Obituary: David Boyd, banker and sailor

David Scott Cargill Boyd, banker and yachtsman. Born: 23 June 1945, in Edinburgh. Died: 23 December 2016 in Edinburgh, aged 71

David Boyd always had an innate sense of adventure and an affinity with the sea. As a youngster he once threw caution to the wind to rescue a boy from drowning off the beach at St Andrews and, as a teenage Sea Scout, he shunned the comfort of a chartered plane to motorcycle more than 7,000km across Europe and back to attend a World Scout jamboree.

The lifesaving episode earned him and fellow rescuer, his brother Stewart, a Royal Humane Society award. The Sea Scout trip to the gathering in Marathon in Greece resulted in an equally hair-raising encounter – this time with an oncoming bus that forced him over a cliff edge as it swept around a blind corner into his path. Fortunately a ledge just below the road broke his fall and he landed on his side, still on the bike and in one piece.

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Over the ensuing decades David would spend countless hours at sea, at home and abroad, never tiring of sailing and ultimately becoming Admiral of Royal Forth Yacht Club (RFYC). Perhaps the exploits were an antidote to the relatively sedate world of banking that he inhabited in his professional life, a career that spanned almost 40 years with the Bank of Scotland.

The son of a chartered accountant and one of three brothers, David was born in Edinburgh’s Drumsheugh Gardens and educated at the capital’s George Heriot’s School. There he excelled on the rugby field, playing scrum half in one of the school’s most successful sides, the1961-62 1st XV, captaining the team the following season. He briefly studied French at St Andrews University before joining the bank in May 1965.

David worked in senior management in several branches across Edinburgh network, including Frederick Street, the Morningside Group and St Andrew Square. In the early 1970s the bank sponsored him to attend Heriot Watt University, where he gained a diploma in financial studies. He also completed an MBA and was a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in 

Excellent in all roles yet consistently his own man, he was a people person, amiable, sociable and great company. He particularly enjoyed his time in the Inspection Department, visiting branches up and down the country, and in the Executive Office at the Mound. In addition, David was a lay member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland’s Investigation, Ethics and Audit Registration committees.

Sailing was a large part of his life throughout this time. He learned the craft at St Andrews, where he spent the school holidays with his grandmother and in the 1960s and 1970s was a keen racing sailor in the skua class at the Royal Forth Yacht Club. David was instrumental in the establishment of Edinburgh Marina Ltd, a joint venture between it and the Forth Corinthian Yacht Club, which he would later chair for a number of years.

And, with his background in banking and financial management, he was a significant asset to the Royal Forth club, contributing greatly to its successful move from Boswall Road to the new clubhouse at Granton Harbour in 1984.

In 1989 he became commodore of the RFYC, an office he held until 1991, and during part of his tenure his brother Stewart was also commodore at the Forth Corinthian club.

Then in 2004, a couple of years after taking voluntary redundancy from the Bank of Scotland, David achieved his lifelong ambition of buying a 32ft Westerly Fulmar cruiser. He acquired the boat from Northern France and sailed her back to Granton that September. The purchase led to many outings on the Forth and trips to Anstruther, Elie, St Andrews and Dunbar with the family.

He married his first wife Linda, with whom he had two sons, in 1970. With his second wife, Sarah, whom he married in 1995, he had a son and daughter. As his elder children settled abroad the family had the chance to travel further afield, attending his sons’ weddings in South Africa and Australia, visiting the USA and returning to Australia, where a highlight was sailing across Sydney Harbour past the Opera House at the helm of a relative’s boat. Numerous family holidays were also spent sailing the Mediterranean.

Other interests included the Lady Haig Poppy Factory, of which he was a director. David was also a director of Lothian Quality Forum and of Arville Holdings Ltd, a textile firm based in Wetherby. But it was the RFYC that had consistently played such a large part in his vibrant life and he was quietly proud to have been honoured latterly as vice-admiral, and most recently, admiral of the club.

Known for his fiercely competitive streak, he received his final haul of three prizes just days before being admitted to St Columba’s Hospice.

Predeceased by his brother Stewart, he is survived by his wife Sarah, his four children, five grandchildren and his younger brother Douglas.