Capt. Kerry “KP” Piesch died on May 16 in Vancouver, B.C. The cause of death is pending, but officials said it was probably due to cardiovascular complications. He was 61.
With more than 30 years in the yacht industry and more than 150,000 miles at sea, Capt. Piesch leaves scores of friends and colleagues preparing to remember him on June 9 with flowers at sea at locations around the world. Posts on Facebook include people near oceans, lakes and rivers in England, France, Tahiti, Australia, Italy, Honduras, Norway and more.
He served as captain on several yachts including M/Y Legacy, S/Y Independence and M/Y Affinity and he was owner representative on five yacht builds according to his LinkedIn page. New builds included the 50m Delta Marine M/Y Happy Days and the 53m Perini Navi S/Y Independence.
In the early 2000s he worked with M/Y Affinity and supported the Farr 40 sailboat racing season. Capt. Piesch did expedition-style cruising with extensive scuba diving on S/Y Osprey from 1986-1994. And beginning in 1978, he worked with Reef Explorer Cruises for eight years in the South Pacific as captain on dive vessels engaged in exploration, cinematography, and ocean research.
Capt. Piesch had most recently worked as relief captain since 2014 on a number of boats, according to friend, Capt. Ken Bracewell.
“He was enjoying life and was spending time exploring the U.S. in his new 40-foot RV, the Land Yacht he called it, and towing his 1981 Jeep behind,” wrote Capt. Bracewell. “He was living in San Diego, and loved it there.”
Jacqlyn Sayre, who met Capt. Piesch several years ago and lived on a 50-foot Hunter sailboat with him, had just spoken with him the night before and was shocked at the news.
“He was a gentle spirit, always happy, and always saying ‘Hey mate, cheers, mate,’ “ Sayre said. “Even if we got in a spat, he never got upset.”
She said he was suited to the job of yacht captain with his attention to detail and he had worked on M/Y Triton, a 163-foot Delta, for the past four years as relief captain.
“He wanted everything perfect, everything written down,” she said. “When we traveled, he planned ahead and had lists for everything; lists for everything on the boat, a list for the jeep, and a list for the RV.”
Tahiti Crew Agency in Tahiti held a memorial at sea on May 20 and posted a video on Facebook with this message: “In Taapuna Pass today, a little memorial for KP, a great captain with the nicest personality. Smooth seas and fair wind on your last journey. Your crew, your friends from Tahiti.”
A memorial and celebration of life is scheduled for noon on June 5 at Coasterra Restaurant at 880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, California (92101). For details, contact Sayre, at +1 951-710-0072.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments welcome below. If you would like to add stories and photos to this article, please contact to firstname.lastname@example.org.