Stan Pearson

Stan Pearson © Claire Matches

1958 – 2024

Stan Pearson, the well-known Caribbean yachtsman and owner of Antigua Rigging died at the age of 66 on 25th February 2024.

Today Friday March 15th at 18:00 AST – A Moment for Stan

Held at The Capstans, Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour

This is open to all of the sailing community

Obituary by John Burnie, a business partner, crew mate and friend of Stan for over 30 years

Originally from New Zealand and a somewhat private man, his early life was something of an enigma to those that knew him in later life. He first came to notice as a senior crew member on NIRVANA in 1987. Richard Matthews from Oyster had chartered the yacht for the Fastnet and was deeply impressed with the capable New Zealander and his wife “Fliss”. That year an Oyster 68 called THRILLER had been commissioned and Stan and his wife became the Captain and crew, arriving on the yacht in Antigua in 1990. At the time it was one of the larger yachts based there.


Stan Pearson by his well-known moniker “Stan the Man” was a mast / rigging expert and was dealing with the compression jacks on MARI-CHA 2 (later BRISTOLIAN). Stan had moved ashore and was building his rigging business and reputation. He aligned with FKG in St Martin and made many contacts and friends in Camden during his frequent association with WAYFARER. There he met Steve Tofield (LYMAN and MORSE) who became a lifelong friend. Stan’s business Antigua Rigging became fully established at the Catamaran Club and he was appointed as the service agent for Oyster and Nautor Swan as well as becoming the representative of many marine parts suppliers. In the Caribbean and Europe, Stan sailed on numerous boats including BRAVEHEART (Truly Classic 78) with Captain Mark Stevens.


Stan Pearson was an active member of the Antigua Yacht Club and through his encouragement and enthusiasm served on the various Antigua Race Week committees. Stan was also a hugely enthusiastic organiser (ably assisted by Tommy Patterson) of the NELSON PURSUIT RACE, an engaging re-enactment of Nelson’s pursuit of Admiral Pierre Jean Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve. Stan was a loyal supporter of many local events and activities – one of his great gifts was to encourage many others to join in and participate as well.

During his life in Antigua, Stan became very respected for his participation in the many regattas taking place. He was a class helm and took the wheel on many notable yachts including KALIKOBASS, REBECCA and ADELA. His close friendship with “Sparky” Beardall ensured his regular presence and he undoubtedly contributed to the remarkable run of successes on the magnificent ketch REBECCA.

In July 2008, Stan Pearson and John Burnie were enjoying lunch at Cloggy’s in English Harbour – we were mulling over vague ideas to try to re- introduce a Swan regatta in Antigua (there was one in 1980). As the lunch progressed, we were struck by the paucity of offshore racing taking place in the Caribbean. Encouraged by a fine bottle of Minuty, we rang RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen in London. Due to Eddie’s overwhelming enthusiasm to start such an event, we immediately looked at plans of how we could create a Caribbean offshore race – starting and ending in Antigua. When Stan had a project he was keen on, he was awesome – through his supreme effort and planning the RORC CARIBBEAN 600 was born, the inaugural event taking place in February 2009. Stan will be long remembered for the wonderful course he designed. Stan did so much for the race and event – laying marks, even building the start line mast.

One of Stan’s great qualities was his aim for inclusivity. Together with
Hugh Bailey he encouraged many local people to participate in yachting, particularly those that worked with him. He was a champion of Antiguan incentive and a strong supporter of CSA which enabled that rating rule to lie alongside other handicap measurement. He created the short Nelson Trophy event by his persistence and enthusiasm which created an additional short series before the RORC 600.


More recently, together with Paul Deeth, Stan took on the running of the ailing Superyacht Regatta in Antigua. With a change of date and Stan’s enthusiasm the whole event again came alive. Notably he shared his experiences with other regatta managers. This helped develop better rating systems and fairness, notably working with ORC on the ORCsy (superyacht) rating rules.


Although his health had been ailing, Stan’s passing was sudden and unexpected. He was a sporting / betting man and Richard Matthews (who remained a close friend since they first met 1987) thought it inappropriate that Stan should choose to exit when he was 14 – 0 in debt with bottles of champagne owed. Stan was blessed with many good friends in Antigua – a number of whom were able to be with him in his final period. Appropriately Stan has been buried at sea today at the 2024 Superyacht Challenge Antigua.