailing clothes (he had been racing a vintage 505 only a few minutes earlier), while many of his "contemporaries" were showing their age.  I somehow thought that Marcel had "figured out" that staying active (I understand he went swimming every day to stay fit enough to race his 505) and never stopping racing the 505, was a secret way to stay youthful and active forever.
Fascinating conversations with Marcel about his early adoption of the compass for tracking wind shifts, and what developments in 505s worked well (and some that did not) over the years.
Marcel was a two-time 505 World Champion -- with P. Woulff -- in 1959 in Cork Ireland, and in 1960 in La Baule, France.  He probably raced more 505 World Championships than anyone else.  I recall asking him how many, and he came up with the answer by starting with the number of 505 World Championships held to that point, and subtracting the few that he had missed due to other commitments (such as an Olympic FD campaign).  Marcel may also hold the record for the most 505s owned and raced.  
My sympathies go out to his family and his many friends.
Ali Meller
505 7200

On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 7:04 PM, jbd <> wrote:

I'm especially sad to tell you all that  Marcel Buffet pass away at
midnigth from a severe  heart attack.
Marcel was under treatment at the hospital Ambroise Pare when he
suffered this attack.
Marcel is everyone's friend in the class and will be terribly missed
by all of us.
I was priviledged to be a very close friend of Marcel for the past 15
years and I can report that not only Marcel was a fierce competitor on
the water but he was also a very sensible man and a great friend
dedicated entirely to the 5O5 as you all know.
All my thoughts today goes to his friends and family.

Alexander "Ali" Meller
Team Latitude/ABRT bicycle racing
505 sailing/racing

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